One Year Later

Exactly one year has passed since I began running. A lot has happened in that year, so bear with me while I relive some of it.

Here’s what I said one year ago about why I began running again.

Lately I’ve gotten so completely disgusted with myself, my laziness, but most importantly, the example I am setting for my family that I have (re)committed to running.

I ended that post with a promise. “This time, it’s for real. I promise.”

I then went out and start the Couch to 5K running program to help get me started. One of the big differences between previous attempts to start running and this one is that I consciously decided to take it slow and easy, and C25K really helped with that. The first day of C25K has you alternating between 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking. Here’s me after that first day:

And there I was wheezing my way around, wondering how 60 seconds could feel so damn long. Sixty seconds. Seconds.

That whole first week of running felt like hell, and I was only doing one minute at a time. Today, one year later, for the first time ever, I ran 20 miles and it took me about 3 hours to do it. Day one, one minute. Today, 182 minutes.

I’ve admitted it before, and I will again now. When I started, I was driven by many self-centered factors: I felt lazy, I felt (and was) grossly overweight. And honestly, I had been both for the better part of a decade. While those first days were mostly about my appearance, there was one other big factor: the example I was setting for my wife and my two young boys.

As for the physical changes, they’ve been pretty drastic.  When I started, I weighed 218 pounds, which put me in the obese category according to BMI (I’m 6’0″).  And while I never had my body composition measured, I can’t imagine that my fat percentage was any less than 30%.  My resting heart rate was somewhere in the 80s and I was just generally unhealthy, getting pretty much every cold or sniffle my kids brought home from school.  Today, I weigh 171 lbs., my resting heart rate is on the low 50s, and I had my body composition measured at the beginning of July and found that my fat percentage is just 7%.  In the past year, I haven’t been sick at all, even with H1N1 having made its presence known in my family.

I’m proud of the changes I’ve made in my body.  But what really makes me feel great is how proud my wife and boys are.  Just this afternoon, my younger boy said, “Dad I’m so proud of you for your 20 mile run.”  That alone felt like gold, but  I asked him why he was proud and he said, unprompted, “You’ve been running for a whole year to be able run 20 miles!”  I am not ashamed to tell you that I cried a bit when I heard that.  For an eight year old to recognize that hard work has to be consistently practiced over a long time to get to goals is priceless.  No amount of saying those words to him would have done it, but actually going out day after day regardless of how I was feeling allowed him to grasp a lesson that will serve him for his entire life.  I feel like I earned a Dad badge today.

A few stats to wrap things up.

I still have about a month to go to reach the goal I’ve been thinking about since I was in high school:  to run a marathon.  On October 10, 2010 I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon.

6 thoughts on “One Year Later

  1. Sean,
    I loved this post! I am right there with you on the goals and being an example for my kids. I have lost over 40 pounds this year and I did my first half marathon this weekend. The best part was seeing my kids light up when they told people “my dad just ran a marathon”! They were proud of me and thats a feeling unlike any other…

    Congratulations on how far you’ve come and good luck on your marathon!

  2. Sean – I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to have to share this over on Run for Dom – I cannot think of a message that is more appropriate to celebrate just how far you’ve come in the last year, and the huge payoff that awaits on the 10th of October.

    You are everything that is great about our sport. Thank you for sharing.

    Best from Austin, J

  3. Wow! Can’t say how much this post touched me. Mostly I think because I’m with you on this. I spent all my life unhealthy. Not in a horrid, ate fast food and sat around way but in that barely getting by way. I walked my dogs, ate reasonably well (just too much) and tried to pass for healthy. I’m not sure why I had a wake up call but I did and at age 38 I decided enough was enough so in January of 2006 I changed what and how I much I ate and started moving my body. In 14 months I lost 117lbs and decided since I had been doing over an hour of cardio every day for over a year I could try to run. I had never run in my life. I have never participated in sports. I had never want to. Just not my thing. Let me tell you how much running is my THING! From that first step I knew that this was it. I couldn’t believe how incredible it made you feel. Mind you I don’t have easy runs, I push myself too much. I’m not fast, never will be but I love it. I love that I CAN do it. I love that I WANT to do it. My hubby benefitting from all this as well, dropping almost 50lbs and becoming much more active, an athlete all his life he took up the distance running after I completed my first two half marathons in a month. At age 51 he is super competitive locally in his AG and loves our new lifestyle. I’ve done just over 50 races this year and plan on ending the year at 70 or more. Thanks Sean for your blog and great getting to know you on DM. You’re going to rock Chicago!

  4. Thanks everyone for both the visit and the kind comments. This year really has been a journey and in some cases, an unexpected one. One of the reasons I’ve been surprised is that I never expected to get so much support from other runners. It has truly been amazing. I can’t wait to see what the next year of running brings!

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