Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why I run

For those of you who have not heard, I've started running. And despite the fact that I honestly can not remember the last time I ran in a race, I'm training to run a half-marathon.

Yes, you read that correctly: a HALF-MARATHON. Thirteen-point-one miles.

I am signed up to run a half-marathon in Columbus, Ohio, on October 17. Going to run with good friend and fellow SID Dave Parsons.

And the scary part of it all? I am enjoying it.

The last race I recall running in was a 200 meter dash at a high school track meet. Now, I am not and never was a sprinter. I threw the discus and shot put in high school, but at this open meet my senior year in high school, I thought it'd be 'fun' to run the 200. Let's just say my coach asked me to stick to the field events.

And it has been FOREVER since I ran in a road race. I remember running in some one-mile fun runs, a couple two-mile races and maybe a 5K once or twice, but that was all before junior high.

So, by now you're likely wondering how I went from only running after my kids to training for a half-marathon?

There are a couple motivating factors.

SIDs running across the Golden Gate Bridge.
First, there is the Biggest Loser. My bride and I love the show and don't miss an episode. During the past four seasons of the Biggest Loser, the final four contestants have had to run a full marathon. In watching these previous out-of-shape, overweight people go from being totally inactive to running a marathon in a matter of months helped convince me that I can do it too.

Secondly, last year, I started getting the running bug. I found going out for a run a great stress reliever, especially given the pressures one seems to live under as a SID. Nothing clears the mind like a good 30- to 45-minute run, not to mention how well you feel afterward. Despite getting the running bug, I was not real consistent in my exercise.

And obviously, there is running for my health. I've been able to maintain my weight for a number of years now, but I'd like to take off a few more pounds to get to an even healthy weight. I mean, I've got two very active kids and I need to be in shape to keep up with them. But my plan is for them to try to keep up with me. :-)

Lastly, I figured what better way to celebrate my 39th birthday (November 6 - 105 shopping days left) than by running a half-marathon. Call it a bucket list thing.

The hardest hurdle to overcome is the mental aspect of believing you can do this. The thing to remember is your time doesn't really matter. You do not have to be the fastest. Finishing is the goal.

I do have a goal I'd like to reach for my half-marathon, but my No. 1 goal is TO FINISH.

Next hurdle to overcome is figuring out a training schedule. Like everything else in life, exercising takes time. And as we SIDs know, time is something we don't see to have enough of. To stick to a training plan, it requires planning and commitment. For me, I get up early in the morning to run. Depending on what day it is, I get up between 5:30-6:30 a.m. even on Saturdays. Granted, that is a bit early for some but having kids greatly enhanced my ability to help get moving very early in the day.

Running early in the day does wonders for me. Gets the blood pumping, helps me more focused at work and sets the day off on a good foot. (Pun intended ... you're welcome.)

Granted, it will be a challenge once the games begin for me in late-August, but by then I will have a good routine/habit in place. But working in athletics helps inspire me to want to stay fit.

What also has been fun through this whole process has been tweeting about it and encouraging others to get active. Dave and I will routinely tweet each other our progress and our poor friends get a heavy dose of us talking about exercising, running and all. A few have even picked up running as well. It was also fun running with other SIDs at this year's CoSIDA Convention in San Francisco. (Pictured above from left going clockwise: Me, Dave Parsons, Kelcey Zutavern and Eric Smith. Photo taken by another runner and SID Cindy Fotti.)

It's also been neat to find out that a number of other SIDs have ran half- and full marathons. So, yes Virginia, SIDs can find time to do something outside of work.

As I continue on the path to running my first half-marathon, I'll give you periodical updates. Until then, if you're interested in running, I highly recommend visiting John Bingham's website as well as reading some of his books, Running for Mortals and Marathoning for Mortals. Bingham's books are great for encouraging newbies into running.


  1. Nice post, Jay! I'm looking forward to running this with you and also hearing about our fellow friends in the business who are also making healthy lifestyle changes that will hopefully keep us all 'running' smoothly for many years to come.

    One big thing for anyone thinking about taking up running is that it really helps to have someone to keep you accountable - even if they aren't there to run with you. When Jay and I update each other on our progress, it really helps to push both of us.

    The other thing to remember comes in the form of a quote that I read recently although I can't remember the source. "The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry form." I encourage you to sign up and pay the fee to run (or walk) in a race whether it's a 5K, a half marathon, or even a full marathon. In addition to John Bingham's stuff, another great person to check out is Hal Higdon who has training programs for walking or running everything from a 5K to a full marathon. They are all available free online - just Google his name and the length of race you're thinking about undertaking.

  2. Wish I still had the knees for running. Good luck with the half marathon. Careful--you're gonna get addicted.

  3. Chris, I think it's too late. I am addicted. I'm loving this running stuff. WOW, that's something I never thought I'd say.