posted on Monday, September 04, 2017
Story comes from John Hansen of Reinbeck, Iowa.
"Growing up in Reinbeck, Iowa, we played simple games on the playground that were very competitive. There were lots of races and “who could do this the best” competitions. I always looked up to the coaches and players ahead of me. I was involved in multiple sports each year. Then, I grew up. I realized that fitness was a choice. At that moment in my life, I chose to smoke a pack a day. I chose to drink more than I should. One day, I decided the person I was going to be moving forward. I completely quit smoking and drinking– cold turkey. I decided that I was going to be better. I signed up for 5ks. I set goal times for each race, and then beat them. Then I moved to half marathons. My motivation came from the support of my family. My wife and kids would cheer me on. I was finally on track and motivated again in my life, when I seriously sprained my ankle. This was my first big injury as a runner; first real big set back. Would I choose to give up running? Something that pushed me everyday to be better? On top of that, I was beginning a new job in a new state… All of the changes would have been the perfect excuse to stop running and set fitness aside. Instead, I started training for a marathon.
My wife was so supportive. She’d drop me off at my starting point, drop off gatorades every 4 to 5 miles, and take care of the kids while I was on a long run. She picked up the slack, and for that I’m forever grateful. Then came the day of my marathon run. Pack a day smoker just over a year and a half a go, now running a marathon! Crossing that finish line with a smile on my face, beating my goal time, I knew I wanted to set my goals even higher– the Boston Marathon. I needed a qualifying time… 6 tries at other marathons and I did not reach my goal. I made the choice to keep training and studying marathons, so I went for lucky number 7. I needed my mental toughness. All my training and I just needed to stay in the moment, mile for mile. At the end of the finish line I could see my wife and kids. I was so happy to see them. We’re going to Boston I told them! "You did it dad."
This journey had taken time, like all journeys do. People ask me why I do it – why I run in the freezing cold. Well, because I can. I’ve learned that you have to make good choices, you have to set goals, and you have to do the work to reap the benefits. “Have” is the term I used, but today, I WANT to.