How or when did you know you caught the running bug?

2 Mar

In answer to Christina’s question…How or when did you know you caught the running bug?

I first caught the running bug back when I was a sophomore in high school. I had played organized sports when I grew up in LA; basketball, soccer, rugby, even football for one day*. Running was always my old standby. Due to other conflicts, I never ran track or cross country in high school. I wish I had. I hung around a large group of friends who used play fun, odd games. We’d play flag football some weeks, then change over to croquet the following week, then switch to capture the flag. The games always had an edge to them, with unique rules. One rule, after the flag was captured, called for gang tackling each member of the losing team. The losing team could only hold off defeat by not being tackled. Only then could the first team claim victory. One particular day, my team quickly fell apart, losing our flag, my team members quickly picked off by our rivals. However, I managed to elude the other team for about 2 hours, running cross country through the open space. I remember how fun it was just to run and run – my first trail run.
More recently, I had an epiphany of sorts. Since those long ago school days, I’ve kept running; some marathons, some halves, a few 10Ks, but mainly to keep fit and mostly on the roads. Then about 3 years ago, I was running by an open space area and wondered where a trail went. I took off down the single track and entered a new world. It was like the clouds had parted, and the sun was shining on Shangri-la. I was so jazzed I could barely contain myself. I ran home and pulled as much info as I could on trails in the immediate area, then trails on our local mountain, Mt Diablo. I was in ecstasy. I woke up every day thinking of new areas to run. I recall even leaving work early to go run a new trail I had found.
Someday, I hope to do an ultra. For now, I have this road race to get out of the way. After training on asphalt and concrete for the last 6 months, I long for the muddy single track, the wide open fire roads. I miss screaming my head off on the quad busting down hills. Soon…very soon.

* The summer before my sophomore year, while acting stupid I fell off a car and ended up with a severe concussion. I was unconscious for about a day, and spent a week in the hospital. This was the year I was going to go out for football. Feeling invincible and wanting to play so bad, I went out for the team about a month later. I got knocked silly during tackling practice – and that ended my promising football career. Because I was such a jokester, my friends left me on the road for about 5-10 minutes – thinking I was kidding around. They still joke how they finally trudged over and kicked me a few times before realizing I was out cold. Such fun guys.


One Response to “How or when did you know you caught the running bug?”

  1. Christina 03.06.2010 at 4:41 pm #

    I love your explanation of learning about trails. I’ve done a couple and always love them. You’ve sparked my desire to go run a trail. Maybe I’ll run one this week.

    That’s a great concussion story; sorry about your promising football career.

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