|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.