I was no more than eight or nine years old when I first began to feel it--the yearning to run. I don't mean the kind of running that little kids typically do--those short spurts of speed that are a natural part of play (or at least were a natural part of play, when I was kid). I mean slowing down and running long. I mean getting into a rhythm and letting the steps carry me for minute upon minute upon minute. I remember imagining what it would be like to have the stamina to run around the nearby baseball field for long stretches of time, and I even remember trying it a time or two . . . and quickly realizing that my body's stamina did not live up to my mind's imagination.
I ran track (badly) in junior high and high school--too slow to be even a mediocre sprinter but too lazy to run distance. (Plus, really, to be a competitive distance runner you have to have speed.)
In my college years and through my mid-20s I dipped my toes in the world of distance running, but, as I wrote about in this entry in 2012, I had yet to discover a key element: I don't need a running partner to enjoy a run.
Over the last 18 years I have considered myself a sometimes-runner. My cousin Tammy thinks I should change that phrase on my Twitter profile, now that I am in the midst of a pretty successful run streak (957 days and counting), but some superstitious instinct has me holding on to it: Laurie Roberts--sometimes-runner :)
One thing, above all others, have I learned about myself in the last 18 years. I love to run. I yearn to run. I long for the one or two or three-hour run. When I drive by runners I want to join them. Sure, some days it is hard to get out the door, and some runs are just plain hard or frustrating or painful, but I am never, ever, ever sorry for a run. Never. Ever.
P.S. I used to think that anyone who gave running a good try (at least six weeks) would be bound to love it the way I do. I know now this is wrong. Kudos to you who who find your own thing to love, and to those of you who run without the love--my deepest admiration.