it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop

This past Thanksgiving I ran in the CEA-Johanna Foods Turkey Trot 5K and finished 10th with a time somewhere in the neighborhood of 16:39. I say "the neighborhood" purely because I'm too lazy to look up the fractional seconds on CompuScore. Not that it matters anyway, of course.

This was a pretty good result for me. It's not exactly what I wanted, but considering the craziness that had been the prior five months or so, I was satisfied.

I graduated high school in May of 2016 without a real sense of what I was going to do with myself from then on. Whereas all of my peers were headed off to a four-year college, I was going to be stuck in Central Jersey for at least another two years. As a solid B student who admittedly never put forth much effort into my schoolwork, I had already decided that I wasn't academically ready for a four-year college. I knew that in junior year. Back then I'd certainly dreamed of going away to college -- I would compile lists of all the best running schools with the best academics, knowing well that I'd probably never get there. The concept was still nice to think about and fun to rattle off all of the A-list schools to adults asking where I'd be applying to. However, when the time came to get all of my college paperwork done, ask for recommendation letters, or send emails to prospective coaches looking for decent athletes -- I couldn't see it. I couldn't see myself moving out in August to a new place and actually succeeding anywhere. Instead, I saw myself failing out and being mailed back home to face disappointed (and now broke) parents. Some people are going to call this realization "smart" or whatever, but truth be told I'm a little disappointed and kind of mad at myself for not even trying. 

But it is what it is.

Besides, community college is a pretty good deal. You're getting the same education you would be getting in your first two years at any four-year college for a fraction of the cost (but minus the "college experience"). On top of that, I'm actually learning to be a good student. So, with all this in mind, I'm 100% sure I made the right decision.

Alright, enough about college. Back to the story about how the past few months have been crazy.

A lot had happened since graduating high school. I started a new, full-time job as a camp counselor at the local YMCA that turned out to be a stressful nightmare. I'm sure if I had not been running 65 miles a week I would have been able to tolerate it, but it left me without an ounce of energy left by the time I clocked out each day. And those 65 mile weeks were total garbage as a result. Although the weather had been incredibly hot and humid, it was the constant stress and fatigue from work that hindered my ability to finish workouts and put quality miles in. I was showing all the classic signs of overtraining, only I had no choice but to keep running -- and keep working. After some rough times with my boss and the kids I was dealing with, I left the summer tired and uninspired. I was pretty sure my running career was done. 

But that's what everyone says when they go through a rough training block.

To make a boring rest of the story short, I eventually got my head straight and my training back on track, and I ended up in a good place. I'm running well and doing well in school -- what could be better?

Listen, I like being comfortable as much as the next guy. It feels nice to have everything on track. But at some point, you ask yourself:

Am I too comfortable?

And for me, the answer is YES. I am way too comfortable where I am. 

This setup that I have right now doesn't offer a lot of room to grow. I run and study -- that's it. I'm not meeting new people or experiencing anything new. I feel stuck.

And if I don't finally bite the bullet that was shot at me in junior year, I'm going to stay here forever. I'm going to be that guy at high school reunions that hasn't changed one bit -- but not in a good way. I'm gonna be the guy that "was someone" when he was a kid and has faded into obscurity. 

And let me tell you: I really, really don't want to be that guy.

Ever since I started running in freshman year, I had a dream that I would take this talent as far as I could go. I didn't want to be known as "the kid who ran in high school" -- I wanted to be known by my name, among runners and non-runners, across the country. And while those dreams are far, far away, I can still dream, and I can still work towards my dreams. I honestly don't even care how far I go with this. But when the day comes to hang up my spikes, I want to be able to say "I gave everything I had to this sport. I have nothing left."

And so I've begun this blog to document this journey. I've decided that I'm also going to need a hobby that will rake me in some dough, and writing seemed like the perfect gig. I'm going to be looking forward to doing a lot more with this platform, including gear reviews (looking at you, Ginger Runner), training talks (and you, Sage Canaday), and other things. Basically, this is a dump for my thoughts to spare all of the non-runners in my life who don't care about what I have to say.

This felt good to write. I'm going to do it again sometime soon.

Thanks for reading.

Also, if anyone criticizes me for the design of this blog, I'M WORKING ON IT. Relax. I'm no web designer. I know it sucks and looks like a baby did it. I know. Leave me alone and I'll whip something better up.

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