I’ve known her for most of my life. We first met in the photo lab in college. Photography is her life’s passion. And this was the first time that I was the subject of her craft. I might or might not be wearing clothes here.
On July 8, 2013 I made a decision to change my life. I’d led a sedentary life for the previous 20 years and I’d become fat, unhealthy, and unhappy. I remember very vividly stepping out of the shower one morning and just staring at myself in the mirror. I was very unhappy with the man who was looking back at me, so I made the decision to make changes. It was at that moment that I knew I was going to have to go to work on myself.
I found healthy meal suggestions online and immediately changed what I was putting into my body. I set out the next day and set out to go on an eight mile bike ride. My hip hurt when I rode my bike, so I pedaled back home after only making it a mile from the house. The next morning I set out on the bike again and pushed through the pain so I could make it the eight miles that I’d set out to cover. The pain in my hip was still there and I knew that I couldn’t keep forcing the bike riding lest I injure myself. But I was committed to the work that I’d signed on to do. I decided that if I couldn’t ride my bike, I would go out the next day and see if I could run a mile.
On July 11, 2013, I walked to the middle school track up the hill from our house and I ran one mile. I pushed myself hard in that mile. I remember getting starry tunnel vision in the last 300 meters and damn near collapsed after I hit one mile.
I walked after I hit one mile so I could catch my breath and let my heart rate settle down. What I’d done had hurt, but I knew that’s what I’d signed up for. I knew the process wasn’t going to be easy. And that’s when that “runner’s high” set in. That one mile didn’t kill me and my hip didn’t hurt.
I decided that I’d go out again the next day and run one mile again, but I’d run it slower. I decided that I would teach myself how to run. I would take my time and I would train so I could learn to run longer distances and gradually increase my speed.
Ten years ago today I became a student and I still learn something about running and myself every time I set foot out the door.
Ten days, nine states, 14 state line crossings (in no particular order):
There’s just something about road-tripping. A lot of it can get boring and repetitive, but then the scenery and landscape sneaks up and changes on you. My favorite scenery parts were on the drive back south through the Boston Mountains in northwest Arkansas and the Ouachita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma.
My other favorite parts were when I realized I’d forgotten my wallet when we were right at 100 miles into our trip last Thursday. I just shrugged my shoulders and figured I’d wing it. These last 10 days have been pretty liberating without an ID or money. And then last night, a kind soul followed us into our hotel parking lot in Fayetteville to let us know our tail lights were out. That’s when Elise and I realized we’d driven roughly 2,000 miles without ever turning on our rental’s lights. The running lights served us well, and how the hell do you know if you don’t have tail lights unless a Razorback lets you know? I love Arkansas.
But the best part has been spending all this time with my girls. I get a little lip quiverry when I think about these college visits and the oldest going to college next year. But when I think more on it, that means one less person farting on these multi state road trips.
I’ll always cherish these road trips, but I’ll forever cherish these girls even more.