Today my husband, Jeff, completed his first Long Beach Half Marathon and ninth half-marathon overall. If you would have asked him seven or eight years ago whether he would even run one half-marathon, his response probably would have been jokingly, “Well that’s a stupid idea.” This is a testament to mindsets and how we are only limited by our thoughts.
As we walked around near the start line and Jeff stretched with his running partner and uncle, Jerry, I noticed an older man pushing his son in a running stroller. They looked familiar somehow and when I read Hoyt Racing on the side, it hit me. They looked much older than the video of Dick and Rick Hoyt that I had watched back in 2009. If you haven’t seen it, do your heart the favor of watching this amazing story of love, dedication and commitment. And don’t forget the tissues.
I am über proud of Jeff. Three years ago, he challenged himself to do something he never thought he was physically capable of. He started out slow to build a proper running form that he could commit to muscle memory. Then he pushed himself to complete one mile without stopping, then added a half mile every week or so until he could complete eight miles without stopping. He set a goal to run six to eight miles, two to three times a week.
No matter how tired he is when he gets home from work, he knows that if he doesn’t keep his training up, it will be that much harder to build back to that point. On weekends, he gets up early to get his run in before starting whatever play we have planned. I admire his dedication and hard work to keep running up.
When we met in grad school in 2010, we started out as friends and after six months of enjoying each other’s company, we grew to be companions. I knew he was my better half on our first date. Every cell in my body felt that he was “it” for me…I didn’t need to look any further, my heart had found its home.
Back then, neither one of us were in great physical shape. Recognizing we were both starting at square one, yet wanted to be healthier, we decided to learn together. We set a goal to do a triathlon. I knew how to swim well from my high school days on swim team. Jeff spent most of his childhood and high school on long bike rides with his dad. We taught the other how to do the sport we were good at and learned to run together.
In 2012, we completed our first (and only) Silicon Valley Triathlon, finishing in the top half for our age and gender brackets. That was one of my personally proudest moments. I finished what I never thought my body was capable of. It required twice-a-day workouts, giving up alcohol consumption and a lot of time. I was also in the best shape of my whole life…at 32.
After that, Jeff kept up his dedication to running and pushed himself to go farther and farther distances until he realized that a half marathon was possible. He signed up for the San Jose Rock N Roll Half Marathon in 2014 and the rest is history. He’s a running machine now.
Thankfully he has Jerry to compete with in these races. They make a good team and pace each other well.
I am incredibly lucky to have Jeff as my life partner and count him as my first blessing each day during my gratitudes. Jeff has shown me first hand that if you want something and dedicate the time and energy to mastering it, anything is possible.