Last updated: March 17. 2014 6:23PM - 957 Views
Kevin Spradlin Editor/Content Manager

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It’s not too late for me to save my 2014.

Last year, I logged 1,619 miles through running trails, roads and around the oval track. I even won a 10-mile road race — my first outright victory in … seemingly forever. I earned the title “2013 RRCA West Virginia 10-Mile Champion,” and it can’t be taken away.

Lately, though, I’ve almost wanted to give it back. I certainly haven’t been doing anything to defend the title this year. Since taking the job at The Daily Journal on Sept. 23, I’ve logged a run on only 31 days out of nearly 180. The last time I was in such a rut, I was in my early 20s.

My body doesn’t come back to the sport like it used to. It takes a little longer. And the longer the layoff from regular exercise, the longer it takes for exercise to begin to feel good. After toeing the start line on March 8 for my first race in North Carolina — and first since September 2013 — I realized I might need twice as long as usual for my body to think running is something less than criminal.

I didn’t finish the 10-mile race in Southern Pines. I went 6.8 miles and upon returning to my car, decided then and there I’d celebrate the moral victory. After all, I ran 6.8, not 0, and it was my first run in about five weeks.

This time, though I had motivation like I’ve rarely had before — I had teammates that were counting on me. Two other Daily Journal employees, regional office manager Susie Smith and front desk/classifieds specialist Mary Hayes and I are signed up for RichmondFit, the inaugural corporate challenge initiative being coordinated by the First in Health Richmond County 2020 Task Force.

Teams competing in RichmondFit each have at least two members. A wide variety of activities can be converted into steps. The team with the highest average number of steps at the end of the challenge on April 30 wins. From the RichmondFit kickoff on March 3 through March 7, I’ll admit, I did nothing. I still wasn’t motivated to begin.

Then I logged onto richmondfit.org and saw the team standings. Both Susie and Mary and logged some steps and it seemed that because of me, The Daily Journal team was dead last. I’m a competitive person. I couldn’t let it stay that way.

Since March 8, I’ve run every day but one. As a running coach, I always told my new runners “give it two weeks and a day, then you’ll start to feel better.” While still much slower than where I was six months ago, I’m already beginning to feel better. I’m certainly not setting any land speed records. I wouldn’t be competitive even for an age group award should I enter any of the local 5K races coming up.

I’m not yet thinking long term. I’m thinking “let’s get through April 30.” The Daily Journal team, as of Saturday afternoon, was in seventh place. First place might be out of reach already, but I think sixth and fifth places are going to be competitive.

There’s another benefit to running again. On March 8, I weighed in at a lifetime high of 182 pounds. My preferred race weight is about 150-155. Between March 8 and Saturday, I lost 7 pounds without starting core body work to work on that “mushy” area of my body.

So it’s not too late for me to save my 2014 after all. I ran 208 days in 2013. I’ve run only 17 days this year. So far. There are more than 270 to go.

I just wonder how much time I wasted thinking it already was a lost cause instead of simply lacing up and hitting the trails. Thanks, RichmondFit.

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