Running for my Life

Since I started running in mid 2016, I’ve noticed changes. No, not washboard abs and a firm tush, but a jolt in self-esteem, pride, attitude, and determination. This bit from a recent story in Entrepreneur really rattled me (emphasis mine).

“If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.”

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

This times infinity. Back in 2016 I was at a crossroads. Most of my meals came from a box or a take out container, and I was snacking all day long on cookies, candy, and ice cream. My attitude sucked, my outlook sucked, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do.

Thankfully a buddy told me that he was challenged at a 4th of July party. Someone bet him he couldn’t run an eight minute mile (turns out he couldn’t). I tried it, and ran a 13 minute mile, and then had problems walking down stairs for a week. But I kept at it because… it was something in my life that I could control.

I couldn’t control job openings, getting interviews, or getting hired by a cool tech company, but I could control this. When I ran, what I wore, how far, how fast… and I kept at it for weeks, then months, and now it’s been almost two and a half years of running. I’m running a half-marathon next month.

Every facet of my life has improved because of running. I still can’t control all that job stuff, but now I’m in a mentally better place to handle that – without eating a sleeve of Oreo cookies.

Broad Street Run Report

It was a tough week. The previous Sunday I ran 14 miles in the woods. On Tuesday did a few laps. Wednesday was November Project. I also wasn’t eating great. I had basically been traveling for a week and a half leading up to Sunday’s Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, and my routine was shot.

After about 40 minutes of standing around to start, I had to stop and use the bathroom within the first two miles, maybe it was a mile. I felt good after that, just trotting along enjoying the DJs and cheering crowds. At mile five, which is where you’re staring up at City Hall, I felt great. Too great, because I started running faster. The crowds were bigger, the music louder. Mile six was packed, kids on the sidewalks looking for high-fives, and I couldn’t resist. It was electric!

But by mile seven I was in trouble. I was out of gas.

I had to walk several times. My head was computing how many more miles? How long would each take? I broke mentally, really. I was so stoked and excited from the crowds that I just pushed beyond my abilities and got torn down. I really think my nutrition leading up to this was part of it. I just felt drained, and it happened so quick.

Ultimately I had fun. Anytime I felt down, someone shouted something funny, or I saw a great sign, and I was able to get running again.

My goal wasn’t speed (I finished at 1:48), but rather “I want to not hurt the next day,” and the next day I was pain free. I literally was in pain for a few days after November Project. But running 10 miles? Felt great the next day, so I’d say this run was a success.

And oh yeah, we raised over $700 for Students Run Philly Style. Some kids from the program remarked about my vest (which I wore to raise an additional $200 after the initial $500 goal), and one recognized me from social media. So really, yeah… this event was an absolutely success.

Next time, though? I gotta be more on top of my nutrition. I need smoothies, brown rice and veggies and salsa and beans. Lesson learned!

Belvidere FoxTrot Race Report

My second race of the year, and it was a fun one, with a good lesson learned.

I didn’t know the parking situation, so I found a nearby park and jogged to the starting area. I like doing this when I can, since warming up is always a good idea. It also gave me an opportunity to take in the area again, as I’ve passed through this little town before.

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Schedule Time for Good Things

I’ve always thought of my running as a pretty private undertaking. Sure, I share some photos on occasion on social media, but compared to other runners I appear quite reserved. When I started running back in 2016 I decided to not really write about my “fitness journey” because I feared not following through. What if I stopped after my first 5K race? Or if I got hurt and couldn’t run for a month or six? What then?

It’s been nearly two years now, and I think I’m a runner now. I guess maybe it’s safe to write about it.

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