Monday, November 15, 2010

Old Skool

My first running route - Brighton, MA

The summer of 1992 was the first time I ever ran regularly.  I had just broken up with my girlfriend, and I was devastated.  But I wasn't devastated because I had just lost the love of my life.  Rather, I was devastated because I had to get a job and start paying rent.  This is when I was playing in a band, and part of the game was to supplement whatever meager income we earned from music with a subsidy in the form of a girlfriend.*  I had just blown that all to hell.

I moved into the extra room of a 3 bedroom apartment that was occupied by 2 other single musicians.  The apartment was in the crappiest building on an otherwise nice street called Cummings Road in Brighton, MA.  At the end of the day, the apartment wasn't too bad and my roommates where cool.  I got a job as a barista at Starbucks.  Life settled back into a predictable, if not different, order of things.  My only real gripe was that I had to get out of bed at 9 AM to make my midday swing shift in Harvard Square, which was a long subway ride with a transfer thrown in.

It was at about this point where I got the urge to try running.  I'm not exactly sure when or how this happened, but suddenly I found myself in possession of some gym shorts and a pair of running shoes.  The first few runs where short - maybe 10 minutes.  But then one day I managed 20 minutes, and from there I was able to work up to a 3.5 mile loop from my place up to Boston College, around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and home.

Outside of the running shoes and the polyester gym shorts, my "gear" was decidedly non-technical.  I was going through an argyle sock phase, so that's what I wore.  I wore cotton t-shirts and a corduroy "Truck Stops Of America" cap in an attempt to provide some visual irony that only I got.  I didn't have any compression shorts and I used a Swatch watch to track my times.

Swatch with GPS?  Ummm, no.

I ran this route religiously 4-5 times a week for a few months before something else got in the way.  Maybe the band went on tour, I don't remember exactly.  I do remember coming coming back home to the same apartment, but I didn't start running again right away.  This on again off again running habit would continue for 10 years.  And then I turned into a sloth.  Most of you know the story from there.

Regardless of my running status, I always thought fondly about it.  Every time I would restart, I would have to start from the beginning, but that was OK.  And for intermittent periods of time ranging from just a few months to a year, I would be able to consider myself a runner again.

I found out early on that once I got myself into a groove, I could get a lot of thinking done.  I would set out for a run with an issue that needed to be dealt with, and come home with a solution, or at least the start of one.  I still try to get some quality thinking time into my runs.  And I do, despite the fact that I'm also keeping an eye on my pace and heart rate most of the time.  It's nice to know that despite the upgrade to a collection of "must have" gear and a whole lot of training discipline that can sometimes suck the fun out of things, the original appeal of running is still alive and well.

How did you all start running?

* Note to my female readers - I've changed quite a bit since then.



25 comments:

Kristin said...

I started running to lose weight as I was a bridesmaid in a wedding. That was about 6 years ago. I haven't given it up yet or went on a hiatus!! :)

Caratunk Girl said...

"I was devastated because I had to get a job and start paying rent. " CLASSIC! I laughed out loud, and I need to go to work now, so thank you for that gem!

I started running regularly in 2005 to keep weight off, after a week I signed up for my first marathon, which was only 3 months away. I never said I was smart. I finished the marathon, and my endurance addiction began...

Pretend this is real said...

I've had running "phases" before, but I really got hooked this time when I started running during a very stressful year of grad school. Kinda similar to your reason... I found that I'd stumble home with new solutions, or simply some zen when I was very stressed. At this point, though, addiction is as much a reason as anything else. ;)

One Crazy Penguin said...

I started running 4 years ago to stay in shape/get in shape for college basketball. Now, two years post graduation, basketball is no longer a part of my life, but running somehow stuck around. I'm addicted!

Megan said...

Shucks, no more sugarmama.

I started running off an on in highschool. I did my first race then - a 12k - and didn't even care what the time was. I would run maybe once a week and that carried through college, where I used the elliptical the most.

I have to hand it to my co-workers at my job I'm about to leave. Two of them are endurance athletes, one being an crazy good runner. They motivated me to start training for my first half marathon and that officially kick stated my running career.

Julie said...

I really started running when my brother talked me into joining him in a marathon (my very first race) and so I trained and trained and injured myself...and tried to drop out and he talked me into doing it anyways, and then he didn't show up...
But!!!>>>I've been running ever since.

Allison said...

I started running when I started triathlon. November 2009 - the boyfriend and I had broken up, I was unemployed (recently laid off), and realized if I didn't do SOMETHING I was going to be absolutely miserable. I found a triathlon and the rest is history....

Johann said...

Nice post! I ran some cross country at school but in 1981 my dad signed the whole family up for a race. I started training regularly and ran my first half marathon in July, 1981. My dad was a runner for as long as I remember, so motivation was good in our home. Now it's 2010 and I've completed 1288 races.

lindsay said...

I know... Responsibility sucks! LOL about losing that form of "income". So sad ;)

Rae said...

I decided one day in May that I wanted to try and run a 5K and see how long it took. The next day I found the C25K program and started it right up. When I finished I ran my first 5K race in July and became hooked. Since starting I've ran 4 5K races, trained for a 10K, and now have my first 10K next week. I am excited!

Megan said...

I started running to escape a hose whipping from you and George Stamulis. To this day it brings me fear and dread and I remain a short distance sprinter.

TRI714 said...

I started running because my cycling partner was headed off to do an IRON MAN. I was so clueless at the time, I had no idea he even swam. He was and probably still is an average, at best athelete at organized sports. But swim,bikerun he was fricken awesome. He was also a great bump skier, and eventually got me hooked up to teach weekends with him for a few seasons. But he was my trigger, and went like this in the early 80's. "Your going where ? to do what? "
"When you get back, show me what your doing".
The rest was history for a long time.
And I too as some know, have been the on again, off again guy.
SIGH !!!

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

I started running in college... maybe cause I knew I needed to exercise, and was too clutzy to try anything else. ;-) I took a lot of loooooooooooong breaks from it though.

Julie @ Hotlegs Runner said...

I started running a few months after my fiance moved to the U.S. I was sad and lonely and wanted to do something that will keep me busy. and boy did it KEEP ME BUSY! I am now here in the U.S. with him and haven't stopped running since. =)

Barbie said...

I started running so i could finally lay this arthritis demon to rest. Can't say it has been a trouble free process but one nonetheless i have enjoyed immensely.

Emz said...

Love the "*" comment.

I had four swatch watches. I loved the way they made little sweat puddles on my wrist.

Started running . . . . I got lost in my new neighborhood. NO joke. Wait, no one probably thought it was [a joke], right?! When I made it home - my dad figured out I had run oer 8 mmiles. nice.

Andrew Opala said...

note to your male readers - we are saddened at the change

BTW the X marks the spot on that watch ... you will always know where you are - here!

P.S. the word verification for this post is turdsms

Luke said...

nice post.

I am currently trying the wife (instead of girlfreind) commodity, but it is not workout the way the broker explained. just kidding. Kinda.

I started running in 9th grade (1998) to lose weight becasue I was tired of girls telling me I was fat. Then i quit. Then I ran with the fencing team (aka the off-season XC team). Then I stopped. Then I ran with the track team as a pole vaulter. Then i stopped. In college I spent a summer running 6 days a week to lose weight. Then I stopped. Then I ran on and off after college for a few months at a time. Then I'd quit. See a trend here? I'm sticking with this one so far!!!

DRog said...

you were a Barista at SB!! nice!!
I always hated starting from the beginning again...

D

Ironman By Thirty said...

Great post!

I started running in XC during highschool. I was never very fast and one of the JV captains. I took a break from running my first couple years of college, but found myself missing it. I started back up in 2003. Did my first marathon in 2005 and haven't looked back. Added in the swimming and biking in 2008 and keep looking for new adventures.

valen said...

good story, and a great watch too!

Adrienne said...

I don't know why but I love this post. I can picture it exactly maybe because in 1992 I was in love with a drummer. My first official Boyfriend. Bringing back the memories.

MissFit Island said...

I started running just a little over 2 years ago right after I got laid off. I needed to find a new job and wanted to look good if I was Googled. I could either pay someone $2000 to put stuff about me on the internet or run local races and use the $$$ for my entry fees.

After I got the job where I'm at now in Jan 2009, I kept running and progressed to triathlons because by then I was hooked.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

I started running when I was 9 or 10, at summer camp, to impress a cute girl. By the way, way to trade up from a sketchy girlfriend to a fulltime wife. Where would we be without them? :)

Aimee said...

OMG..I totally remember the Swatch Watch..ha ha!
I actually started running in high school when I signed up for the Cross Country team. I loved it and have never really stopped running!

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