In March of 2011 my wife and I welcomed our son Lucas to the world. We were late to the parent game in terms of age but we were ready.
Like all new parents we found ourselves with such an amazingly awarding and challenging change in our life.
With children there are lessons we learn every day. With Lucas at age one I decided to confront the fact I had been steadily gaining weight over the second half of my life, not to mention being basically inactivity.
I found it harder than it should be to crawl on the floor and chase him around and when walking with my wife and Luke in the stroller I was throwing in the towel early (and grumpily).
Also what came with children and family is a feeling of responsibility. Responsibility to provide. Provide in all ways … being there in 10, 15, 20 years being the most important.
What I did
Why running? I know lots of people who did the ‘couch to 5k’ start to run app. I am not sure what happened or why I did it all of a sudden but I downloaded RunDouble C25K on my Android phone to check it out. And one day I put on some track pants, a hoody, strapped on my crappy runners and away I went.
Here is my first run Saturday April 6, 2013 3:45pm:
2.6k in 28 minutes including warm up and cool down. 8 intervals of 1 minute running and 1:30 walking on the common 9 week, 3 times a week plan. When I say nearly anyone can do it … nearly anyone can do it. Is it hard at times? Damn hard.
I couldn’t walk very well the next day. My legs and butt hurt. I wondered what I was getting into … but I saw the plan there on the screen … marked out clear as day … ‘do this and achieve that’. Little did I know 23 months later I still have a plan … the numbers have just changed.
I know a lot of people join a running club or group and get a lot out of running with people. For me it was a solitary struggle that worked. I remember running and waiting for the beep and the damn voice to cut into the music and say “Now walk briskly for 90 seconds”. When it told me to start running again, I ran … reluctantly, but I ran.
The feeling I got then and the feeling I get now when I finish a run, no matter how far, is a sense of accomplishment. A sense that I just did something positive, not only for myself but for the people I want to be there for.
Some Things I Wish I Knew Then
- It’s not easy. But it’s easier than you think. The first step out the door is the hardest step of the work-out. Nike’s ubiquitous marketing mantra applies here ‘Just Do It!’. I have never said to myself after a run “I wish I stayed on the couch”.
- Get the right shoes … I took about 6 weeks before I went into a Running Free to get evaluated for proper shoes. My knees thanked me instantly. I remember my first run with the new shoes … I wondered why I waited so long.
- Get the right clothing. Running in cotton sucks. Look around as there are many cost effective options on the discount rack. I look like an ‘eclectic hobo’ most of time I run. Things don’t match, are different or unbranded … it doesn’t matter.
- Your progress will amaze you. What helped motivate me is seeing the charts on my phone go steadily up and to right. I still remember the first time I ran 5k and 10k … cherished memories.
- Find what motivates you. I like seeing the maps and data so I invested in a GPS watch and upload to a running site (Strava). Others love a group run. See what works and enjoy it.
- Pick a race! In no other past-time is running truly about your personal journey. Hitting a race is a personal journey with a bit of competition rolled in. It’s a great way to feel a part of a community and both inspire and be inspired. Having something to aim at is critical in my personal training so set a goal race and go for it.
We all started running for our own reasons. They are all just as important. I hope to see you out there.