On Saturday, I ran in my ninth half marathon, yet crossing that finish line marked one of unprecedented gratification. The sense of personal pride in my training (when I could) and completing the race as I'm juggling life while still nursing Molly, who was born via c-section in March, wanes in comparison to the momentous and sheer pride I feel for BJ, who ran his first. For months, I've celebrated with him his finding his "running legs"again, admired his consistency and anticipated his success and delight in completing his first half marathon. So, I suggested this experience should be told from his perspective. All the writing, pictures and collages are of his creation....
By BJ King
So about 4 months ago I was sitting on the couch ironically enough watching the biggest loser with Sarah and Anna Cate and my dear sweet daughter looked at me and said "daddy you need to get healthy". My first thought was wow kids will say anything these days and while going to bed that night I thought "if not to myself I owe it to my girls and most of all my wife to get healthy." But how do you make yourself get healthy after you have gotten so good at neglecting that part of your life.
Turn back the clock 16 years I was a sophomore in high school and had always been over weight. I decided I wanted to lose weight and started running and like Forrest Gump I kept running. I lost over 100 lbs. and was running upwards of 5 miles a day, 4 days a week. I never ran in races but just loved the way it made me feel and loved the way it changed my life. Then college came, my priorities changed and I quit running. The weight started to come back and I got lazy again.
Then in 2003 I met this girl who changed my life.
On our first date we went to dinner and then out for a drink afterwards and I tried to hold her hand and she would not hold my hand.
We got married a year later and I will always remember her father giving me her hand after walking her down the isle and we held hands.
Then in march of 2006 we had Anna Cate and I will always remember coming into the delivery room and waiting for the birth of our first child and we held hands in anticipation. This story repeated itself in 2010 with Molly and we held hands as she came into our world.
In June I took on Anna Cate's challenge and got up at 5 am and started the many miles of getting back in shape. There was lots of walking with jogging mixed in at first and then about 2 months ago, I was able to go the whole 3.5 miles without walking at all. I was getting hooked not only to the sense of accomplishment in myself and the new found energy from being in better shape, but also to hearing Sarah's half asleep comment when I came in the morning from a run saying she was proud. I loved hearing many times Anna Cate say "how was your run daddy" or "I am proud of you getting healthy daddy".
So this weekend after 4 months of training with tons of encouragement from Sarah and Anna Cate and Molly, and along with friends like Patti, Brenda, Mum Mum, Erin, Greg, Sarah Bush, Lexi who watched the girls so Sarah and I could go on long training runs.....
We held hands as we completed the McDonalds Half Marathon in Richmond in 2 hours and 31 minutes.
It was a great day with Patti who kept the girls the night before and brought them down to cheer us on with Erin Silver. Our dear friend Daniel McGinley rode down with us and ran also (he is like superman he ran the half in 1 hour 23 minutes) . Greg was there with Sarah Bush's family to watch us and Sarah run the whole marathon, along with the Fick and Pence clan cheering Norah on in the marathon as well.
Running is not always fun but has changed my life and I look forward to the next mile and the many more times that Sarah and I hold hands.....
Ah, thank you, honey...for how much you love me, our girls, and your body. Being healthy is a treasured gift you are giving our family. I realize that soon you will be smoking me in these races, so it was so wonderful to cross this finish line and be in this journey with you, hand-in-hand.