It was February 9th, 2008.
I woke up with a nervous stomach, not sure what to expect from this adventure I was about to embark upon, not sure if I even wanted to go at all. It is always easier to talk about doing something, but to actually commit to doing something is a whole other story.
After some breakfast, I put on my loyal gym worn Adidas shorts, some warm up pants, a cotton t-shirt and my $40 from Costco no-room-in-the-toes "running" shoes. Chris and I drove over to the local hospital where this meeting we had decided to attend was being held.
We wandered around and finally found the signs for "Train to End Stroke" then found our way to the conference room we were supposed to be in. I kind of wanted to turn around right then and forget this whole thing. But I didn’t. I walked in, very unsure of myself, but was comforted by looking around at all the other nervous faces. We signed in and picked some seats for the meeting to begin.
In the meeting we learned about fundraising, we learned a little bit about running, we learned about strokes. We heard from past participants and we heard from stroke survivors. We introduced ourselves to the group and declared what event we were going to be training for and raising money for.
"Hi, my name is Aron and I am going to run the San Francisco Full Marathon."
There were only a couple other people who uttered those same words that day.
As fate had it, this girl (Kristin) just happened to be one of them.
Soon after, we headed outside for our very first mile. This would be my first official mile of marathon training, the mile that started my mileage tracking, and the mile that I identify to when people ask about when I started running. I may not have been a "runner" that day, but I was sure on the road to becoming one.
I have no idea how fast I ran that mile, but I remember it wasn’t that easy. I had no idea if I would be able to complete TWENTY SIX of them 7 months later. I was afraid, nervous, but so excited. So excited and ready for this new challenge set in front of me. So excited to start on this very new journey that I had no idea how it would unfold.
I was sick of the gym, I was tired of being on the elliptical, I was tired of being inside, I was just plain bored without any challenges.
That all ended this day.
From that day on I have fallen more in love with running every single day. There are most definitely days I hate it and it hurts and I question it all, but those are the days that end up making me love it even more.
Four years ago, I set out with a goal to run 23 miles further than I had ever run in my life at that point. Four years later, I haven’t stopped. 11 marathons, 25 half marathon, 8,398.8 miles, countless tears, a ridiculous number of shoes, 900 blog posts, so many amazing friends, and an unimaginable amount of happiness, smiles and pure joy.
Running has brought so much to my life, pure simple happiness, structure and release, and I will forever look back at February 9th, day one, with a big huge smile. My life changed for the better than day and I had no idea at the time.
Happy Anniversary running, I can’t imagine my life without you.