I started running in the late 1980s and like most, I was just dabbling with it. I was a recent college grad in a new job, living away from family and friends and pretty much bored. I was also gaining weight and couldn’t afford to buy new pants, so running became my interest. It was never easy at first. A few trips around the apartment complex were all I could do initially. But I stuck with it somehow.
One day I decided to attempt to go further than I had gone previously, and before I knew it I was at five miles before stopping. But when I got to that mark I had a feeling that I could keep going. It was at that moment that running seemed to click with me. I could and would keep going. Within a year or two of starting those laps around the apartment complex, I set a goal of running a marathon.
I started doing local races and marathons. I was just winging it. How complex could running be? You just run, right? There was no internet during this time for me. It may have existed, but it was in its infancy, and I didn’t have a computer to even do any sort of research into how to train for a marathon. The first couple of marathons went okay. I ran 3:50 in the first one and followed it up with another 3:50 a year later. I really thought that I would demolish that 3:50, but a lack of knowledge about fueling and hydration was my downfall.
It would be a couple of decades later that I would become a triathlete with the goal of completing an Ironman, and that is where my mindset changed. I followed a plan for the first time and learned a ton about how to fuel for the race. Successfully training for and completing that first Ironman was a big deal. It taught me loads about how to train and I applied that to my running goals as well. Although I feel that it took me three Ironman races before I finally dialed it in and set a personal best, it did finally click with me and I found personal success.
Not long after that, I applied what I had learned from the triathlon training to running and I found myself setting new personal bests in the marathon, and getting that once elusive Boston Marathon qualifier was now in reach. I set new personal bests in the marathon distance, all in my 50s. I have now achieved three BQs and run the race in 2018, CLICK!
For the past few years, I have set my sights on becoming an ultra-distance runner. Something that I hadn’t done in the previous thirty years of running, and I had to learn to apply what I knew from my triathlon and marathon running experiences to running stupid far. I basically had to learn to run slower and pace myself. It clicked for me when I started applying walk breaks into my runs. I had more energy to run farther. Even with four ultra-distance finishes completed, I still am adapting and learning about how I manage the run. Last weekend I ran my fourth last-runner standing format ultra and went farther than I have ever run – 54 miles. I was shooting for 50, but knowing one more 4.16-mile loop would benefit me mentally, I pushed on and it helped me understand that I could get past that 50-mile mark and keep going. CLICK!
Yesterday, I ended my recovery week with a run that I was planning to last about ten miles. But as I meandered my way around the community, I started thinking about doing more. I felt really good. I ended up playing it safe, finishing with twelve total miles. When you find yourself thinking that ten miles are just okay and want to do more, then I think that the work that I have been doing to get me to the finish line of Tunnel Hill 100 in November might just be clicking with me.
CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!
When did running click with you? What was your a-ha! moment?