The Casual Runner


This week has been an interesting one. Believe it or not, a professional sports team from Cleveland, Ohio brought home a World Championship!

I know, I still cannot believe it as I sit here typing that statement, it still feels surreal. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA Champions! Let that soak in for a moment.


I grew up in Northeast Ohio, which means I grew up a Northeast Ohio Sports fan: for my entire life I lived and died with the Cleveland Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers (plus Ohio State and the Pittsburgh Penguins as I had a Mario Lemieux poster on my wall as a kid). As a result, I am all too familiar with The Drive…The Fumble…The Shot…and don’t even get me started about someone stealing our football team.

Sure, as a fan of the Penguins and the Buckeyes, I was not completely devoid of positive sporting memories, but for 52 years, Cleveland sports fans knew nothing but disappointment and heartbreak…oh the heartbreak.

Steve Pic D

I am a fan of Cleveland and of the people who are fans of Cleveland.  But, after more than a half century of disappointment, on some level, people started wondering whether it would never happen, whether it ever…could happen. While hope springs eternal and there was always next year, at times, it really was hard to keep believing.

Yesterday Tracy, a fellow Casual Runner, shared the story of her First Mile. In it she told us how, during her Casual Running adventure, she achieved things that she previously did not think were possible. This has become a recurring theme among those Casual Runners sharing their First Mile Stories.  While it is great that so many of us, myself included, have proven ourselves wrong, it got me wondering, why did we ever doubt ourselves?


If running were easy, everyone would do it. But what makes running difficult is more often than not external factors, but our own self doubt. Yes, not long ago I wrote about my recent struggles to return to a more rigorous training routine, but the difference is, now that I KNOW I can accomplish my running goals, I will never again experience the same doubt that I did before I ran my own First Mile. 

Now, if only we can find a way to share this message with more folks out there. Whatever your goal is: 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, triathlon, more, less, it all starts with a single step. It all starts with a first mile. It all starts with believing in yourself, believing that you can do it.

Many, many times over the course of the past 52 years, Cleveland sports fans did not believe that we would ever experience a championship ever again. Now, thanks to the inspiring efforts of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, we are already thinking about not only a repeat, but also about maybe having an October surprise from the Cleveland Indians (who are in first place). And we are hearing a lot of good things about this latest Cleveland Browns rebuilding effort…yes, believing is contagious.


And so it should also be when it comes to your own fitness and Casual Running goals.

Whatever your goals are, just do it. Go ahead and lace up your shoes, get out there, and pursue your dreams. We here at Casual Runner will have your back. Yes, you will have setbacks and disappointment along the way, that is perfectly normal. Just keep running and pursuing your dreams. Just do it.


As Candace and I stood in downtown Cleveland with more than a million other exuberant fans for the Cavs championship celebration, it occurred to me that, from time to time, we all need to be reminded that it is OK to believe again, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Editor’s Note: Yes, we know that the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2016, and Mike is very excited about this as well. However, the Cavs Championship has great historical significance, and Pittsburgh wins so much we wanted Cleveland to enjoy its moment!

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