My running story is a little bit different from the other Central Maine Striders members I have read. I never actually set out intentionally to run in the first place.
My story begins 2 and half years ago when I turned 35. I was overweight, had been for about 15 years, and was generally unhappy with my body and health. I always felt tired and never put much thought into exercising and changing my lifestyle habits. The one week a year I felt my best was when I took my family to Florida to visit my parents who spend their winters there. It was coming back from the trip of my 35th birthday that changed me. Without realizing it, I had managed to lose 15 lbs. just in that week! Wow, I thought that’s incredible, how can I keep this momentum going?
Well I've always been a very competitive person (for better or for worse) and the key for me was to find a weight loss competition. My wife had done a "chub club" group on facebook in the past and really found inspiration from other peoples' journey's and friendly competition. Lucky for me there were some friends of ours who were also feeling the pressure of growing older and wanting to make a change. My wife set up a new "chub club" and sent out the invitations. One by one friends from all over the country started joining and before I knew it we were up to almost 50 participants! The only catch was that on the first day everybody had to post a picture of themselves standing on a scale for the group to see, THE HORROR! I really didn’t want my friends to see how much weight I had packed on since high school, but in the end I knew that would only make the payoff that much sweeter! Did it ever, I started by just changing my diet, no more fast food runs for lunch and extra sugary coffee and donuts every morning.
The first week, BOOM 7 lbs. down. Then I thought hey I'm really onto something, why not add in some exercise? So I would use my lunch to walk around town and get some miles in, BOOM another 10 lbs. down! Then I thought why not walk when I get home from work with the wife and kids? Add in good meal choices and portion control and by the end of the month I had lost 34 lbs and was tied for 1st place in the competition.
At this point I was feeling so great that I knew I had to keep the momentum going so I walked faster and further every week. It was on one of my walks that I felt I couldn’t walk fast enough and broke into a jog, it wasn’t for very long but I was hooked, it felt euphoric so from then on it was jog/walk/jog every time I went out. Before I knew it was jogging almost a mile at a time before I had to walk again and catch my breath. I slowly increased that to a mile and half, then two or more.
This went on for 9 months, and with a continued change to healthy eating I had lost 85 lbs. total! Winter was upon us again at this point and it was getting uncomfortable to continue exercising outside, so I joined a gym and started using the treadmill everyday on my lunch hour. A few months later I had lost 100 lbs., and that’s where my weight loss journey has concluded. Since then I have slowly increased my running speed and distance to where I am now.
Finding the Central Maine Striders group on facebook has taken my running to the next level. I have run my only 2 races this year thanks to following this group and their passion for running. The Quarry Road Trails Racing series opened my eyes to trail running as I had never run any trails prior to my first race. The Doc and Mardie 5K race recently was my first in person race and now I am hooked!
I love what running continues to do for me physically and mentally and I am so thankful the members of the Central Maine Striders have accepted me into the fold. I look up to so many runners from the group and really enjoy the friendships I have made so far with hopefully many more to come.