Yes, running. One foot in front of the other in rapid succession.
As I try to come up with words to describe my interest in running, "reluctant," "have to," and "what?" come to mind. I came at this activity quite late in life, age 48 to be exact, and did so for purely health reasons. Since I was no longer working in construction and playing weekly racquetball, my body was reacting to my sedentary lifestyle and I needed to make a change.
Running was suggested by a friend who argued that it is the simplest form of exercise and all excuses for not doing it disappear. After all, all one needs is a pair of running shoes. No gym membership. No fancy equipment. No facility. No partner. Just go out and run.
I started off easy doing a walk/run until I ran a mile, non-stop, on September 12, 2000. After that I just kept building up distance. I don't remember my first 2- or 3-miler but I do remember my first 5-miler and was pretty happy for having done it.
The following summer, 2001, I was invited to run with the Billings Senior High cross team during their summer practices. That was lots of fun and I became a fixture around the team that season, photographing and shooting videos of their meets and setting up their first web site. The following season, summer and fall of 2002, I ran with the team again. The assistant coach had had surgery and was unable to run and it became a joke that the team members referred to me as “Coach” and to her and “Mrs.” The following year we split the assistant coach position and I fully assumed it for the 2004-5 school year.
I could write quite a bit about my experiences with the BSH XC team, and probably will at some point. My own running continued and I started entering various races, starting with the 5K, doing a 10K, a half marathon, and finally two full marathons, the Montana Marathon and the Duluth Marathon.
I've also run the John Colter run quite a few times, probably my favorite race of the year, 7 to 8 miles of trails followed by a crossing of the Gallatin River. I've been on various rely teams as part of the Montana Marathon and been part of a two-man team twice in the Peaks to Prairie Triathalon where I run, my partner bikes, and we share the paddling on the Yellowstone River. I've participated in swimming and track events at the Montana Senior Olympics, various runs in the Big Sky State Games, and did the Long Beach, CA Half-marathon in October 2012.
I'm not really very fast but I do keep showing up. Since competition doesn't really drive me it's the feeling that fitness brings that makes it all worth it. Since I started running, I quit getting sick and have not missed a day of working out since the day I ran that first mile.
I plan to keep at it, especially since the age groups are starting to thin out.