Jan 28, 2009

How I got started with running

In 1997, I blew out my right ACL, playing indoor soccer. May 1998, had it repaired, and by Oct 1998, I was back out there. Needless to say, I put on some weight, and playing once a week just wasn't enough to get the weight off. Then in Feb 2002, I blew the left one out, playing...indoor soccer! ARGH! I decided at that point, I wasn't going to go through that surgery and rehab again. I could walk, and I could golf, and that was going to have to be good enough. But I learned over the following 4.5 years that it wasn't good enough. I had a trick left knee that would buckle out under me at times, occassionally causing it to swell and ache. So in Oct 2006, after a slip and fall that really aggravated it, I decided it was time to have it done. I couldn't keep living like this. And I figured I'd likely be needing knee surgery at some point, so why not when I'm 34 as opposed to 54? So I scheduled surgery for Jan 4th, 2007. I weighed in for surgery at, gulp, 240 pounds. OMG! I'm 5'11". I should weigh so much less than that!

After surgery, I started rehab 3X/week. And I took it incredibly serious. I'd seen guys who didn't take it seriously end "never quite right". I wasn't about to let that happen to me. After about the 4th or 5th visit, I knew what the routine was. I'd walk in, and get right to it. I didn't need a therapist until after the workout, to evaluate my progress. My theory was, I shouldn't need to have someone tell me what to do. If I know what's expected of me when I walked in, just get it done. And it was the first time I realized that I can't cheat. Sure, I could half-ass the rehab work, but who was I cheating? Them? Hell no. I'm only cheating myself. It's like getting those long runs in. Sure, you can run 7 miles and tell all your friends you ran 14. But you know better. And when race day comes...the race course doesn't accomodate liars. You either have the miles & training, or you don't. Same with rehab.

So 6 weeks after surgery, I got the go ahead to jog/walk on a treadmill, as part of my rehab. Ugh. Running? For no other reason than to run? No soccer ball, or basketball involved? Double ugh. The only good thing about running is stopping. But the doc says to do it, so I do it. And guess what? It's not so bad. Somehow, in my mid-30's, running is actually kind of, enjoyable. At about this time, I also get into a "biggest loser" contest. 20 weeks long and I've put $100 on the line too. I really get into learning about food, and exercise. And I take it to heart. By the end of June 2007, I'd gone from 240, to 179. And along the way, I started running somewhat regularly, which is to say about 3-4 days a week, 12-15 miles total.

My initial goal was to run a few times a week, keep my weight down, and run the occassional 5K. Then before I know it, it's September, and I decide that I want to try a half-marathon. So I begin training for the Capital City Half-Marathon, in Columbus, Ohio, in April of 2008. But 2 months before that, my good friend Jon Burg talks me into running a half at Last Chance for Boston. I felt really unprepared. I hadn't yet run more than 10.5 miles in a single run. But I make it, and now I'm totally hooked. I run at least 5 days a week, and I love putting the miles in.

I ran 4 halfs and a 15K in 2008. So I didn't race too much, but I trained a lot. I just love getting out and going for a run. I actually get really cranky when I plan to run, and somehow I don't manage to, or don't get to run as long as I want to. What happened to me?!? Me? A runner? Who'da thunk it? But I think I can say I am. I may not be the fastest or fittest, but I'm a runner nonetheless. And so now, I begin 2009, ready to get better, run faster, run farther.

And my first challenge for 2009? The Flying Pig Marathon, my first marathon! God, help me!

Every journey has to begin somewhere...

And this is where my blogging "career" begins, at least as it relates to running. Not that I plan to bore any readers of this blog with nothing more than my running, assuming anyone actually reads this. I'll post about nearly anything, but it'll mostly be either about my training and races, or whatever comes to mind while I'm running. Running has always seemed to give me a sense of clarity with regards to my life. And if you knew me before the start of 2007, you know I needed all the clarity I could get. But I expect I'll have more than few random, non-sensical ramblings in here too. LOL. I'm good at that.

So, with that, I'll leave it to my next post to explain why I started running, where it has taken me, and where I plan to have it lead me...if anyone can ever plan such a thing. One thing I know, I'm excited to continue this journey.