Tuesday, 7 January 2014

7 years healthy, 5 years running

I run for both of these guys. Running has set me free.
Running wasn't part of my weight loss, but it was a natural  progression which followed it. 
The morphing of the old me to into the new me began in January 2007. Most who have gone through weight loss can likely remember some kind of lecture-to-self, a resolution not to continue as before. For me, it was something like: "you're about to turn 30 and you shouldn't be like this."
3 times a week in the gym, and the key was to keep in mind that to start with I would feel worse before fitness caught up with the exhaustion. Persistence, no excuses.
Concentrating the mind months later was the news that my cholesterol was double what it should be. There followed a very disciplined approach to my diet. None of the nasties (such as all the non-turkey stuff at Christmas), smaller portions of meat, bigger lunch than dinner, etc.
From that point on I was losing one pound or more per week. The lighter I got, the more I could work out, the fitter I got, the quicker the weight came off. 
Losing and having lost weight, there were many reactions I laughed about then and still do:
The doctor's delayed reaction to moving the slider when the scales showed under 200 lbs;
Drilling an emergency hole in my belt after my trousers fell down at work;
Drilling 2 more holes over the following month;
Not being recognized by people I hadn't seen in a couple of months followed by looks of pure astonishment;
Being asked "where's the rest of you?" by someone I hadn't seen in a year.

I started running in summer 2008, mostly to get outside when the weather was nice (a basement gym feels like a dungeon in summer).
I had the idea to enter the half marathon distance at the Calgary Marathon in early 2009. This was my first ever running race at the age of 32. It was intended as a "victory lap" more than an ongoing hobby. 
However, the sense of occasion, the atmosphere and the feeling of crossing the finish line (starts in the stomach and lifts up through the heart and the arms go up) made it clear to me that this should become a way of life. I was pleased to finish in 1:46:15, what could I do if I really worked at it? What was the new me capable of?
Since then, I have been able to break 90 minutes in a half marathon, 40 in the 10k, and 20 in the 5k. 3 hours 10 minutes has so far eluded me over the full marathon distance, and this is my aim on June 1. A new training plan (the Hanson Method), and more focused weight training are how I am hoping to get there. My PB is currently 3:20:47, so improving on that is my "silver" aim.
Unlike the elites however, it's not always about the time or placing, and while I may envy their perfomances, they face heartbreak when things don't go their way. For the rest of us, there is the ideal of savouring the experience of every race, and finishing with your head held high. 
Myself, I grin like a Cheshire Cat smile every time I run. My health benefits, I am sharper and an infinitely better human being than before I started. Running sets me free.


  1. Wow Peter, what an inspiring lifestyle change you have made! I love the "delayed" reaction and that people didn't recognize you but it takes dedication to maintain that change for as long as you have. You are quite the speedster too! I'd love to learn more about the Hanson method (maybe for next year). This year is all about (slow) distance for me.

  2. Inspiring Peter! The '09 Calgary Half Marathon was my first running race too.

  3. Now you have *me* grinning like a cheshire cat. I get that same feeling finish lines. Congratulations on making such a positive change in your health, and it's wonderful to hear about how much you enjoy running.

  4. Peter, awesome story!! It has been great running with you off and on for the last number of years!! June 1st is our day buddy!! Let's work hard and get that 3:10!! Keep the faith.

  5. Wow, what an amazing journey!! Best of luck with training for the Calgary Marathon!

    1. Thanks! All the best with your ironman!