Running on the path to recovery

Published 11/19/2012

Broadway House resident sets goals, finds self-confidence and peace

Bangor, ME – November 19, 2012 – For one individual at FHR Maine, the perfect way to begin each day is with a jog around the park. The cold weather is not discouraging for John, who can be found pulling on his jacket and lacing up his sneakers around 6 a.m. every morning.

“I’ve always liked running in the morning,” he explains. “The roads are quiet and I can keep my thoughts in my own head.”

Morning runs have been a part of John’s daily routine since moving into Broadway House this past April. FHR Clinician Darin Knapp recalls their first meeting together when John shared that he ran a half marathon almost 25 years ago. As a runner himself, Knapp took this opportunity to ask John if he’d like to run together. “I told him that I’d love to,” John replied with a grin.

He adds, “I used to run all the time. My older cousin was a runner and I thought he was the perfect man. I wanted to be just like him. So I started running.”

FHR Clinician Darin Knapp, left, and John
often run together at the park down the
street from Broadway House.

It had been almost 25 years since John had put on his running shoes prior to that first day. “I don’t think he thought I was serious,” Knapp chuckles. “But I know how comforting and encouraging it can be to have a running partner. So we set out on our first run together, and ran about a half a mile.”

All summer, Knapp and John continued to run together. “Sometimes we would talk, sometimes we would just run. We would talk about some of the things that were bothering him, or we would talk about the weather. It was a time for us to just enjoy each other’s company,” Knapp says.

After jogging became a part of his routine, John set a goal for himself; he wanted to run in a road race by the end of the summer. He explains, “I feel more confident after I run. I like the way I feel. I’m calmer and I don’t think about the bad things that have happened in my life. I remember my family and I feel like I’m worth something.”

In September, Knapp and John participated in Bangor’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. “I’ve never seen a smile on his face like I did when we crossed the finish line. We high-fived and were congratulated by literally thousands of people. He set a goal, and he did it! It was an exciting day for both of us,” Knapp beams.

John's number from the Susan
G. Komen Race.

“It was a glorious feeling. I felt relieved. We went straight to the food tents and had free watermelon, oranges, water, and candy bars,” recalls John with a smile. John and Knapp completed the 5K in exactly 35 minutes and 26 seconds.

“There were a lot of hills in the course, but we didn’t stop,” Knapp says. The week before the race, the two ran the course together. “Knowing where you’re going is important,” John says.

Although the race is over, John’s running days continue. The familiarity and routine is comforting to him. “I think when John was first released from the hospital, running was a way for him to feel secure in a new environment. But now, as you can see, it’s a part of his recovery process,” Knapp explains.

John hopes to encourage others to begin running as well. He says, “The key to running long distance is finding your pace. You can’t try to go too fast, because then you’ll burn out.”

For now, John can be found jogging in the park and on the streets of Bangor well into the winter months. “The cold doesn’t bother me,” he grins. “You just have to bundle up.”

John’s journey remains a heart-warming story for everyone in Bangor and at FHR.