It’s FBR’s fault. For anyone who knew me “before”, this was most unexpected. I have always hated running. Running was boring. Torture. Pointless. I stumbled onto FBR a year and a half ago, and liked the idea of something social that entailed more than “just” going to a bar. I figured I could suck it up and slog through 3 miles for something different to do. The bar was the “why” for me running.
For 6 months, that’s what I did. I ran (slowly), made it to the bar (barely), talked (a little), drank (probably more than I should), and FBR gradually started to feel like a routine. Somewhere along the way, I took my headphones off (occasionally), introduced myself to more runners, and hung out longer post-run. The more I spent time with all those runners, the more my perspective started to change: suddenly, a Sunday morning run didn’t seem quite so absurd; 5 miles didn’t seem like that far to get to a bar. I thought perhaps I’d try to run just a little more. Just…one more day a week. Just for a couple miles, a (now) comfortable 3 or 4. Just to see if I could get a little better, if I tried a little more.
The first time I followed through with my “run one more day” plan, I went out for a 4 mile loop after work in mid-October. Instead, I double the course and ran 8 miles. That was all it took. One “real” run, and I knew it was all over. I knew I was hooked in for the long haul. My once a week runs turned into 4 a week, and my weekends started climbing from 8, to 10, to 15, to 26 (accidentally). I signed up for my first races, and started setting my goals progressively higher.
In the year since, I have made it to 48 of the 52 beer runs (and 51 of the bar stops). I have run my first 5K, first trail run, first half marathon, first Ben Franklin Bridge run, first South Philly Striders run, first marathon, first ultra. All told, I’ve run more than 1300 mile, burned through 3 pairs of running shoes, and raced in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Ohio. Oh, and gotten lost running somewhere between PA, Delaware, and Maryland. I don’t know yet what the future of my running looks like…but I have no doubt that there will be endless challenges and aventures.
It’s not really just the number of miles that has changed. Running has become about the running, but also about the exploration – of new bars, new brunch spots, new areas of the city, new people. I’m no longer shy about asking (begging) people to keep me company on my long runs, or organizing bar adventures as a post-run reward. I’ve dragged outside friends into beer runners and seen my FBR friends overtake significant amounts of my social calendar.
The funny thing is, I still stumble on calling myself a “runner”. That still seems so…tedious, and serious. On the other hand, my running – beer running – is pure fun.
***Credit for all my running goes to the many, many, many beer runners who encouraged me, ran with me at any pace, and refused to let me think there were things I couldn’t do. You have ALL inspired me, but Greg Bailey, Anthony Locicero, and Justin Relkin require an extra thanks for the miles and hours they have put into running anywhere and everywhere with me.