So back in November of 2013 I finally quit smoking again. I had lost count of how many times I had quit in the past. Heck I was one of those who would “quit” for a few hours or if I was lucky a day before I would start back up sometimes. I had started smoking at the age of 12 or 13 and by this time I was 38 years old. I had quit in early 2012 and made about 9 or 10 months before I started back up. The thing with each time I had quit I never created new habits or set any goals or any rewards for myself. When I first started my quit in 2013 I didn’t really do anything different than I had any other time.

But come end of January or beginning of February 2014 the struggle to stay a quitter became real. I started to realize I once again had not developed a new habit for myself. So I decided it was time to get a new habit for myself. I took up running, now I had never considered myself a runner prior to this thought process of starting to run. It sucked at first, I couldn’t breathe worth a crap at the beginning of each run. I couldn’t run for more than a minute or two at a time in the beginning.

In March of 2014 a local college was doing a Child Abuse Awareness 5k charity run. I set that as a goal for a race. I was slow that day but I did it with all my heart. I set to do more races because honestly I got a high per say from it. I started looking for ways to improve my running time and found some plans to follow.

My biggest obstacle during this was myself. With each race I seen people who were so much faster than me. Especially those out and back races, you so those fast people who are on their way back and you can’t even see the turn around point. I had friends who when they found out I had taken up running would make fun of my “slow” pace. I think many people waited and expected me to fail yet again. I think they kept waiting for me to give up on running and to start smoking again.

I stayed strong in my running habit for 3 years. In that time I completed an endless amount of virtual 5k and 10k races. I did several in person races too ranging from 5k’s up to 1 full marathon. My life changed drastically after I quit smoking and started running. Obviously I became healthier by the benefits I gained from no longer smoking by improving my lungs, heart and all that other stuff you get for kicking that habit.

But the improvement in my life from picking up running is amazing. I gained confidence in myself knowing that I can do whatever I set out to do, the first 10k I completed only 6 months after I picked up running was amazing. Then a year later I ran my first half marathon at that same race. I have came to realize that my run time is what it is. It doesn’t matter if others are faster than me or if I am faster than others. It doesn’t matter what place I come in because I am doing this for me. I am hopefully showing others they too can do whatever they set out to do.

I feel so much freer when I breath too, I don’t get as sick anymore, I use to get bronchitis several times a year and I might have gotten bronchitis once or twice since I quit smoking and started running. My skin looks better than before. My taste buds have changed drastically. There are foods I couldn’t stand before that I really like now.

I have not ran as much over the last 2 years but this year is going to be different. I am ready to get back at it. I am getting back into the habit of running. I have my goals for this year which is the biggest thing for me I need goals…. I want to run at least 2 half marathons this year and to become a Spartan Trifecta….