"Running is an unnatural act, except from enemies and to the bathroom.”
Now on to the subject of running which I was never a fan of until recently. It took a long time to win me over; I knew it was good for me if it didn't kill me first. As a matter of fact while I was in personal training school it was suggested that maybe running was what I needed to take my fitness to the next level. I immediately replied ‘if you ever see me running you better call 911 because there is someone chasing me with a gun, and I think they are a good shot.’ And that was that for a little while longer until I grudgingly realized that maybe they were right. I had found the missing piece to my workouts, but why did it have to be running? I am not built for running and especially not built for speed.
So in 2007 I registered for and under the guidance of my instructor and friend Andrea trained for my first 5K race. I was able to finish the race following the advice just finish your first one and don’t worry about time so you want to do it again. Well, I can’t say I was chomping at the bit to do it again but it was a step in the right direction. The next year; I was working a lot and running very little. I helped a client and friend train for the same race and my advice to him was to let the race come to him and not to wait for me during the race. It was becoming apparent during our training that he was faster that I was. We started out together and once we hit a crowd (which I know he does not feel comfortable in crowds) he drifted off to the side of the street and was gone. Finishing six minutes before I did, the student had whipped the teacher and I was very pleased. That I would find out later is one of the best parts of running and the camaraderie that accompanies the sport. I would spend the next year or two running short distances on and off not because I enjoyed it that much but more because it was helping stay in shape.
Then by accident I discovered a secret to leaning to enjoy running. I started dating Kristen who is a runner, and after a while I fell head over heals for her. We started running together or to be honest we started leaving at the same time and she would get farther and farther away as I struggled behind her. I would do my loop and head back and she would keep going to finish her run. On our first run together I stopped at tree to catch my breath and told her to go to the light and I would jump back in on the way back. What I did not tell her until a very short time ago was that I went behind the tree and threw up. I was not about to tell her then because I was too busy trying to sweep her off her feet. I still was not hooked on running but it was growing on me. It was becoming a good outlet to release stress and the daily grind. I was really trying to like running. It helped me deal with things and remember earlier I talked about dealing with mild depression; it is great for that because when you are struggling during a run it is hard to think about anything else.
I ran a few short races and in September of 2011 I started training for my first half marathon. My heart was not completely in my training partially due to my wife and me suffering a miscarriage that summer but I was going to give it a try anyway. I struggled with keeping up my training schedule but little by little running was becoming my outlet without even realizing it. I had a regular five mile route that I ran once a week and I was having a really rough time dealing with everything. I decided I needed to run so I grabbed my phone for some music and turned on my workout play list (more aggressive than my running play list) turned it up and ran. I finished the same route I had been running five minutes faster than normal, one minute per mile, being fueled by the music and the noise in my head. That is when I realized that running really was cheaper than therapy and better for you than medication. The race was in April and although I had been training I did not do enough quality training and miscalculated my pace and hydration on a warm humid day. I kept a good pace for six and a half miles then struggled for three and a half miles and began the dreaded death march at the ten mile marker. My calves cramped up and I really struggled through the final three point one. I finished but I did not rock “Rock the Parkway” as it was called, and my exact words to my daughters, wife and friends waiting at the finish line were “never again”. Not knowing at the time that almost every single runner has said that at some point and after recovering starts thinking about the next challenge.