If you follow any running stores on Twitter or Instagram, or if you’re in tune with the running community in general, you know that it’s Cross Country season.
I’m sure a lot of you (myself included) got started on this crazy thing called running in HS Cross Country and/or Track. I’ll fully admit that going into freshman year of High School, I didn’t even think about Cross Country. In fact, I wasn’t going to play a Fall sport at all; I was going to get ready for basketball season (LOL).
Around this time of year (and I really wish I could remember the exact date), I got a hand written letter from Coach V saying that I should come out for Cross Country. Now, I’m 99% sure he sent a letter to almost everyone that wasn’t signed up for a Fall Sport. Whatever.
I had recreationally run with my Dad in past years, mainly to get ready for the Mile in the Presidential Fitness Test, and to be in passable shape for Middle School football. I don’t think I had ever run more than a mile at a time in my life.
But this letter inspired me, and my Dad had been in my ear about doing CC too. After I read that, my Dad told me that in Cross Country, we would never have to run more than 4 miles at a time. Lies. Lies. Lies.
Before practice started, I ran exactly twice. Totaling 6 summer miles. Our first practice we did 1 Mile wu, 3×1600, 1 Mile cd. The NEXT DAY we did a 6 mile run. What did I get myself into?
Our first meet, I was hoping for one thing: Not be last. And I wasn’t!! Plus, I came in at 27:03 and under 30 minutes. Y’all, I was thrilled with that. Now, our team was pretty legit (my four years we placed 3rd, 3rd, 6th, and 5th at State) so there we some fast dudes out there. I remember coming home and saying, I don’t know how anyone could run a 5k in under 20 minutes. Oh, young Ben.
Fast forward to the end of Junior (I think) season. One of the parents on the team ordered shirts for everyone with our last names on the back. Because, that’s cool. Anyway, also on the back was the slogan “No Speed Limit, No Dream Limit.” To be honest, as typical high schoolers, we thought this was super tacky.
Once I got out of college and started getting into distance running, though, I realized it’s actually the PERFECT running slogan. It’s definitely one that has grown for me personally. Thus the name of this blog!
Some of you may have heard this story before, but I think most of you haven’t. Now, since it’s August 14, here are 14 other things you might not know about me:
- My HS PR in Cross Country was 18:45; a time I’ve matched, but never been able to beat since then.
- Remember when I mentioned Middle School football above? This guy played D Line and was actually halfway decent in the trenches
- I also played basketball from 5th grade through Junior year and played every position at some point. I had my growth spurt in about 7th grade, so I was (briefly) taller than a lot of my classmates
4. In track, I never found my niche for an event. Through four years, I did the 100, 400, 1600, 3200, 4×400, 4×800, 4×1600, Long Jump, High Jump, and Triple Jump. I was not great at any of them
5.Almost every summer that I can remember, I spend a significant amount of time fishing at the lake.
6. I majored in Journalism at UW-River Falls, and was Editor of the school newspaper for a time
7. At Iowa State, I had a joke in my presentation that I was the next Bachelor. One time, I had a student believe me. Let’s make it happen ABC
8. Something some of the BibRave crew found out, I actually love Karaoke
9. Way back in High School, I was President of the Latin Club (Nerd Alert) and as a part of that did a spoof of Pants on the Ground. Yes, there was what passed for rapping and dancing.
10. Me and my team are still, and forever, defending Relay Around the Lake (Mixed Team) champions. The race hasn’t been run since we won.
11. The first time I ran over 10 Miles, I was actually tricked into running 18. I thought we were only running 9 that day. Surprise!
12. I’ve never been out of the country. Although visiting Canada is on the list!
13. Way way back in Middle School, I was State Champion in Forensics in the Solo Humor category
14. I’m a big Spider-Man nerd. Like, you all don’t even know.
So that’s the story of how I got sucked into running, at the beginning. At some point, we’ll talk about how I got dragged into distance running.
How did you get started running? Could you have kicked my ass in the 5k in HS? Or even now?