1988 to 2000 – The Lost Running Years

Snow Shoeing with Dad – I don’t have any running pics from this time//

This is a post in my ongoing series where I am looking back at over my 40 years as a runner.

It still doesn’t seem possible that I started running over 40 years ago, but that is how long I have considered myself a runner.

This post will cover the years 1988 to September 2000, which I consider the “lost” years of my running life. I didn’t race at all and while I ran a bit during this time, I didn’t run consistently and it was more spits, spurts and far too often more than a little indifference. However, even in the bad years, I still would run around 200 days a year.

Brunswick, ME

1988 to 1990 – I moved to Brunswick, Maine and my boss was a runner, so I ran at lunch during the week, but hardly ever on the weekends, which really cut into my ability to run in races. I kept in shape, by running 3-6 miles a day most days. However, usually from December to March, my running was very limited. I just didn’t have the motivation to get out and run during the winter time. I ran a lot in Bath and Portland, but not that much where I lived in Brunswick.

Sandy Hook, NJ

1990 to 1993 – We moved to Sandy Hook, New Jersey at the end of GateWay National Park. This was a great place to run except on the Weekends, living in a popular National Park outside of New York City meant lots and lots of traffic during the summer and especially on the weekends. We usually holed up on the base during the weekends and didn’t try to leave very often, getting stuck in that traffic just wasn’t that much fun.

I did get to run the beaches and every so often enjoyed the views over at Gunnison Beach, yes it was a nude beach. Sandy Hook was a great place to run and I enjoyed running there, but at times life got in the way and my position there really didn’t give me as much time to run as I would have liked. It was very flat, but windy as hell during the Winter.

Boston, MA

1993 to 1996 – I was stationed in Boston, Mass, but lived on Cape Cod and commuted 73 miles to get to work. This meant catching the P&B at Sagamore Circle most mornings at 4:50 A.M. to make sure I got to work by 7:00 A.M. and then catching the 3:30 and getting home somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00, it depending upon the traffic. Needless to say I was tired all the time and there were periods when my work just didn’t give me time enough to run. I was lucky, my bosses were very supportive of running at lunch and I was able to run when I wanted/needed to. Running from Atlantic Ave through the North End to Charlestown or over to the Charles River were my favorite running routes. If I had lived closer it would have been a great place to run.

I also discovered 3D archery while here and was heavily involved in Archery tournaments most weekend and helping out in a local Archery shop. This activity choice, cut into severely into running a great deal while at home and on weekends, which was when most archery tournaments were.

Palmyra & Hartland, ME

1996 to September 2000 – I retired from the Coast Guard and moved back to Maine. We lived in Palmyra and Hartland, I still ran but the hours at work were odd hours (working in a Group Home) and it seemed I was always getting called in unexpectedly, so my schedule was not conducive to consistent running or having a good family life. When living in Palmyra, there really wasn’t all that great a place to run and where I worked, it was not convenient to run at lunch or after work, so running while I did it, it wasn’t very consistent.

In Hartland we lived up at the top of a road that had Hill in the title, and it was almost a mile from the bottom of the hill to the top, I never really got used to that damn hill and it affected how much that I ran in Hartland. In March 2000, I separated from my 1st wife and that affected my running for a while, but eventually, running helped me get through that traumatic event, even though it was something that was my choice.

Looking back

this time of my life as far as running was concerned was markedly inconsistent. I never stopped running, but at the same time it was not a high priority. Other parts of my life were much more important. Yes I still subscribed to “Runner’s World”, bought new running shoes and clothes, but there was no racing, not too many speed workouts, it was just running.

While I did run a lot from 1988 to 2000, but I wonder if I had been more consistent during this time and raced a few times, what life would have been like?