On Feb 7th, 2017, and after smoking a pack a day for 20 years, I decided I was going to quit. I also decided to embark on a journey of running a mile a day for a year. Thanks to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, I am no longer a smoker. With the nicotine patches, I have zero cravings, and I will finish my treatment in the next two weeks on the Step 3 patch. I’ve tried to quit before, but had little success with substitutes and always ended up back with a cigarette. At the time of submitting this story, I have run a mile a day for 55 days, and been a nonsmoker for 42 days and feel so much better. Being a smoker, people often wonder if they can really exercise. I’m living proof that you can. Having the patch, for me, made it effortless. I can breathe even better. My car, my clothes and I no longer smell like cigarettes. I can smell things that have been dulled for so long by smoking. At the age of 36, my doctor said I had great lungs… for a 46 year old. It’s times like that when reality hits. You start to wish you weren’t where you are, and want to be where you aren’t. What the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers is a free start to help you get there. You ultimately have to WANT to try to be where you aren’t, but it can be done. You have to be willing to push yourself when your mind says you can’t to get across the finish line. And like any 5K, 10K, or marathon race, the important thing isn’t always to come in first, it’s just to finish. If you start to quit, don’t stop. Remember why you started to quit smoking in the first place, and don’t walk off the track before crossing the finish line when you’re already almost there.