Those are the four direct words I get from my wife about two weeks ago. Let me explain. My wife is a distance runner. Won a state cross country championship in high school with one of the elite teams in Oregon. All-American and four-year letter winner in college. Owner of a ridiculous amount of old track shoes and new medals from Disney races.
When she signed up in late Summer 2012 to run the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon at Disneyland in January, I took the cue to get back on the running trail when she needed someone to train with. My early runs were not good. I could keep pace on short runs, but she would fly solo on longer trainers. After several weeks of increasing distance and pace, the weather cooled down in Phoenix and I felt comfortable enough to sign up for the Rock N Roll Arizona half. This would be the first half in 14 months. It also happened to be on the same day of the Tink.
So my running partner is in So Cal, and I do my first race expo solo. It became the first domino to fall in my resolution to be on the run.
Two escalators up at the Phoenix Convention Center. Packet pickup. A swap for a smaller sized Brooks tech shirt. Corral #10 assignment. (this of course based on a time 14 months prior – but still legit) And I’m in. Just past the P.F. Chang’s and PayPal booth is this brown corner display for the chocolate milk crew. They’re shooting videos for a commercial, or something. I talk up one of the women working the area – she says they are filming to put people on their running team – Team REFUEL. We pick the top videos, we have a vote, and more blah, blah. I sit down, grab the mic and we’re off. I profess my love for chocolate milk, and share my story about how I was a chunky dude, and used running to slim down and enjoy life. I use all 60 seconds.
I’ve always had a gift to speak in front of people, and ad-lib like crazy. I’ve only been nervous in front of a camera once. That was my wedding day.
I finish the 1/2 in under 2:15. Gassed at mile 11. Dug deep. Vowed to never let that happen again – if I did it again.
14 days later, an e-mail from the Team REFUEL people. I’m a finalist. 10 of us. 2 spots. Nationwide vote. Beg, plead and drive friends and co-workers to vote daily for three weeks. Get active on social media it says. Day one: facebook, twitter. Lots of response. By day ten, a trickle of daily votes. Creativity and knowing people helps. My great push comes late. A couple of big retweets from a couple of friends – one who happens to co-host a national sports radio show – definitely helps. Some love from my Team #RunDisney mates late in the game and we’re done March 1.
All the time though, I’m signing up for races. I push through a 17k on March 9. Before a night time 10k on the 17th, I’m told I’ve made the team – and the top vote getter.
Now, I’ve got a sponsor. And I’m not just running for me anymore. I’ve seen all the blogs out there – the Disney lovers (count me in), the Energy bars, the bling collectors – and I see their success – and I also see the comments. Those who use the words to be inspired or to inspire. The comments left behind. The first-timers. The run-walk-run crew. Those who grind it out, even when they are the only one covering those lonely miles. People who need something, anything to keep them motivated.
Because it is hard. It is tough to get up at 6a and put on shoes and lug your tired body around the block for a few miles. It is difficult to fit in a long-run after work, when all you want to do is catch up on TV, or talk to your family. Weekends were made for catching up on sleep and honey-dos. It is easy to make or find the excuse not to lace ’em up and run. I’ll tell you right now, it is more satsfying when you take the excuse and call it for what it is – total BS.
So, I’ve started my blog. And I’ve got five more races on the docket in the next 50 days. There are more to come.
Be inspired. Be yourself. And yes. She’s created a monster.