Sunday, October 26, 2008

Running Blog: In The Here And Now part two of a three part series

26.2 Is three numbers seperated by a lonley period. It's only a numbers game right? Having gone from completly inactive, and reactive to active and dare I say for the first time in my life, on the offensive trying to find what I want for me. My running means more to me than physical condition. As I mentioned in my last blog it transends who I am. Iam someone who will push himself to the edge of everything I thought I could do, and then edge out a little further. My friend Gregg asked me the day after my marathon if NY had changed me, if I feel like a different person. And I answered him, "Yes, but no and not for the reasons you think" See I've been through a lot, but what person hasn't. Running marathons, helps me find a balance that I've never had. In anything. It's why I run, it's why I will keep running. yes, I am helping people while doing it, and of course, anyone who knows me knows that too is a part of it. but for me. When I run, and I know I have 23 miles left, 21, 15, 12, 7, 4 whatever, I run in my mind for me. For all those things but also to prove to me, that I am stronger mentally. And sure, training tells me I can do this but until you do, you just don't know. See I've seen people in a lot better shape than me fall by the wasteside, get injured, on cruches, in wheelchairs. Yes it's a greulling sport. Without a doubt. But nothing worth doing doesn't have it's risks. It's why I've chosen to make this past year all about me.
In my mind when the calendar turned I told myself, you will do things for yourself, you will work on you. Better yourself, find peoople who want to be in your life, and embrace them and if they didn't they would fall by the wasteside. I'm ok with that. One of my friends here said to me a week or so ago, that I've gone cold, that my heart right now is not warming up to others. See I disagree, I'm just not willing to give it out to everyone I meet. I now gaurd it but still put myself out there to see what's out there. Running has provided me with an outlet for my anger, for my stress in a way I can't explain. I'm a stronger person that I've ever been. Am I still me? I sure think so. I have the same group of close friends I've always had. Have I changed, you betcha. But I don't fear that change anymore. I know who I am and what I can do. I know that a day of being dedicated to my causes either for me or to help others is a day better than others. But it's a balance, I can't get too caught inwardly, which is why I love Team In Training. It keeps me humble, keeps reminding me that while I run for me, I still represent others, others who can't run, others who need help and while I can't cure them, maybe with my friends and donations along the way we can. It's humbling when you sit there and here all these mission moments given by your teammates, people you soon call your friends bare their soul about why they run, fathers, mothers children dying, getting really sick. Going to hospitals to see these chidlren. It reminds you of what you have and how you need to make the most of your health when and while you have it. It can be gone like that. It's moving, humbling and drives me. I won't like during the SF marathon there was (and for those who run there usually is) a point where you have to talk yourself out of quitting, you just want to. Your body hates you, your mind doesn't want any more, but then you see your teammates who have finsihed ahead of you still their cheering you on, one of my teammates whom I had just met that season ran out into the road with me and ran with me for a mile extra. Imagine running 26.2 miles then running back out there for one more to help someone else get through another mile. She looked at me as she ran along side me and said ,"Scott I am so proud of you, you have overcome so many injuires to get here, and you are almost there. You didn't quit then, you came to all the practices, and you are 3 miles from the finish so I KNOW you won't quit now. I am so proud of you, and so are all your teammates...LOOK" At this point I shook back into conciencious and looked around and saw team mates whom I didn't even know if they knew me, or saw me before this running up the road with me, yelling and cheering me on. When you see a sea of purple yelling at you to keep pushing it gives you a second, thrid or fourth wind. I looked at my teammate who came out nodded, growled something that I assume was thank you and kept pushing. There are more miles like that, espeically as you get closer to the finish, but that one stuck out to me.
As the calendar turns, and I look back a bit I ran 2 marathons in 6 months, 3 half marathons, countless races of smaller portions and will have ran more miles (roughly 625 miles this year) than I have driven (0). It's humbling t oknow taht all those people who supported me were right. I've gone this far, what's a little more.

Part Three: Where am I going?

Running Blog: Retrospective part one of a three part series

Sat on the plane ride back to SF and I thought a lot about the past 12 months, the reasons I started running, where it's taken me and who I am now. I am going to break this blog into three segments, retsopective, where I am and where I want to go with all this.
This part of course, started with a lot of pain, me in place that seems like years ago. I remember sitting in the corner of my room just aching inside. Feeling like I had hit rock bottom. There was the break up, the death threats, bar fights and of course the health scare. I truly felt like things were at the their worst and I felt like I was drowning. It was scary and for the first time I really felt...alone.
My friends, you have to know, are amazing people. They tried to pick me up as much as I would let them. I wouldn't tell everyone the everything becasue I was afraid of being exposed even more than I felt I already was. Then one day a friend whom I had lost touch with for a bit called me. Aja, said to me after I had finished telling her what all I had been through, asked if I had, "Ever thought about running a marathon" I think she really believed she thought I would laugh her off the phone because the Scott about 2 months, 3 months ago, probably would have. I admitted I hadn't. She told meshe would have the Team in Training Coordinator get in touch with me because Spring Season was going to be having a kick off and I should go. So I agreed.
This meeting I was a little nervous about going to, no one I knew was there, had really no clue what I was doing there, I was out of shape, and the furthest I had run was to the mailbox. But i went, checkbook in hand already knowing that you know what it's $80 to sign up today, and if nothing else I'll meet some people and see what happens, I can always run/walk the half marathon if need be.
Signed up for the Country Music Marathon that night, the event was April 26 so plenty of time. I literally had no clue what I was getting myself into or how much therapy I'd find in running, and how much confidence the next 12 months would bring me. I had no idea about running shoes, running clothes, fuel belts, proper gear, anything. All I knew is you put one foot in front of the other in rapid succession and off you go. So I showed up in sweat pants and a sleevless 42 degree cold weather. This is how I'd be remembered all season as that guy. Well at least I was memorable and hey I had an icebreaker right? So off we went. I met some amazing people. And as I ran I began to find the confidence again. I heard stories about life and death, leukemia, blood cancers and it made me realize that what I've been through while maybe a big deal in my eyes was nothing compared to what so many people were going through or had been through. Some of my running friends were running for various reasons, the cause, to meet people, going through a divorice, one even told me they just wanted to run because it was the only time in their day she felt free. And so i found my release, my therapy in these people and with every step we took Istarted to build my confidence back. it was a shaky ground for sure to start. But as we progressed I did too. I lost 20 lbs, my mile time went from 15:00 down to 11:30. I could run at a marathon pace around 12:00 minutes
About amonth before the marathon I knew I had to give something back to this Society. I had to give someone else this same experience I was having. So I applied to be a mentor. Guy who had never run more than 25 yards in the past 10 years now wanted to mentor a new group of runners and run 2 full marathons and two half marathons in 6 months.
When you run a marathon for more than 5 hours, you think about a lot of things. Like EVERYTHING. You think about the ups of life, your friends, family, the poeple who have inspired you. You think about the negative, the naysayers the people who look at you and say "You are running a marathon" with that look of disbelief and you remember the people who tried to hold you down. But you use all this as motivation to move along. You don't stop. You use everything in your aresnal because you discover that a marathon is truly mind over matter. You can will yourself to do ANYTHING.
Crossing the finish line in Nashville, was something I have never felt. I've done a lot of things, thought I felt pretty accomplished. But when i crossed the finish line hands held high in the air, I let out the largest scream I could muster as if in doing so all the demons all the things I had gone through were expelled from my body. I looked at my friend Jillian, the woman I had ran with for the last 5 hours and we both wanted to cry, but we didn't have any body fluids left to export so we just hugged for 3 minutes. I still can't put into words, fully, what that moment ment, or how it changed me. What I can tell you was the confidence laid down in those 4 months changed me forever.
I can't thank Aja enough for that day. I wish I would have gotten the chance to actually sit and talk to her in SF but she was immensly busy with her Chapter and I undestood that, but I really wanted to tell her, she changed my life again. One of my best friends in college, gave me the tool to remake myself and in a good way. It's something I'll never forget. And I'll always be greatful for that.