A couple of years ago, I signed up for a 5K race. Having never trained other than a couple of unproductive runs, I showed up on a cold fall morning. I promptly saw about 50 runners who knew what they were doing. I got back in my car and left. Didn’t even try to start the race.
Flash forward to 2007. I had been running quite a bit, which translated means 2 jogs per week each lasting about 20 minutes or so. I desperately wanted to participate in a trail running race. So I happened on the whitemountianmilers.com site and thought, “I’m going to run in the Cranmore Hill Climb”. I later found out from Paul that I was the first registrant. That should have been the first sign that I was too eager. My wife and I showed up at Cranmore and I saw the big sign: “US Trail-running Championships.” My first race. I wasn’t going to be dismayed this time. We decided to hike the course just to see what I’d be in for the next morning. We went up the steep part and down the not-so-steep part. Everything else was backwards, why not that? As we climbed up the black diamond, we happened by Paul Kirsch dropping flags. He had the audacity to tell us that one of the top runners was from Europe- as in the continent. I think I laughed at myself until I fell asleep that night. Well, I participated and finished in two hours two minutes. I got looped twice by the winners. But I did it and the seed was planted. And so was a scar on my knee from my third lap digger that will never go away. I’ve never been so proud of a scar in my life. But that’s only because it is one of two scars I have(the other being one because I fell out of a tree as a kid). I also still have my running shorts with a gaping hole in the ass.
I could barely move after Cranmore but the sense of accomplishment was what boosted me all the way home to sign up for Loon. Loved it. Now I’m hooked and, while I have no dreams of competing for wins, I enjoy every event. I even enjoyed the Sidehiller snowshoe race even though my snowshoes were about 10 times bigger than anyone else.
I have a fairly stressful job, I’m trying to finish a dissertation, my wife and I are expecting our first child in three weeks, we’re buying a house. My sanity comes from running and looking forward to more races.
Jim Vander Hooven