Four More Years

by Mark Jimenez

Four years ago I left Arizona after a failed Ironman attempt. I had a bit of an injury that didn’t hurt me at all when I ran, but it hurt like the dickens when I rode my bike. I got about 80 miles into my bike ride that day and called it quits. It was a low point for me.

The next day was the start of the Thanksgiving Holiday week. I had the day off and I went for an early morning run. I didn’t set off that day to run every day for four years in a row. I just set off on a run. I was pretty upset that I had DNF’d the Ironman. I thought “Let’s see if I can run every day this week.” I don’t think I had ever run 7 days in a row before. I made it, and I was actually feeling pretty good.

“Let’s see if I can turn 7 into 10,” I thought.

10 turned to 20, 20 to 50, and 50 became 100.

And now I’m at 1,460 days in a row with a run every day.

I noticed a few things on the way. First, I was keeping my depression at bay. Oh, if you’ve battled with depression you know that it’s never completely gone, but running every day seemed to keep it behind me. Next, I felt like I was a nicer person (undoubtably there are those who will disagree with that statement. Oh well, can’t please everybody). Running became my escape and my solace. It allowed me to relax my mind from the stresses of my life. It allowed me to be calm when the world around me was raging. It has helped me when I’ve been sad and it has gotten me through hard times.

There has been a lot of change the last four years. My kids have gotten a lot older. And when did that happen? Now I have a senior in high school as well as twins that are juniors, and an 8th grader. I went through a divorce and came out the other side. I bought a business and quit a job. I still teach high school and I help coach cross country. There is more grey in my beard and less hair on my head than when I started this thing four years ago. Life is changing, and the seasons of my life are changing. I worry a lot about my kids. I worry about the changing relationship I have with them. I worry about how they’ll see me and what the future will hold. I worry about the lessons they’re going to learn and the hurt they’re going to go through. I hope that I did a good enough job as a dad to see them through. And running is the constant that gets me through it all.

One thing is clear, I don’t have a number I’m chasing. One day this thing will end. One day something will happen and I won’t be able to run that day. Every day is another day, and every run is a good run.

All I know is that running makes me happy. I can’t remember a day during this streak where I thought, “Ah crap, I have to go run today.” I can’t remember a day when I didn’t want to run. There have been days where it has been hard, like during a freak wind storm or when I’m traveling, but it always happens. It always makes my day better, and I never come back from a run in a bad mood.

Running brings me a lot of joy, and I want to share that joy with everybody. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to do with Red Rock Running Company. We believe that everybody is a runner. In fact, we are “Redefining what it means to be a runner.” Come to one of our group runs! I’d love to meet you and chat with you. It doesn’t matter how fast you run, we believe that “Every Run is a Good Run.” We want you to be a part of this journey.

I don’t know when this thing will end, but it will eventually. Until then, I hope to share many runs and memories with all of you!