Today marks the day eight years ago that I started running. I call it my running birthday. I’ve recounted the story before. On a warm summer afternoon in late August, I put on a pair of running shoes from Walmart. (I didn’t know any better then.) Me and the senior pastor of the church where we were on staff went out to the track at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton and I took my first tenuous steps into the world of running.
Our senior pastor had encouraged me to start running. The amazing part about that is that I was 260+ pounds at the time. We got out on the track and ran 200 meters. Then we walked back to the finish line. We repeated that 3 more times and boy was I whipped. It took us 20 minutes to complete a mile. Amazingly the next day, I went out and did it by myself. The great thing is that Barry continued to push me. He really was my accountability partner. He would run with me about once a week during those initial 9 or 10 weeks.
One of the guys at church found out that I was running and encouraged me to sign up for a 5K. I did and on November 9 – just two and a half months after I started – I ran a 5K. You might be wondering, “Did you run the whole thing?” Yes. It took me 36:59. It might not seem fast, but it was wonderful and I was so proud of myself. Eventually I lost over 90 pounds and I have gained a few back. I’m not as fast as I once was, but I am working on that. The last couple weeks have been encouraging. This summer has been one of the best summers in several years for running. I now have four 100+ mile months in a row. The last time that happened was 2013 and I was preparing for the Richmond Marathon. In 2014, I had a stretch of three 100+ mile months with an 80 mile month and then three more 100+ mile months.
I would like to get to 1,000 miles this year. 2014 was the last time I accumulated that many miles. In order to do that I have to average 93 miles a month to the end of the year. I’m not too worried about September or October, but in November and December, I ran into trouble…so I really need to persevere as we get to those months.
It’s been eight years and I plan to keep pressing on!