Over the last several days I have become reflective of my life and i’ve been trying to identify key elements of my past that have led me to my running self today. Perhaps I have become reflective as my hardcore training has come to an end and now I am in a tapor mode. Perhaps walking over to the Bombing Memorial on Sunday acted as a catalyst for me to begin answering the question of who I am today. Regardless, I do believe self-reflecting is healthy and necessary in order to continue growing as a person (running or not).
One key component of who I am today and why I run today stems from the loss of a close friend. I had a high school buddy whom I was close to pass away at age 33. His life ended when he sneezed. This caused internal bleeding and the death of him. This was a harsh reminder that life is prescious and we need to live it to it’s fullest on a daily basis. I periodically tell my loved ones that I am happy with my life and that i’m glad I run. In a way, I run to honor my lost buddy. To reach down deep and suck out the marrow of life (Thoreau).
Another component was when I went to grad school to work on my Master’s. This two year committment caused me to spend my spare time working on school work instead of exercise. As I neared the end of my degree, I weighed 265 pounds. This was about 50 pounds more than when I had started grad school. I could no longer do normal routines without sounding like a fat man. Breathing heavy all of the time. This lack of physical health drastically affected my mental health. I was miserable inside. Running and heavy exercise helped me lose 50 pounds in one summer. This was also the springboard for me to start doing races. I started with a 5K race and now have ran almost every kind of race. Running changed my outlook on life and I began to regain self-confidence.
Another key element for me was the running culture. For those who do not know, runners are the nicest people in the world. They do not care what place you come in. Most runners stay and cheer every single runner across the finish line. I have developed a few strong friendships as a result of running and i’m beginning to meet new people as a result of races and training runs. Before running, I was a person who was comfortable staying in my own little bubble. I didn’t like or was uncomfortable meeting new people. Nowadays I enjoy hanging around other runners and listening to what they have to say. I would argue that bonding with other runners is half of the fun with running.
Perhaps the most critical element for me and my running is my family. I want to create a family environment where my three year old and one year old see their daddy running. I want to model exercise so that they will want to do the same. My kids do not have to be runners but I do want them active. Unfortunately for my kids, they have some of my gentics which means that they can grow up and be fairly “big boned.”
Probably the biggest high I ever get is running a race, giving it my all, and hearing my little boy cheering me on as I sprint to the finish line.
As I ponder the final week before Little Rock, I know that I will channel the elements listed above. I will push my boundaries and become a Stotan (Spartan and Stoic combined). To be stotan one has to become mentally and physically tough. To push beyond boundaries. I think about the Little Rock Marathon and I start to foam at the mouth. I want to start this race and prove to myself once again that I can complete the 26.2 mile race. I may not be the fastest, but I will give it my all. I will win within myself and that is what counts. Will also have a chance to bond with some of my close running friends. Running has changed my life for the better and I hope I can share that with as many people possible.
I’ll post more laster.
FYI…Registered for OKC Memorial Marathon today.