Prior to this year I hadn’t participated in any real physical activity since 1998. That’s the last year I played soccer, and it was followed by four years of doing the bare minimum in gym class, and many years of sitting on the couch and not going to the gym.

You could count how many times I went on one hand. Unless you’re missing fingers. Then you could count how many times I went on two hands. Unless you don’t have any hands at all, so then you should probably use your toes to co- I’m getting away from the point here. It was a minuscule amount of time.

Last year, my mother-in-law Michele asked the whole family to join her for a St. Patrick’s Day fun run. I agreed, but complained. To anyone who would listen. I would go on Jerry Seinfeld-ian routines about running and how crazy the idea of it was.

It was a 2 mile run and I shambled through it, only speeding up when my patience with slower “runners” in front of me wore thin. But I did it, and was satisfied that I got to have a few beers at the end.

But then Michele ran a half marathon. She ran a freaking half marathon. I was impressed, and dammit, I was inspired. So I decided to see what I could do.

I downloaded the Zombies Run training app on my phone in the beginning of April. This got me on a routine that got me used to running, and started me in training for a 5K. I then signed up for my first 5K through NYC Runs, the Firecracker 5K, which was held on the 4th of July on Roosevelt Island. I was joined by Michele as my coach, with her wife Colleen joining us as well, and my wife Chrystal waited at the finish line as our pit crew.

On that day TEAM BEER AND CUPCAKES* was formed. Michelle, Colleen and Chrystal got me through that first run, and have been a part of each subsequent run in one way or another, whether it was by running, or just providing pre-race advice over the phone.

I then did a race per month: The Brooklyn Bridge 5K, The Color Run (5K), Zombies Take Manhattan (5K), The Channukah Gelt 5K (aka The Oy Vey 5K), and The Hot Chocolate 10K. My sister Sara teamed up with me for The Color Run, the Oy Vey 5K and the Hot Chocolate 10K, joining TEAM BEER AND CUPCAKES, but also forming the team of “TEAM WHATEVER HILARIOUS NAME I WANT TO PUT ON FACEBOOK.” 

I’m grateful to the people who’ve run with me this year and that have encouraged me to run this year. It’s something I’ve come to enjoy as a group activity — not only with my teammates but with the hundreds that have shown up for each run. I also appreciate running when I’m on my own. I’m just able to lose myself in it. It’s a good way to get away from everything and every ounce of stress disappears. I’m sticking with this. And whether you’ve run with me, or liked a photo of me running on Facebook, you’ve been a part of helping me to keep going. Thank you. Thank you so much.

I didn’t think I’d ever run in my free time let alone enjoy it.

Thank you, NYC Runs for organizing so many of the races I’ve done this year.

Thank you, Colleen and Sara for being awesome teammates. Sometimes I outpace you (usually when you’re injured), more often you outpace me, but you help me keep going!

Thank you, Chrystal, for being my wife, encouraging me, and making sure I have a big bottle of water and a smiling face at the end of each run.

Finally, thank you Michele. You really inspired me this year, and you’re the best coach I’ve ever had.

Here’s to 2014. There’s a lot of beer and cupcakes to run for, and a half marathon to tackle in about 6 months.

* Team Beer and Cupcakes celebrates a successful run with beer, cupcakes, or a combination of the two. These celebratory items are consumed in addition to making sure we re-hydrate with water.


Published by pauldekams

Paul DeKams is a socially awkward malcontent working in marketing in New York City. So, yeah, he’s a writer. He's written a few independent film projects, written a blog about comics, and even has an embarrassing Live Journal you can find if you try really hard.

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