Guy Alderdice Jr.
Where I Found My Love of Running
My wife and I are enthusiastic runners, and we share our passion with friends and family. We live in a small town in Vermont, with our two teenage sons. Our running adventures got kick started in 2009. Quick backstory, in the early 1990’s, Krista ran on the cross-country team in high school, and I most certainly did not. In 2009, our kids were seven and four and we were busy working, raising kids and trying to be active when we could. We did enjoy hiking and being outside, but running for pleasure played ZERO part in our lives.
On a whim, I decided I would run the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont. I had completed maybe two 5k’s in my life, and had no long distance running experience. Looking back, it’s hard to pinpoint why I actually signed up for this event. I guess it boiled down to me finding out if I could do it, a test of my will. So, in January that year, I downloaded an 18 week marathon training schedule that would serve as my guide to train for this event. In browsing through this plan, I noticed I would be running four to five days per week. Seems reasonable I thought. I continued scrolling down the training schedule, and my eyes immediately focused on an early May planned run….20 miles! Since my longest run, up to this point, had been 3 miles, I couldn’t wrap my mind around this distance. Oh well, I’ll worry about that later. I did not own a GPS watch, so my next issue was planning and mapping out runs. I jumped in my car, reset the odometer, and started driving. I made mental notes of where each mile was located. For example, mile one was my kid’s school, mile five was the old talc plant that was out of business, mile 7 was the general store in the next town over and mile ten was the dump where I brought our garbage.
Over the next several months, I exclusively ran out and backs and had a cheap wrist watch that had a stopwatch on it to keep my times. I ran alone, ran through snow storms, and bitter cold, checking off my required runs. It felt like a job. If someone had interviewed me during this training, I would not have been gushing about how much fun I was having running. But, I stuck to my training plan. I had told a lot of my friends and family that I had signed up for this event, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. Now time for some full disclosure, I am not an organized person. I do a lot of things in my life by ‘feel’. As you can imagine, this led to some mistakes and mishaps in my training. Chafing was an early problem, as I ran in my old faithful cotton t-shirts. Tek shirts were quickly introduced. No offense to Walmart, but their socks are not ideal for running. Slippery icy roads and cold weather made me realize I needed more supplies. Who runs in the winter, I certainly hadn’t before.
About 3 weeks before the race, I looked at my training guide and there it was, the dreaded 20 mile run. Amazingly, everything went well, proving that, even with my trial and error approach, I was putting in the work and making progress. The last couple of weeks flew by, as I made the final preparations.
As I stood at the starting line, with thousands of runners around me, I could feel the energy and excitement of the day. No turning back now. Adrenaline carried me through the early miles of day, as we weaved through cheering crowds and beautiful Burlington, VT. At the half way point, I was surprised at how fast the miles were flying by. Remember this….I told myself, try to soak up this day as much as possible. Not to worry, around mile 20, with 6 miles still to go, those miles felt like they were dragging! My legs were heavy and I wanted to be done. But, I continued my relentless forward progress, knowing I would be relaxing soon. As I came around the last bend, goosebumps exploded out of my skin, as the crowd roared their approval. I crossed the finish line and was showered with big hugs from my wife and kids. A race official put a medal around my neck, and we laughed and chatted about the adventures of the day. About a half hour later, we loaded the kids in the car and my wife drove us home. I announced to her and the kids that I was very happy to have completed this marathon, and was immediately retiring from my short running career. My stomach was now quite nauseous and my muscles ached and I felt as stiff as a board. After all, what’s the point of doing this anymore. I wasn’t a big fan of suffering, so that would be that. Wasn’t running supposed to be bad for your knees anyway? Go out on top….it will be a great story to tell my grandkids someday. If I had know then what was to come over the next decade of our lives, I wouldn’t have believed it in my wildest dreams. I now realize a seed was planted that fateful day in Burlington.