On April 30, 1995 (I had to look up the date), I toed the line for the very first time since a middle school half mile race against the clock. (Back then it was called junior high.) That one was required to pass the phys-ed class I was in; this one was purely voluntary. I don’t remember exactly why I signed up, but I’m pretty sure it was a result of peer pressure from a dark-haired beauty I was dating at the time. (History shows I’m a sucker for that kind of pressure. And dark haired beauties, too, apparently.) I do remember the race was five miles, and my goal was 40 minutes. Pretty sure I didn’t make it, and I felt absolutely wiped out the rest of the day, but hey, I got the shirt!
Soon after that race, I stopped running, stopped seeing the dark-haired beauty, stopped working at my job, and stopped living in Colorado. It took seven years, and a gain of twenty five pounds before I tried running again – to resounding failure. I couldn’t even make it a mile. I was fat and over forty. Like a lunatic, I signed up for the now-defunct Silver State half marathon in Washoe Valley. I survived, and soon after, discovered trail running and have never looked back.
Fast forward another fifteen years. I lost the twenty five pounds (and more). I’ve lost my youth and the feeling of invincibility that goes with it. I’ve lost some relationships – losses which haunt me nightly. But, I’ve gained two great kids, and a healthy lifestyle on the trails. I’ve gained some pretty amazing trail companions, and a renewed connection with the natural world. And since every run could be my last, I strive to enjoy every step – even the ones that hurt, though they far outnumber those that do not.
Sir Elton may be still standing. As for me? I’m still running. Running like Jackson Browne.