After completing the marathon in 1980, I ran in a few smaller competitions before, slowly, other responsibilities began getting in the way and long-distance running took a back seat in my life.
Despite this, I continued to have marathons on my mind and started dreaming of running with the big crowds along the streets of Chicago during the Chicago marathon.
But though the desire was there, everything else pulled me further from the start. During this time, I smoked, I gained weight, and I no longer found the time to exercise—and that's only to name a few vices.
Finally, in February 1998, my family and I moved into a new home in the suburbs of Chicago close to a beautiful forest preserve with plenty of great running trails. The new location was no accident—for I had always missed being active in natural surroundings and hoped that the new environment would motivate me to return to marathons.
After moving in, I made the firm decision to quit smoking and start training. Once these two goals from 1998 were met, they were later replaced with new ones related to fitness. Thus began my 20-year athletic journey.