Heck, this first part could be the 400 Beers Prologue!
For so many years I had a very regular annual road racing schedule:
March – Bancroft 5K, Haddonfield
April – Inglis House 5M, Kelly Drive, Philly
May – Broad Street Run, 10M, Philly
July – somebody’s 5K on 4th of July
September – Philadelphia Distance Run, ½ Marathon
November – Haddonfield 5 [was a 5M, then a 5K]
Plus, spur-of-the-weekend- and “Hey-it’s-a-Twilight-“ 5Ks.
I was fast then, too. It wouldn’t last.
Shortly after being married, the 5Ks disappeared. It took longer to get there than it did to run. For what? A free T-shirt?
Looking for new, more local / more Jersey horizons, I became a triathlete, adding those evens to my schedule, where they would fit during the summer. Plus, I got to buy a bike and tinker … I love to tinker. In fact I bought my first tri bike with winnings from the NCAA Tourney when Chris Webber called time-out … I wear a Michigan hoodie to this day. I should named that bike The Wolverine.
However, with the stresses of marriage, and pressures of work [both of which the endless tri-training and time away from the house certainly relieved] those had to go, too. I still have [most of] the bike.
Three weeks before the Distance Run in 1999 – while cruising through a 10-mile workout at about a 7½ minute pace; I quit running.
With Mariel due in November, D’Wife high-risk and stressed in four-dimensions [physically, emotionally, hormonally and spiritually], it seemed pretty selfish to be going for a PR at this time.
After 17½ years, I stopped for a while. Heck, I had plenty of training in the box, no problem. I ran the race, and finished in a [then] disastrous 2:08; compounded by a 15 minute defeat to my sister-in-law.
My first run after Mariel was born was Wednesday, February 9, 2000. It was wonderful, but I couldn’t be consistent. I did the best to maintain, but what is the motivation to train without a goal? Just to kill time? Once I ran 5 miles in 90°/90% with a motorcycle helmet on to win $50 from my neighbor – MTB Mark.
Many of the races I had done while they were in there tweens were approaching drinking age now: PDR was 10 when I first ran it in 1988, Broad Street turned 20 in May 1999. I missed both of my friends’ 25th Anniversaries.
The first time I pinned on a number as a Dad was for the Broad Street Run, May 7, 2006. Not a PR, but fulfilling. [Thanks, Annabelle] It would have been even better if the family had been there.
The Philadelphia Distance Run that September was humbling. You can find that story here
I was still in replacement mode … “Let me see how I do now, as a slow fat old man, Daddy; compared to when I was a fast slim young dude, dude.”
Recipe for failure, or at least disappointment.
Somehow though, cards started falling in place. I changed running forums, first of all, and met a whole new runner-verse. I wandered into a place reserved for people far younger than me, and was cordially invited to stay. Highly intimidated at first [fearing my “old man” secret might leak out and get me expelled], and not exactly which persona to adopt [eventually settling on “E: None of the Above,” i.e., be yourself dumbass], I was drawn out and befriended.
Still, these people we just 1’s and 0’s. I had heard stories and seen pictures of a warm and loving community, something I desperately wanted to belong to, scattered across though country [the globe, even – see “Audrey” to the left there]. A big annual meet-up is at the Philly Marathon in November, but with that being D’Kid’s birthday weekend, the chances of me getting free a Slim and None … and Slim just left town.
My newest bestest friend, Maureen [link over to the left] filled me in about this thing with a thing – wonderfully Jersey-spoken – that some of the girls were doing; would I be interested?
Details? One loop around Fairmount Park [8.5 miles – which I’d done plenty] in the dark [done that, too] at Midnight [probably] with 4 girls I’d never met? [that’s new!]
Um, that might not fly 100%. Let me make a call.
“Doe. We’re doing the Distance Run, right? Let’s do this. It will be cool!”
Doe’s on board, and with a familiar face in the mix, I have clearance.
Off we go. A new adventure. A clean slate. This time, is the first time.
To Part One >>>
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