BLAS BLOOMS LATE IN LIFE

BLAS BLOOMS LATE IN LIFE

📅22 January 2013
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By Patrick Lujan

Running away from drugs and toward the finish line, Peter Blas is now one of the top senior runners in only three years of competition. He finished tops in his division during the 2012 Masters Games half marathon. (courtesy photo)

Running away from drugs and toward the finish line, Peter Blas is now one of the top senior runners in only three years of competition. He finished tops in his division during the 2012 Masters Games half marathon. (courtesy photo)

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’

That metaphorical phrase suites 53-year-old runner Peter Blas, who’s long history of drug use is still written in the chapters of his life.

It was only three years ago when Blas was ‘challenged’ to take up running and in that short period of time, he’s run three marathons – including December’s Honolulu Marathon where he was the top Guam finisher.

“My nephew Kirt (Blas) challenged me. He said, ‘you wanna run?’,” Blas remembers the conversation in 2010 just two months after quitting smoking cigarettes. “First time I ever ran a 5K and I beat him by eight minutes. I didn’t think I was going to like it, but I said, ‘Wow, this is pretty good’.”

The Yigo resident found a new drug. A healthy drug.

“Running is pretty much my new drug. The high is cheap when I do the 5Ks. I finally passed these people that I was chasing for a long time.”

Decades of Drugs

Most go incognito in admitting drug use, but not Blas. He freely shares his checkered past with other runners for all to learn from and inspire.

“You name it, I did it,” Blas said about his drug use which started in his high school years. “It was like, whatever was in style, I was in.”

“To think of his background and then to take up running – of all sports – I would have never thought of him getting into that,” said his running buddy Paul Cruz. “He really inspired me to start training and try to get to his level. If he can do it I knew I could do it, too.”

After more than 30 years of smoking, drinking and taking illegal drugs, Blas has done a complete turnaround.

“I’m surprised I didn’t damage myself as much as the drugs I’ve done. Call it a phase, but that was a long phase. It was time. I have two grand children now and I wanted them to have a grandpa. I had to be a good example.”

Blas runs just about every race he can. Here he finishes off the GRC 40th Spirit of 76 6.7-Mile Run. (photo by GRC)

Blas runs just about every race he can. Here he finishes off the GRC 40th Spirit of 76 6.7-Mile Run. (photo by GRC)

Since his nephew’s challenge in 2010, Blas can be seen running just about every race he can possibly do with no intentions of stopping. His first 5K was clocked in at a respectable mid 23-minute range. Now he’s burning the pavement at low-20’s or high 19’s.

Now he’s hooked. Blas religiously reads Runners World and has between eight to 15 pairs of running shoes at any given time, saying, “My wife makes a big deal about that.

“When I go to the doctor, he freaks out because when he looks at my blood pressure, he asks, “What do you do?” The fact that you’re a runner makes your heart more efficient.”

With the running high now in full affect, he’s eyeing the Saipan Marathon in March and Guam Marathon in April.

“I might get into some trail running or ultra running. Before I did the marathon and even before, my back has been killing me. The whole time I ran the (Honolulu) marathon, my back didn’t bother me at all. It’s not an issue when I’m running. It’s when I’m sitting or getting in and out of a car.”

Imagine the type of runner he would be if he started much earlier in life – without the drugs. Imagine….

“A lot of things could’ve been different, but in hindsight, I can’t look back and think about it. I have no regrets. There’s a lot of messed up things that I went through, but that’s life.”

 Jungle Life

Before he laced up his running shoes, Blas’ comfort zone happened to be in the jungles of Guam. With his family ranch situated in Y Seng Song, Dededo, it became second nature for him to be one with nature.

His comfort zone is really in the jungles of Guam, as you can see in this undated photo with a pair of cocount crabs in hand. (courtesy of Blas family)

His comfort zone is really in the jungles of Guam, as you can see in this undated photo with a pair of cocount crabs in hand. (courtesy of Blas family)

“I love going into the boonies. I used to hunt a lot. I used to go and look for some place new and look for old stuff  like Coke bottles. I caught pigs over 300 pounds or deer over 250 pounds. Even to go talaya and dive, we had to go through some jungle to get to the spot.

“I was always active. I always liked fishing and diving, but I still smoked and drank. I never took a sport seriously.”

Though he’s found a new passion running the routes both short and long, Blas can’t look past the comforts of the jungle.

“I like the jungle life because there’s different things to see and it’s always an adventure. I like the jungle more because you stop and look around and you get carried away. The road is easy. It becomes boring though. But I love both.”

NOTES: Blas and his running group runs at least six times a week, averaging six miles a run…it took Blas five miles into the Honolulu Marathon to ‘get some room and into a groove’ as he jockeyed for position with 30,000 other runners…His marathon times have been improving drastically: 1) 4:05:04, 2) 3:53:01, 3) 3:34:17 – ‘I think I can still get better’…he does not know how to operate a computer!

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