My back story...

Ok, now that I've vented a little about the "rules", you might want to know about my journey that got me to this point. Well, here's my story as I understand it:

I'm 33 years old, and married to the greatest lady around, I try to live a happy, healthy life. Well, that hasn't always been the case. When I was young, I was CRAZY about sports. I played whatever I could. I played basketball, baseball, soccer (for one year, wasn't so into that), wrestling, I'd play football with friends, etc, etc, etc. I would spend every possible moment playing some sport. After 8th grade that ended. I started having some pains in my knee and stopped playing sports all together. Plain and simple, I got lazy fast. I was lucky enough when I was young that no matter how much I ate or how little physical activity I had I was completely incapable of gaining weight, so I never thought not being active was a big deal because I "looked healthy". As with many guys, that all changed come college. I found out that with enough drinking and Taco Bell even I could gain weight! Unfortunately I was just in general not happy so I didn't care. After 3 years at Kansas State University I had had far more fun than time in classes, so I came back home. I really wasn't happy at that point, so all I really did was eat and go out drinking with friends. Finally I met my wife. I was so happy I never knew life could be so great. Well, you'd think that would make me more concerned with my health, but no such luck. We eventually got married, and I had put on a decent amount of weight. I must say I was never really what you'd call "fat", but I certainly was overweight. After several years of being married I decided it was time to start trying to make myself a better person, so I signed up at Baker University to finish my Bachelor's Degree, which I finished in September of 2009. I am about 5'9'' and at the time I was 220.2 lbs. Again, not "fat", but certainly not happy and not healthy. A good friend had told me about CoolRunning.com's Couch To 5k plan several times while I was at Baker, but I was not confident. In all my years as a kid playing sports I was never a runner. Could I do this? Probably not, but let's give it a shot anyway. Well, after about 4 or 5 starts and quits I finally got through the whole thing after finishing at Baker and finished it up at the beginning of 2010. Now I have to tell you I really still didn't like running, but it was working, I was losing weight quickly. I was going to 24 Hour Fitness, doing Karate, playing flag football, and running. Running was my least favorite. Then came my first 5k. Well, technically my second. My first was in the summer of '09, but I hadn't finished the training and I hurt my knee after a half mile and walked the rest so I don't count it as my real "first" 5k. In April '10 I went to run the 5k associated with the Olathe Marathon (in a suburb of Kansas City for you out of staters). Well, tons of people were there, some I thought "looked like runners" other s looked like me. Maybe I wasn't just the fat kid trying to not look stupid running after all, maybe I was just like everyone else! I met some nice runners waiting for the start and was just amazed how much like me they were. As I'm waiting for the race the marathoners started. "Wow, I could never do THAT!" I thought to myself. Not only did I finish the 5k without walking at all, I did it in 32:31, which isn't spectacular, but at the time I was pretty proud. The race day experience was amazing and I was hooked. I ran a few more races before deciding I wanted to do a half marathon and eventually a marathon. After about 4 more races I got my 5k time down to 25:01 and I ran my first half marathon on November 21st in 2:05:29 at the Gobbler Grind (also here in Kansas City). I now consider myself a runner and I am registered and training for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 6, 2011. I still do Karate, play flag football, weight train, etc, but running is my love now. I plan to do 2 marathons, 2 half marathons, 1 10k and 6 5k's in 2011, with maybe some more along the way. I will run at least 1000 miles this year, and I hope to reach 1500. I wish I had documented my ups and downs along the journey so far, but I didn't, can't change that now. What I can do, though, is document going forward. I'm excited to use this blog as a chance to really take in what running is for me. Hopefully you will enjoy the ride as well and will provide some input with your comments and/or emails. I have found there are few communities in this world that accepts people like the running community. Whether we are close friends, Facebook friends, or we've never met at all and you just stumbled onto this, we are all runners and we are all one community. Although we have our own goals and our own stories, we all are sharing the same journey. Let's enjoy every moment of it and soak it all in together!!

I think that's the longest thing I've ever written without having to turn it in for a grade!

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