Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On this day in 2003...

...I smoked my last cigarette.

The thought doesn't occur to me at all anymore. Smoking, I mean. Without going all OCD on you all, please allow me to reflect on this day.

I smoked about 10-15 Marlboros a day for about 15 years. On August 16, 2003, I finally had my last one. Earlier that year, I had exchanged my golf clubs for a pair of running shoes and committed to racing in the Columbus Marathon. It was my first serious marathon. Surely, back in my army days, I had run and smoked at the same time. I mean, not simultaneously, but I was a smoker who ran. Arrogantly, I'd even done a couple a smoker.

Yep. I was one of those hardcore smokers. You know the type, outside in the harshest winters sucking one down. In 2003, I was adjusting to new life outside the army and also starting anew in a new city, recently divorced. In a new place, I needed a new pastime. Running became my personal time to heal, meditate, and reflect...long before it became my new addiction. There is no doubt to me that I have an addictive personality, but that is a blog for another day...

But yeah, I gave up smoking because I took the leap of faith to do my best in the marathon and BQ. The training I was doing in the month of August 2003 was becoming progressively more intense. Really, the choice was fairly simple--smoke cigarettes and cheat myself from doing my best, or stop smoking and increase my lung capcity. The passion for running is probably not the best reason to quit smoking, but it worked.

Most folks understand that quitting smoking is a diffucult step. I had no clue where and what that decision would lead me to. Smoking is a simple habit: Have an urge, then light one up. Sometimes I'd have to go to another room or go outside, but smoking is easy to do. To me, running is just as simple. Just walk out the door and get going down the road.

Perhaps there's a physiological similarity to the cirulatory system when smoking or running. In reality, its not important to know. Apparently, I've found that I tend to look forward more than looking back at all the 'whys.'

In regards to fighting the urge to smoke, thankfully I haven't spent much time thinking about it. As I look back, I'd made goals for myself that kept me occupied. In that 2003 Columbus Marathon, I did my best and fell just short of qualifying for Boston. It took 4 more attempts and in May 2005 I finally hit the mark. Apparently, I've kept myself too busy to smoke.

As I reflect on this day, I wish to give thanks. After all, smoking directly causes cancer. I'm thankful for the gift of quitting smoking and developing a more heathly lifestyle. From what I understand, some folks will never escape the grip of the smoking addiction. Thankfully, for this day, I have escaped. For this I am grateful.



Blogger Eric said...

Congratulations. What an awesome transformation from smoker to runner. You have every right to be proud of quitting.

11:14 PM  
Blogger qcmier said...


1:47 AM  
Blogger E-Speed said...

I quit in 2001 I think. Isn't it great? I don't know how I ever did it. I find it absolutely disgusting now. I was lucky and was able to quit cold turkey and it wasn't hard. I feel bad for those that don't have it as easy as I did.


1:00 PM  

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