Run Around the Block

In the Spring of 2003, I found myself broke, in debt, living in a place I couldn’t afford, over weight, smoking heavily, and in a job that made me miserable. One night, on a night like any other night, I came home from work, made an uninspired dinner, and settled in for the night to intermittently watch TV and smoke cigarettes followed by laying awake thinking about the frustration of my work day and dreading the next.

I was in a major rut and I had been for the last few years; probably masking some level of depression with drugs and alcohol. At that point I found myself in a position in which all I could muster was to watch TV and smoke cigarettes every night. Until one night I was sitting on my patio smoking a Newport when I decided to go for a run. Now I didn’t get up and run across the country like Forest Gump, but I thought since I didn’t have anything better to do, I’d try and run around the block. It was tough! I’m not gonna lie, I had to walk a little and I got shin splints…I hardly made it. But it felt good. A couple of days later I tried it again…and again a few days later. I remember waiting until it was dark before I went because I was not a confident runner and I didn’t want anyone to see me. After a few runs though, I could run the whole loop without stopping…then I extended my route to 1 mile…then 2 miles. I even started doing push-ups before I went out running.

By the end of the summer, I was running 3 miles, quit smoking, lost 10 pounds, started sleeping better, and even got my finances squared away! That November, I trained for and ran a 10K! For the first time in a long time I felt alive!

Of course, there is more to the story. I had angels in my life helping me find the way. In addition to running my first 10K with me, my friend Derek helped me learn how to manage my money. My friend Charlie reminded me how to live life with passion and enthusiasm again. I followed that passion and enthusiasm to the University of Michigan to earn a Masters Degree.

In 3 years, I changed my body, mind, and spirit. I got in shape, took control of my finances, landed a new job and then went away to graduate school…and I thought I was just going for a run around the block. It just shows that all it takes to change your life is that first step.

If I can do it, you can do it!

Pete Arbuckle


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