A few weeks ago the man on the right in the photograph above passed away at 100 years old. He was my grandfather, Archie J. Noon, born July 8, 1918 – September 11, 2018. He left behind a blueprint to good living. The teachings that he instilled in me at a young age, and so many others, were his legacy.
That’s me in the middle of that photograph. The man on my left is my father, Ned. I’m holding a trophy for being one of the youngest runners in the one mile fun run for the Detroit Free Press Marathon. The year was 1982.
This was a very unlikely run for me because I was born with breathing difficulties and had to be given oxygen at birth. I was flown to the University of Michigan Mott hospital where I stayed for several days.
I didn’t run again until I was in middle school. I was kinda forced by my mother to join cross country. I think she knew I only had two things I was focusing on in my life, smoking cigarettes and girls.
Once I started in cross country my Grandfather would pick me up early in the morning on Saturdays to go run at Kensington Metro Park in Milford, Michigan. He convinced me, (the cigarette smoking, oxygen deficient, last place, cross country runner), that we could run the 8 mile loop around the whole park, in one day. We would run a little and walk a little. About half way through, when there was no turning back, Grandpa walked off the trail where he had stashed a water canteen for us to drink and take a break.
He would only ever focus on the joy of the process and he never lectured during the runs. He would help me with my technique and posture and he never brought up smoking or anything I was doing wrong outside of that moment. He would reward us with pancakes and sausage from McDonalds on the way home.
In 10th grade my girlfriend was pregnant and I dropped out of high school to start my family with her. 25 years later smoking cigarettes and weed, experimenting with drugs and drinking had caught up to me.
It took me nearly a decade to drop all of the bad habits I had acquired and in 2016, I dropped the hardest one of all, smoking.
I knew I would gain weight from quitting smoking so I began running. My Grandfather was 98 and in wheelchair so I could’t rely on his guidance. I wanted so badly to share my progress with him and I did, only to his frustration, because he was in a wheelchair and he wasn’t happy about it. I thought I could make up for a lifetime of disappointment to him by showing him that I was applying the lessons that he taught me, but sadly, it was too late. He was too upset with his own circumstances at that point and missing my Granny to much to care.
I still went to visit and continued to run because it was the only thing that was keeping me off the cigarettes and helping me with my angry feelings from not having cigarettes. People say you’re supposed to be over those withdrawal feelings in few weeks or months but for me it took a lot longer and if I go too long without running, I start thinking about smoking.
I have become obsessed with running and it has become a big part of my life. I usually run 2-3 miles 4-5 times per week. Additionally, I started taking some all natural supplements a few months ago that caused me to lose 25 pounds and increase my performance.
The passing of my Grandfather on September 11 this year sparked something in me that I can’t seem to shake. He was an Icon in the community he lived in and helped and inspired so many people. I couldn’t ever go anywhere in that town without some saying to me, “You’re Archies grandson, aren’t you?” My grandfather ran the very 1st Detroit Free Press Marathon in 1977 the year I was born and now I am gladly picking up the torch as he has laid it down.
I recently finished my bachelor’s in Theology from Grand Canyon University and I am returning for my Masters in Life Coaching this month. I have had a life of teaching and inspiration from this man that will not go to waste.
Today I am honoring my Grandfather by carrying on his legacy and by creating one of my own. I plan to use this blog to document my journey of trying for my 1st Marathon that I plan to run in October of 2019. I plan to share my progress and struggles here each week.
To kick it off I’d like to share my starting line with you today on 10/3/2018 Below is a picture I took today of the scale. Next week I will share my Nike Run Club Data gathered by my Apple Watch.
I don’t have my Grandfather here to coach me along so I’m on my own with Youtube videos and Runners Magazine. I would love your support as well if you have any useful tips or comments or if you would like to join me on this journey I would love to have companionship. You can also help by just sharing and discussing to keep me accountable. A side from quitting smoking, this is going to be the biggest challenge I’ve ever done and I’d be thrilled to have your support.