Ten years ago today, January 3, 2003, I first ventured into the Runner’s World Online forums.
And what a long, strange trip it’s been.
I was partway through a quest to lose 50 pounds and wanted to increase my running and reduce the time I spent on the elliptical trainer. I’d done three marathons, the last over six years previously, and wondered if I would ever do another one. My PR at that time was 4:56 (Los Angeles 1988). I was wearing the same running shoes I’d been wearing for years. How could they be worn out? The soles didn’t have holes in them! I was also wearing ancient cotton jogbras and cotton knit pants because I didn’t want to appear in public in shorts. I had no idea that people followed training plans, or kept records of how far they ran, or that there was a group of nutcases who had ambitions to finish a marathon in each of 50 states, or that there was an even nuttier group of people who sometimes did two marathons in one weekend.
My children were nine and seven years old. I had a beat up Mazda, a fair collection of old race T shirts, and a curmudgeonly husband.
Now, my children are nineteen and seventeen (not surprising), I still have the same beat up Mazda, the same curmudgeonly husband, and the race T shirts seem to have been breeding copiously in the closet. I also have a PR, set at age 48, that is nearly 40 minutes faster than the time I set when I was half that age, I’ve completed 66 more marathons and ultras during the 10 year period, I’ve done 5 marathons in three weeks, and, checking my beloved Excel spreadsheet, in the past 10 years I’ve logged 25, 810 miles. Whoa. I’ve circled the planet and then some.
And the forum, and you women on it, have become a vital part of my life. I’ve met many of you. I’ve been a guest in your homes and have welcomed you into mine. I have run with you, raced with you, cried with you, rejoiced with you. I’ve turned to the forum for support many times, and have received it in spades. I’ve been furiously angry with a few people, and astounded at the wisdom and intelligence we collectively possess. In some cases you may not know what an effect a comment of yours has had on me. In some cases you know – thank you.
And those 50 pounds? GONE.
Because of a forumite’s invitation my family’s life has taken a path we would not otherwise have taken, and my daughter’s journey through higher education has become richer and more meaningful than it would have been had she remained a commuter student at our local school. I am very grateful for that.
Because of your hospitality and your suggestions I have seen many parts of this big beautiful country I would not otherwise have seen.
Because of the encouragement and support I have received I have pushed myself to achieve more than I thought I could, and I’ve made some tough decisions. (I am still married, for instance. I’m seeing it through.) And I have seen my life from different viewpoints and changed my understanding of what really matters.
Ladies (and gentlemen!), all of you – thank you for being here. Run on!
You are wonderful, Tessa and such an inspiration!!
Congrats on all of your accomplishments and I am so glad you are a daily presence on these boards!!
This made me smile. I am so happy I logged on to read your wonderful story, Arimathea!
Wow, this is inspiring! Over 2500 miles per year? I wanna be you when I grow up! Congratulations. May the next 10 years be ever more runnerful!
PRs: 5k - 22:29, half marathon - 1:47:39
Wow, Tessa, and I was so impressed with your 3542 miles for 2012. These are mind boggling.
I agree about RW. I don't know if I'd still be running without the beginner's forum. I've learned so much on the forums.
BTW, I couldn't get on RW from the main page, but could using my shortcut. The beginner's page has a few posts from today, but is definitely weird with some posts from 2005 and 2006, including one with Howard Roark...remember him? He started the miles game and hosted big Flying Pig get togethers. Kind of fun. The name likethewind is the last poster on index of threads, but when reading the actual thread, it indicates he's been blocked. Someone's causing RW more grief.
Run to live; live to run
Tessa this is awesome!
Wow. This is such an awesome post by an awesome chick. I feel very lucky to have gotten to know you both virtually and in real life over the past few years. Not only are you an inspiration to me and many, but you are a wealth of knowledge. And not just in running. I have learned a ton from you. I love your sense of humor. And I look forward to seeing you and your delightful kids again in June.
Since everyone else is blogging: http://karenrunsfar.blogspot.com/Upcoming Races: 11/22 Annapolis Half Marathon, 12/6 Rehoboth Beach Marathon, 1/17 Charleston Marathon
Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!
What a great tribute to your 10 years of dedication and hard work......you are always a great inspiration, and I KNOW I have learned so much from you
Cheers to another great 10 years!!!!
WOW!!!! This is amazing! Congrats!
Awesome post!! I agree - the forums have had an amazing impact on my running life.
Congratualtions Tessa! You are an inspiration to us all!
2014 Goal: Just Run!
Over 40 PR's
Half - 1:38:52, 5K - 21:31
Awesome post. I'm hoping my next 10 years are as amazing as your past 10. Cheers to the next 10 as well!
awesome post, Tessa! I find your writing style so impressive. I especially like your sense of humor. I am sad you do not have a husband who gives you joy because you seem to be a person so full of life and vigor. You are an inspiration to everyone!