By Ben Padilla

Only 1 in 1 million make their dreams come true to become a professional athlete. If you do not make it, you look for plan B which is to become a college athlete. Everyone has their life reasons for not making it either way. The problem here is what happens to that person that is very competitive and passionate in its ability? What do you do? Where do you go? Who do you turn to for support? This was me years ago as life’s circumstances just took me off the path I was set to go. I searched for a mentor and other options to channel my competitive spirit. Areas like business, a second combat to other sports. It was just not meant to be, nothing felt right. Fast forward the years and now you start to grow older and begin to realize that our bodies are just not the same. Then it hits you!!!!!!!
I have struggled with this for so long to the point of considering a psychologist. And I know it has affected certain areas of my life and other relationships either family or friends. This topic has never let me live in peace with me until April 19, 2008 when Friend’s in Training touched my life. At first it was not a big deal to me to be part of FIT and I had no desire to run not even consider something crazy as to run a marathon. But something happened several weeks into the running season. Something inside of me started to make sense. Something inside of me started to come alive. I found my passion………. I was alive again.
Having a single mother working two jobs and studying it was difficult for her to see my struggles. One thing I have always regretted during my athletic career was the absence of family to support me during my initial path in sports. But this was not the case with the FIT Family. You see I met this small Argentinean marathoner who was to become my coach in group D. This journey into the marathon world I was assured it was not to be done alone. My coach Veronica Ghoghos became my friend, mentor, confidant and my biggest supporter. The support has been incredible during the six month training and the goal to complete my first marathon in San Antonio, Texas on November 11, 2008. Well that became a success in 4:19:00. It has not been an easy journey because you have to follow the program and be committed if you want to see improvements. Yes that means losing your Friday night to wake up at 4am to go do the group runs.
You see FIT is about encouraging ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Now I’m on my way to achieving small successes in 2009 and setting goals. My God I’m months away from my 40th birthday. This year my goal is to move from group D to group E to accomplish a 3:53:00 set by my new assistant coach John Diaz. He said I can do it with dedication and I believe him. But my ultimate goal is in 2011 to participate in the IRONMAN Triathlon in Hawaii. This is the ultimate test to a human body. I heard the other day that if you want to experience a run do a mile but if you want to experience life do a marathon. I have been reborn.