When I was 11 years old, I ran in the Utica, N.Y., “Boilermaker” 15K road race for the first time. This 15K event was by far the longest run I had ever attempted. With my father’s help, I trained for the race for several months, gradually extending my endurance. On race day, I was able to overcome searing July sun and finish, never walking except once near the six-mile mark.
After this milestone achievement, I felt a sense of accomplishment. My family was very proud and congratulatory, as were most of my friends. However, I can recall a couple of friends asking, “You ran almost 10 miles in July? Why would anyone do that?”