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My Deep Dark Running Secret

I have a secret to share with you.

A secret you would never guess given that I have a blog with which I talk at you about my running.

For a very, very long time, I Kept Running a Secret.

Where to begin....

I first began to run purely for pleasure -- rather than for soccer or track -- immediately after high school. 

Throughout my 4.5 years of undergrad at UCLA, and through all 3 years of law school in the Bay Area, I kept up a consistent routine of 40-90 miles per week (injury periods not included).

It became a secret almost immediately.  I had two roommates in my tiny little freshman dorm, and the lack of privacy made me feel as though they were tracking my every move. 

I woke up to run the perimeter of campus every morning (4 hilly miles), and every now and then would run some laps around the track in the late evening as well (late, as in 10:00 p.m. -- it helped me fall asleep). 

For some reason, I began to think of my daily runs as a source of shame.  It was too disciplined and regular for someone who should be wildly and chaotically enjoying their freshman year.  (Although, I did spend plenty of time being wild and chaotic). 

To appease my roommates questions of "You're running AGAIN!?  Didn't you run Yesterday!?!"  I started trying to hide it.  I would claim I was going for a walk, or I would pack gym clothes in my backpack and shower at the gym before coming home. 

Then, as running became easier and I became stronger, I added distance -- my daily 30 minute run became a daily 45 minute run.  A year later, it became a 60 minute run.  A year later, 75 minutes.  Etc etc, until my calorie intake wasn't able to keep up.

And so I looked like this:

no. comment.


Then it became more important than ever to keep running a secret.  It was much, much too important to me to let go, but I knew in my skinny state, people who cared about me would advise (or beg) me to give it up.

This is really cutting a long story short (maybe one day I'll devote a full post to these years), but with the help of some Athlete Nutrition books, I learned how to maintain my milage and some meat on my bones (short explanation: eat constantly.  every hour).

Yet still, even in my healthier body, I couldn't get rid of my inclination to hide my running habit/passion.  When I began dating cutie-pie-panini in 2007, I kept the extent of my running a secret for at least a month -- mysteriously only coming over after noon, mysteriously leaving his place before 10:00 a.m. (I'm strictly a morning runner if you didn't know).

Then two things happened.

1) I found the running-blog community.

There were people equally nuts online! 
People who wake up at 5:00 to run double-digit miles! 
People who think it is admirable rather than disordered to run 70 miles a week!
People who understand an obsession with the marathon distance!

I quietly read for 3 years.

2) I became friends, through Panini, with a fantastic woman and die-hard runner, Lesley.

Lesley lives, breathes, and talks talks TALKS running!  She does a significant amount of socializing while running.  She is, in short, the opposite of who I was: NOT SHY about her running :)

When she found out I had a few marathons under my belt, she asked questions -- what times do I run?  How far did I run today?  I would shrug my shoulders, not really knowing how to share something that I normally never talked about.

Throughout the last 3 years, I have grown more and more comfortable talking "runner language" with Lesley, and have admired how much passion she has for the running community -- for the act of sharing the love of running with others.

She showed me how nice it would be to come out of my running shell.

Something has been lost now that I have opened by running mouth.  It's less personal now, more shared.   Less humble, more bragadocious -- and probably to some, annoying. 

Time to Spill: do you keep the extent of your running a secret from people in your life?  Any other spicy secrets harboring inside that you suddenly HAVE to get out right here on the internet in the comments below?