Wednesday, January 23, 2008

90lb. Weakling to a 135lb. Pillar of Determination

The beginnings of putting one foot in front of the other

Unlike many athletes I was never inherently good at sports, nor did I participate while in High School or College. It was not until I turned 30 that I really got started. Previous to that I had done several 5K races and soon after realized what a great personal sense of accomplishment I got. I’m the happiest and most fit I’ve ever been since running has become a part of me.

Running is a very personal and emotional part of what makes me who I am today and I kind of’ like that person. It takes me away from reality, stress, and many times is where I come up with new ideas and solutions to other parts of my life. It does not matter if I finish first or last, it only matters that the courage and determination was there to start, and for that I can be proud of myself and walk a little taller.

Once I began running as a regular method of exercise, it was with the intent to someday complete a Marathon, which is something I have accomplished…again…and again… When I started running with the goal of a marathon, those 26.2 miles seemed almost unrealistic for a person who was just barely able to run a 5K. To finish a marathon I knew would mean a new milestone in my life and it was a personal accomplishment I knew had to be done. When I started reading, researching, and sharing running stories and information with others I was surprised to learn of many other people who wanted to work towards the same goal. What I leaned in this exercise is that many of these people fell into two categories; the one’s who said “that’s impossible I could never do it”, and those who said “I think I can”. Those who could not even challenge themselves with the vision of running a marathon had given up before they even started. The other camp of people, the ones who said “I think I can” fell into yet two more groups; those with the will power and determination to make a commitment to themselves and actually take action, against those who simply just kept saying “someday”. All my childhood and early adult life felt like a “someday” that never seemed to arrive. Finally here was something in front of me that no one could alter or take away; it was completely up to me to finish what I started. So I knew that “someday” was actually ‘Right Here, Right Now’. No longer would I wait for something to happen I had to make it happen!

Once I started running a few miles and seeing the weekly and monthly gains in distance I continued to become more inspired that my personal challenge of a marathon was absolutely and unequivocally possible. It was only a few short weeks of doing some alternating days of running that I was sleeping better, eating better, and seemed to be generating more positive ideas and influences in my life. I continued reading inspirational words of other runners and athletes, and marvel at the intense inspiration that disabled athletes exude. How can we possibly be negative in the presence of such greatness? With each day closer to my goal I got my self confidence was also gaining momentum and I began to openly share my personal commitment of the marathon to others. When I was met with looks and comments of awe and “you can do it!” I knew now that I was headed somewhere special. As the little train that could, I was also singing “I know I can, I know I can” and set to lay out a calendar and seek more people like me, and if your reading this, people like you. Whether or not someone was interested in running, if they took on a positive attitude then I found myself eating that up like energy bars and getting stronger mentally and physically.

As the 5K race bibs began to collect on my “running wall” I found myself consistently wanting to take the next challenge. To find more support I surrounded myself with people like me who also desired more of themselves and were prepared to make the commitment of time and effort. Soon I found West Coast Road Runners, who quickly took me in and adapted me to better running through demonstration and communication.

The completion of my first marathon was more than just an event; it took on an emotional level in me that I get with each new distance challenge. It’s a moment I will never forget just as you will never forget your first marathon, no matter how long it takes you to get there. Just know that you will do it, and you will have earned it.

Not long after that first marathon I was still on a runner's high, which does not come frequently but when you are in the zone, you’ll know it and want more of it. It’s been a few years now since I got started and because I am still inspired by watching and teaching others, I have continued to accumulate marathon medals. After hitting double digit marathons I took up the personal challenge of an Ironman 70.3. Yet another goal which at the time seemed very difficult to obtain but don’t forget that I also said “any real goal is obtainable if you desire to challenge yourself”. I challenged myself and stuck to the program and made sure to get good advice along the way. One trick that I try to always remember is that with the abundance of information out there not everything you see, read, or are told will apply to what you want to do. It’s up to you to listen to not just the information but your body as well, but if you got this far chances are you know what I’m talking about and have already started to tweak your own recipes of success.

The challenge of the Ironman 70.3 has come and gone and it was again opportunity for me to see myself reach new heights in physical fitness and mental strength of commitment. That’s when I began this year with the commitment to begin running Ultras (that which is anything beyond the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles).

With each new race or milestone completed I continually look for the new challenge to keep me inspired. One thing that really keeps me going is being able to see and help others reach their goals. True inspiration really does come from regular people doing extraordinary things.

I guess my motto of all this is that ‘You can never give up and no matter what anyone thinks or says, it’s never too late’.

2007 Races
1/21 Carlsbad Marathon
2/11 San Dieguito Half Marathon
3/31 California Ironman 70.3
4/21 Santa Cruz Half Marathon
4/28 Wild Miles Relay (5 man team 179 Miles)
6/03 Rock & Roll Marathon San Diego
8/11 Mt. Disappointment 50K Ultra
9/03 Disneyland Half Marathon
9/29 Noble Canyon 50K Ultra
12/02 Cal International Marathon

2008 Races so far…
1/12 Avalon 50 Miler Ultra
1/20 Carlsbad Half Marathon

Until next time Happy Trails and may you find the trail that goes nowhere,


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