On October 5th, 2011 I became a runner. The type of guy I used to snicker at and say “there is a difference between dedication and stupidity.” To understand why this date is significant as my beginning you must understand my running history. In 2007, I was asked to run in St. Louis Half Marathon. I began running in January to prepare for the May race. The day before the race, my wife gave me a membership to a golf course and I blew the race off the next day to play golf! Needless to say, I did not run again until the fall of 2010 when I decided to run a full marathon. My training went downhill with injuries and even though I completed the race, I still did not call myself a runner. I was a basketball player not a runner, I mean I have a car – why run?
So, now this brings me to October 5th, 2011. I have been training since the beginning of September to run in the National Breast Cancer Marathon (26.2 with Donna) in Jacksonville, Florida in February, 2012. I went to my local running store and was fitted for shoes that are for my body type, foot anatomy, and running gait. Erin, the running expert, explained that it would be a good idea for a guy my size (Clydesdale) to have the right gear. I have run a 5k (PR 23:20) and yet still do not consider myself a runner – until the defining moment I’m about to tell you about.
I was in Kearney, Nebraska at a Ramada Hotel. I woke at 6am for my 30 minute run. I got on my gear, made sure I had my anti-chafing cream (which is now my most important part of my gear, Clydesdale duh) and walked to the door looking out into the complete darkness. Oh, I had mapped my run, hydrated, got some carbs in me, (all the stuff Erin at the running store had told me to do) and opened the door. It was RAINING, not drizzling, RAINING. I looked out that door and realized I had to make a decision. Was I taking this running for real or was I back in bed sleeping? Well, I ran – I ran in the rain and the wind and I loved it. I had a 30 mile/hour tail wind for the first mile and half then I realized that I had a Headwind for the mile and half back, I didn’t care! I was a runner now. When I drive down the road and see people running – I get jealous. I see trails and high school tracks and wish I could go for a lap. I even can spot good runs from the airplane as I take off and land each week.
So now – I am THAT guy. I am that guy you see running with that grin and you wonder why? It’s because I am part of an accepting and welcoming community of runners. I ran 15 miles today, not fast, not slow – but I ran and finished, I am a runner.
There is a quote I like – “it’s not amazing I finished, it’s amazing I started in the first place,” (John “the Penguin” Bingham) and that sums it up for me.
Run Hard – Always Finish