This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
January 16, 2006 - It's Just One Mile
January 16, 2006. The day I lost my mind. The day that I became a new person. The day that changed the future. The day that changed the world..... okay, maybe I'm getting carried away a little. It was a big day for me even if I didn't know it at the time. It was only one mile at a VERY slow pace in the rain but it was the FIRST mile. It left me bent over, hands on my knees gasping for breath, feeling a little embarrassed and wondering if I would ever try it again. Thankfully, I did.
I ran another mile two days later and it was just as bad, if not worse. At the end of the first week I ran LONG. Yep. I pushed the envelope and threw down a 2 miler and it hurt. Bad. But it was a good hurt. Weird how something that seemed like the hardest thing in the world could feel good but it did. I kept telling myself, "Keep your eye on the prize." The prize in this case was an attempt to win a small weight loss contest. I didn't care about running, losing weight or the prize money. I just wanted to win because losing sucks.
I was never a runner. As a kid, running was used as a form of punishment for sports. I joined the USMC after high school and, of course, we were required to run. Once a year we would run 3 miles as fast as possible for the Physical Fitness Test. Other than that it was mostly formation runs which are really just a very slow jog. My best time in the 3 mile PFT came when I was 19. I REALLY wanted to *win* an Iron Marine Award. It's just a certificate that is awarded for obtaining 285 out of 300 points in the fitness test. Not a big deal but I wanted one. So I trained for a few weeks- hated it- and ran the 3 miles in 18:05 which earned the award. I never cared about running again.... until 14 years later.
In 2006, I was a 33 year old husband, father and college student. At 5'11" and 230 lbs, I was a LOOOONG way from the 190lb Marine of my past. But the running was changing that. The weight started coming off and my pace improved. By May I was down to 195 and ran my first 5k, finishing in 21:07 and placing 2nd in my age group. The light bulb in my head came on and I started thinking about becoming a "runner". Guess the idea that I could be decent and actually compete in some of the smaller events had me hooked.
In June 2006, we ended the weight loss contest. I won, losing exactly 50 lbs, but by then it no longer mattered. I was becoming a runner and the rest was just the frosting. On July 4th, I ran 5 miles for the first time and finished a 10k race a week later with a time of 43:15. I ran several more 5 and 10k's before tackling a 1/2 marathon in November. I knew that it would be hard but had no idea just how hard. The week before the race, the flu-bug hit and left me drained on race day but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I gave everything I had that day and finished in 1:30:36. I was very happy and proud but really thought I would not do anything like it again. Wrong. So very wrong.
Fast forward 5 years and I am preparing for a 100 mile trail race. Yep. The same dude that could barely run that first mile. The same dude that started at 230 out of shape pounds. The same dude that said "never again" after the first 1/2 marathon. Since that first mile, I have logged over 8,000 miles, ran events from 5k to 50 miles, gained a new perspective on life and discovered that I can do more if I just try. January 16, 2006- Proof that ANYBODY can become a runner. Just get out there and make it happen.... one mile at a time.