Growing up, I loved to run.
I ran everywhere. In middle school I fell in love with track and field, enjoying the longer distances over the sprints. My grandfather was always there to provide insights and advice. He was a track coach at the high school where he taught and drove around in a car with a vanity license plate on the front that said:
Run A Mile, Live A While
Every year he ran the local Thanksgiving Day road race and Santa run wearing his trademark winged headband. He is the original Winged Ling.
In high school, I became distracted with the noise of life. I stopped running for the most part, but every once in a while I would lace up, and take off down a trail for the freedom in provided.
Limited on options from a less than stellar high school career, I enlisted in the Air Force to get out and see the world while I figured myself out. I put in a little fitness work before basic training and still remember the 2 trail runs I took last before leaving home to make my mark on the world. I think they will forever be burned into my memory – the long germinating seeds of the person I was always supposed to be – or at least ended up finding my way back to becoming…
For 8 years I lived rather un-spectacularly. I smoked a lot of cigarettes and ate poorly. I only exercised to maintain my military fitness, although I periodically tried to take up distance running in earnest, never seeming to break more than 6 miles without succumbing to knee and back pain.
In 2011, on a deployment to Afghanistan I kicked the last of my poor habits to the side, took up running in Vibram Five Fingers, and made a dramatic shift in who I was, and the life I was living.
I returned, and started trail running barefoot, building miles, making mistakes, and learning from them as best I could. Going minimalist and relearning to run eradicated the chronic pain I used to feel, and brought a new found enjoyment to the sport. I took on the winged headband and completed my first 5k in 2011, marathon in 2012, and although the wings are now retired, I continue forward.
I began this blog for three major reasons:
- Give back. I often find inspiration and fantastic insights and lessons in the reports, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and stories of other runners. I want to offer my content to the running community, in hopes that someone finds some use in it.
- A good blog requires good content – Making myself responsible for the content of this blog means I need to have good content, obligating me to fill my own life with good content.
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I have also recently joined the team at Beast Pacing! Pacing Bio
-Travis Fitzgerald, The Winged Ling