A milestone that must be documented

365 days ago at this exact moment, I got on a treadmill at Gold's Gym. I was 190 pounds and I'd signed up three days before as a way of coping with the separation from my wife. I had to do something to burn off stress, so I overcame my fear of going to a public place to exercise.

This milestone should be 366 days ago, because I had driven into the parking lot but turned around because I was too scared to go in.

But, a year ago today, I had my free personal training session, which basically consisted of taking measurements and then doing a little cardio. That meant I got my chubby sweat-pants wearing self onto a treadmill and walked for 30 minutes, messing around with the controls.

Over the next week, I went to the gym five days out of seven, switching between the exercise bike and the treadmill. I gradually started jogging on these, and spent as much time as I could.

Work begins in 31 minutes, but I'll just say I just got back from a 3.5 mile run I ran in 29 minutes, and this was a recovery run in which the object was to go at a pace at which I did not surpass my aerobic heart rate. A nice easy run. In the freezing cold. Miles 13 through 16.5 this week.

Anyone who is in a dark hole should seriously consider exercise as the way out. I look back at myself a year ago and I look at myself now, and I don't recognize who I was. I was angry. I was lost. I blamed other people for everything. I was so scared and worried everything was going to fall apart.

I'm not going to say I never feel those things now. But, I do know that I don't want to feel those things, and I've got something to strive for. I have a tremendous coping mechanism that fills me with so much energy, has given me a much healthier body, and has introduced me to so many people.

Now that I'm training again for an actual race, I know that I have a short-term purpose that will help me get through everything else. I do regret not running the Richmond marathon, but that's okay. Sometimes we change our plans, but when we've made the decision to do so, we must move on. Sometimes that's hard.

And that's why I run. I used to think running was hard. Now, I know it's something I can do. I have a platform in which I can practice pacing, form, technique. Now I want to improve every aspect of my life, even though at times I might stumble.

Now, 26 minutes until work and I must run.

(see what I did there?)

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