DarkeRunner.com is about my discovery of running and the role it is playing in my journey back to physical and mental health after a brain injury in early 2012. I have gone from being an injured and completely sedentary “desk potato” to having a goal of running every road in Darke County, Ohio – all 2500 miles or so, over the next couple years. You can see my progress as I update my Darke County road map here.
My goal is to finish this project with a single run around the perimeter of the county – approximately 106 road miles – which will likely mean I’ll be running for over 24 hours straight!
How did I turn into a runner?
In July 2013, my health had become so poor, being around 50-60 pounds overweight and struggling with headaches and dizziness, that I could barely walk a mile, much less run one. I never measured, but I would guess I couldn’t have “run” (it would be misleading to call my desperate wheezing waddle-shuffle running) more than a hundred feet or so.
While I have done some athletic things in the past, I had lost every bit of that fitness and then some. It’s amazing how fast a body can fall apart. (It’s also amazing how fast it can rebuild!)
I started out on the recommendation of a very smart person to just walk. I walked a little at a time, as much as I could take, which wasn’t much at first. Once I built up enough endurance to walk a 3-4 track near my home, I started getting a little tired of walking… it just took SO long!
I had realized at some point that 5k is about 3.1 miles, so I began to wonder if I could ever JOG around the loop rather than walk… That’s when I found the “Couch to 5K” program (also known as C25K) and began to start shuffling a little faster. Just a little! It took me longer to do the program then how it’s designed… I repeated several weeks when I wasn’t feeling ready to go to the next level of effort. That seemed to work fine.
And then something crazy happened…
All of a sudden one day, I realized I realized my “Wogging” (A combination walk/jog) had turned into actual jogging – which for me may as well have been running in the Olympics. It kind of hurt, but also kind of felt great to be gaining strength, so I kept plugging away. Right around the end of November 2013, I ran (ok, jogged) an entire 5K for the first time in my life. I think I was hooked then and there.
I don’t know if I would say running is fun… actually it isn’t most of the time, but it’s something I can do, and it really helps my head when I’m having residual trouble from the injury. It’s amazing.
What IS fun for me is exploring new places, and enjoying all the different times of day I can run, and ESPECIALLY the wild weather we get from time to time here in Ohio. I LOVE running in the rain or snow! The same route over and over does get dull, so that’s how I got it in my head to run every road in the county. I just want to see it all!
See it all is exactly what I’m doing. Honestly, Darke County, Ohio isn’t the most exciting place, it’s mostly a bunch of flatness and fields, but I’ve already had numerous interesting little “micro adventures” discovering old bridges, insane animals, running when freezing rain is making a shell on my face… I’ve enjoyed it all.
So, as I’m able, I’ll post my little adventures here and update my map page regularly.
If you see me out there somewhere on the roads, I’d enjoy it if you stop and say hello! If you can’t stop, feel free to comment and tell me where you saw me!