If you told me 3 years ago that I would be physically fit enough to run an entire marathon I would probably bitch slap you across the face for speaking so falsely. I probably never would even thought about starting running if it had not been for a job opportunity that presented itself. Back in March of 2009 There was a mass hiring of Border Patrol agents going on for both the Northern and the Southern Border of the United States. A friend of mine had signed up and for it due to the fact that, like many of us in this economy, he couldn't find a job in Michigan. He encouraged me to do the same seeing how I was in a very similar situation. So I applied, I got called up and thus started my one year application process and after being accepted another year of waiting to be sent to the Border Patrol Academy. Long story short I ended up not making it after I failed a poly-graph test (which I did not lie by the way) that they started doing because they were having some questionable people making it through the background investigations. I may have not gotten the job , but I did however gain something in those two years that basically turned a lot of my life around. I developed a passion for running.
See in order to pass the Border Patrol Academy you had to be able to run 1.5 miles in under 13:00. Which now I could do even if I was hungover, sleep deprived, dehydrated, and stricken with pneumonia, but at that time you could have said I had to do it in 5:00. There was just no way I could reach that time. Well with a little help from my buddy and the opportunity to finally find a career that had decent pay it was enough primer to get the old legs pumping again. Mind you I hadn't really done any sort of serious exercise since my freshman year of high school when I was on the wrestling team. I was 24 years old, over weight ( not obese but getting there), drinking a 12 pack of beer once or twice a week, smoking about a pack or more a week, eating 2/3 of a Little Ceaser's Pizza for lunch and just not really living a very healthy life style in general.
I started running through with my best friend Tom through the city cemetery. He had made a route about 2 miles long through it. The nice part about the cemetery route was that there was hardly anyone ever around. The only time people would see me run is when I had to cross the bridge on Gratiot Ave. over this canal that divided the cemetery in half. It sucked. I didn't want to do this
After only a month of running with Tom he had to leave because he got called up to start the academy in New Mexico. So there I was, by myself running this route that Tom had left me with to work on getting in shape. He would call me from time to time and tell me about all the PT (physical training) that was involved with the academy and how much it was kicking his ass. These phone calls and the promise of a new job were the only thing keeping me out there running every day, but soon probably 5-6 months later I started to not dread these runs. I moved on from that 2 mile route Tom had made through the cemetery and added on to it making it roughly 4 miles. I started to shed a few pounds, I could see that my calves were getting more defined and the muscles in my feet were really starting to bulge out. I also stopped drinking and smoking and started to eat smaller portions of healthier foods. This running thing
I would have to say about a year from when I first started running is when I think I got the runners bug. I didn't know anything about proper form or about long runs and rest days, but I knew that I had become a runner because if I missed a day of running I felt disappointed. It was similar to the feeling if you hadn't brushed your teeth the night before and your teeth are all fuzzy, or you missed an episode of your favorite show that you were waiting all week to watch. Just an emptiness I suppose. Of course I would make up for it the next day by beating the crap out of my legs, but still I think that emptiness is when I began to understand the importance that running had become in my life.