I have been asked quite often why I run. I have many ways to answer that. I will go back to the beginning which was when I was in high school. The cross country coach, who doubled as my geography teacher, asked me to come run "cross country". I had no idea what it was but he convinced me it would get me in great shape for basketball. Basketball was my sport. I loved it. There were a few problems with this love. I was small, 5'3" and 120 pounds. I was not quick. I could run forever but going up and down the floor, I was not very fast. Finally, I couldn't shoot at all!! My freshman year I tried everything I could to get out of practice and then when the meets came, I never could figure out why I was so bad. I ran a PR of 21:13 as a freshman. My sophomore year, I came back with a better attitude and that was when the light went on that I was going to be a much better runner than basketball player. The best part was I had a lot of friends that were on the team and we were actually making it fun to run. I dropped about 2:30 of my PR and was in the 18's. I ended up running 16:54 my senior year and going on to run for 2 1/2 years at Saginaw Valley. I wasn't ready to commit to the demands of collegiate running and 2 stress fractures in the shin later, I gave it up. I wanted to focus on graduation and finding a job. I graduated and was 5'8" and 140 pounds.
I started back again upon college graduation and ran for about 2 years and had another stress fracture, this time in my hip. At that point, I just gave it up. I enjoyed it but couldn't seem to stay healthy. About 6 years ago, I was taking a lot of ribbing about all of the weight I had gained. I didn't realize how bad it was until I stepped on the scale and was now 185 pounds. The best way I knew to lose weight was to start running, so that I did. First, I ran a St. Pats race in Bay City just for fun and then I showed up to another race and knew that I had no business competing. Still, I showed up. I went out and got dusted running a high 18 minute 5K. The competitive juices were now flowing again.
Over the past 6 years, there have been many bumps in the road. 2 more stress fractures, including 1 in my pelvis while I was running the Miami Marathon (still ran a 3:02). I had my best year of running ever in 2010. I owe it to my wife for supporting me, my coach Gary Brimmer for putting me on a great plan and getting me to trust him, and all of my training buddies, especially the Sunday Service boys!
I am looking forward to wonderful 2011 and will be kicking it off with the Miami Marathon as my first big race in January! I owe that course something!!