|"I finished on a tough day, I never gave up"|
I run because I can. In October of 2009 I started running with the goal of running the Chicago Marathon. I weighed in at over 330lbs. I lost 110lbs before the 2010 Chicago Marathon and finished in 6:11:04. I fell in love and I can't imagine my life without running.
How long have you been running? How did you get started? Why did you choose running over other activities?
A little over 2 years now. Funny story, in 2008 I set a New Year's resolution to quit fast food for the year. Five months in, I got cocky and declared I would run the 2009 Chicago Marathon. I didn't, I made it to 8 months on the no fast food thing and gave up. On race day in October 2009 our youngest daughter was baptized. A friend asked how I had done at the marathon.
That Wednesday, I read a recap of the race on ChicagoNow. The author, Dave, said if someone wanted to run with him next year, they should email him. So I did. I didn't even think about it. By the time I got home that night I had Dave as my mentor, a running coach, a charity picked out and a local running store sponsoring me.
How do you motivate yourself to run regularly? What about on the days the weather is bad or your are feeling particularly lazy?
I saved an old pair of pants and when I am not feeling it, I look at those and remember where I used to be. I've lost 17" from around my waist...I'm never going back.
Do you use a running coach, or read any books to aid in your training?
I work with Jen Harrison, she has been along for the ride since day 1- the random questions, the struggles and the milestones. She never doubted, or if she did, Jen never led on that she did…even when I did doubt.
She pushes and challenges me and has helped show me I can do anything I put my mind to. In short, Jen is awesome.
How do you fit running in with your daily schedule?
It's tough. I try to run in the morning, which means I'm up at 4am quite a bit. The first year was fairly easy, our youngest was still an infant and was waking up around then. When I need extra sleep, sometimes I'll run at lunch along the Lakefront. I use Google Calendar to keep everything straight, to make it work, I have to stay on top of everything. I "schedule" my workouts and carve out time to get them done.
Do your friends and family support your running or think you are crazy?
I think at first they thought I was crazy. After they saw how serious I was, they were on board 100%. My wife and my dad are my biggest supporters. This last Chicago Marathon, I struggled (I was in the med tent on mile 9 after nearly fainting) and on the fly, they coordinated friends and family so I'd see someone every 2 to 3 miles on the rest of the route. While I kept moving and put in the effort, their support really kept me going.
What is your favorite running terrain (road, trail, treadmill)?
I love running outside, though I haven't run trails too much. I've run on a treadmill a total of 8 times so far.
What is the hardest race you’ve run to date?
The 2011 Chicago Marathon. As I mentioned above, I had a rough day. My first marathon I ran with Dave, he was there every step. This year I fell a half mile into the race, and at mile 5. I started to feel dizzy around mile 3 and nearly fainted on mile 8 somewhere. I had started with a friend and grabbed him before I went over. We walked to the med tent.
I spent a half an hour there unsure if they'd let me leave. I knew my goal of a sub 5 hour marathon was shot. When I got out of the med tent I called my dad and my wife to let them know what was going on. At that point I wasn't thinking about or planning to finish. My wife told me they would be at mile 12.
I ran/ walked the rest of the way. I kept getting dizzy when I tried to run, and the farthest I would get would be a mile and I'd have to walk again.
I finished on a tough day, I never gave up.
What is the most enjoyable race you’ve run to date?
Oh man, I can only choose one? It's a tie between the 2010 Chicago Marathon (my first marathon and a celebration of losing 110lbs!) and the Rock n Roll Chicago Half (such a fun race and I set a half PR by over 8 minutes!) this past August.
Have you ever been injured due to running? What were the ramifications?
Besides the 2 falls and dizziness at this last marathon, I've been lucky thus far.
Do you use any music or run tracking devices when you run, or are you a naked runner.?
I run naked. I've tried running with music, and I can't do it. I love just going out for a run and listening to my breathing and to my foot strikes. And in a race I feed off the crowd.
How do you get yourself through the difficult parts of your runs? Do you have a personal mantra or do you just give up?
My mantra is, "Never give up!" When I struggle I think about how far I've come and who I run for- it hasn't failed me yet.
A lot of runners know that “Who has the runs” has a double meaning. How do you deal with the occasional “problem” that plagues every runner at one time or another?
Ha! During my first marathon I got "backed up" and finally around mile 24...I had to go. So Dave and I found an alley and I ducked behind a dumpster. The words "poo cannon" were used to describe what happened in that alley. To the building owner, I'm sorry.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up running?
Do it. Don't worry about your pace, or how slow you'll be...just go run. Set a goal and go. The hardest part is getting started!
What is your next big race?
I'm training to run the Austin Marathon in February! Read about it here
What is your immediate running goal?
To run the Austin Marathon in under 5 hours!
What is your ultimate running goal?
Run a 4 hour marathon!
Do you have a way we can keep track of your progress (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc)