Monday, July 29, 2013

The First Five Grand

My first race (left) and my most recent marathon (right)
This morning's run was much like most of my runs.  No fanfare.  Just me, a few other runners and bikers, and the open road or in today's case the open trail.

However, today's run was extra special.  During the first mile of what would end up being a 7-mile run, I ran my 5,000th career mile.  To some that might seem like a big number and to others who have run for awhile it's not as big a feat.  For me, it was special.

I started this running journey 1,161 days ago on May 26, 2010...much like today on the trail and ironically like today without the Garmin providing me time, pace, and distance.  On that day, I was lucky to run two miles.  I went back the next day and barely pulled out another two-mile run without walking.  It was brutal!  Over the next two weeks, I only managed to run three more miles.

Then, on June 12, 2010, things finally started to click.  That day, I went out to run two miles and ended up running four miles.  I went back out the next day and ran three more miles.  And I went back again.  And again.  And again.  And I haven't stopped going back out.

Running has provided me with countless benefits.  When I started, I weighed in at 235 pounds.  Not awful for a 6-6 guy, but today's weigh-in of 198.5 pounds has me in much better shape.  I'm eating smarter (notice I didn't say less) and drinking a whole lot more water.  I really do feel like I'm in the best shape of my life.  And it doesn't hurt that for nearly half of my running journey (575 days and counting to be exact), I have been on a streak of doing at least 100 pushups and 100 situps each day to help augment the running.

In addition to the health benefits, I have made some incredible friendships.  When I started this journey, I was running solo.  However, soon after running my first race on August 28, 2010, several local runners in Mount Vernon began to get together in the mornings at 6 a.m. and the Mount Vernon Running Buddies were born.  Ever since that day, it's a rare morning that you don't find someone from that group meeting up for the daily run.  Their dedication to running is amazing!

I've also enjoyed meeting numerous runners from Central Ohio and beyond.  Run DMC is a group that corresponds primarily via social media, but people in that group have become some of my very closest friends.  I've also met great people in the midst of races who have gone on to become close friends, too, after we helped each other get through the tough times in a race.

Since this journey began three years, two months, and four days ago, I've been blessed to be able to run in some great places.  I've run on the beach of both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico.  I've run across the Golden Gate Bridge and back.  I've run the magnificent mile in Chicago, under the Arch in St. Louis, and on the track at Daytona International Speedway.  I've run a three-state 5K with a mile at three different state welcome centers.  I've run three marathons (Columbus 2011, Earth Day 2012, and Last Chance for Boston 2013) and eight half marathons (Pittsburgh twice, Earth Day twice, Erie, Xenia, Cap City, and Columbus).  I've participated in two amazing relay races - Hood to Coast in 2012 and Relay Around Columbus in 2013.  And too many shorter races to even mention, yet all have been incredibly fun and provided their own enjoyment to this journey.

Running my leg at Hood to Coast
The journey has not been without its bumps in the road either.  I spent August of 2011 with limited mileage due to shin splints.  Then, about the same time in 2012, the shin splints returned and turned into stress fractures in both legs that sidelined me with only 78 total miles from August 1-October 31.  I had to learn patience through the injuries.  And I also learned the importance of cross-training both on the bike and in the pool as well as with core workouts.  The encouragement and support from other runners was unwavering and helped me immensely as I worked to heal.

As I reflect back on the past 5,000 miles, for me it's all about the journey.  It's not about any personal accolades or even the fact that I've reached this milestone.  It's about the people's lives I've been able to be a part of and the amazing times that we've had.  For those of you who I've had the pleasure of running with, THANK YOU!  For those of you I haven't met in person yet, but who have supported me from afar, THANK YOU!  YOU are what this milestone is all about because without you this journey would be pretty lonely.  I look forward to seeing all of you on the run sometime soon!


P.J. Murphy said...


You have a great outlook on things. 5,000 miles is nothing to sniff at, but I agree that it's the journey and the people you meet along the way that makes you want to keep going.

Good luck on your next 5,000!

Ashley H. said...

This is awesome. I love your story. Mine is similar...although I have not reached 5K miles yet. I have ran about 1500 miles in the past year. Running has truly saved my life. I have lost 80 pounds and plan to run my first half marathon this October. People like you are an inspiration! Congratulations and I wish you much success in your future runs! :)

MVNUSID said...

P.J. and Ashley, thanks for the notes and good luck in your journeys. Ashley, your story is truly amazing. If you haven't taken the time to write it up to share with others, do so. You will inspire many AND you'll be glad to have it to look back on to see where you've come. If you have written it up, send me a link so I can read about it. Which half marathon are you doing in October? If it's Columbus, I'll be there with you.

Ashley H said...

No, I haven't written anything about my running; but your blog is definitely inspiring! It is definitely something I will consider! It would be nice to have a "living" memento of what I have been doing...

Yes...I am doing the Columbus Marathon too! I cannot wait! I have a "countdown" Christmas!

Ryan Stephens said...

Dave -

I've only been working with the running community for a little over 3 weeks, yet I've encountered so many of these stories and I love each one, particularly the camaraderie that comes when fellow runners experience and share these stories with each other.

Thanks for sharing with me!

MVNUSID said...

Ryan, the running community is like no other. Amazing people with amazing stories.

Kelcey Buck said...

What a great blog, Dave. You're such an inspiration. Two of the best runs I've ever had were the Golden Gate Bridge with you, Cindy, Jay and Eric; and the run with you and Jay around Forest Park in 2012.

MVNUSID said...

Kelcey, I'm honored to have been a part of those great memories for you. Running with friends tends to lend itself to great memories. :)