Last week on the ol’ Twitter machine someone asked the question: Do you remember your first race and have you run it since? Which then started me thinking back to my journey as I started running. The year was 2000-something and the leadership team for the team on which worked had just changed with a new leader and new teammates within the last year. At the same time I had been talking with area leader about running and how he started and the enjoyment that he received from running. At the same time there was a volunteer opportunity that was being offered by the company to walk/run a 5K that was being paid by the company to participate. What better way to begin running than by entering a FREE race. So we as a team decided that we would sign up. I completed the race in I believe was 45 minutes and then helped cheer the rest of my team on as they finished in just under an hour. I have not run that race again for various reasons but my personal journey into running was just beginning.
When I started running I always swore that I would never run a marathon. And as of date, I still have not. Especially when I look back on how long it took me to complete my first 5K without walking. I even remember the first time I thought I pulled the feat off; I came flying across the finish line feeling good and then looked up at the clock. The clock said 18 minutes and some change. There was no way I had come in 18 minutes, even though I had. Unfortunately, on this particular day there were three 5Ks taking place that day and somehow the police officers that were out to mark the course sent runners in the wrong direction making the course a mile shorter than it should have been.
Finally in 2012 I completed my first 5K and was ready to up the challenge to a 10K. So that Thanksgiving I decided that I was going to do a Turkey Trot 10K. Figured it would pretty simple, especially since I was familiar with the course; after all it was a 5K course with two loops. I would know where all the mile splits were, the hills, where the conserve energy on the hills, all the mental things that I would I have to work through. And man was it cold that morning in Atlanta, it was a bone chilling 31 degrees. It was so cold that some unfortunate soul had left their sprinklers on the night before and the sidewalk in front of their house was pure ice. After that race I concentrated purely on the 10K distance when a friend challenged me to run the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.
Needless to say I conquered the 10K and so course the next challenge became the half marathon. And man did that become a major challenge. It was probably magical marathon number 13 before I was able to go line-to-line without walking. There were many terrible experiences among those first races, and most of them revolved around rain during the race. Surprisingly it was a race that I was not prepared to complete and was looking to do just as a training run to see if I could make 10 miles before I had to walk. Well, there must have some miraculous about that day because that is when I completed my first and then did it again two weeks later.
Then the thought of going 26.2 began to cross my mind. So I decided I would take a chance on doing Chicago for 2016. Unfortunately, I had to defer because sinus headaches severely hampered my training. Which in the end was a mixed blessing. Turns out that due to Hurricane Matthew I would not have been able to make the flight anyway. So I was deferred until this year and then for some reason decided that I would run the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2018. That is where the NEVER of this story comes in. Because when I started running and people would ask are you going to run a marathon my flippant response was always, “Why run a race named after a guy that died at the end?” Now I am training to do two within three months of each other, YIKES!
And another thing I swore I would never do again? Go back to school. Well, on Friday I was accepted into a Ed. Leadership program. So now I will have the enjoyment of going to school AND training for a marathon at the same time. Now I just need people to tell me I can’t so I can prove them wrong.