We Got A Story To Tell

CHICAGO IS FOR RUNNERS - PETER YAMASHIRO

 
If you were to ask people to describe me with one word, a lot of people would say “soccer.” I have played since the age of five and I can’t imagine ever stopping. Once I went for a 50/50 ball with a goalie (it was more like 48/52, but I thought I could make up the difference) and he absolutely crushed my leg. After a couple of days of hurting like hell and my toes turning black, I went to the doctor. He told me that I am going to have to think long and hard about giving up soccer. To punctuate his point he rolled up his pant leg and showed me his gnarled tree stump of a knee. For hours I contemplated giving up the beautiful game to keep from turning into the Tin Man, but the next day I decided, “Let this be Future Peter’s problem I’M NEVER QUITTING!!” My appetite for soccer books, articles, and podcasts is endless. Teammates have been subjected to lengthy explanations of the virtues of playing with inverted wingers in a beer league and other Ambien-level dissertations. I could wear out a saint’s patience with my soccer ramblings.

I’ve only ever had one speed. My mom told me how she would take my sister and I to my dad’s softball games when we were little kids and we would take off running around with the other kids. Eventually all the kids would return to the bleachers and I would still be out running around the outfield. Ever since I started playing sports I have definitely been more reliant on will rather than skill. In my dreams I’m sending a through ball with the outside of my boot or gracefully lobbing the goalkeeper - wheeling away with my arms in the air before the ball hits the net. In reality I’m an ectomorph with giant German thighs that will just run and run and run. Even to this day I’ve pushed it so hard playing basketball that I felt like I was going to throw up.

When my girlfriend Kris started signing us up for races, I was that dude wearing a soccer jersey and shorts. It took me a while to swap my indoor shoes for proper running shoes. Two years ago we signed up for the Twin Cities marathon and even then I considered myself a soccer player who happened to run a marathon. It was akin to Doug Dorsey in the Cutting Edge or Happy Gilmore, guys who refused to admit they were better suited for a sport other than the one they loved - figure skating and golf, respectively. On training runs I would get so bored that I would pick someone out down the path and chase them down. I would sprint down to the corner and back or see if I could jump high enough to reach a tree branch. It took me a while to reign in my impulsive need to sprint and be mindful of my stride. After I ran my first marathon, I figured that was it, 26.2 miles is kind of a crazy distance to make yourself run. Darn close to a year ago Kris and I were driving into Chicago with all our worldly possessions. It was a Thursday night and as we were going through Logan Square we saw a huge group kitted out in 3RUN2 shirts. We showed up the next Thursday for our first run with the crew. A couple months later we went to the Chicago marathon shindig and I heard the call of the wild beckoning me. I signed up for this year’s marathon and to quote Raekwon, “I got with a sick-ass clique and went all out.” This is the first time I would ever consider myself a runner. Soccer brings me joy, running brings me bliss.
— Peter Yamashiro