Run – verb – to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground. Not one word has made more of a difference in my life that one word. Run. It seems like such a simple concept and action that it couldn’t possibly have such an impact on someones life but it certainly has. Running is present in my life 100% of the time. My days circulate around when I’m going to run and when I’m not running, I think about running. If you haven’t caught on yet, this is the running blog that I’ve been waiting to write. I’m anticipating now that no post will take longer to write or have more words in it than this one… but I’ll probably enjoy writing this post more than any other. Lets start from the beginning.
Tom, my oldest brother, ran track throughout high school. I don’t have any specific memories of him running but this is where it all started. Jeff also ran. This is where I really got interested in running. I would go to Jeff’s races every now and then and just watching people race and all that made me want to run. In 7th grade I joined the track team and sucked immediately. I was one of the worst guys on the team. The only specific memory I have of 7th grade is one time we were doing a long run and I was falling off hardcore. I saw Derrick Cruice and Chris Melton cut the run. I was furious, who the hell did they think they were? I got back probably 6 minutes after they did on a 3 mile run. It was humiliating. I didn’t really have the drive yet though. 8th grade came along and in November there was the turkey trot, a 1 mile run that all the kids did. My goal was to break 7 minutes in the mile and I finished up in 6:48, I went nuts. It was the first time I had set a goal and then reached that goal. 8th track season came around and it didn’t go so hot. Dana Lockard (yes a girl) and I had a huge rivalry and I didn’t beat her once in the mile. The whole season we talked about who would break 6 minutes in the mile first, she ran 5:58 and I ran 6:07 as our best times of the season.
8th grade was a bummer but I still didn’t care enough. I didn’t train over the summer going into freshman year and I got my ass kicked when cross country started. Running anything more than 3 miles for a long run was totally insane. Gourlay and I had a bit of a rivalry, if you could call it that, but he beat me every time except for one. I finished Freshman year XC with a 19:0x pr. Freshman year track was more of the same. I was the worst distance runner on the team and it wasn’t that fun. I finished with an 11:28 2mile pr and a 5:19 mile pr. After finishing last in every workout and just getting owned constantly, I decided I wasn’t going to just take it anymore.
Summer going into Sophomore year was where I actually started to train. I ran a lot over the summer and actually came into camp as the top sophomore behind Lorenzo. I’ll never forget the workout that Giammarco ran with the JV guys and Palmisano couldn’t keep up, I was literally the only guy left running with G. My head grew so big after that, it probably wasn’t a good thing. Palmisano, and everyone else beat me almost every time. I think I beat Gourlay 3 times but that was it. I was still bottom of the food chain. Finished Sophomore XC with an 18:02 race at Carlisle which was a great race for me. Sophomore track was a milestone year. I broke 5 minutes in the mile. It was a home duel meet and I was doubling the mile and the 8. I’d been talking about breaking 5 the entire year, Cruice and Lorenzo said I wouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t remember the race but I finished up 4:58 and it was so cool. I ran the 800 an hour later or so and pr’d in that too, 2:217. It was an awesome day. I ran the 2mile at conferences and pr’d in that to end the season at 10:35. I went out in 5:10ish and kind of died but still I was happy with it. It was a good way to end the season.
Summer going into junior year was pretty standard. Lots of running. There was a big question as to who would be the 7th man for XC. It boiled down to me and Gourlay. I was 7th for the beginning, my first varsity race ever was Carlisle and I ran really well there. I beat Mariotz and ended up being the 6th man that day. I continued to beat Gourlay most of the season but at Tennet when the Reilly’s weren’t there, people had to “step up” according to Grift. Well Gourlay stepped up and out kicked me in the last 100 meters. It was a bad race. I still ran varsity at districts but that didn’t go that well either. Gourlay’s time in the JV race was 10 or so seconds faster than my 17:16. The team qualified for states and it had to be decided who was going to run. I will never forget the conversation we had with Grift the night before. Gourlay and I walked into his hotel room, and Grift says, “so who want’s to run?”. We said, “Well… we both do”. Grift replies, “Well who wants to run more”. There was a small silence, and then Gourlay goes, “Well Sam probably does…”. Grift said, “Well then Sam’s gonna run”. Then he got kind of angry at Gourlay and kept saying well why does Sam want to run more. I ran at states and the race itself wasn’t great but it was still an awesome experience.
After cross I was pretty confident. I opened up winter track with a 9:51 and anchored a DMR in 4:55, taking us from 5th place (a medal) to 6th place (not a medal). Those were my two races for the rest of my junior year. I started taking Acutane and it pretty much ended my Junior year. I started running really slow and was barely finishing warm-ups. It was really really annoying. I had no idea what was happening but I was getting slower and slower and there was nothing I could do about it. The 9:51 and 4:55 stayed my PR’s for the season. I got off the pills with one race left in the season, conferences. I ran the two mile and literally PR’d by .3 seconds. It was a brutal race but I guess I ended the season on somewhat of a high note.
Summer of senior year was again, more of the same, a shit load of miles. Senior year cross was pretty up and down. Pat Reilly was my next target and I actually did beat him a couple of races. Carlisle was my best race where I out-kicked Lorenzo too to finish 3rd on the team. The worst part was probably when Grift asked me if I fell during Paul Short because I was so far back after a mile. I PR’d by 23 seconds that day so fuck him. It was a solid year but when it came to states, everyone choked. Palmisano ended up in the hospital, Paul and Lorezno both ran okay, Pat ran probably the best out of all of us, and I ran bad too. I got so stuck behind people and was literally cursing during the race. I ended the season with a 16:26 pr.
Senior year indoor track was my first actual “breakout race”. I got lucky and auto-qualified for meet of champs in my first 3k with a 9:36 and won by about 10 seconds. It took some pressure off and I didn’t put up any good times really until meet of champs. I went into that race with a 9:24 PR in the 3k. In my head, I didn’t actually think I could run a 9:03 and qualify for states, but I had nothing left to shoot for. I went out in 4:52, closed my last lap in a 33, and finished in 9:05. It was and still is the best race of my life. I was so disappointed though because I missed states by 2 seconds. I literally sat on the infield for 15 minutes just sitting there thinking about how much it sucked. Outdoor track came and went pretty quickly. I had my fair share of duel meet victories running random 2 miles and miles where I’d close the last 800 in 2:15 or something retarded like that. It was all in hopes, again, to make it to states. I ran a 9:43 to open the season and states was 9:30. I was very confident. At suburbans I doubled in the mile and 2 mile. Mile was first and I got 6th in a 4:33 feeling shitty. 2 mile was a couple hours later and I still felt shitty. Lorenzo and I lead through the mile in like 5:02 and then Palm and I finished up in 9:58. He let me have the win because it was his fourth race of the day so thank you very much. I went in to districts and didn’t really know what to expect, I went out in 4:46 which was on pace but died and finished in 9:42. Again, I was extremely, extremely disappointed. I wasn’t even very close. It was a real bad way to end the season but whatever.
Summer going into my first year of college was probably the most running I’d done in a summer. I followed Bayless’ training schedule exactly. 8k was very different, Jeremy and I duked it out the whole season pretty much, except for the fact that I only beat him once… Indoor track blew, I ran a 4:43 for my best mile to anchor a 7th place (should have 6th but I blew it) DMR and ran a 9:24 3k, granted I was sick for my last one but still. Outdoor was kind of the same. I pr’d in the 5k which was good in 16:16 but that was really it. No other good races.
That was pretty much the summary, I haven’t really talked about anything though and why I actually like running. For one, I didn’t even realize this until recently, but running keeps you in good shape. I look forward to going on runs. I can’t wait to get out there, it just feels good or right or something. Don’t get me wrong, I have my awful days, and my I don’t really want to do this days, but those are the days that, if you can get through them, you’ll get a lot better. I hated waking up at 5:30 before school in the winter to go on a 3 mile run, there was nothing enjoyable about that. But the feeling you get when you finish a good workout, or have a great race, all of that stuff, that’s the best. That generally doesn’t cut it when people say “why do you run”. I’ve seen 2 quotes that explain “why” pretty well. Pre has one that says “You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” I think that’s pretty good. You have to want to get better, if you’re not willing to work for it, then you might as well quit. I don’t see a point of doing track just to do it. I want to see how fast I can possibly run. If I win a race or earn a medal along the way, then so be it, but I’m out there to run a fast fucking time (for me). Another quote is from someone I can’t remember and I don’t the know the actual quote but it goes something like this, “I don’t care about breaking records, or winning races, or whether you think I’m the fastest man in the world or a total loser, as far as I’m concerned it’s about me.” I agree, I don’t really care if someone thinks I train to hard or not enough or what, but as long as I’m happy with what I’m doing, then that’s all that matters. I plan on running for a long time because it’s what I want to do. I love it. All the shit that I’ve gone through with it has definitely made me part of who I am today. It builds discipline and patience and all that good stuff. I might not ever be as fast as I want to be, but as long as I know that I ran as fast as I COULD have, that’s good enough for me.