Running Is My Drug – Jason Windham – Pass Christian, Mississippi

Isn’t it awesome to overcome a addiction and pick up a better one call “Running”?! We glad to have the Pass Main Street Running Club leader Jason Windham with us as a guest! He shares with us about Running, Family & Friends. Enjoy ~ Rod

Jason ~ I am the father of three wonderful kids and have been married to my beautiful wife Leah for ten years.  Without her support I would not be where I am today.  Sometimes my training leaves her managing three children by herself but she sticks it out and continues to support me with my goals and training.  She knows this is important to me….and she LOVES ME!!!!

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2013 Run for Boston in Gulfport MS. Left to right back to front: Leah Windham, Jason Windham, Tylor Windham, Emmalee Windham, Izzabella Windham

My Love/Hate Relationship with Running

I have been running off and on for about ten years.  In 2004 I pursued a full time career as a firefighter.  To qualify you must pass a physical fitness test which includes running.  After landing the job I thought that would be the end of my running days.  Boy was I wrong! The Chief made sure we stayed in shape by running us from one fire house to the next. I did not like running but it was part of the job so I did it.

After Hurricane Katrina and the birth of my second child, I took a federal job and relocated to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My new boss didn’t demand running.  Instead I spent the majority of my time behind a desk. I carried on with life eating and drinking what I wanted and doing no exercise.

The arrival of our third child sparked a desire to make changes in my life and become healthier.  I knew from past experience that running was a good way to get and stay in shape. So I hit the road. This time it was different. I was doing it because I wanted to.

Setting Goals

I continued to run and decided to set some goals. I had never ran a 5K and thought it would be awesome to be able to run that far. I continued to train and in July of 2012 I participated in the Kickin it for CASA Hancock County 5K. I found that running with others made me want to catch them. So that was my strategy, I just found someone to follow and tried to keep up.  I was determined to finish. Afterwards, I stuck around to show support to the winners. I was shocked when they called my name as first place in the 30-35 age group. I never thought I placed much less won.  At that point I was hooked on running like a drug

I knew I wanted to go farther and faster. I started to set bigger goals and also sought out the companionship of fellow runners. With support from the Pass Christian City Chamber of Commerce, the Pass Christian Main Street Running Team was born. By forming this club my goal was to bring people who enjoyed running together. Every Monday night we meet downtown for a fun run, walk or crawl. Typical running nights end with people sticking around for food, drinks and more good times. It is through these Monday night events I have met people who push me in my training and have also become dear friends.  Mitch Kaiser and Ryan Tolbert are two such friends who have helped push me to train harder. They know my strengths and weaknesses and go out of their way to help me in any way they can. With their support I have fun running and continue to get better.

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Left to Right: Ryan Tolbert, Jason Windham, Mitch Kiaser

Less than a year ago I was encountering lots of problems in my life. The short of the story was that I had an addiction problem.  Well I still do except the one I have now is a lot healthier for my life and my family.  I went and got help and have since been clean the entire time and continue to do more healthy things which keep me on the right track.  I don’t mind if people judge me because we all have problems of some sort.  The difference with mine is I got help, wanted to change and since have tried to pass it on.  Some go to meeting, and I did for a while, but I found my own therapy that is exercising and running.  This drug is a lot better one.

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Mississippi Spartan Finisher 2013

As I continued to push forward, I reached my goals in 2013 as planned.  For the second year in a row I hold first place in my age group at the Kicking it for CASA Hancock County 5K.  In October I completed my first Spartan Race.  The track was muddy and pushed my limits on every obstacle but team work helped me complete the event in just over 1 ½ hours. With help from my new friends I also completed my first half marathon in less than 2 hours. It was a long flat run and I’m not sure I would have completed it without their help pacing and pushing me along.  And you sure can’t forget the start of this year with the 1st annual Polar Bear Plunge in Gulfport.  What a ton of fun, but boy was it cold.  It was so cold it was hard to catch your breath.  What a cool event and want until next New Years

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MS Coast marathon- Stennins 2013; My 1st half ever. Left to Right: Mitch Kaiser, Jason Windham, J.g. Fikes

In 2014 I have my work cut out for me.  I hope to compete in my first triathlon, a half iron man distance tri and a full marathon by the end of the year. My thoughts to others out there that don’t think they can do it is, “Try it; you may like it.” It doesn’t matter how fast you are or how out of shape you are.  What matters is you want to change and you are trying to do something about it.  So set some goals and don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.  Remember this is coming from a husband and father of three kids.

Hope to see you at a race soon.

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Kickin it for CASA Hancock County 2014 – Tylor and I both won 1st in our age group

Rod ~ Two of Jason’s friends that been with him during his transition.

Ryan said

I first met Jason this summer at the wed night “Main Street runners” fun runs. I later found out that it was his doing that got the running club started. He says with a little help from Lisa McCombs of the local running store Run-n-Tri.

Over the weeks to come we got to know each other more and Jason was a easy person to like. I could tell early on that he really enjoyed running and wanted to keep getting better as did I.

We have trained together many times each with own goals but the training easily overlaps.

There were plenty of nights that he would have his two youngest children with him. They are also good runners for their age (4&7). I could tell from the first night that they loved and respected Jason very much.

In the time I’ve known Jason he has trained for his first half marathon. He completed it we our friend Mitch Kaiser.

As we became better friends Jason told me about his past. To his credit he has been clean and sober for almost a year. I understand that getting sober was a choice he made himself. Once he made his mind up that was it.

He has plans to do many races this year including his first triathlon in April. It’s going to be a good year.  He has a great support crew in his beautiful family.

Mitch said

I meet Jason about 3 months ago after he started up a new running club that meet weekly in Pass Christian. Shortly after meeting Jason he informed me that he was 260 days sober and in the process of turning his life around. Less then a year sober he started a running club and ran his 1st half marathon at a very respectful 1:56 finishing time. He manages all of this while working full time at FEMA and a family with 3 kids. He has introduced his passion for fitness to his children which he often brings to the group run and local runs where his son competes along side of him. Did I forget to mention about his acting career?!?! Since I’ve known him, he has starred in at least 3 movies!!!

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About Rod Simmons (Rod's Racers)

Co-Founder, CEO of Rod's Racers. We promote road racing in Mississippi from 5k's to Marathons.
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2 Responses to Running Is My Drug – Jason Windham – Pass Christian, Mississippi

  1. Keep doing what you do Rod. Your commitment to the sport of running/racing inspires so many.

  2. Enjoyed the reading! Such posts are full of inspiration. When I was searching for other interesting blogs for athletes, I came across militarygradenutritionals.com/blog. They write a lot of interesting and useful things about proper nutrition, workouts and exercising. They also share different kinds of research and give scientifically grounded recommendations which should be of great value for runners and other athletes.

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