Guest blog by Alma Ramos-McDermott of the L Street Running Club
I am a member of a Facebook group for librarians who enjoy sports, where not every member is a runner. Recently someone in the group, who dislikes running, asked “What made running click for you?” I thought about it, and then posted my response. Below is what I posted, fleshed out a bit more for the Level.
On my first run after high school 33 years ago in 1979, I ran three miles without stopping and felt great. From day one, running clicked for me. I did not run in high school, as I had no interest in doing anything but graduating, so decided to run track in college. I went to The King’s College, which used to be located in Westchester, N.Y. I competed in the 800 and was the leadoff runner for the mile relay. In the final 3 meets of my senior year, my coach added the 1500 meters to my slate of events.
I was told by a fellow teammate that I should run cross-country to improve my track times, but hated the thought because I knew they raced and trained longer than 3 miles. I had never run further than 3 miles, and thought anything over that distance would be painful. I put it off for two years but, since I wanted to improve my track times, I joined the team during my junior year. Once I hit the trails, I was hooked.
Miles passed as I enjoyed running with nature, and my team. I loved improving in track and getting faster in cross-country. As a result of being on the team, by my senior year I had set a course record, was undefeated in dual meets, and was voted by the Coaches to be on their All-American team. Running longer than three miles was now part of my training and me.
After undergraduate school, I taught elementary school while racing in NYC (where I lived for 21 years). I ran for the Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC) in Brooklyn for 5 years and, when I moved to Staten Island, I ran for the Staten Island Athletic Club (SIAC) for 16 years. Team competitions are huge in N.Y.C., and all road races have a team division.
While I taught, I competed for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in the Corporate Challenge series held yearly in Central Park. In the years I spent running for the UFT, my biggest thrill was winning First Female Team in the International Corporate Challenge Championships, beating out teams from the USA, England and Germany. As a result, the woman’s team was invited to compete in the 4×400 meter relay for the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden. I ran the third leg, and we won a silver medal. I also competed with the team in the mixed male/female distance medley relay at the Penn Relays, where I ran the 400 meters. We won bronze.
I loved the feel of being first woman overall in many races, winning age group awards, and helping score wins for my teams. Running cross-country to improve my track times in college had come full circle into now running mostly road races with a few track races. Running made my competitive juices flow and kept me from gaining weight. It was a win-win for me, because it had “clicked.”
When I married and moved to Massachusetts seven years ago, I joined the L Street Running Club. I’m now over 50 years old, but still log over three miles in training, still hit trails with a smile, still love track workouts, still love trying to win age group awards, and still want to win overall. I’m still a member of a N.Y.C. team, the Richmond Rockets in Staten Island, and still plan on helping my team win. I might have to work a little harder than I did in my younger days to get in some winning stats, but logging those miles is what will make me improve. Being competitive and feeling good while running made it “click” for me. It’s not for everyone, but when it “clicks” for you, it’s something you never want to let go. This is what makes running “click” for me.