I was on a cruise off the coast of Brazil in November 2004, and the boat had a treadmill. Although I had never gone on a treadmill before, I gave it a whirl. I started out slow, walking for quite some time, and started running at a slow pace. After less than 2 minutes, my heart was pounding, my lungs were begging for air, and my legs were sore. Little did I know that this excruciating experience was the beginning one of my most enjoyable pasttimes – running.
My apartment in Brazil resides 0n a lake whose circumference is 7500 meters or 4.67 miles. Two days ago, for the first time, I was able to run the entire circumference of the lake without stopping. Previously, I had gone the distance but I had always had a need to slow down and walk. This was the first time, I ran the lake. Afterwards, I walked for another 500 meters, making it a total of 8000 meters of exercise. One of my personal goals is to be able to run a 10K without stopping.
I feel great. I remember weighing myself in October 2004, and I weighed 164 pounds, which is the heaviest I have ever been in my life. At this point, I weigh 142 pounds, and it feels fantastic not carrying around the extra weight. I’ve come a long way. I smoked for a good part of my life. From about 17 years old to I was around 40 when I finally kicked the habit thanks to Xyban/Wellbutrin. I’ve also done my share of recreational drugs, and been on a few drinking binges. I am just amazed how God has given me a body that can recover the abuse I have given it.
I have learned in my year of running, that it is not an easy thing. After a few months, I had shin splints that hurt considerably when I ran. I had to work though that. Next came the stomach cramps. And man, they were bad. But eventually you work through that also. I also tore a tendon in my foot while running, which put me out of action for 3 weeks. But it has been so worth it.
They say that when your body is working hard the brain releases a chemical into your brain that soothes it. Whether you call it the “‘runner’s high”or what, I know that I am addicted to it. I think better, slower to anger, and I just feel happy. I also organize my day when I am running so I am more productive.
My body continues to change as I keep running. One thing about running is that everything needs to be in concert for a good run. It is almost a teamwork between your heart, head, lungs, stomach, and legs. When any one part breaks down, the run breaks down. At this point, I am learning to control my heart better. It is more difficult than it sounds, but once you start running at a good clip, it is very hard to run at a slower pace. But this simple act, allows you to learn how to control your heart rate. I am practicing this with good results.
In Rio, it is very easy to run. The weather is usually always ‘shorts’ weather, and I have a beautiful well-marked lake to run around. In Myrtle Beach, I have modified one of the bedrooms into a work out room. There is a surround sound system, with television mounted high. And of course a weight set and the treadmill. It’s been a great investment.
So this month, I celebrate one year of running. I am 46 years old, and I am in the best shape of my life. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.