I won't lie to you...I hated it. It was the hardest thing I had ever done mentally or physically. At that moment in time, and for years before that, my lifestyle wasn't the best. I had always chose to party instead of being healthy and clean. Yet I knew from the very first step that running would be with me for the rest of my life. It fueled me when my former wife would tell me I sucked. Or when certain family members made wisecrack jokes. In their eyes I was wasting time, or turning my back on them. Little did they know, I was only trying to better my life. It had nothing to do with anyone. It had EVERYTHING to do with me. If there was one person from the very beginning that believed me, it was my buddy Milburn. He told me what to do, what to run, HOW to run. I kept at it, trained and ran as much as possible, and entered my first 5k race. I then proceeded to run/race more 5k's over the summer in 2003. I got faster, I felt better, I signed up for a 50 miler!
Something special happens when you tell the girl you are dating (I was separated at that time) that you are going to run a 50 mile race. Instead of getting that loving support you THINK you are getting, you get the opposite. The "I know who you really are and what you do." Or "I studied science and know what the body is capable of doing. You won't make it. You will quit." Needless to say, we didn't date much longer. And after I finished the JFK 50, she wouldn't look at me when we were in the same room. For a guy that people "thought" they knew, they didn't. I went on to finish 6 more JFK's after that. Not to mention finishing 1/2 marathons, marathons, 50k's, and most recently a 24 hour race.
Since I have started running, there have been many good times and bad. I divorced my former wife (good times) and lost my Mom (bad times). I lost so called good friends because I needed to stay clean. Certain family members STILL treat me like a black sheep because I want to lead a better life for my wife and daughters. I finally found a really cool girl and we married. We now have two little girls that are like my best friends. I have seen sights that no person in a car could see. I kicked my bad lifestyle. I'm healthy. I have run thousands and thousands and thousands of miles. I logged a week of 141 miles and a month of over 400. I have been hit by vehicles, had things thrown at me. I've ran side by side with the great Karl Meltzer. I've paced and made a great friend in Brian Boyle. Even when I hate the idea of running, I love running.
And best of all? Me...the guy that was never supposed to keep up with running. The guy who was told he sucked, who was told he would quit, is still going strong all these years later. I have been picked up by great companies like Injinji, ENERGYbits, SKORA Running Shoes, and Vega Nutrition. Maybe not because of speed, but because I am passionate about this thing we all love to do. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am a better person because of running. That's the honest truth.
For those who have backed me in my journey. For those of you who have always believed in me, regardless of speed. To my wife Jerri, who has always been my biggest supporter. To my sponsors who back me, believe in me, and put up with me. If I told you "Thank You" a million times, it wouldn't come close. You all keep me going even when I want to say no more.
And for any new runner that has wanted to quit because it's too hard...DON'T!! It's a daily struggle but so worth it. Don't worry about speed, etc. Just worry about being healthy and doing something fun. It all works out in the end....
And this all started because I stepped foot on this weathered, beaten down, track. Simple things like this track bring great memories out.