“Of course, I’d really like to be a bird but running is a close second.”—Bernd Heinrich
As I turned for the finish in my first fifty-mile race, waves of joy surged through my body. Crossing the line on a dirt road that marked the race’s end provided a rarely experienced catharsis, the type only possible after working toward a goal for months and then seeing it come to fruition. That’s the beauty of running for me. On the surface it may appear arbitrary, but in reality it is an existential salve that provides a common thread throughout my life as I journey from one race to the next, enjoying the process and the scenery along the way.
In fourth grade, I began running for my school’s cross country and track teams. I was immediately hooked. I loved everything about the sport, especially the simplicity of it. By high school I was keeping extensive training logs, relishing the numbers on the page that showed the workload from season to season and year to year. For me, there was, and still is, a magic to the sport that stems from the subjectivity of training and racing mixed with the objectivity of race results and numbers in the log.
From the beginning, I was drawn to the longest event offered. In middle school it was the mile, in high school the 5k, and in college the 10k. After college, I made the step up to the marathon, which I focused on for years while living in Chicago while also running a couple road 50k races. Since moving to Ithaca, NY in the summer of 2016, I’ve set my sights on trail ultras, moving up in distance and terrain with the hope of competing with the top runners in the region at distances from 50–100 miles.
In 2017, my primary goals are to finish on the podium at the USATF 50-mile trail and road championships (at Cayuga Trails and Tussey Mountainback) and to complete my first 100 miler, likely at the Vermont.
When I’m not running, reading about running, or thinking running, you can usually find me in the library researching and writing my dissertation on the scholarly history of early Islamic Syria or out exploring the local trails with my wife, Jenna, and our adventurous pug, Lola.