"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run."
It was time for a fresh start and to become a student of running. I had developed friendships with people who were runners and we were supportive of each other and did training runs together. Like I mentioned earlier; change your habits or energy and you attract like minded people like Brittany, Katy, Janice, Hillary, and Jeff. I started back slowly with short runs after the disaster of the half marathon but the pressure was off now and I enjoyed it more. I found a trail and we ran it a couple of time which I really liked and promised myself I would do more of in the future. I love being in nature and it is liberating to run through it.
As a student of running I have been devouring books like Born to Run by Christopher McDougal, Eat and Run by Scott Jurek, and currently Run or Die by Kilian Jornet along with everything else I can get my hands on about running. Now I was finally getting hooked and found myself looking forward to going for a run. It has never been easy or something I could just lace up and go anytime without preparing but it was getting to be part of who I am. Focusing on proper form and techniques without taking the enjoyment out a run was the goal. And speaking of goals, my daughter Rachel told me about a year long event that a Marine friend of hers was heading up and the hook was further set. The event was to pledge to run 1000 miles from July of 2012 to June of 2013 to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. I would have to maintain twenty miles a week for a year to reach this mark. I really needed something to push me and to focus on but, could I do this? I was determined that this would not be another thing in my life that I set out with a lot of talk and something would happen and it would be yet another thing I failed to finish. I wanted to be successful at this but more than that, I needed to succeed at this! With the help, support and understanding of family, friends, and three pairs of running shoes I would spend the next twelve months finding out what I was made of. I learned to run in the heat, rain, cold, snow and ice, and through another bout of depression through another personal loss. My first run was six miles long on the fourth of July with temps around 80 degrees and I did not use and music and felt energized by my new purpose. I wish I could tell you they all went that well but I cannot. August eighth was the day I hit 100 miles and was briefly excited and then realized I had 900 more to go but I was on my way. September we went to visit my family and I was able to run along the beach road to the lighthouse six miles away where my wife picked me up. This is one of my favorite places and it was part of the course for the famous Falmouth Road Race. October brought my second awesome wipe-out, a new pair of shoes and feeling exhausted reaching one third of the way. November began with having to back off because of lots of headaches from increased blood pressure from stress and maybe over training. I backed off and eased back into my training but my longest run of the month was six miles. December and January I fought my way back building my miles back up, got used to running in the cold and reached the halfway point on January 6th running with my friend Katy at
. I still had a long way to go
but it meant a lot to have someone there for that milestone. February and March
came with snowstorms and more cold weather but I ran outside as much as
possible. I gave in to the treadmill more in March that any other time and it
was not easy but it kept me building miles. In April I purchased a Garmin GPS
watch and used it for the rest of the miles and May finally brought hope of
spring and nerves about finishing. Now it was June and I began planning my
final run and schedule leading up to it. My wife told me about a 911 Memorial
in our area which was perfect because WWP was created to serve veterans who
have suffered injuries since 911. We lived near a VFW which would serve as a
starting point and there is a Korean War Memorial nearly halfway between the two.
The basic route was set with minor variations to get the correct distance. On Loose
Park June 29, 2013 with friends running
with me and family and friends waiting I ran to the 911 memorial at the
firefighters training center and reached 1000 miles. This year taught me so
much about myself and the people I have surrounded myself with. I had set one
of the biggest goals in my life and saw it through with people to support me
all the way.