I am a runner. At this point in my life I am used to saying this but that has not always been true. My first love is and has always been soccer. It is through soccer that I found running. My typical statement is something along the lines of, “it is a lot easier to run by myself at 5:30 in the morning than it is to find a group of people to play soccer with that early.” Between 3rd and 4th grade I did summer track and ran the mile. Distance running was always my strong suit and I lacked that twitchy 5 yard burst needed for soccer, but once the second half rolled around I was as fast as everyone else because I really wasn’t tired yet. Middle school track existed and I ran either the 2 mile or the 1.5, I honestly do not remember what the furthest we ran in 7th and 8th grade was. 

After the awkward disaster that is middle school, I started high school and found cross country. It started as a way to get into shape for soccer, but I realized that I wasn’t terrible at it and ended up lettering all 4 years. It also helped that during this time I maintained the same weight as I grew a little taller. I also made some good friends who enjoyed running and helped push me into actually running and training and not just doing the bare minimum for cross country practice. I ran my first half marathon my junior year of high school in 2007. It was cold and rainy that day in Dallas, but I loved it. 

College is when I really began to own my running. I was fringe fast coming out of high school. Probably could have run at a smaller school, but I wanted to go to Texas A&M and I was certainly not division 1 fast. Being on my own and having a lot more time living on campus I had the anti-freshman 15. I trained through the fall and ran the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2010. It should be nice weather for a Florida Marathon in January right? Nope. It was 28 degrees when we started at like 5 a.m. and I was cracking ice from the water cups for most of the race. I was grossly underdressed (thin Under Armour long sleeve, split shorts, and thin gloves), did not have the experience of running long races, and my legs were tired from walking the parks the days before leading up to the run. I finished the race and spent about an hour in 2 different medical tents with hypothermia. The medical staff had warm blankets on me, warm bottles under my arms, and they were trying to stretch me but if they stretched my quads my hamstrings would cramp and vice versa. It was miserable. I loved it. I think this is where I learned I am a little bit crazy. 

From there, most runners can relate to thinking “but what if I am better prepared and the weather is better. I bet I can go faster…” So I kept running and looking for the next marathon. I got better, faster, and ended up qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon in 2012 and 2013. When I tell people I ran Boston in 2013, about half the people say “ wait, was that…?” Yes. Yes it was. That was the year of the bombing. There is probably a full post that could be made from that experience alone, but I finished the race before the bombs went off and I was actually already back in my hotel down by the Boston Common. I have been qualified to run since then, but I have not been back due to various life events. This is why I tell people to go run Boston if they have the chance. You never know if you will get to again. 

Running has changed now that I am a dad. Your precious sleep? Gone. Your meticulous planning to get your workout in? Trashed when that baby decides TONIGHT is the night to wake up screaming all night. Other parents can back me on this: kids have terrible timing. There have been seasons of just squeezing in whatever sort of run I can with whatever time I can. I have accidentally hung my wife out to dry more than once with kids while I’m running (I’m sorry, Sarah. I love you!), and I switched from running later in the day to primarily running early in the morning before kids (should) wakeup. This is a personal reason, but I do not like my running to take a lot of time from my kids. If they are awake and I am home, my goal is to be available to them. This has also led to incorporating them into my running. There was a season when they were younger that Sundays after church were stroller runs. Disney music, snacks, and the double stroller. I was dadding HARD. 

Probably the most recent change (besides adding a 3rd kid to the mix) involved my own health issues. Since 2013 I have dealt with gastrointestinal issues off and on and that obviously impacted my running but not terribly at first. Fast forward to the summer of 2020 and I was in the hospital for 5 days. The year before I had been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and tested for Celiac disease but told I did not have Celiac. Going into the hospital I weighed 145lbs and had lost 20lbs in about a month. Come to find out, once they get me to stop throwing up blood, my UC had been completely uncontrolled and that Celiac I didn’t have? WRONG. That GI doctor had told me I could “eat all the bread you want, just avoid red meats.” So I did, but when you have Celiac and eat gluten one of the effects is it stops your body from absorbing nutrients from the stomach. That’s why I was losing so much weight. There are 2 photos, exactly 1 year apart that highlight how emaciated and sick I was in 2020. This also at least partly explained my DNF in Dallas 2019, but that might be my pride talking. We got everything under control and at this point I am as healthy as I can be. Training has been 100x better now that my body is not perpetually inflamed and is getting the nutrients it needs from my foods. Due to Covid and some other factors, I have only run 1 poorly-trained-for marathon since all of this, but I am excited to see how my body handles everything. 

As a runner I have held numerous different jobs, done college, gotten married, grad school (twice), moved, had kids, and so much more. I have met some of my best friends through running and I have met plenty of amazing people through it as well. Running is what I enjoy doing. Call me crazy because I am (remember Disney?). I love helping people with running training, injuries, routes, sharing past race experiences, or just talking about running. I am a runner.

Marathon Runner
My personal running story