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Drinking the kool aid

A personal note from Vince. Our favorite photographer and husband to Mama Hen

Back in the day, I used to be a pretty avid runner. Junior and senior years of college were full of 5Ks. And when I moved to Austin for grad school, I discovered that the city was home to year-round running, and I filled my 2 years there with untold numbers of 5Ks and 10Ks. I was decent enough, too, turning 5Ks in under 24 minutes consistently, 10Ks in under 50. Over the years, I didn’t run as much, but I did pick up another habit: the gym. 4-5 days a week like clockwork, so one way or the other, I was pretty much always in shape.

All of that was when I was younger and single and without a care in the world. Fast forward 20 some-odd years and 25 some-odd pounds, and I’m older and married and working all week. The game had definitely changed. I just didn’t have the time I used to have.


In 2012, Sandy caught the racing and OCR bug in a big way. Not only that–and this is important–she latched on with the New England Spahtens, an incredible group of fun, supportive, like-minded people intent on spreading the word about OCR. 30+ races in 2012 for her (with a good chunk of them with the Spahtens). And I dutifully and happily followed her to almost every single one, cheering her on and making new friends, all the while happy with the fact that I was on my side of the fences.

So again, there’s Sandy. Pretty much the same age as me. Married (duh). Clients all week. But she goes to her gym three days a week, almost like clockwork. She races pretty much every single weekend, almost like clockwork. And all with the same 24 hours in a day as me.

Different game? No–different player. One who gets off the bench. One who… plays.

Oh sure, I’ve run a couple of 5Ks in the past couple of years. I’ve even run (or tried to run) a small handful of OCRs–Warrior Dash in 2011 (pulled up lame less than a mile into the race) … Metro Dash in 2012 (don’t ask) … Spartan Sprint in 2012 (finished it but it didn’t do a thing for me) … Wason Pond Pounder in 2012 (OK, that one was fun, but you could have measured my time with a sundial). But by and large, I was content with how things had turned out–her on the course, muddy and sweaty and exhausted; me on the sidelines and in the stands, cheering and taking pictures and just generally yukking it up. Wasn’t my game any more.


You see, influences have this funny way of sneaking up on you when you’re not looking.

Bad influences, for sure–I think I’ve already shown that excuses are a convenient thing, mainly because they’re so easy.

But good ones, too. Like I said, the Spahtens are an incredible bunch, and I’m proud and happy to call a growing number of them my friends. The real thing about them, though–the part that sneaks up on you–is how infectious their attitude and spirit can be. Watching them as they bust their asses, seeing them cheer each other on and share in their personal victories… always trying, never quitting… it’s all so…


Fun. As if was just a game. One they played every week. One that I knew all the rules to but didn’t feel like playing.

Until now.

To my utter surprise, I’m calling my own number. On tap for 2013 are at least four (small) OCRs–not as a spectator, but as a participant. Not only that, but I’m back in the gym for the first time in years. And to top it off, as I pen this note, I’ll be running (well, running/walking) a local 5K trail with Sandy tonight. Not for time necessarily but for fun–and I’m thinking (or at least hoping) it won’t be the last time.

No more excuses. It’s time to play again.

And at the end of 2013, we’ll see if I still like the taste of kool-aid.

3 thoughts on “Drinking the kool aid

  1. Posts like this perfectly sum up what the New England Spahtens is all about – an all inclusive group of folks who find motivation and inspiration from just being around each other… can't ask to be associated with a better class of people.

  2. Fantastic post Vince!

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