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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Run

by Owen Venesky

Run [ruhn] . verb: to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground.

There are several definitions for the word run, but this one is my favorite. It is the most elemental. Running, or to run, by definition is a very simple task. To some, simple is boring. To others, simple is nearly perfect. Whatever your thoughts are on “simple” it does, undoubtedly, leave plenty of room to take it, whatever it is and put your own spin on it. For me it is running.

The appeal running has for me is not just the simplicity, but the truths it can help us reveal to ourselves. There is no hiding in running. You cannot hide in the uniform, hardly ever on the course, and without exception Never from the results.

Running has been a hobby and lifestyle for me. It is something I’ve practiced and lived for 12 years, although not always. After running in high school and college, I transitioned, like most, into adulthood where obligations cloud the busy day. Running took a back seat, not just the back seat of a car, but at times it was like running was in the back row of a Greyhound. Running was simply not a priority.

At the start of the 16 -17 school year which was my first year in the district and my first year as the Cross-Country coach, running was seated in the back row of that Greyhound. Running and training to race was just something I knew about from experience and rarely did anymore. It was the enthusiasm I saw in our handful of harriers (runners) at Woodland Hills that gave me a familiar feeling. Like reuniting with an old friend, running was back, though, not all at once. It took a few months to become familiar with the little aches and pains, tiring runs, and frankly the difficulty that comes along with being a new runner again.

The 2016 team doesn’t know it yet, but I credit them with reintroducing me to the old friend I had missed for a while: Running. And for that I owe them a BIG thanks.

Now, every morning, evening, or both when I lace up for that simple task of running I can’t help but be excited. I’m not always excited about the next race, or that maybe the legs feel good and the run feels easy, because that doesn’t always happen. But, what does always sneak into my mind when I run is the fact that I am here at Woodland Hills, where we have so many stellar students with limitless potential, and I can introduce them to running. A simple, challenging, and rewarding pastime which has given me so much. That is my consistent motivation. My goal is to get as many students out for cross-country as possible so they can give running a go. Who knows, maybe running will become their it, which has potential to lend balance, focus, and satisfaction to anyone who is willing to try.

So, having said all of that, don’t be afraid to try a new challenge. Come and be a part of the 2017 Woodland Hills Cross-Country team. Jump in with both feet because, like I said before, there is no hiding in running. The watch does not lie and neither do the results. But, no matter where you are in the pack, you may find an important piece of yourself along the way.

Owen Venesky is the 7th and 8th grade Art teacher at the Woodland Hills Junior Senior High School, and the Head Coach of the Woodland Hills Cross Country Team. He recently finished 33rd in the Pittsburgh Marathon and qualified to run in next year's Boston Marathon.