Ward: 'I have found my love for running again'
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After a relatively successful track career in both high school and college, I decided to take a little break from running. Unfortunately, that break turned into a 20-year hiatus. In turn, that also led to putting on some weight.
After peaking at 275 pounds, I decided it was time to do something about it since I had weighed only 145 pounds while a runner in college. So, 22 months ago that meant buying a treadmill and starting to walk. After doing some walking, I added running to the mix. When the weight started to drop and running became easier, I dropped the walking part altogether.
Time for a 5K and then 10K. I followed that up with a 15K, which led to running in a half marathon last January. Doing those first few races, even a 5K, weren't easy. I still wasn't in great shape, and being able to run a 5K without stopping was nearly impossible.
After running the half marathon, though, while thoroughly enjoying it and getting my weight down to 175 pounds, I thought to myself: What's next? The answer turned out to be the Naperville Marathon.
When I heard there was going to be a marathon in Naperville with only 3,500 people, I figured this would be perfect. It's close to home. It's not too big. The community support I've seen for other events in Naperville has been outstanding, so this was going to be a terrific place to make that marathon debut.
The biggest motivator I have had in this journey from not being able to run a mile without stopping to now running a marathon has been my daughter, who is about to turn 6. When I started out, she was always asking me if I was going to go into the basement to work out. Inevitably, I would head downstairs to the treadmill, and she would follow me down there and watch me go at it.
Now, when I go out for one of my shorter runs, she is right alongside me on her bike. We've even run in a few one-mile fun runs together. In fact, in the Last Fling Mile this past September she finished second in her age group, and she can't wait until the next race.
The road to get to this point hasn't always been an easy one, but now that I am on it, I want to continue down the path. I really believe that no matter how the race turns out on Sunday, Nov. 10, I will be running another marathon. I have found my love for running again, and I want to continue on with this journey.
The training has gone very well and I am nervous with anticipation, especially now in the taper phase of the training. I am really looking forward to getting out there and running the 26.2 miles through Naperville. It can't come soon enough.
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