Meet Bobby from team Between a Walk and a Hard Pace
In early April 2013, I was playing in a full-length basketball game. I was struggling to get up and down the court. I wanted to pass out. After the game, I knew something had to change. I knew I had to change.
I had a pretty sedentary job and loved fried food. I never realized how out of shape I was until that basketball game. A few weeks later, I finally took that first step. A friend of mine had started running, so I thought it was something I would give a shot. I had attempted a 5k a few months before, but that consisted of mostly walking. Out of the 40+ participants in that first 5k, I only finished before five others. It took me over 42 minutes to finish that race.
On April 29, 2013, I finally decided to become a “Runner.” I downloaded the Couch-2-5k app on my phone and walked out the door. My goal at the end of the program was to make it through a 5k without walking. I was almost 36-years old and had never run a full mile in my life.
The first day of the program, I had to run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds and repeat this several times. That first minute was the longest minute of my life. It wasn’t even a mile. It was one MINUTE. I needed every bit of that 90 seconds to gather myself. But I kept going, and I finished that first day.
I kept with the program for a couple more weeks before my life turned upside down. I went through a divorce and no longer had the will to run. I have two daughters. I was more worried about them through the whole ordeal. I was near depression for a few weeks.
I had to get myself out of that rut. I decided to get back on the C25k program. I picked up where I had left off and went for a run. After the run, I realized that running was a great way to escape from the world. The program still had me running and walking, but the running intervals were getting longer and longer.
It wasn’t until August of 2013, when I finished the program. I was ready to sign up for another 5k. I decided to run the same 5k I had attempted before. The 5k was in November, so I had a few more months to practice. As race day approached, I was nervous. I REALLY wanted to make it through the entire 3.1 miles without walking. As the gun went off, I took it slow. 28 minutes later, I was crossing the finish line. I was ecstatic. I had accomplished the goal I had set for myself, but little did I know, that was just the beginning.
Later that month, I signed up for the Hogeye Half Marathon. I found out that there was a training group for the race. Having basically trained for the 5k by myself, I knew it would be tough to do this without other people to support me. I decided to register for the training group. It was a small group. We received a training plan and met once a week for our long runs. Even though I still did most of my runs by myself, the group and the coach helped me stay accountable to the plan.
In April 2014, I completed my first half marathon. That’s when the madness really started. I wanted to know what else was out there. Through the powers of social media, I found out about a relay race that was held in our great state of Arkansas called, Outback in the Ozarks. A mutual friend of a mutual friend of a friend was looking for some runners. “Why not?” I asked myself. It couldn’t be any harder than running 13.1 miles in one day. I signed up.
The race was in May 2014. I met up with my team, Between a Walk and a Hard Pace. I didn’t know these people, but I was about to spend 36 hours with them. I suffer from social anxiety, so this was way out of my comfort zone. Let me tell you, those two days were quite the experience, but we had a great time. I made some new friends. We suffered through a new challenge together. And as we crossed the finish line, I knew I was hooked on the Outback. And, I was hooked on running.
The end of this month will mark the three-year anniversary of my “Decision.” When I downloaded that app, I never realized where it would take me. There were days I wanted to quit. There were days when I didn’t think I had what it took to be a runner. There were days when I asked myself why I was doing this. I didn’t quit. I kept going.
Since that day, I’ve lost over 40 pounds. I’ve run several half marathons, a few full marathons, a 50k, and the Outback in the Ozarks 200-mile relay twice (and registered for 2016). I’ve made many new friends along the way. I’ve also gained confidence in other aspects of my life. And, I have found something I’m passionate about.
(The Outback photo above is from the 2015 “Straight From the Outback” contest Leg. I’m fairly certain Bobby has conquered his social anxiety issues as well :-D)