If you were to ask me what I would be doing with my life a year ago, I wouldn’t have said running. I looked at running not as a sport or as an activity to get in shape but saw it as a horrendous and grueling waste of time. Why do people run? Why put yourself through that Hell to only break a sweat and feel the pain in your feet, knees, and thighs? I disliked runners. I cursed when I saw them running. Get off the road, psychos!
Do I want to put myself through all that nonsense? No thanks! I’ll pass. I will never run. You will never see me running just to run. If I was to ever run, it’d be from the zombies. That was then. This is now. Things are a little different. Things change. People change. I picked up running and since that day in January, I haven’t looked back. I am still wearing those same Nike shoes I put on back in January. I am still running. I am still smoke free (four months now). I never did get to the gym like I wanted but that is okay. I still run. I still get to get out there and get some sort of workout. I still like running and am pretty happy that I started it up.
The last time I talked about running was back in March. It was the first official race I have even ran. I did pretty well. Before that, I posted the beginning of my running days. I ran 10 times and only run 10 miles. Jumping forward, I’ve accumulated a nice amount of miles and hours.
I don’t care if there are people out there who do better than that. I am not running for you. I am running for me. I am running to reach my own goals and not run to beat yours.
I started running a mile a day. I wasn’t ready for 2 miles or even trying a 5k. I was just getting off of smoking and putting that amount of stress on my healing lungs wouldn’t be smart. I needed to start slow. I hurt my knee running a month ago. I had to take time off from my new passion. I could have kept running and sucked it up but if walking after a brief sitting hurt like hell, running was not going to make the pain go away… no matter how much I pumped myself up to make it believable. I rested and let my body do its work. My knee healed and running on it was pleasant once more. I could have probably avoided it all if I just stopped running that one day. Did I stop? No. I ran a good 7 miles on a painful knee. I ran, walked, and hobbled all the way home to rest up and ice it down. Not wise but I am a man and all men are stubborn. Besides, I had to get home.
When I first started running, I ran a mile in 10 minutes. I remember feeling winded after each mile run. How awful is that? I needed to improve. I wanted to get faster. I wanted to see that number go down. I didn’t improve the next day but in time I did. I eventually reach a lower time. I wasn’t to keen on seeing 10 minutes plastered on my runkeeper wall. I wanted better. I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it. As my smoke-free days grew and my continuous running never slipped, my times got better. Sometimes I faltered and the time went up. But I was determined. I wanted to reach under 8 minutes. I did. It took me 12 days to go from 10 minutes to 7:47. A mile run was becoming simple and wasn’t giving me that rush anymore. I needed more. I needed to go farther. Best part of it all was I wasn’t feeling winded after the mile run. Things were getting better and easier.
I ran 2 miles. Then I ran 3 miles. I ran a 5k. Eventually, the running become a drug and I wanted more. I wanted distance now. While I still craved the great times, I wanted to see my running be more than just a measly 1 or 2 miles. I wanted 5 miles. I wanted 6 miles. I wanted 9 and 10 miles. I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it. I can run a good distance and live to tell the tale. I was growing tired of doing the same run each day. I needed to branch out and try another path. My curiosity led me to run 13.71 miles. A proud moment. I am sure my time could have been better but I never ran that much in one day.
I should let it be known. A lot of people at work and other friends ask me constantly if I run the entire time. No, I don’t. I can usually pull 1.2-1.5 miles of running before I get winded. I’ll break and walk some. Maybe a minute, maybe less. It may be more but after I get a little rested, I go back to running. I’ll pick markers when I run. I’ll be running and when I feel like stopping, I push myself to reach a certain spot. I’ll see a telephone pole or maybe a newspaper stand. Anything really. When I spot it, I will tell myself to run till I reach it. If I reach it and feel tired, I’ll rest. If I don’t, then I run more till I feel tired or maybe till I can find another marker. That’s how I run most of the time. I wish I was able to run a full 5k without stopping. I wish I could run 2 miles without stopping. But it hasn’t happened yet. I’ll reach that goal soon.
Still determined to reach a new goal, I wanted to run a mile under 7 minutes. I reached that goal! It was fantastic! I was super excited that I did a mile under 7 minutes. Do I want to beat that? I am always wanting to improve my time but that could be sometime down the road. For now, I should be happy that I get better with every run. I don’t care if there out there who do better than that. I am not running for you. I am running for me. I am running to reach my own goals and not run to beat yours. Do I want to get under 6? Hell, yeah I do! I’d love that. I was thrilled when my app chirped at me telling me I ran a mile in that time.
I am not a professional runner or the guy with all the answers to running. I just run to run. I am signed up for 2 runs in a few months. Both are 5ks. Even running my own 5k’s, they too have improved. I knocked off 3 minutes and now can do it in 23-24 minutes. The first 5k I ran was a few seconds shy of 27 minutes. I like improving. I like knowing the fact that my hard work is paying off. I feel healthier. Not smoking is the greatest decision I’ve ever made.
I don’t want people to think I am some poster child for what can happen after quitting smoking. Anyone can do what I do. There are thousands of people already doing it. I just jumped on the bandwagon and followed suit. Eventually I will run a marathon. If I can run 13.71, I am sure I can do it one more time over. I may feel like dying the whole time but I can save that till after I finish the race. Oh and I do have another goal. I need to conquer a hill. I don’t want to be walking up that hill anymore. I want to make that hill my b**ch.