How I Got Hooked

I mentioned previously that I try to run four times per week.  I know runners who run every day, where it seems like they would be lost if they had to miss a day.  I know others that, when the endorphins kick in, they feel like they could run forever.  Any time those endorphins want to kick in for me, I’m ready for them!  I have never, ever regretted any run I’ve done, and I always feel better after I’m done, glad that I did; however, there are more times than I’d care to admit that it’s a struggle to get motivated.

My running journey started in 2014.  My wife Rayna had been working out at a gym near our home and teaching ballet at a local dance school when she was diagnosed with heart failure. We later found out that she had a rare blood disorder that was affecting her heart and she required chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. While we are fortunate the treatment put her in remission, the damage it did to her heart was irreversible, and she ended up needing a heart transplant as well.  So, I started running to be healthy for her and for our kids.  I knew I needed to do more than I was doing to ensure sure I’d be around.  She encouraged me to run since she couldn’t.  We were fortunate that on October 8, 2018, she received a new heart and today is doing great.  Six months of living in Salt Lake City as she recovered, and we were back in Casper.

So, I was and am a fan of the show The Biggest Loser.  When The Biggest Loser announced a 5k Run/Walk in Casper August 17, 2014, I signed up.  And a few days before the event, I panicked…what if I couldn’t do it, what if I embarrassed myself, what it, what if, what if.  Then Rayna calmly told me that I could do it, that she believed in me, and I showed up.  And I learned what I really loved about running…. being around other runners.  The atmosphere for that run was more like a carnival and I loved it (maybe some of those endorphins were even released!).  We started at the Boys and Girls Club, ran down along the Platte River, and back again.  I stopped to walk briefly once and finished….and I was hooked!

Since that time I’ve done over forty 5K runs (3.1 miles), a few 10Ks, 15Ks, a 10 mile, and trail runs, plus seven ½ marathons, three of those in Casper, three in Las Vegas (running down Las Vegas Boulevard at night), and one in Salt Lake City.  While there may be easier marathons to run that the Casper Marathon (lower elevation, more of a downhill course), Casper was where I ran my first 5K, and Casper was where I ran my first half marathon back in 2017, so it’s only fitting that Casper and the Casper Marathon is the place I will run my first marathon.

My history with the Casper Marathon even pre-dates my interest in running.  As a Casper Rotarian, I volunteered a few years manning one of the aid stations at Crossroads Park.  I remember watching the runners and wondering if I could do that.  We will see.  My “official” training program starts next Tuesday…wish me luck!