How & Why Did You Start Running?

Whenever I meet new people who are runners, this question always is asked in one form or another. So here is my story.

High School (Virginia Beach, VA):

bschsMy original start began in high school; I ran cross country in the fall and track and field in the spring (1600m and 3200m were my races for track and field). Although I started out as a sprinter, I was way better as a long distance runner, so it became my thing. Between track and field and cross country, I think that I enjoyed cross country waaaay more than track and field, because you ran through different types of scenery with different courses at various cross country meets. Honestly, who wants to run around a track 8 times and see the same thing over, over, over, over, over, over, over, and over again?

Random: When I was in high school, my school was called Catholic High School (now it’s Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School). So it caused confusion when other cross country teams would ask us which school we attended. We’d be like “Catholic High School” and they would respond: Yeah we know it’s a catholic high school but which one is it?!

College (New Orleans, Louisiana):

This one will be quick. I went to Xavier University of Louisiana (the Xavier that does NOT have a good NCAA men’s basketball team . . . that Xavier is in Ohio). I was on the cross country team for about 4.5 days. Why such a short tenure?

  • New Orleans is hot and humid as hell.xu I knew that I would never acclimate to the weather. I could barely do pre-season cross country training during August in Virginia, so there was no way in hell that I would be able to do it in New Orleans.
  • Because of the weather, cross country practice was held at 5:45 am. What 18 year old wants to wake up that early to run?
  • I wanted to be more of night owl for social activities. If I’m hanging out till 2 am, there’s no way that I’m waking up for a 5:45 am practice.

Post college (New York, NY):

This is the story that I usually tell people. Aside from a few runs here, I did not actively run during graduate school. During my postdoctoral fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical Screenshot (19)College, I lived on Roosevelt Island and I used to ride my bicycle to work daily. The route was only about 4 miles and often times I rode to work faster than taking the tram and walking 15-20 minutes to the medical center. One February day (it think it was about 35 degrees F), I  noticed that my bike tire was flat, because NYC streets are brutal on my bike’s thin tires. I was super annoyed because I had just changed a flat a few days before, so I pretty much said (to myself) “F*ck it! I will just f*cking run to work”. Since that day, my love for running was reignited and I started to run to work 4-5 times a week. It was a great work out because the 59th street bridge has a nice incline. Then, the 4 mile run to work then became a 7 mile run by adding a loop around Roosevelt Island before running into Queens, over the 59th Street Bridge, and through the Upper East Side. Soon a coworker noticed that I was running more often and introduced me to the New York Road Runners organization to run races and try to gain entry into the NYC Marathon.

That’s pretty much my running history. Of course a long the way, there has been a lot of of ups (running the NYC Marathon and Montreal Half-Marathon) and downs (screwing up my back and multiple other injuries along the way).

Random: If you ever visit NYC, you should incorporate a quick tram ride across the East River (well half of the river) to Roosevelt Island for a nice (and cheap) view of the city. There is a functioning light house at the northern tip and the remains of the hospital where Typhoid Mary used to reside.

What sparked your interest in running?

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