Today's Featured Athlete is Shaun Johnson and he blogs over at Top Runners Review. This is the story behind his first step. You might want to grab a tissue, I know I did.
I want to clarify, I have always loved
running. In elementary school I was considered the fastest kid at my
school. In Jr. High I would wow the coaches with my mile time. In high
school, I did not do track because the track coach was fat, and I though
that a fat guy would have nothing to teach me about running, but I did
do football, and I could run almost as fast backwards, as my opponents
could run forewards. I have always loved running, but it was not really a
part of my life until 2010. 2010 was a bad year for me.
I can still remember the
day, September 12, 2009. My wife and I had gotten into a horrible
fight. She took our kid and went up to her parents house to cool off. I
thought this was it. Our relationship had been on the rocks for a while
and I though that this was the straw that broke the camels back. I hated
the thought of divorce. I feel that when you get married, barring extreme circumstances, you are in it for the long haul. A big fight is
far from extreme circumstances, but I still felt like this was it.
did not know what to do. I spent the evening by myself. I tried to use
the tv to distract me, but that didn't work. Loud music, reading,
playstation, nothing seemed to work for me. I couldn't stop stressing. I lay in bed for a couple of hours, but I wasn't tired. At 1:00 in the
morning, I put on some cross trainers and shorts and headed out into the
rain. Yes, on a night like that I though it appropriate for a run.
walked to a local park and ignored the sign that says that the park closes
at 10PM. That's where I relearned to run. Lap after lap, I didn't
want to stop. I didn't even take walking breaks. A few laps in my nose
started to bleed, I didn't care. I was there to run. That is where I
came up with the term, 'Just me and the wind'
When my friends ask why I run, I tell them, 'because it is just me and the wind', and that is what this run really was.
night I didn't really do a lot of thinking, but I did manage to relax. I
convinced myself that it would all work out. I realized that there is so
much in life that doesn't matter. I learned to enjoy every moment of
life, just like I began to enjoy running again that night. I learned to
But I quickly forgot it again.
After running for 3
hours I went home just in time to receive a phone call from my wife
telling me that she was sorry, and she wanted me with her...and that is
the last run I had until the end of the year.
December 4, 2009,
same story, different chapter...different ending. An even bigger fight,
nothing had changed since the September fight, things had only gotten
worse. Her parents hear about it and come to pick her up the next day. I
helped to pack her up and then I kissed her goodbye. Yes, we kissed
goodbye as my wife drove off to move in with her parents while we try to
get things straightened out in our marriage.
After she left I
went inside, and instantly I knew the solution. I dusted off the
treadmill, and I ran. I put in a movie this time, and again, I got so
lost that I found myself. It was starting to click how important running
was to me, how I needed to run.
Throughout the first half of
2010 I really tried hard to fix my marriage. I signed up for marriage
counseling, but my wife would never show up. I took my wife out on
dates, and they were fun, but they always ended back on her parents door
step. Every so often, I could feel things building up inside, and I
would run on those days. By May, I had gotten sick of trying to fix the
marriage alone, I went for a run, and then I filled out the divorce
papers, and then I went on another run that same day.
2010, my brother got in a horrible long board accident and we were told
that he only had a small chance that he would live through the
night. I couldn't run, but I wanted to. The first chance that I felt
like I could step away from the hospital (a couple of days after the
accident and my brother had stabilized) I ran. This run was much like
the first, just me and the wind, no deep thoughts, no pain in my
legs, just me, and a realization that part of my life is to run. That is
when it clicked, I am a runner.
I haven't had a perfect running schedule, there have been months where I don't run, but I always come back.
My brother has recovered to 90% of normal and I'm now divorced. I've also become a runner.
That is Why I Run!
Thank you Shaun for sharing your story!
Follow Shaun online:
Facebook: Top Runners Review