I was at the mall shopping for a new pair of shoes for my son Paul and the salesman said he really liked my shirt. I was wearing my "Bright As The Sun Orange" RunJunkEes shirt that says "The Journey is the Reward" on the back. He said he always spends so much time worrying about the end result, of whatever it is he's trying to accomplish, that he misses the fun of getting there. I told him that I am a RunJunkEe, an avid runner, and that for every finish line I have ever crossed and every medal ever hung around my neck the real rewards had always been found in the training leading up to that moment. The money raised for the cause, the friends met along the way, the stories learned of others and their reason for being there, and the many moments of zen and clarity found while running - the rewards were always received long before hitting the finish line timing mat. And he said "And so it shall be with life. I will look for the rewards on my journey." I bought Paul a nice new pair of Vans and we left the store.
The Journey is the Reward is by far my favorite mantra for this thing I do called running. Everything about my life has been enriched by running. I am fitter and healthier than ever before in life. I find myself surrounded by amazing people weekly at social runs, while training with TEAM in Training, and at races. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with positive and uplifting people daily. I've learned to Embrace My Joy on a daily basis. It is pretty amazing how this journey has rewarded me on an almost daily basis. Believe me, if this weren't true, I would've never run more than that first half marathon I set out to accomplish to raise money in memory of my nephew Mavrick.
Today I received an email from Dan Woods asking me if I'd consider being a RunJunkEes™ sponsored athlete to represent the RunJunkEes and running through his brand and website.
I couldn't have said YES fast enough. We are not RunJunkIes. We are RunJunkEes. The E representing EVERYONE. RunJunkEes are inclusive of all who run and it simply does not matter how long you've been running, how fast you run, or how long you can run. If you run we welcome you to our RunJunkEe world. The very fact that Dan selected me as a RunJunkEes™ sponsored athlete, a guy who's been running less than 3 years with a PR of 4:38 for a full, is more than enough evidence to his attitude towards RunJunkEes and running as a whole. I am not an elite. Not even close. I'm just a guy who decided in June of 2011 after losing his nephew Mavrick to blood cancer to run a half marathon and raise a couple of thousand dollars to benefit leukemia research and along the way, that first "season", training fell totally head over heels in love with running.
I love what running has done for me and what I see it do for so many others. Running is not the source of my "weight loss transformation" (that was actually strength training in the gym with my friend and personal trainer Abel Berry). Running is, however, the source of a personal transformation that goes much further than anything physical. It has made me more confident and more secure in my ability, as a human being, to accomplish whatever I set my mind to. I started running June 27th of 2011 and in October of that year completed my first half marathon at the 13.1 Dallas and in December my first full marathon at the MetroPCS White Rock Dallas Marathon. To date I have completed 20 half marathons, 10 full marathons, and 2 ultra marathons (50Ks), many of them as a Rundraiser raising money with TEAM in Training to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'll share more about TEAM's mission and why it is the single most important reason I run in the coming days.
For now, I'll close this first blog entry in thankfulness and gratitude for this honor. RunJunkEes is by far my favorite running community online and to have been selected as a sponsored athlete and ambassador is truly an honor.