Moving Forward, Running Life…One Mile At a Time

I remember like it was yesterday when I fainted after going for a simple jog at the park. That moment comes back to my mind each time I run a race. I think of that scene, not because I want to remember that horrific moment, but only because it’s the one time I felt like my health and body fitness was at its lowest. I saw running completely different after that day.

“Running adds life to my day.”

As a child in elementary school, I was never into any sports, and was always the shy one in P.E. class. I was always so quiet and never really the kind of kid that would jump into a group and start a conversation. But I remember that I always enjoyed this fun run that the teachers would organize for us every year on Heights Boulevard. Even though I wouldn’t place at all, something about the whole race scene really had me feeling good. By the age of 12, I had lost both my parents and my nutrition really went down after that. At school I started being more social to classmates so that I wouldn’t feel too lonely.

“You can only push forward in the most difficult times.”

Life did get a little rough for me once I reached middle school. Running was not the same anymore. I was having trouble running laps around the track without stopping for breaks. My lungs felt like they weren’t getting enough air. It became an issue for me and I decided to get it checked out. I found out that I had asthma and I stopped running for a long time. I actually didn’t see myself running again at all for the rest of my life.

When I turned 18, my asthma somehow faded away and I haven’t had any issues with my breathing since then, thanks God. So as time passed and I got older I decided to give running another try. When I fainted at the park that one day, it brought a fear to me that I did not want to repeat again. After that day I realized that I had to get back into running and feel the excitement for it like I once did when I was a little kid. I had to prove to myself that I can do it. So, I began… a mile at a time.

I remember searching on the internet “how to prepare for a big race” and from that day on my journey of running began. I remember coming across so many motivational runners and their ways of becoming a good runner. I wanted to be them, I wanted to conquer a race and remove the fear I had from running. I started my running mission and registered for my first 10k race in 2016 for the Houston Rodeo Run. I remember being so nervous that morning, to the point where I wanted to throw up. But once I crossed that finish line I wanted to cross many more!

I started running many 5ks and 10ks around the city, meeting new people and other motivational runners. I came to a point where I pushed myself a little too hard and suffered from tendinitis on both of my knees. I had to completely stop my running a month before my first half marathon. It was one painful experience I never want to go through again.

“Only through pain can you achieve your greatness.”

I slowly made my way into running my first Half marathon a year later in 2017. Running across the Fred Hartman Bridge for the Texas Bridge Series races. When I completed my first 13.1 miles, I began to wonder if I could run a full marathon one day.

After participating in the Houston Marathon weekend and running my second half marathon in 2018, I noticed how amazing the community is for this city. It felt like I was back to my childhood years running and having so much fun. Not only are all runners having a great time, but the whole city as well! The energy that comes from all the spectators cheering us on through the streets of Houston is one of the best! That moment right there made me realize that if I ever did get to run a full marathon, my hometown city of Houston would be the first one to complete, and so it was. At the age of 29, I conquered my first 26.2 miles on January 20, 2019. I remember being so emotional and proud of myself that day. I started from the bottom and now made it to crossing the finish line of a full 26.2 miles. I even went and got a tattoo of the medal and Houston skyline on my right calf to remember this amazing accomplishment of my life.

But the fun hasn’t stopped for me yet. I look forward to running many more marathons in different cities and hope to one day qualify to run the Boston Marathon. Besides the marathons I would also like to officially complete an Ironman race one day.

“No matter how slow, fast, old, or young you are, it’s all about enjoying life.”

Many runners and other athletes experience good and challenging situations while preparing for a race, game, or competition during their life time. We go through injuries, life issues, illness, but we all have the mindset to push hard and accomplish anything in this life. The best reward is being able to accomplish goals in life that you once thought were impossible to do. The strength is within us, we all have it. So, the next time you go out to a race and feel like it’s impossible to run a marathon, or any distance race, remember to just do one mile at a time. The finish line is ahead!

Blog written by #houambassador Pedro Colunga