Since I rebooted this blog a few days ago, it’s time to reintroduce myself to my four or five readers, is it five? I’m Frank, a forty-something (ok I’m 48 years old) runner living in Jamaica Estates with my wife Esther and our dog Chico.
I grew up in Howard Beach in the 70’s and all our neighbors had sons. We were always playing pickup baseball, football, soccer and hockey. We also rode bikes; roller skated or raced each other around the block to see who was the fastest — what a great way to grow up!
As we got older life happened — careers, families and responsibilities — socializing now revolved brunch or dinner — not soccer, football or hockey. Some play softball, flag football or golf on weekends, while others joined a gym — and soon quit or are paying for a gym membership they don’t use.
I was no different. I joined a gym — and worked out for months at a time, doing light weights or cardio. Then I’d fall off the wagon, my gym bag would go to work with me, but somehow neither me of the gym bag would make it to the gym.
Five-years ago my life changed — I found my soul mate — an amazing woman who ran. When I met Esther, running a marathon and skydiving were both buried deep on my Bucket List. Esther already ran three marathons and was training for her fourth. One of our first dates was a twilight run in Central Park, what a great night!
A week later I joined New York Road Runners and it was on.Five years and 80 races later, I’ve run everything from a 5K to a marathon — and running an ultra, doesn’t seem so farfetched. I enjoy the camaraderie and made peace with what I am — a back of the pack runner.
Being at the back removes a lot of pressure — I know I’m not winning the race — or even my age group. I don’t race others — I race the clock, pushing the limits of what I’m capable of. I will admit passing runners at the end of a race with a final kick is still a rush.
Running has given me great memories. I crossed a marathon off the bucket list and added eight more. I’ve run half marathons in a frosty 14 degree chill and 90 degree heat. I’ve raced in heavy downpours and crawled through mud pits. I finished my second marathon, in Philadelphia, 48 minutes faster than my first one, and celebrated by running up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Rocky Balboa would be proud.
My biggest reward is when friends and relatives tell me they signed up for a race, bike tour, or charity walk because they saw my picture on Facebook page and decided, “I can do that.” I tell them all the same thing, “If I can do it, anyone can, just keep moving forward.”