One year ago, on a whim I signed up for the Fueled by Fine Wine half marathon.  Though I’ve been a casual runner for most of my adult life, this would be the first race I’ve run in almost a decade.  The reason I chose this race had more to do with what would be going on after the race than with what would happen during the race.  The post-race celebration included twenty wineries from Oregon’s Dundee Hills offering generous samples of their famous Pinot Noir.  But a funny thing happened on the 13.1 miles I had to run to get that sampling of fine wine.  While running up, over and through those beautiful vineyards something clicked inside of me and suddenly I felt like running was what I wanted do and a runner was what I wanted to be.  I was happy with my time of 1 hour 54 minutes on that difficult course and certainly enjoyed the wine and cheese festivities afterwards.  However, the next day, despite the sore muscles and the wine-induced hangover, the question I couldn’t get out of my head was, “What’s next?

Well, since then I’ve run three marathons (including Tokyo, Buenos Aires and a 3rd place finish at the Pacific Crest a few weeks ago), three half marathons, and several shorter races.  I’ve logged over two thousand training miles, lost 25 pounds, and read several dozen running books.  I’d be the first to admit that my personality borders on the obsessive, but it’s still amazing to me that in just one year I have accomplished what I set out to do—to become a runner.

To celebrate this one year anniversary, I thought it would be fun to do the Fueled by Fine Wine half marathon again.  Lining up for this year’s race I remembered standing in the same spot a year ago wearing ratty old gym shorts, a cotton T-shirt, and a worn out pair of running shoes.  I also remembered feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement, hoping that it wouldn’t hurt too much.  This year I was wearing a white running singlet, knee high compression socks, and a pair of lightweight racing flats.  Again I felt that mix of nervousness and excitement, but for different reasons—this year I was planning on going fast.  The course had been altered slightly, but was no less difficult and once again we had beautiful weather.

I wound up finishing in 1 hour 29 minutes, placing 5th overall, winning the masters class (over 40 years old), and receiving a magnum of Pinot Noir and a Tiffany wine glass.  I honestly didn’t expect to ever win a race and I gave this blog entry the title I did because I know I may never win one again.  Of course I hope there will be more, but it’s the running itself and not the thought of winning that keeps me going.  It really is incredible how much things can change in just one year.  I’m smiling now just thinking what the next year may have in store.