1988 – 2000 My Lost Running Years

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

This post will be from 1988 to September 2000. These are the toughest years for me to write about. A lot happened in my life professionally and personally that well…looking back were years that I made a lot of mistakes. Twelve years which I consider the “lost” years of my running life. I didn’t race at all and while I ran quite a bit during this time, I didn’t run consistently and it was more spits, spurts, and far too often more than a little bit of indifference.

However, even though I didn’t run consistently or race much, I still would run around 200 days a year.

For many reasons and how painful some of the memories are for me during this period, I have decided to make this post my most generic and will just skim through most everything and then move on.

I moved to Brunswick, Maine, and my boss was a runner, so I ran quite a bit a 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 wintertime.

I ran a lot in Bath and Portland, but not that much in Brunswick.

Which is too bad, because I had some of the flattest and best courses in the State of Maine to run on in that area. Another of those could’ve, would’ve, should’ve times.

After that, we were transferred 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 base very often, getting stuck in 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, it was a nude beach and provided more than a couple of interesting sights during my runs there.

Sandy Hook was a great place to run, but to often 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.

During my last tour in the Coast Guard, 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 ensure getting 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.

For a while, I was running regularly in the morning with GH (a former Ensign on the SPAR, from so many years before) and we explored a lot of Boston together until I had something happen medically and needed to take down-time from running. After that, I never really ran with him again.

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 at lunch when I wanted/needed to, even if the work did not.

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 weekends. Plus I was helping out in a local Archery shop. This activity choice cut severely into my running, but I learned a lot about hunting and archery.

After 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 running or having a good family life. So I tried a couple of other jobs and nothing seemed to work out the way I expected. It was a tough time professionally for me and the stress levels were off the charts.

While we lived in Palmyra, there really wasn’t all that great a place to run, and the places where I worked, were 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 and it was enough of a hill that it was a pain in the butt to come back up – either side. I never really got used to that damn hill and that did affect how much that I ran in Hartland.

In March 2000, I separated and eventually divorced my first wife. All the different emotions and things that happened during the time impacted my running for quite a while.

Eventually, after screwing my head back on and getting some stability back in my life, I got back to running, which helped me get through that divorce. Even though it was something that was my choice. I know that my choices hurt many people way too much and I will always be sorry for that part of my life. The repercussions are still being felt to this day and I will not ever be forgiven completely for what I did by some of those that were affected the most by my decision.

Looking back

Those twelve years of my life as far as running was concerned were markedly inconsistent. I never stopped running completely, but at the same most of the time, it was not a high priority. Other parts of my life were much more important. Work, attempting to get promotions, finding a professional life after retirement, and then a messy divorce. They all impacted how much I ran.

Although I still subscribed to “Runner’s World” and read it cover to cover when it came in, I bought new running shoes more often than I needed, but there was no racing, not too many speed workouts, no photos or running logs to look back on. It was simply running for the sake of running.

I have lots of other questions that looking back on that time with 20/20 hindsight, would I have done things differently? There are many things that I would change and running more would have been one of them.

Life is what it is and you can’t change what has happened. However, at the same time, you still wonder “what if”.

That is why I call them the Lost Years.

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