My name is Graham.  I have been running for about 3 years now, but didn’t start training seriously until March of 2012.  In just 1 year of consistent and structured workouts, I have ran a 19:17 5K, 1:30:40 Half Marathon, and logged hundreds and hundreds of miles.   I still remember my first pair of running shoes, and how I mapped out a 1.1 mile loop in my neighborhood.  I would use my old trac-phone’s stopwatch app and run the loop in about 8:45.  That was a great time.  After about 3 months of my first bits of running, I began to suffer knee pain, which grew from a little tweak to crippling pain.  The orthopedic told me that I had bipartite patella, (split knee cap), and that running would neither hurt nor help my knee issue.  I tried for another month before giving up completely.  He did tell me that swimming, especially kicking, would help the pain, and help it did.  Within the year it took for me to learn swimming, my legs went from skinny to tawny and the pain was nearly gone.  As an added bonus, in that time I became certified as a Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor, which got my legs in shape and gave me a new and alternative sport to practice.  However, I am not the type that gives up easily, so I decided to give another go to running.  It went fairly well, but I just didn’t have the discipline and consistency to stick with it, and petered out (this was around fall of 2011).  Now, I am still not sure what finally brought me back, but one thing or another sparked the desire to start up again, and this time, I had a plan.  Get a training schedule and pick a 5K to run.  I was petrified of a race, since all I could envision was myself dropping out due to knee pain.  Nevertheless, in March of 2012, I found a plan (intermediate 5K plan on running.about.com) and picked a race: the inaugural Socci Stiletto Stampede 5K, which was exactly 8 weeks away.  In that time, I remembered how much I loved to run, and as I crossed the finish line, I decided, “This is it.  I am a runner.  I need to do this!”  So, I set out a bunch of goals and found another 5K in July to run.  From there, it has been a steady climb to where I am today, and I am not running out of momentum in the least.  The past year of training has developed in me more drive and focus then I thought was in me, and I have achieved a higher level of fitness than I thought I ever could.  I have battled through numerous injuries, bouts of discouragement, and conquered pain.  Today, I am more ready than ever to get out and win!  For those interested, my future races include the Dunn Tire Mountain Goat 1o Mile, the Boilermaker 15K, and my first full marathon, the Empire State Marathon.  Thanks for reading, and keep running!




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