Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Journey of 1,000 Miles

"A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step" - Laozi

Over the weekend, I just surpassed the 1,000 mile mark since I started running at the end of 2010.  Time to reflect on this milestone...

The First Step

I was finishing up grad school in Florida, and I was fat.  I've always been a pretty good athlete, but that's been conflicted with a lifetime of weight struggles.  In grad school, I let myself go, and I knew it.  I reached a breaking point.  No more.

I went to the gym, and I stepped on the scale.  284.  The heaviest I have ever been.  I was so humiliated.  But I knew that there was no time for that - it was go time.  I knew it was going to be a long road, and just at the right moment, inspiration came in the form of a YouTube video.  This video.  I laced up my shoes, and I headed out for a run.  I made it a quarter mile.  I started sobbing.  This was one of the lowest moments of my life.  But it was only the beginning.  I kept going.  And that quarter mile has always been a reminder - and the start of my new journey.

The Last Step

I went out for a run on a chilly, wet, fall day in a prairie park in Illinois.  And it was beautiful.  My running hasn't been up to par recently, so I was going to be happy if I made it 3 miles.  I made it 6.5.  And it felt gooooddd!  A great way to surpass the milestone.

The In Between

This has been an unbelievable journey filled with tons of ups and downs.  At least 1 race every month since then.  54 races.  6 half marathons.  1 triathlon.  1 marathon.  Several states.  So many unbelievable memories.  I've met so many amazing people through being a part of the running community.  I've been able to strengthen relationships and get to know friends in a better way through running.  I have pushed my limits and discovered levels of strength within me I didn't know existed.  

The Future

I know at some point relatively soon there will be a shift.  I'm not built for long distances, so those will eventually come to an end.  The commitment it takes to run a race every month and continue that streak will become more challenging as I embark on other commitments that life offers.  Running for me will look different.  But no matter what, it will always be a part of me.  Why?  The reasons are simple.

I am a better person when I am running.
I am a better person because I am a runner.

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