By Rich Cooper, Volte Coach
I love running!
I love running!
It has defined me and helped to make me the man I am today.
I discovered running at the young age of 16 when I decided that football hurt too much, not to mention I wasn’t very good at it.
I grew up in Northern California in the shadow of the Santa Cruz Mountains which were filled with tall Redwood and Pine trees.
It was my playground for four years.
I loved running and I ran my first marathon in those mountains.
It was probably one of the toughest marathons I have ever run as it took off from Los Gatos, climbed through the mountains and ended down in Soquel which was just south of Santa Cruz on the Pacific Ocean.
It was 13 miles up, four miles along the summit and then nine miles downhill.
Looking back on the experience, it wasn’t the uphill that got me, but the nine miles down that challenged me.
After that race, my love for marathons took off.
For a while it stayed with me; then it left me because of college.
It's very difficult to run in the harsh winters of Nebraska.
Everything changed in my early 30’s when one day I woke up, looked in the mirror and decided I needed to change my lifestyle or else I would be in big trouble.
Running changed my life.
Two years after I started up again. I was 100 pounds lighter and a new confident man.
Because of running I met my wife Ginger. This March we will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.
Ginger gave me two sons. They have seen me as a runner as long as they have been alive.
I owe everything I have in my life to running.
What I love about running, is it is a mirror of life. You get back what you put into it. The harder you work, the greater the success. Just like in life, you have good days and you have bad ones. The way you respond to those bad days will determine how the next day goes.
Just like life, you experience moments of euphoria as well as moments of despair.
There is good pain and there is bad.
And when you don’t expect it, you’ll experience that “Runners High” where everything in your body and mind tingle with excitement.
There is nothing like that feeling of sprinting to the finish line passing people.
And the marathon, don't get me started.
Some of my most memorable moments were completing a marathon.
There is nothing like going from tears to the sheer feeling of joy when crossing that finish line.
There is nothing like that feeling of being soaking wet after a hard workout but you still feel so good because you know you gave everything you had into it.
Every day I get to run is a blessing from God. He has given all of us a gift; the gift of running. I always remind runners that not everyone has the gift of running.
We’re a special breed.
Getting up and running before the sun comes up or going out in 85-degree, 90 percent humidity to run 10 miles.
It takes a special person with a special gift to do that.
Running lays foundation to our successes in life because it trains us on how to deal with life.
There is no other sport like running. It takes dedication and discipline to strap on the running shoes and go out and run.
And even though running can be tough on the body, if you take care of yourself and listen to your body your running days can go far into your life.
2020 was a tough year for us runners.
During that time, it was my refuge from all the craziness in this world.
Through it all, the one constant was I could run and nothing could stop me.
I know 2021 will be a great year as we are already starting to see races crank up.
2020 sparked my love for running because I couldn’t race, it made me stronger and more determined to run, because I wouldn’t let it be taken away from me.
So, the next time you’re not sure if you want to step out and get your daily run in, remember everything it has given you.
I guarantee you; you’ll be strapping up those shoes and hitting the road.
Yes, I love running and I will for the rest of my life.
Keep running friends!