Thursday, September 20, 2007

Run Around the World!

I recently came across a forum on the Runner's World website about the different places people have run. This got me thinking. How many different states or countries have I run in? Now, my list is by no means long, but I thought it would be fun to write about anyway.

This is where it all began. Twice. I always loved to run, even in elementary school. In fact, my friends often called me Speedy Reidy. I never ran any races, but I loved to run around at recess with my buddies. That was my first beginning. Jump ahead 15 years. It wasn't until I was about 23 that I ran my first race outside of high school. It was a 5-mile run down the Provo River Trail in Provo Canyon (perhaps the subject of a future blog post). I was surprised to see how well I did with mediocre training. That race motivated me to get back into shape, and was the catalyst for my passion.

I moved from Utah to Washington in the 6th grade. Unfortunately, 6th graders weren't allowed to run on the track team, so I had to wait a year. It was then that I realized Speedy Reidy wasn't all that speedy. I started out doing the short sprints, then moved to the long distances, and then found my niche with the hurdles. Not because I was great, but because I was one of the few who was able to overcome the fear of jumping over the waist-high pieces of wood on a gravel track. I ran track all the way through high school (perhaps another blog post idea), and started cross-country my junior year (see my previous post).

Hong Kong and China
During my high school cross-country days, I was invited by the Washington Cultural Exchange to travel to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China and participate in a couple running events with some of the native kids. It was a great experience and a lot of fun. I only wish my camera would have worked better so I could have more pictures.

During my freshman year of college, I drove to San Diego with my brother and some buddies for a wedding. While we were there, our van broke down and we had to stay a few extra days. During that time I was able to go for a run through the neighborhood just outside of San Diego.

Many of you know that I am a member of the LDS church. When I was 19, I chose to serve what is called a mission to share my beliefs with others over a two year time period. I was fortunate enough to be sent to Germany. It was an awesome experience, a chance to see another part of the world, and a bit of my heritage (my dad is from Germany), as well as a chance to run. I wasn't able to run as much as I would have liked, but I was able to get out once in a while in Kassel. I definitely want to go back and get some more runs in.

I didn't think I would get a run in on the way home from Germany, but I was wrong. We flew from Frankfurt, Germany to Dallas-Fort Worth. There was a group of us homesick missionaries. I think we had a layover of only an hour and 15 minutes, and we had to get our luggage, go through customs, check our luggage back in, and race to our terminal, which was literally on the other side of the airport. And this is a huge airport. But, just like race, when we crossed the finish line (i.e., boarded the plane, which had been waiting for us), everyone started cheering.

After my mission, I returned home to spend the summer with my family (they moved from Washington to Idaho while I was Germany). They were living in a very small rural town in eastern Idaho. Being out in the middle of nowhere, there was not much to do, so I ran a lot. The blocks are a mile long, so most of my runs were just around the block, a nice 4 mile run. It was nice to get back into shape and see my 4-mile time decrease from about 40 minutes to about 25 minutes by the end of the summer.

At the end of that summer, I went back to school, did some running, and, best of all, met my wife, who is (sort of) from Massachusetts. We went back east for a reception, and had a chance to run along the very narrow, tree-lined (and busy) streets of New England. It was a beautiful place to run and relieve some of the stress that comes from preparing for a wedding reception.

After finishing school, and working for a couple years in Utah, we made the big move to Phoenix. A new adventure. A very hot adventure as we moved in the middle of June in 115 degree weather. I joined a running group that meets together every Saturday, and ran some races. I am enjoying running here, but miss the hills and trees.

My list of places run is pretty short right now, but I am confident my running shoes will take me to new and interesting destinations in the years to come.


Lani said...

Ha ha! I love the Texas run. I didn't realize you had run in so many different places. I'm excited for you to add more... Machu Picchu, Canada, Alaska, England, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Hawaii, and.. and.. and... ;-)

Pat said...

Arizona is all about the winter running. I'm so glad the temps have receded a bit.

Are you going to do the Rock and Roll Marathon in January? I started a blog just for it.