i had started running in early 1979, but didn’t really stick to it. Then in 1980, i had a friend running the NYC Marathon, so i went to Central Park to watch and i stayed for hours….i was so inspired, and i figured all the good runners would be too sore to be running the next day so there would be nobody there to make fun of me…..not that anybody ever done that…..that’s what i thought. At the time i was living on east 87th street, so i headed over to the reservoir. i ran a little until i thought i was going to die and then i walked, rinse, and repeat until i got around the whole thing. It felt like a huge journey…it was only 1.5 miles. Anyway, i stuck with it…not sure exactly why. Well, one reason i know of, was an icky ex-boyfriend of mine, told me i would never stick with it….So, basically part of the reason was to prove him wrong….kill two birds with one stone…worked for me. i felt awful in those early days…was sore and bloated for the first few months….i found out the human body doesn’t react so smoothly when going from sedentary to athletic…even if it’s a 23 year old human body. i thought: “i am doing a good thing for myself, this should feel better.”
Months later my body did feel better….but i felt like my life was falling apart…had lost a job, a man and felt like i wanted to die….the 1981 NYC Marathon was about 10 months away and i needed something to focus on other than how shitty my life was, so i registered to run my 1st marathon….in those early days it was no problem getting in. For the next 10 months, that was my focus….i joined the NYRRC and started doing tons of races and found a real community of athletes. That was my 1st real sense of community i had experienced since i was a little kid at camp…looking back i can see that running really did save my life. i tend to be a very self-destructive person….the training gave me a goal and friends to train with. i loved running marathons, so exhilarating…painful and challenging; kind of like life….i even used to run pretty fast, my best time was in NYC 1984, i ran 3:27.27 (proof below :-) my slowest time 4:43 in 1996…that was the last marathon i ran…i’ve run 12 in total…now i run for the pleasure of it…the fact that it keeps me fit is icing…i would run anyway….i think…i love 5am in Central Park when it’s quiet and dark and there are just a few of us and many raccoons.
Yesterday i read a wordpress blog written by woman who had a similar early running experience to me. i hadn’t thought about those early days for a long time….her writing inspired me to write this.