I have a confession

I am a runner.

There, I said it.  I know it’s a shock to some.  ??

But lately, it seems to be called into question.  I can’t tell how many times I’ve been told over the last year that I run too much, or I only hang out with my “running” friends.  I’ve been told that I can’t let running define me.  That it’s “only” running.

Well, over the past year, I’ve also gotten messages from people that I’ve inspired.  People that read my blog and told me my race reports/ posts helped them when the going got tough.  People that told me it was me that got them off the couch.  Or, that when they decided to be lazy and get a cheat meal at McDonalds, there I was running by and that I made them feel guilty and got them to put the burger down.

That’s why I do what I do.  I want to inspire.  I was given a gift.  I’m not the best runner, nor the best writer. But, I try to combine the two to tell a story, to make people realize who I am.  I want to help other’s be the best version of themselves.

To the people that say I don’t have enough of a social life, I bet runners know their friends better than most.  I’ve spent up to 19 hours straight running with some of my friends.  I know what drives my friends, their goals, all about their families, kids, jobs, etc.  It’s hard not to know to get close to people you run with.  It’s even harder when someone you’ve spend countless hours with, through highs and lows turns on ya.  But it’s life.  I’d rather spend 2-3 hours on the trails with them, then a night out at the bar with them.  We make our lives better by pushing ourselves to be the best version of us.  We don’t let up, nor do we let each other off easily.  I wouldn’t be half the man I am because of them.  I’ve learned you meet the right people at the right time to do that. Oh, and we drink a beer or two.  But, early enough in the day to get a 20 miler in the morning.

I had a relationship end recently half because i ran and worked too much.  Little did she know that a teacher’s day doesn’t end when the bell rings.  We as teacher’s can’t walk out and go home and shut down that part of us when the bell rings.  I am constantly meeting with other teachers, trying to figure out a new method to teach something, to better my practice.  So, if I leave school by 430-5pm, it’s a good day.  Well, a quick 8-10 miler means I get done at 6-630.  Not that late by any stretch of the imagination.  But, that was too late for her.  Even though she was a marathoner, she felt I was too into it.  She had to get up early (9am??) to teach a class and 7pm was to late to hang out.  Heck, if you look at my Strava data, you can see I tried to do most of my run for the day at 430am for a short period.. ugh. oh well. Hell, she would stay up to 11-12 and watch lifetime movies and drink wine some nights after she left my house. haha..

I wonder about the people that tell me I run too much and how much TV they watch.  They always talk about the new shows they saw the previous night.  I asked a couple, and some said they watch 1.5- 2 hours (or more)of tv a night.  I guess I’m confused. How is that ok, but a runner doing an hour or so workout not? They say it’s different.  They are right, I’m trying to do better for myself. A netflix marathon isn’t the same as a real one.  But good on them for seeing who cheated on whom in the show that might be cancelled and oh shit life is over if it is.

I saw a couple friends post recently that they finally understood what coaches/mentors meant when they say “don’t let running define you”.  I don’t get it.  Why can’t I let it?  Someone told me that on my grave when I die, it won’t say he was a runner.  Well dammit, why not?  I’d love it to. I’m never going to be an olympian, never going to win Western States/Boston, etc.. but, I owe a lot to running.  Even if I got hurt (knock on wood) and could never run again, it would still play a roll in my life.  I’d take up coaching full time.  It’s taught me so many life lessons, I can’t turn my back on it now.  Yes, I also want to be remembered for being a great teacher, brother, son, friend, mentor.  Maybe, if I am lucky, husband and dad too.  But all in due time.  Running has made me a better one of all of those, of that I’m positive.

When I tell my students ahead of time that I’m taking off, they ask me about the race I must be running.  Even if it’s just a sick day, or I have to go to a meeting.  They know me well enough to ask on Friday’s or Monday’s about what race I had.  Some of them ask me how fast I am.  They reason, if you can run a 100 miles, you must be the fastest in the world in the 100m.  It’s cute.  I wish that was the case.

I feel like I want to keep finding out how deep I can dig.  I want to know how far I can go til I break.  I want to see how far my friends can go til they do. I watch in amazement at a few that keep doing things I never thought possible.  Then, they push me and I find out that I’ve never approached my breaking point before.  I’m still not close.

Running is my therapy.  It’s my way to relax.  It’s my drug of choice.  It’s how I cope with the pressure. Better than smoking, drinking hard, meds, etc.

So, yea, I am a runner.

I don’t apologize for it.  It defines me.  I am who I am and I love it.

I can’t wait to see what preconceived limit I’ve set upon myself that I shatter next thanks to running.


3 Replies to “I have a confession”

  1. Redo …
    This is the most amazing thing I’ve read in a long time Howie. I have heard so many of the same comments. My favorite once was, “Why are you still running, you’re already skinny. Soon you’re just going to waste away!” I call bullshit! Amen brother, keep inspiring. You inspire the hell out of me.

    1. Thanks Jill! You inspire me more than you know. I absolutely love reading your posts, seeing your pics, and watching you grow into one hell of an ultrarunner. Keep kicking ass.

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