Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How did I get here?

To truly appreciate where you are, every once in a while you need to look over your shoulder and see where you came from. I've had that on my mind lately--how I got to where I am, running-wise, right at this moment.

Part of what got me started down this mental pathway was listening to Confessions Of A Runner #13, where Jodi talks about her start in cross country, and how it made her the runner she is today. So, with that, here's what got me to where I am...

When I was growing up, my brother--9 years older than me--ran track in high school. He ran 440 and 880 (remember when races were measured in yards???). He did pretty well, and really enjoyed it. I decided I wanted to be a runner someday.

I tried sprint distances in high school, but was way too slow. I thought about longer distances but didn't want to put the effort into training, so I dropped out.

As the years went by I'd run a mile or so now and then, but nothing serious and I never stuck with it.

Shortly after we got married, my wife and I both decided we needed to start getting fit. I tried running...walk/running at first, then graduating into longer runs. I did my first 5K in October of 1992. I don't remember what my time was, but I'm sure it was awful. I still wasn't very regular at this point, but was close to getting hooked.

I ran off and on for the rest of '92 and into '93, until I tore my ACL while on vacation. I had surgery and lots of physical therapy into the middle of '94. By the fall, I was running again.

I stuck with it, sort of but not really. Life, travel, work, and my own innate laziness all pulled me away from it. By 1996, I'd gotten up to 190 lbs (I'm 5'4", y'all...). I started a weight loss program that summer, lost 30 lbs, and worked out like a demon. But again, inertia set in, and within a couple years I was back to where I had been.

This, that, and the other thing happened...but let's fast forward to 2003. Because of complications of diabetes, my dad had both legs amputated that year. Additionally, my maternal grandfather had a heart attack in July, and my grandmother had a stroke in August. All three of them passed away toward the end of that year. Seeing them decline in health, and seeing others in my family suffer with problems like obesity, diabetes, etc., made me put a stake in the ground. So, on a spring day in 2003, I started walking/running again--knowing deep in my heart that I'd never quit again.

I ran a local 5K that June, finishing in a little over 31 minutes. Hey, I even had negative splits for the 2nd and 3rd miles...yay me! I was exhausted at the end, but I was also hooked. I ran 3 more races that year, and continued to enter races and train.

I've taken 4 minutes or so off my 5K PR (I still ain't happy with it yet, though!), and run much longer distances and at a faster pace. Part of me wishes I'd kept training logs for all those years so I could recall PRs, dates, etc...but a bigger part of me says "Just get out there and run, and enjoy the moment."

Where am I going? Well...God willing, I'll actually *complete* the Chicago Marathon this year. I'm also planning on the Soldier Field 10 Mile run in May, and possibly the Chicago Distance Classic half marathon in August. Rick (if you're reading this) you should seriously consider coming down for any or all of these...and if any of you reading come into town for these, let me know!!!

Anyway...when I'm about 100 or so, I figure I'll switch to another sport. My knees and ankles will probably need the break by then. But we'll see, I could change my mind.

Thank you for sticking with me through this--I know this was longer and more rambling than most of my posts (and that's saying something!), but I thought it'd be good to get it out.

So, my friends, what got you to where you are now?

Run long and run strong!


Rick said...

Cool, Jim. That wasn't long or drawn out at all. Very neat to get a glimpse at your running journey/story. All of us have one. I sort of chronicled a bit of my own in my very first blog post. There's a bit more to it though I suppose. Very cool stuff, Jim.

I bookmarked the Chicago Distance Classic site. That could be a maybe.

jtj3 said...

Rick, glad you enjoyed it. Your comment made me ralize I'd never read your Preface and Purpose post. I feel like I know you better after having done so!

The CDC is in August and so it gets hot and humid--but it's offset by an early start, so it's not bad. Let me know if you're gonna do it!

Rick said...

Glad you gave it a read. Gives quite a bit of my "running story".

I will definitely let you know if I can seriously commit to the CDC.

Hey, I've been wondering how you hyperlink something in a comment box. I see you can use some HTML tags, but none of them I see show you can do a hyperlink.

Technical Retard

p.s. - did you read on my blog that Tammy did get an iPod now so, we are at least getting caught up in this decade. Even though it is almost over! :)

jtj3 said...

Hey Rick, sounds like you gave your wife an awesome b-day party. Just got to thinking--if she just turned 40, and if you and her are the same age...dude that makes me OLDER THAN YOU. :-/ Not that that's a bad thing mind you...

Hyperlinking in a comment: you can do it with an anchor tag. I'll send you an email with details...the thing is, I can't do it here because every time I try to put something in as an example, it thinks it's real and gives me an HTML error. Guess is smarter than me...HA HA HA!