Sunday, October 14, 2012

Les, 27 years old

How much do you run?
Probably 5 miles a week as one longer run or two shorter ones. Since running my 6th marathon last October, I take a few spin classes each week and lift kettle bells so I'm not running as much.

How long have you been a runner?
Since 2004. It was the winter of my freshman year of college and I found myself unprepared for the gloom of a winter in New England. 

How did you start running?
My college housemate, Emily, was a very talented member of the cross country team and just loves to run. I was getting into a funk with the cold weather and she convinced me to come out for a run. It just clicked for me. I ran at night and in the snow. You know how people talk about weight just melting off? I lost weight and it felt effortless. I felt strong, too.

Best running experience
Running through the middle of night in my first Ragnar Relay. I could barely see anything with my dim little headlamp, but the stars were clearly visible and seemed at points close enough to touch. It was just me for 7 miles, and all I could see in the distance was the blink blink blink of another runner's headlamp. I felt incredibly connected to this Earth. 

This run came at a time of enormous change and transition for me. I remember thinking about the road, and knowing that even if I was unable to see it, it was there. I found myself thinking about how that is true for all things, running and otherwise. The path, the journey, the road is always there, even if you can't always see it.

Unexpected benefit of running
Running (and exercise in general) is a healthy way to take your mind off tough things. 

I lived in Paris for a year and was surprised at how the experience of being in another country could often feel lonely and alienating.  Training for the marathon, running and lifting weights pretty much every day, was a healthy goal to work towards that made me feel better about some tougher parts of being in Paris. 

I joined a running club to help me get over a break up. Through the club, I  found my closest friends in New York and even my relationship. 

Now I am on the very long path to becoming a physician. Exercise helps keep me happy and focused.

Running-induced crazy story
In 2010, a group of friends did the Tough Mudder in some random part of Pennsylvania. This was a 7 mile race with several obstacles along the route, one of which included jumping into a lake. Some guy who clearly didn't know how to swim jumped in and was drowning. I was a life guard so I jumped in and pulled him to safety. I don't think the friends he was running with even realized what happened. 

Advice for new runners
Put on your headphones and just do it. The moment when that great song (for me, it's currently a remix of Call Me Maybe) comes on and you feel lighter than air...there's just nothing like it.

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