I began running in the summer of 2011. I’d been a competitive cross-country skier in high school, and I realized that at age 46, it was time to see if my body could still be pushed. I’d jogged, skied, and hiked over the years, but running wasn’t really on my map. I didn’t believe I could run more than an easy 3 miles without getting knee pain, so I never considered taking it on. Last summer, inspired by enthusiastic friends, I decided to give it a shot. I built up slowly, running 5 or 6 times each week; after 8 weeks, I was shocked to realize that I was enjoying myself! I ran my first road race in Portland’s Annual Thanksgiving Day 4-Miler, coming in 846th overall with a 36:58. I was handily outrun by a pilgrim, among 846 other runners, but I was elated. The race was painful, unpleasant, and totally addictive. By my next race, Jimmy the Greek’s Frozen 4-Miler, I had taken a few minutes off my time, coming in with a 34:00 and just beating a runner dressed in purple streamers. Progress.
Why Write a Blog?
A few weeks ago, in the airspace between Detroit and Portland, I had an epiphany. I was on my way home from a professional conference, feeling blue with the realization that I’d developed a case of identity tunnel vision. My self worth had gotten bound up in collecting success chips. I’d somehow become so fixated on my progress as an artist and professor that I’d temporarily forgotten to trust my gut and let the experiences that light me up lead the way. Soaring at dusk between two layers of luminous clouds, I realized that running had permeated my imagination. It looks like this: I mull over past and future running adventures. I think about how to train, where to go, what gear to wear, and how to gather a posse. Anyone who runs knows that running is storytelling. I’ve decided to share some of my own tales–mostly about running, but as I’ve come to see, running doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Running will be the lens for this blog, and the stories will lead the way from there.