I don’t like to run. Wait…let me rephrase that; I hateto run. I don’t do it. Never have. Sure, I’ve had to run when I played flag football and soccer (during my two-year stint at this Christian school), I had to run during the police academy, and I’ve done many sprinting drills with my rifle and equipment for sniper training, but I’ve avoided running most of my life like one would avoid swimming in brain-eating-amoeba-infested water.
You see, I’ve been training to fight nearly my entire life and I’ve always participated in fight-specific training. I’d rather spar ten rounds (each round involves 3 minutes of fighting with a short rest period—usually 30 seconds) than run for ten minutes. For me and my specific needs, running is a waste of time. I know it’s a great form of exercise and many people love to do it, but it’s not my thing.
When people ask me if I run or if I would like to go running, I usually answer one of two ways:
1. Sure, I’ll run…after him if he’s got a warrant.
2. I don’t need to practice running away…I plan to stand and fight.
|2nd Pro Fight – I’m the bald guy in the red boxing trunks|
I provided the latter answer to my wife, Amanda, not long after we first met and were discussing her love for running. She told me how she’d already run a half marathon and wanted to run a full before she kicked the bucket. She also told me she was registered for another half marathon that was only weeks away. When I asked her the distance on a half marathon, she told me it was 13.1 miles.
The farthest I’d ever run was about five miles, and 13.1 miles seemed an impossible task for someone like myself who hated to run. So, in my mind, I immediately ran through all the reasons why I couldn’t do the half marathon with Amanda—all the important things I just knew I had to do that day, like clip my fingernails or fold my socks.
As we continued talking, Amanda said she planned to walk it, because she hadn’t trained for it and she didn’t want to hurt herself. Being the gentleman I am—and realizing instantly I could walk that distance on any given day even through the mountains—I offered to walk it with her. She was elated. I couldn’t believe something as simple as walking beside her for a few hours would make her that happy, but there she was—giddy with excitement that I’d agreed to do something I hated just for her.
On “race” day, Amanda bounced out of bed way too early and dragged me out from under the sheets. We showed up at the Heart and Soles event in Houma, LA with our walking shoes strapped firmly in place and gathered at the starting line with the other folks who had nothing better to do that day. Someone finally popped a cap in the air and everyone started running like they were the ones being shot at. As for Amanda and me, we walked…for about a hundred yards. She turned to me with beautiful brown eyes that sparkled and she was bouncing up and down, nearly jumping out of her skin. “I’m so excited! I want to run,” she said (paraphrasing).
I was like, “Sure, let’s run.” I knew she hadn’t trained for it, so I figured, “How far could she go?”
13.1 miles and 2:57 later, Amanda and I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, having jogged our first half marathon together and my first ever. I can’t remember ever laughing that much in my life. The images of Amanda doubled over trying to run while she laughed hysterically (I’m just a funny guy, I guess) will forever be one of the fondest memories of our first months together. At 42, I did something I never—and I mean NEVER EVER—had the urge to do, but it was very cool and it’s something I would never have experienced had it not been for Amanda.
|Amanda and me at Houma Heart & Soles 2013|
Now, I must admit to enjoying a conversation I had with one of my friends after the event. He told me he hadn’t known I was into running and he described all the weeks of training he and his wife had undergone in preparation for that day (it sounded boring and time-consuming!). He then asked what I’d done to train for the half marathon and asked if I’d done any other races. Lying to make others feel better is not in my DNA, so I shrugged and said, “I’ve been eating chocolate brownies, drinking milk and watching TV.” (Of course, they weren’t just any old brownies—they were from Duet’s Bakery in Galliano, LA and they’re the best!)
This event definitely brought Amanda and me closer together and I proposed to her about six weeks later. As you can imagine, my jaw landed solidly on the floor in front of my boots when I applied for our marriage license and saw the license number—it was identical to the bib number from my very first racing event with Amanda. At that moment, I knew without a doubt I’d made the right decision.
|My half marathon bib and our marriage license|
Now, I’d love to be able to sit here and write that the half marathon changed my view of the sport and ignited within me a passion for running, but that would be a lie. I still hate to run, but I love Amanda more than I hate running and I happily attend race after race with her. If the event is more than ten minutes from the house, we leave the day before and make a romantic night-away out of it.
|Flying over the finish line at the 2015 Rock and Roll Series 10K in New Orleans|
Some of the racing events we’ve done since then include the 2014 Houma Heart and Soles 5K, a Moonjoggers virtual 5K (M’s Run: Klingons Against Cancer) , the Rock and Roll Series 10K and the Crescent City Classic. Although running is not my flavor, these events provide a great opportunity for Amanda and me to spend some quality time together and just “get away”, while also contributing to good causes. We’re not trying to set records—unless there’s a record for last place—but I think these events are a great way for couples,and even families, to visit with one another, enjoy the views, and get the old heart pumping.
|Striking a pose at the 2015 Rock and Roll Series 10K in New Orleans|
Take it easy one and all and thanks for reading!
UPDATE: Holy crap!!! Amanda just registered us for the 2016 Rock and Roll Marathon!