Day 193: Fifteen Years of Running

I have been running for fifteen years. As with any long term relationship, my relationship with running has evolved and changed. I thought it would be fun to break down the periods of time:

OFF AND RUNNING (2008-2011)

When I first started running regularly I lived in the Bay Area. My commitment was to exercise five days a week, at least 25 minutes. This usually meant running, though I did do a swim class at one point. I didn’t track my runs, but I made sure to follow the five-days-a-week plan. I ran in the neighborhood where I lived or where I happened to be (including my wife’s neighborhood here in Sacramento, before I lived here). Runs were never longer than a few miles.

How this period felt: It was exciting committing to regular exercise. I felt empowered and positive, and I appreciated the sense of integrity from keeping my word to myself. It was also fun to do it completely on my own terms, not needing to rely on a trainer or other people to be physically active.


I moved to Sacramento and Charr and I got married, and I continued my five days per week of running. When we moved to our currently location, I started running a slightly longer route that went downtown. Now I was regularly doing four miles per run instead of a under three. I also started occasionally running a longer, nine-mile route through Discovery park. Nine miles was a big deal at the time (!). I typically would take this route about once a month.

Other points of note:

  • During this time, I first started using Runkeeper, initially for something non-running related, to track my runs. 
  • One day I expanded the nine-mile route and went over twelve miles. This was the longest run I had ever done. This seemed like an eternity to me.

How this period felt: running continued being a great physical outlet as I adjusted to married life. It was satisfying to start going longer distances.


Towards the end of 2016, I took a break from running due to pain in my leg. Perhaps I was over-training, doing the five-day-a-week regime. Stress in the rest of my life could also have been a factor. When I started running again, I discovered a training plan for a half marathon on Runkeeper. So I began training for my first half marathon. Meanwhile, I switched to running every other day instead of five days a week.

My first half marathon, in April 2017, was a bit of a bomb. I made the rookie mistake of starting too fast, excited by the crowd. I ended up walking the last mile. It felt really bad, but I picked myself up. The following year, I ran my second half-marathon very conservatively and finished successfully. Later in the year, I got interested in intermittent fasting, which helped me lose and keep off 30 pounds. This helped me enormously as a runner. In the spring of 2019 I ran my third half marathon and knocked it out of the park! I finished the year out strong with a Fall half marathon, and started 2020 with thoughts of a future marathon.

How this period felt: this was a truly exciting, satisfying period. Getting the hang of half marathons was quite fulfilling. It was also empowering to take on Intermittent Fasting.

MARATHON MAN! (2020-2021)

During the first year of the Pandemic, I leaned heavily on running as a way to get out of the house, as a mood stabilizer. I also ran my first twenty-miler. Then my second. Then my third. I finished the year going faster and further than ever. 

This segued smoothly into 2021, where I immediately began training for my first marathon, a solo marathon! I had a great time through the entire process, from training for eighteen weeks to the afterglow after finishing. 

Later in the year, I ran my second marathon (and first and only public marathon to date: CIM 2021). I trained with Fleet Feet, and overall had a great time socializing with others runners. Afterward the program and marathon ended, I experienced acute depression. Looking back on it, I think I was probably exhausted and wanted time to re-group and re-assess. However, I didn’t pay attention, being at that point addicted to marathon training and thinking I needed it to be happy. So I signed myself up to do the CIM again a year later.

How this period felt:

Running was a great outlet during the awkward times early in the Pandemic. I felt strong and capable and took on new challenges with joy. Doing my first 20 miler was a revelation!

2021 was no doubt the most exciting running year I have ever had. Overall, both marathon training programs and racing experiences were amazingly exciting and fulfilling. I never felt so physically in shape as a runner. Looking back, I wish I had been more in touch with myself after the second marathon. But given the intense highs of the experience, I’m not surprised I wasn’t.


I started last year planning on continuing down the path of hardcore marathoner as in 2021. At one point in the spring, I saw a physical therapist who suggested I needed to get help to take care of my body. I ignored this advice. At least the Galloway’s run/walk/run methodhelped to mitigate the challenges of marathon training. I had many fine training runs, including a 23- and 26-miler. Finally reality caught up with me on my final long run a month before CIM. After seeing a sports-oriented chiropractor, I decided to bow out of doing the marathon. 

This proved to be a great decision. I have been much happier and more relaxed in the past few months. I have been going to the gym and swimming with my wife. I am sleeping longer and appreciating not having the pressure of an upcoming marathon. I have no loss of enthusiasm for running, but aim to better maintain my overall life balance in the future.

How this period felt: Though I had many fun running experiences last year, there was an unexamined stress looming in the background. It only lifted when I finally let go of running CIM and started to focus on healing. Now I feel a sense of lightness and joy. It shall be a good year!

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