Wednesday, September 29, 2010

For Non-Runners (Reader Discretion Advised)

Hi Non-Runner,

I am still a wannabe runner so I can still speak to you one-to-one.

I started running because I wanted to keep some sort of discipline and challenge in my life after completing the EMBA program at Ivey.  I was blessed with a wonderful wife and an understanding family that allowed me to take on my running (well walking quickly and lots of panting) challenge.  On June 15, 2010, I started a simple program I found on about.com to learn to run 30 mins. a day.  I was quite active in sports in High School and University, but that was 20 years or more ago.  So I picked the easy program and told myself since it was easy, "You can't quit!".

It turned out my wife ran with me and then rode beside me on the bike at other times.  People were interested in my family and would ask at get-togethers about my running.  I didn't think too much about it then, but I think deep down everyone wants to be active, athletic and healthy.  Maybe the fact that the fattest guy in the room started to run, made people think.

After finishing the start-up program I looked for something else to do.  I was terribly slow and could not run very far in 30 minutes, so I picked a Hal Higdon program to prepare for your first 5K race!.  Well no way am I going to race - I am embarrassing!  I'll just take the course to improve my running ability.  Then the voice that was listening to my reasoning when I said "You can't quit" spoke up and said back "Then sign up for a race dummy!".  So I did, to be run on my Birthday about 100 days from the June 15th date.

This blog contains most of my adventures and learning in the training time.

So I did my training and I ran my race on Saturday on my 45th Birthday.  Now what?  Well I want to get faster!  I want to improve my fitness level.  I want to run longer races to understand my endurance abilities.  But I want this to be a good part of my life, but not the only part of my life.  So I won't be doing stuff that affects my family too much.

I am so very grateful for so many little gestures that have told me that the angels are taking care of me.  My wife blessing me before I left the door to go running, people from school sending me advice about eating and hydrating, people in the blog world giving advice and being a great source of commiseration and cheering, my family especially my nieces making up race shirts for my first race.  When I look at it this way.  This was a very very big thing - and I was ONLY the guy doing the running.

Then on race day I saw about 300 people who were in different stages of their own running, plus volunteers and people from the community.  I felt so grateful to be with them and to be given an opportunity to run.  If you read my race report you know I was feeling very down on myself and I felt that I was screwing everything up and then in the last K of the race I started to realize that I have never ran this fast before.  People have told me that sometimes your best races are the ones where you descend into the darkest feelings while running.

I also have at least 4 people in my family stating that they will try to start running with me soon.

So now, it's your turn.  You heard this very simple story of putting one foot in front of another and how it has linked people together.  Why don't you give it a try?  One step at a time.

I can help you as much as I can, but I think you will help many more with your actions.

-Andrew

38 comments:

Kovas Palubinskas said...

One race and already giving back? Obviously you are hooked for good. Keep up the great work Andrew!

K said...

That's awesome that you have people in your family that want to run too. Then you can intertwine your family time and running time! Win-win!

Dash said...

Lovely, great post! It's wonderful to find all the things we can do, that we never thought we could! I still remember the first time I ran a mile, it took me 20 minutes, but I was determined to just keep doing it! Have a lovely day Andrew - congrats on your race and Happy Birthday!

Quinton J said...

I told you the 5k was a gateway run. Andrew...you truely are an inspiration. I look forward to following your journey brother.

Teamarcia said...

Beautifully written Andrew!
And thanks so much for your donation to the Lupus Foundation! You are the bomb!

Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 said...

I came over to wish you a happy birthday and see how the weekend went (and the recipe).

What a great gift you gave yourself! I signed up for my first one, too. It's in October. I got plantar fasciitis and am still recovering from that. I'll be walking the race instead - just be competing will myself.

I think you are right about people wanting to be more active. I am more inspired when I see overweight people in the community consistently exercising on some sort of level (even slow) than I am by a slender fit person sprinting by.

Maybe that fit person was once overweight, but I don't automatically see that. Instead I get erroneously judgmental and think, "Oh, it's easy for them." But when I see someone that puts forth the effort when it's not easy, it's inspiring. "Maybe I can do it, too," I think.

Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 said...

Ack! Why do I find the typo's after I click on the "post comment" button? (competing with myself)

Java Joggers said...

I love that you're looking to pay it forward. Keep doing what you love, and people will find inspiration in that... and hey, it it's running and gaining a better level of fitness, then even better!

misszippy said...

Love your spirit! I'm sure you're serving as an inspiration to many. Keep it up.

One Crazy Penguin said...

What a great note. Way to be inspirational :)

Anne-Marie said...

Great post! That's so awesome that your family wants to get into running now too!

Jennifer said...

Great post Andrew! Keeping sharing, you never know who it will inspire! Cheers!

termite said...

he's got da fevar!!! ;D coolieo!

Zaneta said...

you are awesome!! I love this post! :)

Heather said...

Well said. Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a great day and enjoyed it. My son's birthday is the same day as yours.

Emz said...

Your posts just make me happy. And that's BIG with me.

Thank you.

Rae said...

Great letter! I bet someone will read it and then get off their booty! You are an inspiration Andrew! Now it's time you start 10K training. :)

Copychic said...

Outstanding job on the 5k and outstanding job on making healthy life choices! It's awesome when you realize that you can inspire yourself and others. Keep up the great work! :)

Patrick Mahoney said...

It's how such a powerful change can take place in 31 minutes and 23 seconds.

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

Perfect. I would say getting others to run and seeing them accomplish goals has been even more fulfilling than hitting my own goals. It's a great ride.

JoeyJogger said...

Motivational Andrew - I also started with a similar about.com program and progressed to Hal Higdon a few months later. Sadly I've had to start over again recently - but I'm starting to get that bug again. Keep us posted on your race progresses.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

You should send this to your papers editoral section, my opinion, this should be posted for everyone to read.

Ewa said...

You are quite an inspiration, in case you haven't noticed. I wish your message would get to those who don't even consider they can run.

ShutUpandRun said...

Running is contagious, or more broadly, getting in shape. I cannot tell you how many friends of mine have started running and racing since I started. Not cause they want to be like me - no way - but because they actually realized that they enjoyed the challenge and the mental and physical changes. Great post!! You are the man.

Julie @ "Hotlegs Runner" said...

You are truly inspiring! I wish a lot of people get to read your story and be motivated. Heck, I was feeling lazy to train today, but after reading this, I wanna run NOW. And it's 12 noon. Very hot in SoCal! Haha!

Thank you for sharing this. =)

Ewa said...

Dziekuje, Andrew. :)

Jill said...

You are truly awesome!!!

Heather said...

What a great, inspiring post.

runningwithababyonboard said...

How fantastic. I know exactly what you mean. I am by no means trim, but I run and am running my second half in two weeks. I love running so much for how it makes me feel, but I also love that people around me now want to run or at least take better care of themselves.

And I don't think you're a wannabe runner anymore. You're the real deal. :)

skierz said...

Amazing post! No, you are not a wannabe runner, you are a motivator and an inspiration! Love how you want to share you passion with others so that they can enjoy the opportunity it provides! Congratulations!

heather said...

Thanks for being such a huge inspiration, Andrew. I love that your family and friends support you and I also love how you support all of us! You're awesome!

ajh said...

Great post!

I take pictures on my bike by:
using the self timer
using the self timer with my gorillapod
having a friend with me!

Lindsey said...

Dude, you're a runner. For real. <3

Chris K said...

I think there was a typo in your post. You wrote that you were 45. You meant 35, right?

Caratunk Girl said...

You are totally a runner, no turning back now.

Awesome post, thanks

Julie said...

:) I have a huge smile on my face after reading this! Go Andrew! Happy belated Birthday!

Claudia said...

Andrew what a great note!

Adam said...

Love it!! Love that you've got your family pumped. One foot in front of the other.