Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

Column: Running more fun to watch

April 21, 2005

Since I stopped running almost a year ago, I have been able to take in and enjoy more sporting events, and I must say the view is much nicer from the stands.

Last May, I finished my competitive running career at the Heart of America Athletic Conference meet. My last race ever was the 3,000-meter steeplechase, which ended up being my most enjoyable race as a Baker Wildcat. But when I finished that race, I felt no sadness at all. I was glad to be done.

I vowed not to run a cool-down run after the race, but I got talked into it by a teammate and two guys from another school. I jogged about two miles, sat down and watched the rest of the meet happy to be done. The day dragged on, but I had nothing to worry about, my running career was over and nobody could do anything about it.

Since that Saturday, I have not ran any distance over about 100 meters. I haven't even considered going for a distance run, even a short one of two miles. I am giving my body a rest, a much deserved rest.

My body ran cross country and track for eight years, without dropping out of a race or skipping a race. Every race I was entered in, I finished, which is a tough feat to accomplish. Of course, I didn't always run the fastest race, but I always finished.

My proudest accomplishment was finishing a 10,000, 5,000 and 3,000 steeplechase all in a two-day span at conference my junior year. But, then I heard a girl not only did that, but she won every race, so I was quickly put to shame.

After taking a step back from running, I have come to like the sport more now. I have gone to cross country and track meets and enjoyed being there. The last year or more I ran at Baker, I almost dreaded going to meets, especially track meets.

I even sat out and watched the entire Baldwin Invitational Track meet and had fun being there. I cheered on the Baldwin runners, because I was once in their shoes. I know all too well what it is like having to run lap after lap around the same 400-meter oval, which, by the way, gets really boring.

As I watched the runners cross the finish line in such pain and agony, one part of me felt sorry for them, but another part sort of missed those days.

Those were the days when you would run repeat 300s and feel like you were fast, even though I wasn't at all. Those days included when you felt completed exhausted after a workout and could barely stand up. Those were the days that I remember most about running. Well those and the days when we had fun goofing off, because having fun and being goofy is a true sign of a runner.

So, as I continue to watch track meets this spring, I will enjoy the view from the stands, because it's much less painful. I hope every runner gets the chance to sit back and do the same. But enjoy the time you have to run and have fun, because I know I sure did.

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