July 6, 2011

Somehow I became a runner. Not exactly sure how and when it happened, but I made the transition from someone that runs to a runner and there is no turning back.

It was only 6 years ago or so that I was pretty adamant to my trainer about not running at all. I had not run more than a 100 yards since being forced to do so in PE class in high school (or was it middle school). I just didn’t really see the appeal. Honestly, I managed to go the majority of my life without really ever doing much exercise and certainly not playing any “sports.” I was the classic geek who would rather read a book or have a good meal than get my body moving.

Then we age.

Today, in my 40s, I am in better shape than at any other time in my life. I say this less to brag but to continue to drive my own motivation. Watching so many of my age peers start to let themselves go when they turn 40 is depressing. For me, this was the time to demonstrate how hard and far I could push myself. This was the time to run and fly.

Well, maybe not fly. I always dreamed of running fast. The sensation came to me in dreams. I also dreamed of running smack dab into brick walls or over cliffs, but that is another issue.

Starting to run was easy. I told my trainer I would do it and we used the treadmill to get going. Just running 5 minutes on the treadmill was a big deal back then. Run 5 minutes and walk for a couple. Then repeat. Slowly longer run times.

I’ll spare you all the incremental details, but eventually I got outside and ran. Just a half mile or less at first. Working my way up and realizing my body could do it. This was in combination with my ongoing cardio and strength training, so running benefitted from my other activities.

Now that a few years have passed and I have run multiple races, I look back in wonder at all the time spent not running. Now my goals are to shave time off my races and to build better endurance. I think about running in my off time and plan my approach to a race or to training. I care about my gear, perhaps a bit too much (but, I tell myself and my wife that it is cheaper than golf).

I became a runner and it reminded me that I can grow and change at any age. There are no barriers to achievement and it is never too late to push myself in new and interesting directions. Being a runner is real, but it is also a metaphor for being able to change anything about myself.

What’s your metaphor for changing your life?



  1. Hi Norman — I started running lately with the help of a curiously wonderful app called the “Couch to 5k” (C25k). A nice man tells me to WALK, then to JOG, then to WALK, and so on. Every week the increments of time jogging increase, and I get the added benefit of logging my mileage and seeing a map of my route.

    The last time I ran a mile was in 9th grade, and I was the last student in. But out on the trail, listening to the nice man in my app, I have felt the sensation of reclaiming the kid I wished I could have been (athlete).

    As a 40-plus person, I see staying in shape as you do – as affirmation that we still have that chance to forge ahead and make a difference, to push ourselves and to find change where we might not have expected it.

    On a more practical note – my knees are KILLING me. I don’t suppose you know a way around that??


    • Thanks for the note Kirsten, Wish I could help your knees – but my best advice is see a Podiatrist to ensure you are wearing the right kind of running shoes.

      Keep on Running!

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