On March 15, 2014 something very significant happened to me. It was an average Saturday afternoon but something uncommon was about to happen. On my way upstairs to bed I realized that I was winded when I reached the top. Now, I'm not talking winded like bent over, trying to catch my breath kind of winded. What I did notice was that I was needing to take deeper breaths than usual. I thought to myself, "I'm 36 years old. I can't be out of breath from walking up the stairs." Yet there I was, breathing deep and quicker than usual.
The next day the family and I went to church and when I got home I sat in my recliner (a favorite spot of mine) and made a life-changing decision. The series of events that followed came without much thought or planning. I climbed those same steps as the night before (seemingly less winded) and changed my clothes. First came a pair of basketball shorts, followed by a regular T-shirt, socks, and tennis shoes. I went downstairs out the back door and I ran. I didn't know how far or how fast I could run but I didn't care. I just ran.
I made it about 1.5 miles before I couldn't go any more. My legs and lungs were on fire but I had something that wasn't hurting, my pride. There were a lot of excuses for not wanting to run. People would see me running and think, "Look at him. Must be his first day running." The things that stopped me from exercising were all in my head and mostly revolved around how I thought others would view me. But this day, I didn't care. I just ran.
Since that day I began training. I wasn't training for a race but for a healthier lifestyle. I gave up drinking Mt. Dew that day and I haven't looked back. Until that day, I probably averaged five or six cans of Mt. Dew a day. You read that correctly…a day. I haven't given up caffeine but my caffeine intake is considerably lower than before that day.
On Saturday, April 19 I ran my first 'official' 5K. It was a very small, local running event and I was proud that I entered and ran the best I could. Having never ran an official race before, I didn't know what to expect or what to do when it was over. I stood around afterward and to my surprise, I finished first in my age division. Ok, there were only two people in my age division but still, I won. I was a little embarrassed on the outside but I was proud on the inside.
Fast forward a few months and I have ran a few more official 5K races and I even ran in the inaugural Bedford Half Marathon. I trained hard for that race and my goal was to just finish. My official time was 2:07 (two hours and seven minutes). My hope for finishing was 2:15 so I was happy with the result. It was nice to have friends like John Roth, Lester Burris, Ben Burris, and Allen Burris there to run "with" and for the encouragement and support.
My running schedule usually includes three or four runs per week (I really like rest days) with a normal run between three and six miles. My pace is coming down and now I'm looking to add distance. I've signed up to run the GiveThanks4-Miler in Mitchell on Thanksgiving morning.
What a difference a few months (and stairs) can make!