As I mentioned in a previous post, I got back into running about 4 years ago. It has led me on quite a journey learning about myself and as long as my legs will allow me to keep running pain free, I don’t think this journey will end. But where is it going? Well to know that, I’ll have to tell you where I’ve been first!
I ran cross country and track & field in HS and had some pretty good success with it. Managed to get down to a 2:02 half mile and a 5:05 mile. I would say that is ok.
After high school, I continued to run in college and even shortly after college but primarily to stay in shape. Even though I did run after high school, my intensity level was a lot less than it was in high school!
Years went by and as family life settled in and daily routines as a homeowner and father of two arose, the pounds started to pile on and the waistline started to expand. If I ran 3 times a year I was probably exaggerating. Then in 2012 I got a phone call from a friend who I ran cross country with in high school. He had become the alumni director in my high school and was reaching out to some of his running buddies to get a group of alumni runners to run an alumni race at the school’s varsity cross country city championships. I couldn’t pass up seeing old friends and running the course I used to run at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, so you know I said yes and showed up.
In high school, I ran the 2.5 mile (4k) course in high school usually under 15 minutes. On that day I ran the alumni race and out of 120 alumni, I finished 118th in the race and it might as well have been 119th because me and a buddy ran together and we finished together. My time was 23 minutes and change! Now let me stop for a second and say time should never be an issue to a new runner. But when you used to do this week in and week out and see where you are now, it’s an eye opener! I felt helpless on some of those hills while I was running and woke up the next day in insane amounts of pain.
In the following months, I let that day scar me for a while for really no reason. Weight piled on after that and I developed some nagging pains in my ankle that a foot doctor said were weight related. I peaked out at close to 200 pounds.
I love my family but when your daily routine consists of work, home, eating, drinking, lounging around the house and sleeping, it’s time for a change.
Cue up running.
My doctor prescribed me orthopedic inserts. At a very slow pace, I started to run again regularly. I changed my diet and in the course of a year my weight started to drop. In that year, I would come home and spend time with my family but I would yearn for a run. Sometimes when I would have a bad day at work, and even to this day, I tell my family, “Look, I’m not in a good place right now, can you give me an hour?”. Off I would go for a run and I would come back a changed person emotionally and mentally. For the past four years my need for a run has been like a drug but of course this is a good drug! I blame the euphoria that I mentioned in my last post and the endorphins that running brings.
How many of you out there feel tired all of the time. How often do you settle for nights on the couch which follow another night of takeout food? Weekends come and go and no exercise was done. Do you miss how you looked in high school or college? Are the clothes getting tight? Or do you wake up hungover way too many mornings?
Running worked for me – it can work for you! Start that change – all it takes is for you to get up and take the first step!
Get out and run, one step at a time!