Since this is my first post, let me give you a brief history about myself. I am 43 years old and a carpenter/woodworker. About 25 years ago I thought it would be a good idea to pick up a cigarette. NOT a good idea! For the next 20 years I smoked nearly two packs of Camel Lights a day. At 38 years old it was time to quit or get used to the idea of dragging an oxygen tank behind me in the future and dying a very miserable death quite prematurely. Success! No more smoking but unfortunately 30 pounds seemed to materialize out of nowhere. The only way I knew to lose the weight was diet and exercise.
In high school I was on the track team, mostly just to hang out with my friends. To say that the team did not benefit from my membership would be an understatement. Since this is the only sport that ever led to any serious weight loss in the past, why not try it again? After the first “run” of half a mile, I started thinking that this was going to be impossible. It never seemed this difficult in my memories of high school track. Walking the rest of the way back home I decided to give it another shot in a couple days. At least this time that horrible feeling of exhaustion and loss of breath would not take me by surprise. Week after week went by and I worked my way up to a few miles very slowly. The weight was starting to disappear and this gave me even more incentive to run longer and faster. One day my father approached me and said that I should enter one of those local 5k races. This is something that never crossed my mind before and something I was completely against? Go to a race with a bunch of runners and look like a fool? No way! After my dad’s incessant attempts to get me to sign up, I finally gave in. The first race was “The 5k Mayor’s Run Against Breast Cancer” and I was scared to death. Eventually I accepted the fact that last place isn’t so bad as long as I finished. The gun went off and I started running. It didn’t turn out as bad as I thought. Finishing about mid pack of 150ish wasn’t bad with a time of around 30 minutes and 30 some seconds. What a rush! I was hooked.
Fast forward to 2011. Last year I raced 53 races which included 10 half marathons, a full marathon and a 50k which netted me 35 awards. I even came in first overall in one of the shorter races. Now I run 5k’s in just under 21 minutes, half marathons in 1:38 and still have plenty of work to do. I have to say that running has not only made me healthier and happier but I have found a large group of friends within the running community that are very supportive of each other. I think that may be the greatest award I have received.© Copyright 2012 The Hornet, All rights Reserved. Written For: Adventures In Running