Friday, September 30, 2011

Mini Mojo?

I’m supposed to be running the Maine Half Marathon today. I’m not.

Five months ago, still coming off the Boston Marathon high, my friend and I planned that we would run that race together. We planned that we would train hard all summer and we’d each run our own personal best times.

It sounded like a marvelous plan.

Then we finished Boston. We were tired of training. Summer happened. A bit of laziness happened? I watched the hard work of my marathon training slip away. I stopped filling out any sort of training calendar. I was half panicked that I wouldn’t be able to get the training back and half relieved that I’d stepped away from running consistent miles.

I kinda liked not having to fit running into my day. I liked not waking up early before work to beat the heat. I liked not caring about the weather report. I got to a point that I didn’t even think about running any more. I wondered if I should even continue writing a column called NH Runner, and I didn’t have much to tweet about at my
@nh_runner handle. Even my dailymile feed had pretty much dried up.

Then, we flipped the calendar to fall. The humidity broke, and perhaps most importantly, I got a first-hand dose of motivation when I participated inBoston's
Hub on Wheels cycling event last weekend.

More than 5,000 cyclists packed into a quarter-mile of city blocks in the early-morning hours. The anticipation and excitement was palpable. It wasn’t a race – the professionals would show us how it’s really done later in the day – but the ride brought together people for a common purpose.

The Hub made me miss the cheering crowds, the volunteers and the spectators at running events. It made me miss the feeling of crossing a finish line. As the sound of cowbells filled the air near the starting line, I got the surge of excitement inside of me and the feeling that I might inexplicably tear up at any moment.

It was then that I knew I needed to get back to a running event.

Don’t me wrong. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my love affair with my bicycle this summer and taking my first real break from running since I started has been good for me. But I regret missing some local new running events this year – mainly the line-up put together by John Mortimer and his new Millennium Running venture.

I’m talking about the
Shamrock Shuffle in March, the Manchester Mile in July and the 10-miler around Lake Massabesic in September. All three of them were in my backyard and well within my ability. I should have been there.

John Mortimer knows how to put on races and he knows how to motivate people. Even in my own personal circles, these new races have created new challenges for non-runners in my life.

People I never thought would run – and certainly wouldn’t run in races – have trained and signed up. And they have kept running and signing up for more. Now I find myself looking to them for motivation.

It was a conversation with my neighbor – a non-runner – as she finished her two-mile run that helped something click. She had recently signed on with a personal trainer and was working toward Millennium Running’s new Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Know what? I will, too. And then I’ll probably shoot for the Santa Shuffle in downtown Manchester before the city’s Christmas parade.

Maybe, just maybe, I can get in enough miles to be ready for the
Manchester Marathon on Nov. 6, at the very least, I can probably round up a relay team. Then maybe I’ll even work toward the 16-miler in Derry in January. Heck, if I can run 16 by January, I should consider another spring marathon. Right?

Baby steps, baby steps. But it certainly feels like my running mojo is stirring. Thank you, cowbells.

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