First off I'd like to say thanks to the Houston Striders for selecting me as the recipient of this award. The Striders really have a lot of members and I consider myself pretty fortunate to be recognized for my improvements. Should I be shocked that I was chosen, probably not. I have made some dramatic improvements over the past two years since I started running. But I wasn't expecting any award or any accolades. So this came as a pleasant surprise.
I remember when I ran my first 5k in 3 or 4 years in late 2006. It was the Houston Texans Battle Red Run. I ran hard that day and finished at 20:2x, first in my age group(that started the addiction).
During that time had been training myself for the Houston Marathon (It sold out on me). I had no idea what I was doing as far as running was concerned, but all I knew was I loved running these 5ks. A few months later after I ran the Austin Marathon, I ran another race, The Run for the Rose. For the first time ever, I ran below 20 minutes, at like 19:4x. A month later my brother (former high school and college stud) and I run the Schlerdoma race put on by the Houston Striders. My brother finishes second at like 17:2x behind John Yoder(Strider buddy I didn't know at the time) who finished at 17:0x. I stun myself by finishing 3rd at 18:45. This is the race I joined the Houston Striders. A few months earlier I had conceded that getting under 20 minutes was probably all but impossible. At this point in time I felt that new possibilities were open for me. Eventually at the end of the year I broke 18 minutes pretty regularly.
Early in 2008 my brother and I run the EP5k at the Houston Marathon. My brother is dead to rites during the race and I end up pacing him to a 17 minute finish and I PR to a 17:09. The funny thing about this race is my brother and I were square with each other with about .1 to and he unleashed this wicked kick and passed 3 guys and beat me by 9 seconds in the last .1. But I had scored a low 17 minute 5k so now sub 17 became a possibility.
At this point in time I was running 8-12 miles per week and pretty much running whatever I felt like at the time. Sometimes I would do one 400m or three 400m repeats. Sometimes I would run a 400 and an 800 both at top speed. Clearly I didn't have any idea what I was doing but I had an idea that I could get a lot better if I did.
That is what led to me joining the Kenyan Way. Here you have a former Olympian who is actually training people. I couldn't resist joining Sean Wade's group. This would be a good decision. Sean gave me good feed back and told me what I was doing wrong. He also gave me indicators of what was in my near future. The week before I broke 17 minutes at the 2008 Bellaire Trolley Run he told me I was in shape to break 17 minutes pretty soon. Eventually I increased my mileage, started his marathon program, and got my 5k time down to 16:15 recently.
Fast forward to now. Miriam Terc, Vice President of the Houston Striders notifies me of the Most Improved Runner of the Year award. I ended up attending the Strider Holiday Party and was presented the award. During the party Miriam was a gracious host. She introduced me to John Hill, the local masters runner (2008 Houston Striders Masters Runner of the Year). John and I chatted it up and exchanged some training info. I also got to meet Peggy Yetman(2008 Houston Striders Female Open Runner of the Year), and Ironman athlete who is also a REALLY good runner as well. I had a great evening.
So running has been a nice little discovery for me. I have enjoyed this hobby and it really keeps me balanced. All of a sudden I'm even enjoying my easy runs as well! Hopefully I have more improvement in me down the road, but right now I'm just enjoying the ride.