As we come to the end of a decade, it is time to reflect on the past years. Taking a cue from some fellow bloggers, I have put together a summary of the past 10 years.
Still in high school and starting my senior year of XC. The joys of being a senior – lots of freshmen to do your bidding. Ran Varsity in a few meets mainly because we didn’t have a huge team and earned my letter. I was running more for the fun we had as a team than for the running itself.
All graduated from high school and on to college. The break from running begins. I had a few friends on the college XC team, so that kept me in the circle of running. However, they all seemed too hardcore for me. I did stay fairly active though: nightly pickup basketball games in the gym, intramurals, rollerblading and even the occasional 3 mile run. I did my best to eat healthy and even gave up pop completely for over a year… that didn’t last though.
I started a job over the summer (which is actually at the same company I still work at) and found out that running was a good release from the stresses of a work day. I moved off campus at the beginning of my sophomore year. One of my roommates was a former runner as well, and we spent some time running together. At the end of year, some friends from college decided to set me up on a blind date with my now wife Jennie.
Jennie was so repulsed by me after the first date that she transferred to a completely different college across the state (Ok, ok, the transfer was actually in place before we even met, so maybe it wasn’t me.) I continued to run, much to Jennie’s confusion. Many were the winter nights that I would end a phone call with her so that I could squeeze in a night run in the freezing winter air. I still wasn’t doing anything competitive; I was doing it for my health and sanity more than anything.
Proposed to Jennie in the summer. She said “Yes” (obviously). I finished up college a semester early in December because I started with almost a semester’s worth of credits my freshman year. I got my first real bike this year. I had bikes growing up, but they were all Toys R’ Us-esq bikes and nothing special. For my birthday, my dad got me a Trek mountain bike—definitely the nicest bike I had owned to this point.
Got hitched! That’s the best thing that happened this year, so that goes first. Running-wise, I completed my first 25k, followed by my first marathon (Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, MI). It was one miserable experience followed by another (the runs that is, the wedding was amazing). About 8 miles into the 25k, my left knee started to bother me. I pushed on and managed to finish. I took it easy the next week or so, but decided to still do the marathon which was only 3 weeks after the 25k. My knee lasted till about the 5 mile mark of the marathon. I managed to keep running for about the first half, but the second half was mainly walking and jogging when I could. After the marathon, I couldn’t run more than a mile or two without excruciating pain. It ended up being IT band issues, and I decided to just rest it. I took about 3 months off of running and did things like rollerblading and biking instead.
After a year in the apartment with my new bride, we decided to upgrade to our first house. After taking time off from running, I eased back into it. It was basically like starting from scratch. I slowly built up my mileage and was able to run the River Bank Run 25k again; without pain this year though. Lots of projects around the house kept us busy, but I still continued to log the miles.
Early in 2007, I decided to tackle the marathon again. I needed to overcome my disappointing race in 2005. I chose the Chicago Marathon. I spent all summer training. Jennie biked alongside me on a lot of my runs, which was extremely helpful—especially on the long runs. In the end though, disappointment, again. The 2007 Chicago Marathon was a disaster. It will probably go down in history as one of the worst races in history. Blistering heat led to the race being cancelled halfway through. I did finish though. I was at about the 20 mile mark when the race was cancelled, so the shortest distance back to Grant Park was to continue on the course.
After the Chicago Marathon, I did the Grand Rapids Half Marathon and had an amazing run. I vowed to come back and do the full marathon at some point in the future because the course and organization was so good.
I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next (Gladiator). Ok, maybe that is a little overly dramatic, but I was not going to give up on the marathon distance without a fight. I decided to find a smaller marathon, start training, and not sign up until just before the race. This helped to remove the stress that can go along with signing up for a race months in advance and worrying about how training will go the entire time. I started training with the Glass City Marathon in mind. Training went great, and just a couple weeks before the race, I registered. It was amazing. The weather could have been better, but I finally had a good marathon and finished in under 4 hours. Finally. Victory.
Shortly after completing the marathon, I began to swim. The first recorded swim I have was in May, and I lasted all of 26 laps. I have to admit, when I first starting going to the pool, I was way out of my element. I didn’t even have goggles for the first couple of weeks. I just took off my glasses and let the chlorine burn my eyes. I know, not very smart.
I also started biking more. I pulled my dad’s 1976 Fuji Dyna 10 out of storage, cleaned it up, and started riding it instead of my mountain bike. It took a while to get used to, but it was much smoother and faster than the mountain bike. I did a few rides out to Grand Haven (35 miles), but that was about my maximum distance.
Oh yeah. And I started this crazy adventure called blogging in 2008 as well.
And we have come to the end. What a way to end the decade. Two marathons (both PRs), 5 triathlons including my first half Ironman, a new bike, and a slew of other races. I started off the year with the now annual River Bank Run 25k. This was my 5th time doing it, and I have gotten a bit faster each year. This year was my first year under the 2 hour mark though! I also did the Sunburst Marathon in June and then the Grand Rapids Marathon in October. The summer season was triathlon season though, with the main event being the Steelhead Half Ironman in August. I finished in just over 6 hours, and while I was happy with how I did, I still want to do more.
So, in 2010, the journey will continue.