Zen Running

by Todd Mahoney

Some of my earliest childhood memories involve (seemingly) endless waiting at finish lines at various running events.  So boring when you’re 7.

My dad was a running fanatic, he joined “the cult” shortly after getting out of the Marine Corps. Growing up, I remember stacks of running magazines and the endless fascination with shoes.  From 1979-1987 he ran this crazy race every year called The Race to Robie Creek – his favorite.  Occasionally we would have tailgate picnics on Shaw mtn road while we waited on Dad to finish a training run. We (my mom, younger sister and I) all thought he was certifiably nuts.  I tried some running in middle school but I found going in circles around a track uninspiring.

Karate was my thing.

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Todd running the 2017 Race to Robie Creek.

From age 10 to 18 I would get sweaty and bruised every week in a karate gi. Because of that,  I developed a healthy interest in some of the eastern philosophies our Sensei incorporated in our class.  It helped me pin down this connection between my physical self and nature I’ve felt. I’ve always found being in the great outdoors a spiritual connection – part of my youth was spent growing up in the Ketchum/ Sun Valley area.  My version of “church” involves mountains, trails, rivers and pine trees. 

Fast forward to 2014.  After a year of suffering through the run-three-miles-nonstop obstacle, I had just completed my first “race” – the FitOne 5k.  It was fun. I was hooked.  As I was recovering (you would think I just ran 12 miles!) I came across this group of runners hanging out under this canopy with “The Boise Area Runners” logo on it.  One of them introduced herself to me and we chatted briefly.  She handed me a card and told me about their group runs.  From day one I found this group to be welcoming and friendly.  They are a valuable resource of running knowledge and encouragement.  It’s nice to have people you can share your victories and failures with over a beer. People who “get it”. Over the years some of the faces have changed but the vibe is always the same. 

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Todd and Andre after the Turkey Day Run.

Every runner has their reasons for lacing up and heading out.  I actually don’t do it for fitness, though it is a nice side effect.  I’m not into medals and the only person I compete with is myself.  I run for this zen like experience I get out on the trails with the critters and trees.  Sometimes I might catch a glimpse of the ghost of my younger self when I’m running up Rocky Canyon.  I love that I have a great location and a  great group of people to do this with.  

Cheers!

~Todd

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