Seventeen years, that's how long it takes a particular species of cicada to develop into an adult. The so called "seventeen year cicada" is a biological, and cultural phenomenon in the Eastern United States. One particular generational population (Brood X) exploded into adulthood nearly six years ago. The same year I moved from Texas to Maryland. I recall my first few days as a Maryland resident collecting specimens and marveling at the shear number of cicadas seemingly everywhere. it is amazing how this simple creature can survive underground for seventeen years before emerging for it's brief stint as an adult. A long life of sucking away on root juice, digging it's way around, waiting... waiting for the one night where it makes the long journey up the tree to the surface, then continues to climb until the perfect spot for it to shed its nymphal skin and emerge as an adult. Taking flight to mate, lay eggs and die. Leaving behind it's progeny to sit, eat, and wait for another seventeen years. A lot can happen in seventeen years.
For me, seventeen years ago, I unknowingly took a leap into the world of running. My school hired a cross country coach, and on referral from my neighbor, I got a call from him thinking I might be interested in joining the team. I went to an informational meeting and after hearing some inspirational speech, I joined the team. Prior to this, I wasn't much of an athlete. I was on the basketball team, but wasn't too good at it. I had heart though, and that was what counted. So I began my junior year as a runner. I can't particularly say I was good, in fact, my first race I came in last place. my failing was that I took off too fast and died a quick death. I didn't give up and finished the course though. From this humble beginning, I learned, improved, learned more, and before I knew it, I WAS a runner. I spent the next two years loving running and even dragged my lil sister into it. Once I was hooked, I had always dreamed of running a marathon. I always imagined I would attempt it in the near future. Seventeen years later, I still dream of running a marathon...... someday.
Since high school, my running has been an off again, on again love affair. A couple of months of running followed by a year or so of no running, with a 5k fun run sprinkled about. Since I moved to Maryland, my running has gotten even less. Life simply got in the way. A nasty stint of temporary insanity (nearly four years of smoking) and several medical setbacks has kept me from running at all in nearly three years. All the while, I've maintained my dream of running a marathon.
The last two years or so, I've suffered from gout, a condition that caused me many days where I could barely walk. I could go to bed fine and wake up without being able to take a step without excruciating pain. Through coping with this problem, my running mojo was nearly lost. How could I run when I could barely walk. My ideas on running changed, and I longed to be out on the road, moving. I began to get the pain under control through dietary changes, medicine, and herbal supplements. I am proud to say, I haven't suffered a gout attack in about four months. I'm hoping it's gone for good.
With this renewed ability to walk without fear of pain, I've slowly begun running again. It's been about three weeks now and I'm starting to feel like a runner again. When I'm out there, I can't help but be happy to be moving again. It's tough, but I have set the goal of running the Baltimore Marathon this October. This gives me nine months to prepare for it. I can only hope that no future setbacks will get in the way.
While I'm attempting to do what I set out to do seventeen years ago, my ultimate goal is to make a lifestyle change. I want to stop the back and forth and make a full commitment to running again. That is where this blog comes in. I want to chronicle my efforts in the hopes that it will keep me motivated through the difficult task of a permanent lifestyle change. I can't say I will write daily, but I hope to write often. So like the effort it takes the nymphal cicada to climb that tree in the hopes of metamorphing into an adult, It's now my time to push through and metamorph into the soaring lifetime runner I know I can be.