They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Hi, my name is Craig and I’m a runner. I’ve been running since I could stand, but my serious addiction began in 2009 when I decided to get my first pair of “real” running shoes (no more Finish Line clearance for me!) and hit the Greenway in Fayetteville. It began innocently enough…

“Man, I haven’t run 3 miles in a long time. I don’t know if I’ll ever get past a 5k.”

“10k. 10k is really far. I’m glad I did that, but 13.1 is out of the question.”

“That half marathon was awful and everything hurts. I wonder what it would be like to do twice that distance…”

“Ok, that was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m never running a marathon again…”

And 21 “never again’s”, a 50k, and a 200 mile relay later I’m officially an addict.

I love running. I love to step out the door and just go. Run down back roads, up steep climbs, and away from loose dogs (they don’t like to be sprayed with Gatorade). Enjoy the quiet sound of your feet on the pavement, or carry on strange conversations with your running buddies. Run hill repeats for homemade cookies. Nothing beats finishing a tough long run and fist-bumping your partners in pain. Push yourself, struggle, and win. I hardly ever race against anyone but myself anymore…I’m my biggest obstacle, and I really want to win. But my absolute favorite thing about running is that you get out of it exactly what you put in.

Outback was an interesting experience for me. I got to cruise around NWA in an RV with 11 strangers and share in the running while making some new friends. Something unique that happened to me: I’ve run thousands of miles since 2009. Road, trails, rainy, snowy, and icy. I have NEVER fallen on a run. About a mile into my first leg (at Hobbs) I had the wipeout of my life on the trail. We’re talking face-first slide on two hands and a knee, skin and rocks flying everywhere, wipeout. Folks at the Piney Road exchange might remember me as the bloody knee guy. Thankfully I wasn’t injured and now I have some awesome scars as a reminder that 5:45 pace may be too fast for the trail!