What’s the point of RunnerPub?
Let’s begin in 2008. Back then, I was 23 years old, living in Germany, and working an inhumane schedule of 15 hours a week teaching English. Which is to say, I had a bit of free time to devote to running — to say nothing of downing beers at old Communist dive bars, techno nightclubs and apartment parties that lasted till sunup.
That April, despite my social life, I ran a 2:49 for the Paris Marathon — something I was pretty proud of, though I wrongly assumed I could easily best it. In reality, I got back home to the U.S. and discovered that in the “real world” it’s a bit more challenging to cram a full-time job, training program and social life that comes anywhere close to the one mentioned above. So running took a backseat.
There was another thing, of course: In the back of my mind, I doubted running would be much fun if I was slower than I’d used to be. Wouldn’t it just serve to remind me of my inexorable descent into geezerhood?
Pathetic, I know.
Last spring, that finally changed. My wife Leslie got into the Chicago Marathon and I suddenly I wanted to get into it, too. Within days, my old obsessions came crashing back. While visiting my parents, I dusted off my old copy of that training Bible called “Daniels’ Running Formula” — the one with Bob Kennedy on the cover.
I stayed up late into the night crafting myself a marathon training plan. My first attempt was wildly ambitious, one better suited for a college star well exceeding anything I’d ever done. In attempt two, a more suitable challenge arose: Given four months of preparation, could I at least come close to my old time?
I’ll save my training and race report for another time, except to say that I happily pulled off a 2:56. More importantly, I’d rediscovered the love of running — of setting goals and following a plan through to achieve them, of pushing your body’s (current) limits whether you’re an elite or somewhere in the thick of the pack.
RunnerPub is an attempt to build off that enthusiasm — to celebrate the drama of distance running, the rich and often crazy personalities who pursue it, and revel in the highs and lows of the sport. And I’m still looking to best that time from Paris.