I Run, Therefore I Am

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My dad is a runner.

Being a runner is like being an alcoholic, marine or biker.

You may sell all your bikes and not ride in years, but you will always be a biker at heart.

Once a marine, always a marine.

And even though you don’t touch a lick of alcohol in a decade, you are still considered an alcoholic.

Even though 5 heart attack, orthoscopic knee surgery and a torn (muscle?) keep you from running, you are still and always will be a runner.

In June of 1979 my dad was a part of an unofficial world record (Guinness didn’t show up) for the most miles by a 10 man team in 24 hours. 289 miles. Dad did 28. He ran 5 min miles for the first 20 miles.

THE FORMATIVE YEARS
My dad always ran growing up. Before anything was done each day, no matter where we were he always ran. Back early in my parent’s marriage he used to run as much as 14 miles a day (8 in the mornig and 6 in the evening) and 2000 by the end of June (he said that he would only finish out the year with 3000 miles).. He was obsessed.

I’m nowhere near like that, but I like a good run.

I ran as a way to keep in shape. During high school I ran a lot because of JROTC. I was easily one of the most fit kids in my battalion. I know from looking at me now, no one would ever guess I was in JROTC, let alone the battalion commander. As such, I had to be able to out run, out push up and out perform any cadet under me. And I did.

As a freshmen I joined my battalion’s ‘elite’ unit the Eagle Team. We had to run 2 miles in 15 minutes, do 60 push ups in 2 minutes, and do 60 sit ups in 2 minutes. I failed the first administration of this test. The next one was 15 days later. My dad and I embarked on Hell Week Times 2 Plus 1 to get me ready. We both trained everyday in running, push ups & sit ups. The test day came… I ran my fastest 2 miles to date and vomited at the end. But I passed and would later become Eagle Team commander on my way to battalion commander.

THE DEVELOPMENTAL YEARS
After graduating high school, and beginning to attend college I ran as a necessity. My third year in undergrad I joined our soccer team and had to run tons. I was no longer the fastest or most fit kid on the block. But I began to run again. Running meant little to me for the next few years.

After graduating undergrad and moving a few times we were in Gainesvie, Fl. Blocks from a middle school with a track. I would take my dog, Raizon, to this fenced area and let her run off leash while I ran anywhere from 2-3 miles. This was great bonding time for me and her and the beginnings of a great relationship.

Then Ronda got pregnant with Noah. I gained like 20 sympathy pounds. Very rough.

THE CRITICAL YEARS
In January of 2007 we moved from Gainesville, Florida to Saint Cloud, Florida. This was a critical move for me and my commitment to running. We moved into a neighborhood that is referred to as the Saint Cloud Lakefront. As you might have guessed, there is a large lake in the area. Thanks to the lake there is a sidewalk along the lake that is a little more than 1.75 from one end to the other. When we initially moved to Saint Cloud we lived .75 miles from the lakefront. After a few months, we moved into a house we bought that was a little close to the lakefront. I would run to the lake, run down the lake and come home. It was perfectly, sublime out of the door running. It didn’t get much better than that.i would regularly log 5 mile runs. In 2007 I logged 750 miles.

THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL
2008 saw the demise of Eli. I went through a mental breakdown that put everything in my life in jeopardy. And running was not exception. We moved into my in-laws house, who live in great hou in a great neighborhood… but I hated running there. My lack of devotion to running declined until we finally moved back to Gainesville in 2009.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN
We moved to an apartment in Gainesville and I rekindled my love for running. I was afforded the time and opportunity to run both on the road and the trail. I love trail running. And for the 9 months we were in Gainesville I run on a lot of trails. I made up much time in my running game. It was back to the hey-days of running. I was running a lot, running far and running fast. And then we moved again.

TRYING TO LOVE RUNNING
We moved to Jacksonville and I ran a little. I began to run with some of the high school dudes from our student ministry in the track at the high school. I didn’t care for track work, but I enjoyed this. I didn’t really like to run in my neighborhood, but I did some. This was frustrating for me, because I had just begun to remember why I loved running and then I was struggling to make my obsession a part of my life again. I ambled through the 8 months we were in Jacksonville.

BACK TO THE BAD ‘HOOD
So then we moved again. Back to my in-laws. And yep, I still hated running there. We re only there for about 7 months and then we moved to our current house in Orlando.

NOW I REMEMBER WHY I LOVE TO RUN
And here is the devotion to running I remember. The first 5 months in Orlando were hit/miss with running. But, since the first of the year (2012) I have been on my game. I will run between 500 & 600 miles this year. Next year will be even more. November has seen me challenge a couple of my friends from church to a mileage game, and I am winning. This month I have posted some good numbers for me. Numbers reminiscent of living in Saint Cloud and loving to run. I suspect December will be the same. Followed by a good 2013.

WHY DO I RUN?
I run for therapy.

I run because it makes me feel good.

I run because I love it.

I run, therefore I am.

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