I started my March resolutions off by waking up a 3:24 this morning. I look at my phone and I see that its 56 degrees outside. No better time to get to work on my first resolution this month Run…Three times a week. Now back in January the resolution was to Go to the Gym three times a week. Now I am still committed to that. So I will need to alternate going to the gym and running and then take a day off on Monday. Not to rest but to get up and do inventory. A 3am wake up time.
So why is Running a resolution? Two reasons. One, I used to run, by no means was a good runner. It’s a great way to get and stay in shape Two, I was never healthier mentally nor happier than when I was running regularly back from 2011-2012.
A brief history on my relationship with running. Growing up I was always involved in sports. I played basketball, football, and baseball but I thing I dreaded was running. Always taking up the rear on those laps around the field. My Hometown of Utica hosts the nations biggest 15K on the second Sunday of July called the Boilermaker. For whatever reason I thought out loud, ” I think I would like to do that one day, what an accomplishment that would be”. I think it was my own Grandmother that said… “You won’t do that Billy”. I let their discouragement deter me for a time
Then in early 2011 I learned that I was going to be a father. At that point in my misguided mind was thinking…”Life is now over as you know it…better do these things now because you won’t be able to in the future” As untrue as that was…it got me moving in the right direction.
At this point I was 24 and many years past playing sports and being physically fit. I still had my largely unused gym membership at Bally’s (I was still in Rochester at the time) so I started hitting the treadmill. Starting from 0 and slowly moving up to 6 miles of jogging without stopping.
Then July came…I was so excited and amazed at the sea of humanity from all walks of life. The gun shot off and we were off. Then I got caught in the classic beginner’s trap. I “came out to early”. That’s when a runner starts a race by running way faster than their comfortable pace. So by mile 1.3 I had to stop running. I made it through the entire 9.3 miles doing the run/ walk method. It was a lot of fun. The spectators really get into it and cheer you on every step of the way. I felt good crossing that finish line by the Saranac Brewery. but I didn’t feel like I completed my mission. It was only supposed to be a one time thing before I became a parent. But I decided right then and there I would be back next year.
So I began running more and more. Almost every weekend I was doing a 5K, and 10K, all the way up to a half – marathon. Every time I would go a little further without walking. I can remember all the beautiful little towns and country sides I ran on. I kept every T-shirt and every “BIB” the number you wore on your shirt. if I pick them up I can remember details of every race and there was a least 150 of them from my entire running “career”.
By the time the following July (2012) rolled around I was primed and ready. I ran the entire Boilermaker 15k without stopping. I didn’t stop there. In August I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) without stopping. October was my ultimate accomplishment. I completed the Empire State Marathon 26.2 after running 18 miles non stop.
That was over 4 years ago. As I started jogging this morning I thought about it. As my left knee twinges and the arch of my right foot shot with pain. What happened? How did I get from there to here?
Simple…I got promoted. I got married. I had more kids. And most detrimental.. I got injured. May 2014 , during my annual Tough Mudder I fell 15 feet off the back of a muddy obstacle hitting my head and landing awkwardly. I was knocked out and airlifted to a nearby hospital where I spent the night. Luckily I walked out the next morning with only a concussion and the normal aches and pains that came with the TM. But the following days revealed something more to be wrong.
I woke up with shooting pain in my lower back. So bad that I couldn’t walk at work. I woke up the next morning with no feeling in my left foot and the numbness was moving up left. X-rays, MRI, and trips to the physical therapist and chiropractor revealed a couple herniated disks.
I opted not to have surgery and underwent over a year of visits to the chiropractor. Today the feeling has returned to my extremities and I only deal with tenderness on a day-to-day basis. I still pushed myself to go back to the TM the next year and haven’t missed a year yet. Next one is in June.
So why am starting to run again? It’s not to prove anything. It’s not because I want to go back to running races every weekend. It’s because I want to continue to get healthier. The amazing rush of endorphins I get when I run makes me one of the most enjoyable people to be around. Call me an endorphin junkie.
I look forward to completing this year’s Boilermaker without stopping .
If you are just joining in be sure to check out the rest of Bill’ Happiness Project that started on January 1.