Friday, November 29, 2013

Who Knew Running Would Take Me So Far?

Cindy, Kelcey, Dave and I at the Golden
Gate Bridge in July of 2010.
Earlier this month, I hit a milestone: 5,000 career running miles.

Since I began running back in April of 2010, I have now logged 5,107 total miles. (Editor's Note: I had planned to blog about this sooner, but life has been getting in the way.) I 'think' I hit the 5,000-mile mark on my 42nd birthday. It was some time around then, but like I said, life's been hectic.

Yet, not too hectic to keep me from running. :)

Truthfully, when I began my running journey, I never imagined I'd become of the runner I have. With the mileage I've racked up, I could've ran to the Golden Gate Bridge and back home - which by the way is one of my favorite places I've run and I ran there very early in my running career.

When people hear of the amount of miles I run, it's almost immediately met with what's become the standard follow-up question of "where do you find the time?"

And the way it's asked seems to be implying that I'm giving up a lot. And honestly, I have given up a lot since I began running, but they've been things I could do without. Not long after I started running, I gave up pop (or soda or Coke or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods). Cold turkey. Haven't had a drop since October of 2010.

And I don't miss it.

Got to meet Bart Yasso at the Go! St. Louis
Half Marathon in April of 2011
In reality, running has given me so much more than it has taken away. It's given me a healthier outlook on life. It's given me more and better sleep - take away the pop and add in early morning runs, and sleep will happen. It's helped me maintain my weight. After dropping 80-some pounds, I swung up and down the scales for a few years - up 20 pounds, down 25 before going back up 15. Running has given me consistency in my controlling and managing my weight.

Running introduced to me to an amazing group of people - the running community. It is hard to put into words how truly awesome runners are. The running community is really a family because we look out for, care for and support one another. Reason this is possible is because the vast majority of runners (aka the middle of the packers like me) realize we are not competing against each other but rather against ourselves.

Yet, what running has given me the most is more life. I have more energy and stamina than I have ever had. In fact, I often say that I'm in much better shape now in my 40s than I ever was in my 30s and possibly in my 20s. For example, this past September, I got up early for a 14-mile, hilly long run before having to get my son ready
My bride and running buddy!
for his baseball games, take my daughter to her soccer game, mow our lawn and then catch a flight for a business trip. And I felt no worse for the wear.

Also, running has given me quality time with my family. My bride has taken up running and we run together often. Plus, my daughter joins us from time to time. (Now, if I can only get the boy to sign on.)

It's been a fun first 5,000-plus miles. I've ran eight half marathons, three full marathons, a 10-miler, a 4-mile race, and three 5Ks. This weekend, I've got a half marathon on tap as I'm running the entire race while running the relay with my bride.

Not going to lie, I can't wait to see what the next 5,000-miles have in store. What new and interesting places will I get to run? How many marathons will I get under my belt? Will I finally make the leap to an ultra?

One thing is for certain, it's going to be a fun journey!

Happy running!