Some of you know my story but most do not. On June 1st, 2012, I decided that I was going to challenge myself to a run streak of 30 days. It wasn’t going to be complicated. I just needed to run 30 minutes or 5km for the entire month of June. At the time I was still overweight and had been battling to continue my weight reduction. Some six years prior to that I was at the most unhealthy point of my life and was tipping the scale at 225lbs (102kg). Keep in mind I’m only 5’8″ (173cm). During those 30 days, some sort of miracle took place–I became a runner. The seed was planted and for the first time in my life I figured out how to run regularly without hurting myself.
During the first year of being a dedicated runner:
- I ran my first marathon distance Luxembourg City to Echternach.
- I ran my first ultra distance of 50km in and around Luxembourg City in 5:12.
- Four runs of a marathon distance or more.
In my second year, I didn’t start very strong. I had a light June and July of 2013 and found myself adrift in my training schedule as the year progressed. By December I realized that I needed to focus on a goal of sorts. Looking back on what made me successful in my first year, I decided to try a running streak again for the month of January. During that streak, I set my sights on a distance farther than 50km–a run across the entire country of Luxembourg (63km/39mi). I picked that my route to give me a distance of 39 miles. I wanted to run 39 miles before my 39th birthday. After 4 months of dedicated training, including some cycling, I successfully ran from Petange, Belgium to the German border next Remich, Luxembourg. While I was very proud of that run, my second year of being a runner wasn’t as focused as I would have liked. That gave me some real motivation for year three.
In year three, I feel like I finally was able realize some of my potential through dedicated training. There were many new firsts and achievements that made me proud and gave me a feeling of accomplishment. Here are a few of my highlights:
- Ran my first race of my life – Keys 100 – 100 miles in 20:28.
- Ran my first 100 km distance from Olney, MD to Georgetown, Washington, DC and back.
- Ten runs of a marathon distance or more.
- Three 50km runs in the month of December.
- 5153 km / 3202 mi run in total.
As I look back on these three years of progress, I am shocked by the numbers because it doesn’t seem like I could have done all that running. However, the years have taught me many life lessons and one in particular–no distance is insurmountable, you just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and never stop. I am fully aware that my accomplishments pale in comparison to many runners out there but accomplishments are not the primary reason why I run. I run because it is who I am. I run because I feel alive. I run because it connects me with life.
Most importantly I also know that none of this, absolutely none of this, would have ever been possible without the support and belief from my wife. Knowing that she is there at ever step, either physically or emotionally, keeps me going. I love you Karina!