I'd heard it all before.
"You're crazy for running as much as you do." Or, "A marathon is a long ways..."
For a while, it seemed like I'd always hear some sort of negative comment every time I put on a pair of running shoes and hit the trail. People who run understood my passion and even praised me for it. The ones who didn't run thought I had lost all of my common sense in my middle age. To me it didn't matter. I was running with a purpose.
About two years ago, I had reached a health obstacle of almost 330 pounds and was heavier than I'd ever been. At 6'1 and obviously obese, it was difficult to even walk 100 yards, much less run it. To make matters worse, I didn't even care. My life had spiraled out of control and I felt there wasn't anything I could do about it.
Then one day, it hit me. I had to do something or I wouldn't be around in another year. My unhealthy life as I knew it was over and that was a good thing.
I started on a diet plan simply learning how to eat. A few months later, the exercise began.
It started with a 15 minute daily walk. As things got easier, it moved into a 30 minute walk, then an hour walk and through it all, I found each step getting easier. From there, I began to incorporate one minute runs in between each 15 minute interval. Then 2 minute runs. Then, all of a sudden I was running a mile, then two miles, then three. Along with the proper eating, the pounds started to come off and the love and passion for this incredible sport began to grow. The more weight I lost, the harder I ran. Running became not just a "Live to Run" mentality, but a literal, "Run to Live".
Here I am in 2015, 135 pounds lighter with 3 full marathons under my belt in 2014 (along with numerous halfs, 5 ks, 10 ks and so on) and a goal to double that this year.
The passion of running is something that I can't even imagine being without. All I can say is that I'm in the best shape of my life and it all started with a healthy step forward.
Now, when people tell me they can't run or even walk a mile, my response is "neither could I," but because of my willingness to somehow make my life better, I'm now the best I've ever been. I've discovered that running is no longer something I do just to maintain my health, although it does. It's now something I do because of an overwhelming passion and a love that drives me beyond anything I'd ever known. I'm grateful for the past in teaching me where I want to go. I simply take it one day at a time, one mile at a time, one step at a time. Knowing that with each race I run or every marathon I finish, I'm doing something that I absolutely love...
Two years ago...who would have thought?
- Keith Lewis