Four years ago today (i.e. April 1, 2007--quite appropriately on April Fool's Day) I ran my first half marathon with my brother, since that time I have finished nearly 50 running and triathlon events. It is only recently that I figured out that I have achieved victory over the lofty goals I set for myself, and then I just kept on moving forward even more--all with the support of my family and the many friends I have picked up along the way.
Back in my first blog post for this blog (way back in September 2007) I was at a major transition point in my life and hoped that, among the many other things that I hoped to accomplish, I could "lose the 80 or so extra pounds I have gained over quite a few years".
I have had good and bad training sessions and good and bad events, and have no idea how many miles I have covered--although I could eventually figure this out as I have them logged! Many of these times I was driven mostly by the desire to try to regain my life from the nearly 270 lbs (or maybe more since I rarely stepped near--much less on--a scale) I weighed at one time.
I started out hoping the long held and deeply repressed dream of running a marathon one day could be enough leverage to get me beyond the initial training events of my first few months (a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon in the first 13 weeks). What happened was that a wonderful world of new friends opened up that was always right in front of me, but yet I had always failed to notice. I am not fast, but I am no longer slow; I can equally look forward to a 3 or a 13 mile run with friends; I often enjoy the socializing more than the actual training I do with friends.....but most of all, I really have found that the friends I have met along the way are some of the most wonderful people in the world and that much of what I have been able to do would have been impossible to do without their support.
My dreams have moved on; these days I dream of Ironman and multiple marathon events, and laughingly think of this coming weekend's Olympic Distance triathlon as a training race, but rest assured that I understand that I know I move forward buoyed by the support of my friends and family--even if many of them don't truly understand how much I appreciate their support and how important it has been to me over these years.
For what it's worth, my old adversary the bathroom scale now seems a bit more friendly as I regard him with less importance. I choose instead to gauge myself by fitness than by weight--and I could certainly afford to about 10 lbs more from my midsection. However, after years of trying, and sometimes not believing I would succeed, I have gotten under 185 lbs and am wearing the same size pants I wore as a Marine over 20 years ago.
My friends, there has always been at least one of you there to share my running ups and downs, from helping me up from injury or holding me in my tears as I was unable to run after experiencing the loss of someone close and in the successes of completing tough events and setting new race PRs; and for these things I am most grateful! Thank you one and all!