Where it all began (running that is)

Everything went dark and when I mean dark, it was pitch black.. I could hear everything that was happening around me with incredible clarity but my eyes just would not work, it felt like I was trapped and locked away and unable to escape this prison no matter what I did, but within a flash I was back at the party…. Wow. There is a huge crowd in the corner of the yard by the fence, so I walked over to check out what the commotion was about.. It’s party so there is always something interesting. When I walked only to find a kid sitting against the fence with his eyes rolled back into his heads and 2 people slapping him across the face yelling and doing anything to get him to wake up… Then I realized that the kid was me. But once again I had that trapped feeling, I somehow couldn’t make it through the crowd of people and no one could hear a word I was saying, but I could hear everything the girl and they guy were saying as they were shaking me and slapping me across my face. The final thing I saw and hear was them say, “dude, I think he is dead.”

What felt like a split second later the sun was shining down my face and I was in a random house, that I knew wasn’t my buddies house. Somehow I awoke early enough to stumble 2 miles down the road to the church that my parents were supposed to meet me at for Sunday morning service along with a ride back home. All I could say is that I didn’t spend that much time in the service because I spent most of the time in the bathroom vomiting the deadly cocktails I had the night before. After 2 solid days of being sick I finally wondered back outside to the real world to hang out with my friends. One of my buddies pulled me aside and told me that he ended up at the party and found me outside against the fence.

“When the cops came to end the party, the debate of the night was either to you to a hospital because you were past the point anyone should be or to hide you because in letting you go to the hostpial it would be a guarantee that people would be arrested for letting you get to that point along with certain substances that were in the house.”

It’s an easy guess to see what happened. He told me they drug my body to a neighbors house so the cops wouldn’t find me and hopping that I would pull out of it by morning. I don’t know if it’s true or not but he said that he also sat next to me for a few hours just to make sure I was still alive before he took off himself for the night. Before saying goodbye he told me one last thing. “Hope that night taught you one thing. You really need to figure out who your real friends are, everyone that you thought was your friend left you there to die when they were faced with the choice of helping save you or saving themselves from getting in trouble. And If you keep hanging with these people you will become these people.”

And I think that was the last conversation I had with him, and come to think of it I don’t think I have ever seen him again.

I am sure my parents were on to something by this point, because shortly after the school year ended they sent me off to Arizona to go work for my uncle and aunt on their ostrich ranch. Seventy five percent of the time I was on a the ranch I was left there by myself to take care of everything. Everything from long hot days digging ditches in 118 degree heat to tilling fields for planting. But it gave me a lot of time to think… All I knew is that I had to change something, somehow.

After a long hot summer of ostrich ranching, school started back up in Cocoa Beach, Florida. It was on day two, a group of the soccer girls came up to me as I was leaving for home and started their sales pitch on why I should run cross country this year:
• The soccer team didn’t win a single game last year. Anything you do in preseason can help the team fair better this year.
• It will be good for the extra exercise.

And my response included these things:
• Runners are dumb idiots that run around without a purpose and without goals.
• Who the hell wants to wear short shorts like that?
• Runners are so stupid I throw things at them (karma keeps coming back to bite me in the ass on this one, I am still searching for the punk that nailed me with a open beer bottle at 55+mph during one of my 6am runs)
• Running is just plain stupid!

So that night I went and I thought it was settled. Running was dumb and I was never going to do it.

I didn’t expect what was going to happen on Day 3. The girls came back over to me and brought part 2 of their sales pitch, “Just run behind us” and being an adolescent teen driven by hormones along with Cross Country having all the hottest girls in school on the team… I was sold right there on the spot!

Looking back on everything that happened, running came into my life at the right time. Robert Frost says it best that when he came across the 2 different paths in the woods, taking the road less traveled would make all the difference. And it truly did…


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6 responses to “Where it all began (running that is)

  1. Wow Ben.. wow! I’m going to share this

  2. I had no idea, Ben! Very inspiring story of how running can literally save your life (BTW, your story reminds me of Dean Karnazes), interested in part two…

    • Thanks! how have you been? I am heading up to DC in May. I have never read any of his stuff. I want to check it out now…

      • I’m doing well – on my running streak and working on ways to get past the aches and pains (right now, I just severely diminish the run distance or do pool running a couple of days a week). You will enjoy his story and he helped with the Chicken Soup for the Runner Soul, which I highly recommend. It would be great to meet up with you in May!

  3. wow! ill check it out. Look foward to seeing you in May!

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