I’ve only been running for a relatively short time; about five years. I didn’t run in school, have only done one marathon (and it was painful) and just did my first track meet and relay in the past month with the Whippets. However, I’ve always been athletic. What form that took, for the most part, was shaped by the places my career took me.
With the urge to explore somewhere a bit bigger than my home state of Rhode Island, I made a concerted effort to find employment overseas. My first stop after graduating college was Japan, where I was an English teacher. Even though I didn’t speak the language and I didn’t have any co-workers to speak of (it turned out I was the only employee at the “school”), I made friends at the gym or playing a pick-up game of basketball. While serving in Peace Corp, in what was the considered the Siberia of Poland, I found myself staying fit and meeting people in a makeshift gym in the basement of an apartment block. In my town, the only other workout and social activity was lifting shots of vodka (more frequently than I care to admit). After Peace Corp, I entered the corporate world which kept me in Poland a bit longer and then onto Romania, where I became quite passionate about tennis. Tennis carried me for a while until I returned to the States, eight years after my travels started.
I took a job in Chicago where my professional life took a few twists and turns (from corporate America, to culinary school, to starting my own business, to non-profit, and back to what I do now—risk management). During this time, I began competing in triathlons. The cycling and swimming were no problem, but I struggled with running. Considering triathlons ended with the run, my races typically finished on a down note. And, this is when Dennis became a runner.
During the off-season, I joined a running team to become a stronger runner, and finally found my fitness home. The team was great, made life-long friends and I truly enjoyed running. Good race or not, regardless of the pain at the end of a run, I was happy running. Needless to say, that was the end of my triathlon days.
When I moved to the New York area (first stop was Jersey City), my only regret was leaving my running team and all the friendships I made as a part of it. That feeling became stronger when I began running with the another local team—that shall remain nameless. It just wasn’t the right fit. Luckily, a friend told me about the Whippets. So, I bought a new pair of running shoes, hopped on the PATH and headed to Time Warner Center for my first Saturday morning with the team.
The Saturday morning long runs are still my favorite Whippet workouts. I don’t think I could have possibly seen so much of New York in such a short amount of time, along with all the support, encouragement, and donuts (or carrot cake) someone could ask for. Most importantly, during those 10+ mile mornings, I’ve gotten to know some pretty great teammates. I’ve been a member of the Whippets for a little over a year now and can honestly say that I have become a stronger, faster and happier runner.