The Casual Runner

My Runnerversary – The Big 5th!

Runiversary - pre run andrew

2011: Me and my oldest nephew Andrew, a mere 3 weeks before I embarked on my Casual Running adventures.

Well fellow Casual Runners, here we are. Another December 23rd is upon us. I know that this day may not be particularly significant to you, especially with what we have on the horizon for us in the coming days and weeks of this holiday and running season, but today is a special day indeed for me.

You see, it was 5 years ago today that I changed my life. On that day in Poland, Ohio, I got up off the couch and ran my first mile…and it made all the difference!

After I ran my first mile, I never looked back.

Read about other Casual Runners who ran their FIRST MILE.

Runiversary - 2nd year

2013: Celebrating my second runnerversary with Nolan, (newborn) Zac, and Andrew.

I honestly had no idea on that day how such a simple act could have such a profound impact on literally every aspect of my life. It isn’t just that running helped me to lose weight, but running helped give me a more profound sense of purpose and determination.

Running helped me develop and explore new relationships with my family.

Running helped me meet new and wonderful people, many of whom I am thrilled to call some of my closest friends.

Running introduced me to this whole adventure that is Casual Runner.

And, above all, running led me to Candace, the greatest partner and “running buddy” I could have ever hoped for. She is all those things, and so very much more.

And it is all because of running.

Runiversary - 3rd year with boys

2014: Celebrating with Nolan, (a very shy) Zac, (no longer quite a newborn) Ryan, and Andrew.

This is why I think it is important to commemorate my runnerversary every year. (You can read my messages and thoughts from my fourth runnerversary and my third runnerversary). It is important, from time to time, to look back on the roads that our lives have taken and all that can be learned from these journeys, for we are better people for having undertaken them.

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What a great adventure it has been!

In the last 5 years I have logged more than 4,500 training and race miles. I successfully completed 10 5ks, 10 10ks, 10 race challenges (give it up for unintentional symmetry!), 6 miscellaneous distance races, 30 half marathons, and 4 full marathons. And I am nowhere close to being done yet!

This is not to say that it has all been success and SMOs. I have had my share of setbacks.

I have fought through injuries and had to overcome the occasional lack of motivation. I had to scrub my first race because of the flu and even been thwarted from running races by weatherBut through it all, running has always been my safe place.

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2016: Me, Nolan, Andrew, Candace, & Ryan.

It is with great hope and optimism that I look forward to the new year, my 6th as a Casual Runner.

I am excited to take on new – and dare I say, daunting? – challenges!

There will be yet another Walt Disney World Marathon (remember when I swore that I would be one and done?) and Goofy Challenge.

There will be new race distances and combos (January 2017 may just break me!).

I will revisit some old race favorites and look to discover and explore new races.

There will be plenty more early wakeup calls, cold mornings, and plane flights on too little sleep.

There will be late evening summer runs that will leave me in awe of nature.

There will be ill-advised pre-race meals, and celebratory post-race drinks with amazing friends.

There will be plenty of Casual Adventures mixed in for good measure.

And, through it all, I will be appreciative of the opportunities I am given with every step that I take.

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2016: Welcoming Ava, our newest Casual Runner.

I would remiss if I did not thank each and every one of you for your love and support for the past 5 years. I am honored to be on this Casual Running adventure with you by my side.

And so, in accordance with my past Casual Runner tradition, I want to simply conclude this message by wishing you all the very best in your Casual Running and other fitness goals, and of course, by wishing you all the very merriest of Christmases, the happiest of holidays, and a happy, healthy, and adventurous new year! See you out on the running trails!

Read about other Casual Runners who ran their FIRST MILE.

Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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