By Racin' Jason, originally posted May 2, 2009
May 1 8PM - I've always considered myself to be fat. My Mom used to be nice and say I was just "husky" but for as long as I can remember, I've been just plain fat. Actually one of my earliest memories is of my witch of an Aunt saying to her two sons, "stop eating those chips, do you two want to be fat like your cousin?" as I stood next to them in the yard. That scarred me for life, as I was probably only 11 or 12 when I heard it.
I've also always considered myself to have zero athletic ability. I couldn't play ice hockey because doctors said my ankles weren't built for skates, I didn't hit well enough for baseball and I wasn't fast enough to play basketball. This of course was hard to deal with because as anyone who knows me can attest, I absolutely love sports. So instead I focused on school, and I was so driven to be the best at something that I studied constantly, and I eventually graduated MUN with an honors degree.
But damn it...I was still fat.
Actually by the year 2000, I remember stepping on a scale for the 1st time in years thinking I'd weigh in at 240 pounds or so. When I stepped on, the numbers quickly dashed by 200, then 220, and 240 was a blur. It eventually landed on 272 pounds. I was heartbroken. I could not understand how I had gotten to this point. I needed to change my life. Well, skip forward to late 2007, when my wife, Stephanie, and I booked a cruise vacation for May 2008. So when January 1, 2008 rang in, I was determined to do whatever I could to look as good as possible for the cruise. I decided to started eating better and running.
I never in a million years thought I could be a runner, and when I started that January, I pretty much felt like I couldn't be one. But little by little it became a little easier and slowly but surely, the weight started to drop. By May 15, 2008 (the day we left for the cruise) I weighed in at 212 pounds, which I was thrilled about. My goal was 215, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I had actually achieved something outside of school.
A couple of days after returning from the cruise I started a new career with Metrobus and I can say without a doubt this was the best decision of my life next to deciding to ask Stephanie to marry me. What a place to work! The people are fantastic, its like a big family, and I was also pleasantly surprised to find out they had a running club, which was just what I needed to keep going forward.
After nursing a bad back for the summer, I started in with the club around Labour Day, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. We ran through rain, snow, wind, everything that could be thrown at us, and by this spring I was beginning to feel comfortable on the pavement and ready for more. I might actually say I feel somewhat "fit". I'm amazed at my motivation and actually feel terrible when I miss a scheduled run. Now this Sunday will mark my first road race. The Burton's Pond 5K. I picked up my race kit last evening and what a rush!!! When that bib hit my hand, an instant smile from ear to ear came across my face. I can't believe I'm actually doing this. But I am and I will. I also will continue to run, faster and longer. My next goal is the Tely 10, which I've always kidded about running. Kid no more; it's gonna happen in 09.
Running has completely changed my life.
See you all out there on the pavement.
By Move-along Mark, originally posted April 21, 2007
I've been running for a few years now and while I've had my fair share of injuries, both running and non-running ones, I've also experienced some wonderful "highs" over the past several months. Ironically, my greatest moment in running came last weekend, while injured.
I can clearly recall the first time I was able to run for a mile without stopping. After that, running for 30 minutes was a milestone, then 60 minutes, and who can forget completing his first race? But last week, I experienced a thrill so great, that I don't know if I will ever be able to top it again, but just the chance that I might, keeps me in love with this sport.
Our Running Club met last Sunday morning for our usual 8:30 jaunt. Due to a back problem, I was resigned to a slow limp while the others had 50 minutes of running on their agendas - the longest run yet for the Club.
My walking route and the route chosen by the runners took us in different directions. I wanted to be back at the finish area in time to watch them come in, so I walked out for 25 minutes and turned around and made my way back, not sure what I might find as the others began to run in. The course they selected was hilly, and the weather was cold and extremely windy - conditions that would take the good out of any runner.
A few minutes after getting back to where we had all started, I could see the first two runners in the group coming toward the finish, then a couple more behind them, and few more behind those two. Everyone made it in, reaching the 50-minute goal and when these people finish a run, they're like children on Christmas morning, eagerly sharing their experiences amongst each other, smiles as broad as can be.
As I made my way through the group high-fiving them for their efforts and results, I came across Bev, and before I could ask her how she found it, she held up her watch to my face, showing off the 53:09 it displayed, and excitedly asked me "Can you believe it?"
Nothing this group does surprises me. Our Club's mantra has been "never, ever give up" and while each one of us has faced a bad day or two, we've always bounced back the next time with a strong effort. Club members have gone from questionning their ability to run for 2 minutes without stopping, to becoming a little agitated when we're only scheduled to run an easy 15.
Our Running Club has provided me with my greatest running moments to date. I've received many emails from each of them marveling at individual and collective accomplishments. Next Sunday marks the first ever race for most of them, a 5-K, and they're all ready for it - should be a special day.
And yes Bev, I can believe it.
By Move-along Mark, originally posted March 24, 2007
I've been watching a really neat thing take place over the past two and half months; 15 of my co-workers have turned from non-believers into runners, equally dedicated to running as many of the elite who participate in the sport.
Our Running Club began the first week of January with 16 eager faces, most of whom were new to running. We started that week with 20 minute walks and have progressed to what will be our first 20 minute run, less then twelve weeks into our training on Monday, and our first two mile run is only a week away.
When I watch this group, I can't help but swell-up with pride at the collective and individual accomplishments - a real one-mind, one-heart mentality has developed among the group proving once again that running is so much more than an athletic event.
Running challenges us physically and mentally to accomplish what we never thought we were capable of, and when we reach our running goal, we then challenge ourselves to go faster or longer. Running teaches us that we can do extraordinary things if we fuel ourselves with the right dose of nutrition and fuel for the mind. Most notably though, running builds relationships galvanizing a group with a common interest. You learn a lot about other people in the sport when you sweat it out with them on the streets. You see what drives them to be better, you share in their individual triumphs, and you stick up for them and encourage them when a bad day comes along from time-to-time.
Whomever it was that said running was an individual sport never participated in a Running Club. I'm always proud to tell people that I work with runners.
By Move-along Mark, originally posted January 20, 2007
I've been inspired recently.
Oddly enough, the source of my inspiration was not from a Lance Armstrong-like performance in the New York City Marathon; in fact, it wasn't drawn from an athletic feat at all. I've been inspired by the 14 other members of our newly established Running Club, most of whom are brand new to running.
What inspires me about these people is their drive and enthusiasm to better themselves. In the short time that our group as been training, we've gone out in some pretty unfavourable weather conditions - high winds, heavy rain, extreme cold, and not once has a member of the group complained about what it is we're doing. Instead, on days we are scheduled to run, I always find the group assembled by our front door, dressed and ready with smiles as big as our building, for the next training session.
Running is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one and this group has conquered the mental side - the physical side will take care of itself in the weeks ahead.
I hope the group members can see the strides they've made thus far. These people have proven they never, ever give up. What do you do?
By Move-along Mark, originally posted January 4, 2007
A neat thing happened a few days ago. A co-worker approached me and asked if we could run together in the new year, turns out he's quite interested in losing a few pounds, improving his fitness level, and becoming a runner. I responded to him by suggesting that we put out an invitation to all of our co-workers to join a new lunchtime Running Club, targeted at beginners - he agreed.
That afternoon, I sent an email notice around the office about the new Running Club and an upcoming information session that I would be holding a couple of days later. My email was very blunt and pointed out that you can't lose weight, get in shape, and keep your hand on the remote control all at the same time. I also shot down, with scientific research, the notion that running is bad for the joints and leads to arthritis. My email explained to my co-workers that the best part of any run is stopping, but they wouldn't be able to experience this incredible feeling if they didn't first start running. I invited them to come along with their "trick knees" and their "runner's asthma" and hear about the new Running Club and how it could change their lives.
There wasn't much talk around the office over the next couple of days. Had I offended people? Was I too up front? Did I scare them away? I figured, based on the apparent interest level, or lack thereof, there wouldn't be any new members joining our newly established two-member club.
When the meeting time rolled around, I was pleasantly surprised (read "shocked") when I walked into our boardroom to find twelve people (about half of our office staff) sitting around the table, eager to hear about the club and even more excited about starting their own running careers. The group asked the questions that I would have asked if I were first starting out and they had the same concerns that I had too, just a couple of years ago. I assured them that this was a beginner's club and we would start out by walking, but would be running 5-K by April. I adjourned the meeting by announcing January 2nd, 2007 as our first training session. As I walked out of the meeting, I realized that these twelve people represent twelve good reasons why I run, and it may take a fellow runner to understand what I mean.
Live your life to inspire others.