My first job out of college was at an eclectic running store in Palo Alto, CA, that sold artisan lattes along with trail shoes. I was fresh out of 4+ years of college-level track and field, and I breathed the sport. But I distinctly remember that the first pieces of information I received during my interview were “we don’t sell track spikes” and “we don’t carry Mizuno” (I glanced sadly at my beat up Wave Riders).
ZombieRunner catered to ultrarunners and minimal runners: people who ran more mileage daily than I was prescribed in a week of college training and superhumans who ran in shoes so thin I got injured just looking at them. My coworkers teased me for running on roads instead of trails and introduced me to new foods like Bonk Breakers. I never thought I would be intimidated by other runners. But at the end of every shift, I biked across town to assistant coach a high school track team, and I was back in my element.
Well, I learn quickly. By the end of the spring, I had run my first half marathon (assisted by a belt pack and Honey Stingers), and I owned compression socks and not one but THREE hydration packs. When I left the job, I thanked the owners for humbling my definition of “runner,” because it turns out that track and field is no rite of passage into the land of salt tablets and Bodyglide.
I like to think that during my experience there I became a runner at last.
To date, I have run 10 years of track and field and completed 3 years of “running.” I named this blog Base Mileage because I have experienced numerous setbacks over the years and often find myself resetting my start blocks. My weekly mileage still only hovers around 30 miles during a good week, but every so often I build enough consistency to train. I take a competitive approach to running because that is how I learned to do it. Maybe one day I’ll slow things down and just run, but I haven’t yet lost the desire to “leave it all on the track” as we say. Running brings me incredible highs and eases my mind; it has lead me to different people and places; and for this former mid-distance athlete, there is a lot more to chase beyond two laps.
800m: 2:14.00 – 2010
1500m: 4:59.41 – 2012
6k XC: 24:30.7 – 2009
5k road: 18:57 – 2014
4M: 24:26 – 2014
5M: 33:35 – 2013
Half marathon: 1:32:51 – 2014