For those who've known me over the years, learning that I've become a runner and am training to run the Boston Marathon probably provides a much bigger Holy Shit Moment™ than learning that I survived hepatitis C. I did a decent amount of outdoor athletic activity in my teens and early twenties (skiing, hiking and canoeing), but nothing significant. In school I was always the last kid picked, and liked it that way. I satisfied my high-school athletic requirements by being a team manager or through intramural softball or volleyball. During my professional life I've been a member of many gyms and health clubs, but a regular visitor to few. Running? I've always hated running. Always.
But Francie loves running. She's been a runner for as long as I've known her, picking up the habit/hobby/avocation in college. She runs a few days a week, week in and week out, and becomes noticeably frustrated when she isn't able to get a run in at least once a week. My gosh, the other day she ran 6 miles on the treadmill in our basement, which is something I still can't comprehend. Sleet, snow, sub-zero wind chills I can deal with - staring at a wall, or, worse, Fox news on those damn overhead TVs in the gym for 6 stationary miles is closer to hell than I ever wish to get to.
So, a runner married to an anti-runner. Opposites attract, and all that. But, you see, I got this virus, and then I got rid of it. But I still had a wife I loved.
And two daughters I loved. And 250 pounds of me I knew I didn't really
need that much of. So, step 1, I knew I really had to do some kind of
exercise. Regularly. And for the rest of my life.
I joined the
gym and did the usual elliptical and bike stuff. It wasn't bad. OK, it
sucked, but it was doable, and I really did begin to feel good doing it
after a few weeks. Both physically and mentally. But it did suck.
Francie signed up to run the 111th Boston Marathon. A long-time dream
for a long time runner - running the Boston Marathon. She got a number
through the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester
. So what do I do? I promise to run the last five miles with her.
I managed to run a half mile one day. Then a mile on another. Then two. Three on Mondays and Wednesdays. Then the Friday Five. All at the lightening speed of 4 miles an hour - 15 minute miles. Meanwhile, Francie's running 10, 12, 14, 16, finally 21 mile long runs on weekends. In rain, sleet, snow and bitter cold in the middle of winter. All to run a foot race (and raise some money for a really good cause). And all of this at 9-10 minutes per mile.
Have I told you that I'm in awe of her? Well, I am.
But I had to break my promise. I only ran the last mile with her - the only distance I could keep up with her, even after she'd already run 25 miles. One mile, but I was hooked.
Today the Friday five is the Friday 10. How did that happen? Well, just like that. One mile at a time. One foot in front of the other. One day after another. Just like surviving liver disease, I guess.