During my first year of teaching, a few teachers were starting a running club for any staff and faculty that wished to join. One of my colleagues and great friend, Esther, encouraged me to join. I decided to join. All previous attempts to get myself into presentable shape had failed, but I felt running was going to be different. The first running club meet was on a cold day in December. Of course, like most people running for the first time, I overexerted myself and was in pain for a couple of days. When I first started, there was a lot of stopping to walk and catch my breath. The running club members were very encouraging and made running together so much enjoyable.
As we ran more and more, I was encouraged to sign up for a 5K race that March. I laughed the idea since I had to stop so much to walk while running. The only time I was running was with the running club, once a week. Each time we ran, I flirted with the idea to sign up for the 5K. Eventually I did. I was told signing up for it would encourage me to work towards a goal and keep me motivated to run more. Christian, the science teacher at the school, made a four week training plan to prepare for the race. I was ambitious at first but the plan was a flop as I did not keep up with it. The race eventually came and I wasn’t prepared for it. I finished it around 39 minutes with multiple stops in between. But I finished. That’s what mattered. I came away with an XL Coogan’s 5K t-shit that did not fit because I was so god damn fat.
I took a hiatus from running after the race. Personal issues lit a fire under me to begin running again. I ran with the running club in the spring on Thursdays and started to run on Saturday by myself. I picked a regular route and worked on check points where I could walk for a certain distance and begin running again. Eventually, I began running on Sundays as well. It’s amazing how emotions can fuel your motivation and can also crush it. As the end of the school year approached, I began running more and more. At some point, the need for stops diminished and I was able to run 5K without stopping at all. It was a big accomplishment for me.
By the time summer came, I began to run 4-5 times a week. I decided not to work full-time over the summer to dedicate the summer to myself. I dubbed it “The Summer of Andy.” It was a summer I would work on myself, learn to cook, and pick up some other useful hobbies. I had been called in to sub for the summer camp multiple times, but I still found time to run. I started to increase the distance I ran over time. At some point, I was able to run 5 miles during the summer. I had lost noticeable weight and feel so much better about myself now. I’m running on a regular basis, but not as much as I did over the summer. I’m proud to say I can now wear my Coogan’s 5K XL t-shirt comfortably. Running has helped me get my health back as well as my confidence and self esteem.
Thanks to all those who were so supportive of me and complimented me on what a great job I had been doing.