Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reflections on Running

In 2012 I decided to take the entire year off from running official races. I think I got burnt-out by running two back-to-back marathons in 2011. I spent the year trying to figure out what my future as a runner looked liked. Honestly, I was experimenting with the idea of not being a runner. However, what I learned during that time is that there is no going back: once a runner, always a runner. So, as I get ready to run an official race, the Long Beach Half Marathon on October 13, 2013, I have spent some reflecting upon how I became a runner. In my next post I will list my race statistics so that I can see them all in one place.

I think my very first official race was the Huntington Beach 4th of July Firecracker 5K. I think it was 1992, the year after I got sober. Honestly, I don't remember much about it. I didn't save my bib. I don't know my finish time, and I can't find it archived on-line. All I remember about it was that I was wearing my ShoreLife Church t-shirt because I had just had my encounter with Jesus Christ.

I first started casually running in 1991. I got clean and sober on June 27, 1991. At first it was tough to stay sober so I was trying to occupy my time and I did a lot of walking. In short, I began running just to stay clean. Three months later I found ShoreLife Church in Huntington Beach. I became a follower in the way of Jesus on September 22, 1991. Shortly after that, I found a running buddy, Patty Mastro at church. Patty and I did quite a bit of running together. It was low-key and we didn't track mileage.

After I got married in July, 1993, and definitely after I had my first child, I began my "fat and happy" phase. Actually, it wasn't all happiness, but I was also back in college, working during the day and going to school all night. Thus, the script I told myself was I had no time to run. When I stood at the alter and said, "I do" on July 24, 1993, I weighed 165 pounds. By the time the Twin Towers were struck in 2001, I tipped the scales at more than 225 pounds!

I found running again in 2005. That was the year I began leading the junior high ministry at TerraNova Church. At one of our first events I realized that I didn't have the energy I should have as a 36 year old. If I was going to keep up with the 7th and 8th graders, I would need to drop some pounds. Running was going to be a means to the end of weight loss. I ran and, slowly, but surely, and the pounds came off. I registered for a 5K on Memorial Day, 2005. That was the first time I ever kept my bib from a race.

In 2008 I purchased a Nike+ sportsband device. I recorded my first run on July 5, 2008. And on July 30, 2008, I logged my first 100 miles with Nike+. Somehow, that first eCertificate saying I had run 100 miles was a great motivation to me. On December 21, 2008 I hit 500. The 1000 mark came on May 1, 2009.

I would say that 2009 was the year that crystallized my love of running. That was the year of my first marathon. I ran the Los Angeles Marathon on May 25, 2009.You can read Running Stats 2009 to hear more, but it was a very enjoyable experience and a great year! When I crossed that finish line of my first marathon, I was easily back down to my wedding weight. I ran another marathon in 2010. Then I ran two marathons at the end of 2011 and struggled with my passion for running all during 2012. The thing is, even though I wasn't logging a lot of mileage, I wasn't content with not running.

As I type this, I feel like I am "back" from my 2012 running lull. One thing that has truly helped me to get back my passion for running in 2013 is that I found another true running partner in my friend John Bogler. We have been consistently running at least once per week together for quite some time now and the commitment has been very motivational. John and I are training to run the Long Beach Half Marathon on October 13, 2013. Additionally, I am currently planning on running my 5th marathon, Surf City, in Huntington Beach, on February 2, 2014.

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