Since I have grown up a bit in the past ten years, however marginally that may be, I have grown to have other interests besides playing games on the computer. (candy crush doesn't count, does it?) in the last two years I have really grown to enjoy running. I only started as a way to lose weight and get into the USAF. I ran pretty consistently for 5-6 months, shed 25lbs with the help of food control and weight lifting, and I even ran some 5k and 10k races. That was a huge accomplishment for me, considering when I started to run I couldn't make one lap around the indoor track and the local YMCA, which I think is 1/14 of a mile. As life had it, joining the military, moving a bunch, and being very busy I didn't prioritize running and didn't do much for 10 months. Then I saw an advertisement for a half marathon on the base I work on and thought that was the perfect inspiration to get going again. I halfheartedly trained and managed to get through the race. After finishing I told Allyson there is no way I would ever want to run farther than 13.1 miles.
It so happened that Allyson met a nice lady who was cheering on her husband at the half marathon, and the two found they had lots in common. And, also that her husband wanted a running buddy to do some longer runs with. I said I would give it a try, not knowing what 'longer runs' meant exactly. We started with a 7 miler. Not too bad. It was a couple weeks post race and I hadn't run much, but if made it. Come to find out my new found running buddy had a few marathons under his belt. Eight actually. He said would like to do another as well. I knew I was in trouble. We continued running together and made it back to 13 mile runs when talk of the Paris marathon came up. Long story short, we both signed up, along with another friend of mine.
Race day came, and I was feeling excited. Like I had just opened that new computer game to play. "What would it be like?" "Will I make my goal time?" "Will I get hurt?" "Cramp?" And off we go. I felt great the first 16 miles. And then I stopped feeling good. The last 8 miles were terrible. Way over my projected time. So much so that my running buddy was getting worried about me. But I finished, got my medal and told myself that was all I needed. A little less than a week later, after I had promised not to do another marathon, a curious thing happened...I felt a twinge. "I could do better." And me and my other running pal decided to sign up for another marathon. After some more bad race prep I finished even slower than the last time. And to make matters worse, it was a night marathon and I didn't finish until midnight. I was beat. Sworn off marathons. In fact I even took a couple months off running.
But I couldn't shake it. "I can do better." And I started training again. Miraculously, up to this point I had not been injured at all. I started some intense training. And I was "gettin' it" in training. I was running faster, more miles, and loving it. I did a 15 mile run and had one of my best paces. Then I came home and hobbled around the house for a day. I haven't run since. That was two months ago come Sunday. And Sunday was supposed to be marathon #3. Not happening. All I want to do is go for a run. A nice 10 miler. I don't know what it is about 10 miles, but it's a magical distance. It's empowering.
Instead of running I have signed up for races. In hopes that one day I will run again. I feel like I am once again grounded from my favorite activity. "How will I survive without a run today?" Somehow I've made it. But my mood is a little more dim. You see, running started as a way to get in shape. And I do still use it for that. But it's also become more. It's become my way to de-stress. It's how I slow my mind down. Running the trails is when I plan my future. When I pray. When I connect with God. It's become my definition. It's who I am. I am a runner. And sometime soon, I will be back at it, running with a vengeance.