I haven’t run in three years and I’ve been missing it terribly for quite some time and was searching for some motivation to get back to it. Then, I drove right by the place where I first got into running, and thought, “I should go back there.”

It’s been 20 years since a guy I worked with (who was in the Marines) asked me to go run with him, as he felt he needed to train a bit for an upcoming exercise.

I said, “Sure, but I haven’t run since I was in the military, so I’m not certain how I’ll hold up…”

Across the street from his home, was a sidewalk, and if you followed it all the way around the property it encompassed, it was basically a one-mile loop. We ran a couple of laps, after work, several times a week.

My shins would hurt each night after running. I was naïve and thought that was just normal pain anyone must get when doing this. When I mentioned it to a friend who ran all the time, he asked me about what I was wearing (pointing at my shoes). When I told him, I was running in the same cheap tennis shoes that I was wearing all day to work in, he basically laughed at me before instructing me to go buy some “real” running shoes.

The next night after two laps (wearing a pricey pair of new Adidas), the Marine stopped, and I said, “I think I’ll run just one more lap…” but it was like I couldn’t stop myself and ran five more laps for a total of seven miles.

Someone suggested that I keep training and run a half marathon, so I did… training on that same one-mile loop, running it over and over until I was fit enough to do an event (and at ran Kiawah Island).

This morning, I got up at zero-dark-thirty and drove out to that same one-mile loop where it all began, ran it three times, then walked it one more.

I thought about that Marine and the path his simple invitation set me on as I went on to complete at least eight half-marathons and eventually a full marathon (also at Kiawah Island). I did countless 5K and 10K races and even got into some triathlons and found myself traveling all over to do them.

What’s bad though; I can’t recall that fellow’s name. I never knew him that well as a co-worker, but still… I feel like I should recall his name…

SO – lesson learned: Invite people to join you in what you do as you never know how a simple gesture could change someone’s life… AND… if someone invites you to do something a little different than normal, take them up on it as you may find out you really like it.

Now, where did I put my keys…