As the name of this blog might suggest, I’ve fallen in love with cycling.
I’ve been road and mountain biking for about three years now. When I started cycling as an adult, especially on my first road bike, it felt so natural. Like I was born to ride a bike. I wondered what would have happened if I had discovered cycling earlier in life. I probably would have raced in high school or begged my parents to take me to state parks to explore the trails.
But I didn’t discover my love for cycling early on. The sport that I first developed a passion for was running.
I started running during the summer before my freshman year of high school, at age 14, when one of the cross country moms invited me to check out a summer group run. I showed up at the middle school down the block from my house wearing Keds canvas sneakers. Running shoes? What are those?!
I think we ran a mile that first day and continued to work up to three or four miles over the next couple months. And for some reason, I kept going back. I think I was just too stubborn to give up on something I had started.
When school began in the fall, I went to a meeting for those interested in joining the cross country team. The coach asked us all to write down what our goals for the season were. People said things like “improve my times,” “improve my endurance” and “get in better shape.” I remember having to ask someone what “endurance” meant.
On the first day of cross country practice, the coach had us run a pretty intense workout – something like 6 one-mile intervals. That made me nervous, but the veteran runners told me not to worry. The coach was just weeding out who was really serious about being on the team. And I knew I was.
From cross country, I naturally moved to the distance events in track (also the high jump and some hurdles!).
I was never very fast, but there was always something about running that kept me doing it. Like I’d be missing something if I quit. I ran CC and track all four years in high school. I became a captain on both teams and earned a varsity letter in both sports.
My enthusiasm for running has had its peaks and valleys over the years since high school. Running is a sport that you can carry with you your entire life or let it drop and never look back. I love that running is still a part of my life, and I hope to be one of those awesome 80 year olds who is still running in races for fun.
Even though running can be a painful endeavor, there is just something about it that keeps me coming back. The challenge, the workout, the satisfaction, the accessibility, the health, the accomplishment, the high.
I do love cycling, but for me…running will always feel like my athletic “coming home.”