Finding solace in shoes |

Finding solace in shoes

Lu Snyder

DILLON<If Dillon resident Tike Maez was a cat, he1d only have seven lives left: the 40-year-old father of one has had two close calls already.A native Coloradan, Maez grew up in the Denver area. His father was an amateur boxer, his older brothers boxed and so, at 6, Maez began boxing too.3Growing up, it was fun<you got to hit somebody, Maez said. But at 14, 3I finally understood boxing, and I didn1t like it. I just kept getting hit. It was scary.But it was a family thing. His father was his coach, and Maez kept at it.3Boxing was everything, he said. 3I was going to make it my career.By the time he was 19, Maez said he was well-known in the Denver boxing community. He had dreams of going to the Olympics, and bringing home a gold medal.But those dreams ended abruptly with a fist to his head.3I could never fight again. My career was over.Maez was training for a national tournament when the injury occurred. It caused a blood clot in the left side of his brain, and he was paralyzed.Maez isn1t sure how long he was paralyzed<he continues to have seizures from the injury and loses memory with each one. But, he said, doctors initially weren1t sure if he would walk again.Maez was able to walk again. But he was very depressed.3I didn1t want nothing to do with any sport, Maez said. 3I didn1t even want to watch it on TV, I was so depressed.Much of the credit for getting beyond his depression, Maez gives to his wife, Christine, whom he met a few years after the accident.They were married about five years when Maez had an aneurysm in his left carotid artery<one of the two major arteries in the neck that carry blood to the head. He was 28.3I think life really told me something, Maez said. 3That God gave me a second chance, or third chance<whatever you want to say.Two years later<shortly after his daughter was born<Maez started running. And that was the beginning of a new life for Maez.3I felt like I was home again. I felt like I could do something with my life. When I run, I feel like there1s nobody out there that could stop me.Maez trained for and ran his first marathon. When he finished it he told his wife he1d never run another marathon again.That was 16 marathons ago.Maez also ran several ultra-runs. The longest was 48 hours and approximately 128 miles.Maez and his family moved to Summit County three years ago, when Christine accepted a job with Wells Fargo in Dillon.Neither Christine, nor their daughter, Sefra, 10, are runners like Maez. But they have been an integral part of his running passion, he said. They drive behind him during long training runs, and Sefra gives him water bottles. They accompany him to races.3There1s times I want to stop running in a race, but I know I have to finish because Sefra1s waiting for me at the finish line, Maez said. 3I don1t want her to see me quitting. I don1t believe in quitting<that1s not in my dictionary.Despite his accomplishments, Maez takes each day as it comes.3My goal is to wake up every morning and be able to run and to be with my daughter and my wife<(to) enjoy life because it could be taken away from you so fast.Maez has been a stay-at-home-dad for the past few years, because of injuries. But, he said, he has treasured the time he has been able to spend with his daughter.3I1ve learned more about my daughter staying at home. She1s my little friend.Maez dreams of running the Boston marathon one day<with Sefra.But she has dreams of her own right now. Sefra wants to become a boxer.Maez admitted the possibility of Sefra boxing scares him. But he said if she still wants to do it, he won1t stand in her way.3I can1t, he said. 3I think it1s in her blood.If Sefra does box, Maez said, he1d like to be the one to train her<like his father trained him.Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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