Friday, October 16, 2009

What made me start

Hail my running brothers and sisters! I will admit that I’m very lucky to have the success that I’ve had at running and weight loss, and I’m often asked, “What made you start?” With my first marathon looming over the weekend, this seems like the best time to talk about what has driven me so far.

As I’ve said before, it started with weight loss in August, 2008. I had had enough of being the happy, fat guy in the office, and the weight loss challenge in my office brought the perfect opportunity to embark on my quest. But admittedly it wasn’t just my own self-image that was driving my quest (although it was a large reason). At that time, my mom had stage 4 breast cancer, and she was having a hard fight. The cancer had spread throughout her body and left her very weak. My family and I had tried to take advantage of any free time that we had to spend it with my mom. My parents had always been an inspiration to me, and I was especially close to my mother. So when she told me not to take my health for granted, I listened. I started to work out in earnest. With the help of my secretary, I started running. With the patience of my wife and the rest of my family, I continued running.

Last October when my mom went to the hospital for the last time, I was still running. After spending all night with her in the hospital, I would run when my father or my brother came to sit with her. My mother passed away around 11:00 PM on October 25, 2008, and the next day I ran again. After her funeral, I ran a couple miles more. I’m not sure why I kept running, but I did. I didn’t know what else to do, other than to run. I know, I know. The loss of a loved one and the pursuit of health/exercise/running is such a cliché that it may as well be textbook. So sue me…that’s what I did too.

The run provided me so many things that I didn’t even know that I needed. It re-shaped me physically, giving me confidence even though my world had been turned upside down. It gave me time to re-focus on the things that mattered in my life, like my family and my work. It taught me how to keep moving, how to endure pain, and to overcome adversity, even when I thought I didn’t have any strength left. After running 6 miles all out and taxing yourself physically and mentally, you realize that you can handle most things that life throws at you.

Every mile since then has been a test of what I can do and who I am. Every mile is a testament to the man that I’ve become thanks to my parents. I miss my mom. I miss her a lot. As my marathon approaches, I wonder what will happen when I hit the “wall.” Will the pain and the endorphins help me achieve some type of enlightenment? Will my mother see what I’ve done and be proud of me? Will she think that I’m a colossal idiot for putting myself and my family through the rigors of all this training? I don’t know. I guess I’ll see. Maybe around mile 24, I'll have my answers. Like I said, my mother passed away on October 25, 2008, so I’ve decided that I will run some type of marathon, be it a half, a full or maybe even an ultra, every October in honor of my mother. At least as long as my body allows or till my guilt and loss find some peace.

Again, I have to thank my wife for all her support. She knew before me, why I was running. She understood why I was punishing myself before I had sorted it all out. She even had a special marathon shirt made for me. On the front it says “Team Vallejo.” On the right sleeve, it says “4 Lola.” On the back, it says “Wicked Fast.” I couldn’t have gotten this far without my family’s understanding and patience, and I hope that I don’t disappoint them either. The Run has carried me further than I thought that I could go, and I’m hoping that it will carry me further still. So with that all I can say now is wish me good luck and godspeed.

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