The Church of Running

photo(17)by Candice Vasquez

“I believe Rogue is like the Church of Running and I’m a running evangelist. My
purpose is to convert each of you into running lovers. Which I can guarantee you will be
at the end of this class. I promise you.” -Jeff Knight.

If you know Jeff or have ever trained with Jeff than you know that “ I promise you” and “trust me” are his famous last words. If you are a Rogue Newbie get used to hearing these words A LOT, trust me, your life is about to change forever (see what just happened there?).

I guess I should tell you a little about who I am and what led me to write this
post. After the last five weeks I have affectionately gained the title FKIC or Fat Kid In
Charge. Before you go all Conservative Liberal and blow a gasket, I was the one who coined this term and LOVE it. When I’m not referring to myself as FKIC I go by Candice and fate actually brought me to Rogue–yep, good’ole fashion fate. Per usual I was working late one day and a co-worker just happened to walk out of her office wearing her Rogue Running shirt. We got to chatting about what it was, how she loved it, how things
functioned and what her future goals were. This is when the wheels started turning.
Let’s Marty McFly for a moment to 2011. I had just lost 30 pounds I was now
under 200 pounds for the first time in what felt like forever. I was working out, eating
right and finding a passion for running. I ran the Turkey Trot in November 2011 and was
“training” (I use that term loosely) for Cap 10 K. Well, I was about to be hit with the biggest shock of my life. I couldn’t quite figure out why I had lost all of my energy, my weight had plateaued at 187 and no matter what I tried I couldn’t run two feet without feeling like I was going to bust a lung. I should also probably mention that I’m an asthmatic who likes to pretend that she isn’t one.

You might want to sit down for the next piece of news… You probably won’t believe what I am about to tell you anyway but it’s all true; I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried. Turns out the reason that I couldn’t get my shit together was because I was five months pregnant! I had no idea. But that’s a whole different blog entry – let’s fast forward. It’s February of 2013 and I still can’t get it together. I’ve paleo’ed, I’ve given up wheat, dairy, beer, AND my beloved Dr. Pepper. I have even managed to go “run” a few times. But my accountability wasn’t there. I knew in the back of my mind that I want to run again-I wanted to spend time talking to myself and just being. That is really what running is for me. So I hopped online and checked out Rogue.

I instantly thought “ OH, I got this, this looks great! There’s a girl my size on the front page – if she’s not red faced and dying maybe I won’t die either!” which quickly turned into “wait, how do I even know that she is a Rogue and not some random photo from the internet?” Somehow I managed to find myself on the half marathon page–umm yeah right, I was looking for the Fat Kid section, the one where running 1/2 a block is a huge feat. I eventually found it and roped my best friend, Lauren, into joining the Intro to Running class too.

It’s the first day and I’m 45 minutes early because there’s a 100% possibility that traffic will suck and the risk of being late isn’t worth the anxiety. Lauren and I make our way into the building and that’s it, game over. I should also mention that I’m the Chatty Cathy friend and Lauren is the reserved friend. Insert awkward standing around, the super runners are gathering and talking about their recent run from Antarctica to the Great Wall, how it sucked more this time than the last 7 times they ran it. Everyone is friendly but you don’t know what the hell you are about to get yourself into.

We meet Jeff and he thinks the blonde girl is Candice and the brunette girl is Lauren, even though he introduced us to 7 different ladies in our group. We will also spend the next three weeks with the wrong names. NO JOKE 3 weeks! As we were waiting for class to get started we began chatting with some fellow running mates. I fill them in on what I know and even go so far to quote my co-workers saying “they don’t push you”, “you run at your own pace”, “no one will make you run more than you can”. Yeah, i should really learn to keep my big mouth shut…

We’ve been welcomed, we’ve grabbed out maps and our course is the “The Wiggle.” We are about to run down a back alley, along the rail road tracks and meet up on a part of “Lamar” I never knew about. And here is were I got myself in trouble. Jeffery said “ I don’t want anyone running alone, you must have a partner.” It might have had something to do with the fact our group was female only. So when Agnes, a fellow FKIC was trailing behind I had to slow down and wait for her. We weren’t supposed to run alone damn-it! Agnes hadn’t run in 13 years and was struggling so I pulled out my cheerleader hat and nicely pushed her on.

“Come on, you can do it”, “you got this”, “just a little further”, “you’re almost there don’t
stop”–Yep I totally Tony Robbins’ed it up. Oy Vay. Well we all survived and it was a good
quick run. I however was already letting that little voice in my head start to tear me
down. I was disappointed in myself and I couldn’t let it go. I planned on redeeming
myself on our Saturday Long run but that was a BIG ’ole bust! Lauren and I were late so
we walked 2 or so miles in the freezing rain.
! Now it’s on to week two and I’m going to make this run my bitch. That was an
epic fail!!! I have never been in so much calf pain in my life. I thought muscle was going
to rip off the bone. I literally tip toed my way up some random street to meet up with Jeff
and the water cooler. He could see that I was in pain, he was even kind enough to ask
me if I wanted a ride back. UMMMM… no. I was going to waddle my ass back come hell or high water. I’m pretty sure this was the moment that Jeff knew I had inner strength hiding underneath all of myself doubt. Luckily, we were learning about Trigger Point exercises that evening which meant I could really get some good productive pain going.  When Saturday rolled around I managed to over sleep and bailed on our long run.
After a disastrous Week Two, I knew the third was going to suck. Surprisingly it
wasn’t that bad and I survived with a little bit of pride in my run. I Trigger Point-ed
before the run and again after the run. This little routine is something that I have learned I can NOT skip. My body needs it if I want to have a good run I need to be completely stretched out.
Week Four would normally be the end of the class but since ours ended right in time for Cap 10K, Jeff added an extra week for those running the race. I of course was one of those suckers. Week four DID NOT go so well. It was “HIlls Week”.. not much had changed in my body liking hills so I was in pain, and I had made the decision to leave my job of three years and was stressed out to the max. I really needed the run to clear my head; that’s pretty much what happened. Lauren had to miss the class so I was on my own but that was okay; I needed the alone time. Per usual I was bringing up the caboose of the group and Jeff knew something was wrong as it was taking longer than normal for me to meet up with them. He ran down to find me huffing and complaining about how my calf hurt again and I was on the verge of tears. I managed to hold them all in until our very last hill circuit. That’s when I lost it. I held it together long enough for the rest of the group to start back to Rogue. Every emotion that I had held in from the start came flooding up and out. There was no stopping it, there was no hiding that I was disappointed in myself.

I can’t say enough about how great a coach Jeff is – he was there when I needed someone to believe in me. The truth is he always had faith in me, I just didn’t have faith in myself. He took the time to talk me down from the ledge and guided me back to place of strength. After I got it together I started back to Rogue to finish up the evening. On my way back something happened that I never told anyone. I was crossing a street in front of a strip of store fronts when this bouncy blonde came running in the opposite direction. Instead of giving me the usual runners head nod, she smiled at me with immense encouragement. It was almost as if she was saying “hey I’m proud of you for at least being out here and doing something”. I needed that moment more than anything in the world!
So, now I think you’ll better understand why I came up with Fat Kid in Charge. From that breakdown moment on Nelson Hill I knew that I wanted to do more, be more, accomplish more. I want to be there for someone else as they have their breakdown and help lift them up just like Jeff had done for me. Let’s be honest when you are overweight no one really understands the head games you play with yourself and how hard you are on yourself. You don’t need any help from society to tear you down. I ran my grand idea by Jeff and we’ve set a plan in place. We still had one more week after all!!

I made it to week five and I was still alive. Our work out would be a “typical” pre-race workout of straights and curves. Not to horrid. I still couldn’t figure out why I could run one side of the straight and not the other. HA, well that’s because Jeff and picked a street with a slight incline. After the last five weeks I had quickly learned ALL streets in Austin have an incline. Get used to it!! After Jeff and I quickly talked about what wasn’t working, he said “ you’re doing great on the straights, you’re staying tall, you’ve got good strides, you can do this, I’m watching you do it, you got this girl”. Oh boy did I ever, I ran that straight from point A to point B without stopping. I’m pretty sure that I yelled “YES” out when I reached the curve section. I couldn’t have cared less who heard me. I had just did something I didn’t think I could do and I did it well. Three more laps, a quick water break and it was time to head back. Jeff suggested we walk down the hill to 6th Street then run back from there. That is exactly what I did!! For the first time in five weeks I ran all the way back to Rogue. I wouldn’t let Lauren stop; we were almost there and I was determined to make it. It’s these small moments that help make the next run easier. No one, not even your self doubt, can take these away from you. Of course Jeff was proud and excited for us, he always knew we could do it after all.
Our month with Jeff and Rogue was over it was now time for us to run Cap 10K.
It was cold, rainy and EARLY in the morning. Jeff had promised to be at miles 1.7 and
mile 3 something. We knew if we were going to walk it was NOT going to be at either
one of those spots. After a “quick” bathroom stop we were at the back of the race when
we hit mile 1.7, there was no Jeff. Lauren and I figured that he figured we bailed on the
race and left. Well we hit mile 3 something and still no Jeff. We laughed and joked about him leaving us behind as we kept trekking to the finish. As we hit mile 5 we re-set our goals and talked about what it would take to finish. My knee was on the verge of collapse but that wasn’t going to stop me. I had just spent the past five weeks training for this moment, I wasn’t going to let it go. An hour and forty five minutes from the start of this race Lauren and I crossed the finish line. It was pouring down rain at this point and it was the most cleansing moment I had ever had. Once out of the rain we plotted our next move: FOOD. We earned a good meal, a hot shower and a nap.
The soreness had begun to set in, yet somehow that hadn’t fazed us as we were already
planning out next race. We were officially Rogues on the hunt for the next race! I hope that this has given you a grasp of what you are in store for, or maybe it has helped you feel like you aren’t alone in the crazy running world. If you aren’t sure what to do next or if you are searching for a way to feel apart of the crowd don’t worry, I have some helpful hints for you.

*First, VOLUNTEER!! Immerse yourself in the culture. Rogue has some great programs and running events that they are always looking for volunteers for. I personally have worked aid station duty for two trail races and it brings me tons of confidence when the day is over. You will be amazed at how many runners tell you thank you for being there and working the race.

*Second, don’t be afraid to talk to people, especially your coach. I promise we don’t bite and we have all been where you are. And know that if you ever need someone to talk to or (old man pace) run with I am always available.

*Thirdly, stay hydrated. Yeah.. I’m still working on this one, but I can tell you that giving your body what it means makes things so much easier.

*Lastly, HAVE FUN!! That’s the whole point of this after all. Have fun, relax and just let you body do what it wants to do. Trust me it all works out.

Oh, and Welcome to the Church of Running. Once you go Rogue you don’t go back!!!
Happy Running,
FKIC

3M: A first-timer’s race report

An introduction by Coach Mae Coffman:

I met Kristen McKay when she attended a “Mom’s Night Out” event at the Cedar Park store this past summer.  She inquired about the Run Like a Mother group, explaining she was just starting out as a runner, recently having worked up to one mile in her neighborhood. A month later she joined the group with the goal of tackling a 5K race.

Runners like Kristen are the reason why I love coaching so much. She epitomizes what it means to be a Rogue.  Over the course of the last 5 months, I have watched her blossom in her newfound runner identity. She celebrates every accomplishment– from being able to run 3 miles without stopping to the first double-digit long run.

Though she has a visual impairment, it hasn’t been a limiting factor in her progress. You would think the idea of running on unfamiliar roads and racecourses would intimidate her, but Kristen just gets out there and tackles each challenge with confidence and a smile on her face. She inspires her husband, she inspires her children, and she inspires me.  I loved reading through her very first half marathon race report and I hope you will too. 

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IMG_20140119_093140by Kristen McKay

The night before I could not settle myself down – was excited to get it started.  I think I finally fell asleep close to 11 and sat right up and said “alrighty then” when my alarm went off at 4:50.  Got up, had some oatmeal and was out the door at 5:30 and parked just after 6.  I met up with Andrea from the Moms’ group at 6:40 while Jim and the girls took off for breakfast and their first meet up spot.  I went towards the end of the chute knowing that there was no way I was going to be in one of the pace groups and ended up being right by Charity and some other Rogues.  I didn’t hear the national anthem and didn’t even know that the race had started until people started moving slowly forward.

The beginning was smooth –felt great.  There was a group of bagpipers  close to the beginning – how cool is that??  I took my first walk break between 3 and 4 – nearing 6 thought of how if only the weather had been like this for the 10k, a few weeks ago, I would have done so much better. Felt like I started dragging for 9 and 10 and then knew I was close to being done and found my second wind.  Everyone kept saying it was just a little bit farther!

Jim and the girls met me at 6 by Northcross, where we used to live when we were first married, and then again near 11.  It was fun and encouraging to have them there to cheer me on and made it fun for me to have them to look for!  Got to run past the house I lived in during my junior high years at 40th and Duval, and have say that the speed bumps on Duval suck!  They aren’t very well marked and I nearly tripped over them twice.

The crowd definitely thinned out for the last few miles and by the time I turned the corner on MLK near the finish, the street was deserted and I couldn’t tell where to go.  I could hear the announcer but couldn’t see any spectators or police or anything.  I slowed down and looked around me to see if there were any other people near me but didn’t want to stop either so I just kept going until I could see that there were cones or the white fencing stuff blocking the street where to turn to the finish.  Whew!  And then it was over!

A funny, ironic thing happened as I was running behind the stadium and noticing that the other runners were thinning out. The song “The Distance” came on and I couldn’t help but chuckle over “the fans have all gone home and this one guy is still racing and long ago somebody left with the cup.” Good stuff.

After I crossed the finish and got my medal I got a banana and Jim met me with my chocolate milk.  Mae and Thayne were there too.  It was encouraging to know that he finished not too far ahead of me!  Now I need to work on my speed and stamina so that I don’t get left behind next time! Another take away was that there was a 72 yr old that came in just ahead of me and another 72 yr old just after me. I hope I am still running at that age!

Afterwards I felt it in my lower back, and my legs even down to my feet.  And even with the chocolate milk and banana, my stomach was not happy.  Maybe too much sports drink?  Not sure what happened there but after a short nap and a walk around the block I finally felt normal again and was able to enjoy my pizza and wine for dinner to celebrate!

On race day I wasn’t so sure I ever wanted to do that again but now that a few days have passed, I am looking forward to getting back out there!

Meet the Coach: Mae Coffman

At Rogue, we believe that the success of our training programs rests not just upon expertly designed schedules and the huge network of resources and support on offer, but also upon our incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated coaches. These people put heart and soul (and a lot of time!) into helping you reach your full potential, and we thought you might like to learn more about them.

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mae cofmanWhen and why did you start running?

I’ve always been an athlete and used to run just to stay in shape for sports.  I played soccer from elementary school through college.  After college I was looking for a new challenge and decided to train for a ½ marathon (the 3M), after that race, I was hooked!

How did you get into coaching?

I started running with Cedar Park Rogue groups when the store opened.  The following fall, James Dodds approached me about coaching the inaugural mom’s running group. The timing was perfect since I had just switched to a part-time work schedule to spend more time with my toddler.  It was a fantastic opportunity to blend my love of teaching/coaching with my love for running.

Why Rogue?

I started with Rogue back when it was first founded and we were running from the Run Tex location downtown.  After my first Rogue Austin Marathon training group experience, I never looked back!  Some of my best running friends have been made and maintained through Rogue. I love the atmosphere and the knowledge at Rogue—I can’t imagine training anywhere else.

What is your trademark coaching philosophy and/or style?

I don’t think I have a trademark…though I did run and coach throughout my 2nd pregnancy, so I guess I became known as “that crazy pregnant running lady”

Most memorable run?

Running the Boston Marathon in 2009, and finding out I was pregnant after returning home, so…technically my oldest son has also completed a marathon.

Favorite post-run meal?

Breakfast tacos and coffee

Favorite Rogue long run route?

Mt. Bonnell for sure.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new runner, what would it be?

Be kind to yourself and celebrate each small accomplishment—don’t compare your progress and achievements to other runners.  The greatest thing about the sport of running is that it’s all about setting and reaching goals for yourself.  No matter if you have run for 20 years or 2 days—YOU ARE A RUNNER!  Commitment and attitude mark you as a runner—not PRs and medals.

What are you coaching next?

Run Like A Mother!  Mom’s Running Group in Cedar Park.

What do you do when you aren’t running or coaching?

Enjoy time with my husband and 2 boys, play soccer, & read.

Any pets?

A dog, Daisy and a cat, Hobbes

What’s the last book you read?

Half the Sky

What is one item that is ALWAYS in your refrigerator?

We always have 4 different types of milk stocked in the fridge. Vanilla soy for my husband, whole milk for the baby, 1% for my older son, and chocolate almond for me!

If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?

Hmmm…is an avocado a vegetable or a fruit? If it’s a vegetable I’d probably be an avacado because I eat so many of them.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’d love to visit New Zealand

What is one to-do on your bucket list?

Complete an Ironman

Favorite quote?

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there” – Will Rogers

“Continuous effort- not strength or intelligence- is the key to unlocking our potential” – Winston Churchill

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Mae’s next program is Run Like a Mother, beginning September 5. The program is stroller-friendly and offers two levels – beginners, and half marathoners. Get details here!

 

 

Meet the Coach: Angel Mulhern

At Rogue, we believe that the success of our training programs rests not just upon expertly designed schedules and the huge network of resources and support on offer, but also upon our incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated coaches. These people put heart and soul (and a lot of time!) into helping you reach your full potential, and we thought you might like to learn more about them.

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angelWhen and why did you start running?

Running has always been a part of my life.  My earliest memories of running involve running through the pastures of our family farm in rural Wisconsin.  In my twenties, I became interested in completing a marathon, so I looked up a Hal Higdon training schedule online and ran the Chicago Marathon.

How did you get into coaching?

I heard James Dodds, a Rogue coach, talk about how some people love to run and only run and others love to share their love of running through coaching.  Immediately, I approached him and said, “I want to share my love of running with others.”

Why Rogue?

After following Hal Higdon’s advice for a number of marathons, I wanted to try training with a group.  I heard great things about Rogue, and loved the welcome I received every time I walked into the Rogue store.

What is your trademark coaching philosophy and/or style?

Running should be fun!  Not every run will be pleasurable, certainly not every race, but with persistence, training, and support, everyone can learn to enjoy the experience of running.

Most memorable run?

By far, my most memorable run took place in Maseru, Lesotho, Africa, where I volunteered to build homes with Habitat for Humanity.  I stayed there for almost a month, while training for my first marathon.

One morning, my training schedule called for a ten-mile run.  I knew the route from our lodging to the housing site was roughly ten miles, and I was very familiar with the roads, as we had traveled those six days a week for two weeks.

With my twenty-something fearless, naive attitude, I took off running through the foreign streets of Maseru.  I considered the perils of my solo run as I approached a large crowd of hundreds of unemployed citizens gathered outside a factory.  I slowed and approached with much trepidation.

Suddenly, the people spotted me and turned to greet me with their two handed wave.  They smiled, called out, “Khotso!” which means peace, and made way for me to run directly through their huge assembly.  I responded by smiling and returning their generous greeting.  They cheered louder for me. I smiled broader, ran faster, and felt like an Olympic runner.  Even in the moment, I knew it would be hard to beat such an incredible experience.

Favorite post-run meal?

I should say a banana and chocolate milk, but then I’d be lying.  Most of the time, I eat a banana, but on rare occasions I indulge in a cinnamon roll and coffee at Mozart’s.

Favorite Rogue long run route?

Call me strange, but I like to run long by myself (quiet and solitude are rare treasures for a stay at home mom), but I do enjoy the challenge and camaraderie of Rogue’s “Run from Hell.”

If you could give one piece of advice to a new runner, what would it be?

Be patient!  Learning to enjoy running takes a LONG time.  Don’t expect instant results.  Instead, relax, walk when you need to, be persistent in your training, and rely on the experience and support of others to guide you toward your goals.

What are you coaching next?

Intro to Rogue in Cedar Park

What do you do when you aren’t running or coaching?

When I’m not running or coaching, you can find me chasing after my two children.  When my two year old and four year old let me, I’m reading, cooking, and discovering our great city with my husband.

Any pets?

Emma, a hairy, lovable, Old English Sheepdog

What’s the last book you read?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

What is one item that is ALWAYS in your refrigerator?

Beer

If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?

Is a sweet potato a vegetable?

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’d love to explore Thailand.

What is one to-do on your bucket list?

Write a book.

Favorite quote?

“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.” ― Garth SteinThe Art of Racing in the Rain

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Angel’s next program is Intro to Rogue, a four week program that offers beginners a chance to take their first steps and try out Rogue with minimal commitment. Details here!

 

Becoming a Runner

by Daniel West

Rogue Lemons IBM 10kFor as long as I can remember, I was overweight. Physical activity always seemed like this huge chore, and it was never fun. When I was in elementary school, during our schools “Fun Run and/or Turkey Trot,” I wasn’t the one running; I was the one helping at the water booth. I would always pick the easiest role to play (i.e., goalie). As a second grader, I found out I had asthma, and so for the rest of primary and secondary school, I used that as a crutch. I always had some sort of excuse; too tired, homework, work, etc… for not doing any sort of physical activity. I was in marching band in high school, and enjoyed it, but once the spring rolled around, hello couch. I was a frequent visitor of the vending machine, as well. Dr. Pepper and I had an ongoing love-hate relationship. For lunch, I would always opt for the cheeseburger or pizza for lunch in high school. Food was food to me. I didn’t recognize or understand the positive or negative consequences it could do to my body.

Fast-forwarding to 2003, I started college at Austin Community College (ACC). I had moved into an apartment with my older brother and twin brother. My twin brother had been overweight for quite sometime, and made the decision to lose weight. He started the Akins diet, and my older brother joined in with him. I, on the other hand, was just along for the ride. It never registered that I needed to lose weight. I was just thinking, “we all eat the same food, so I might as well just join in.” This same year, I had a serious kidney stone, and the only remedy was surgery. It wasn’t invasive, but was still painful, and put me out of commission for a solid week. Anyone who has had kidney stones will feel my pain. The result of this week was a 25 lb weight loss. I thought, “Hey, alright, I like this.” Just like anyone else who loses weight, I bought new clothes, but soon, I went back to my old eating patterns. While all of this is going on, I still had NO appreciation for my overall health. I thought getting sick, as often as I was, was normal. I attributed sinus infections to living in Austin. The light never went off, and wouldn’t for quite sometime.

Moving on to 2005. I had transferred from ACC to Texas State. I did very well there. Well enough to transfer to The University of Texas in the fall of 2006. I thought my life was on the right track, but I was wrong. My life changed drastically that year.  On October 16, 2006, I was rear-ended in my Ford Explorer, which caused it to spin into a 360-degree revolution. I lost consciousness; my left elbow had been severely punctured by the glass from the car window, and I had no idea what had just happened. The months following were hard. The onset of PTSD like symptoms set in, and I felt like my life was going into a tailspin. Food and espresso soon became the one thing I could rely upon. About a year after the accident, I began counseling. It wasn’t until after the first day of counseling, that I came to fully understand what had happened.  I literally broke down.

Two years later, I had completed my second year of counseling, had changed my major, and was finally on the path to what I loved to do: teach. I had become actively involved in a couple of student organizations at Texas, had the opportunity to travel to Mexico to build a house, amongst other things. While all of this was going on, the person I was seeing in the mirror was getting bigger. I began to realize that I probably needed to lose weight, but just wasn’t high on the list of priorities. I had tried working out at the gyms at Texas, but a lack of knowledge on how to workout drained any sort of motivation.

The spring of 2010 rolls around, and I’m finally graduating from The University of Texas. At this point, I’m the largest I’ve ever been. If I remember correctly, I weighted around 247 to 250 pounds.

The rest of 2010 was not very productive. I didn’t have a full-time job, had no idea on how to even start losing weight, but I knew that I needed to do something. In early 2011, I started a part-time job as a messenger down at the Capitol for the legislative session. This was one of the best things that could of ever happened to me. I was walking 2-3 miles a day, drinking tons of water, and being exposed to different people who exercised on a daily basis. I ended up getting a permanent part-time position.

It was the summer now, and I went in for my routine physical. My doctor freaked out when he saw how much I weighed, my blood work, etc…He wanted to put me on all sorts of medication for pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and I knew what that would lead too. I didn’t let him. I wanted to prove him wrong.

One of my co-workers was a trainer at a local gym. With the help of my parents, after the legislative session was over, I started training with him. I went to him with my hat in my hand. I needed help. I trained with him for six weeks straight, and lost about 20 pounds and 3% of my overall body fat (My starting body fat percentage was around 30%). I wanted to continue training with him, but neither my parents nor I had the money to pay for it.

About a month later, I joined Gold’s Gym. It was something that I could afford. In November 2011, I got my first full-time, salary position. Shortly thereafter, I started training with a trainer at Gold’s. For almost year, twice a week, I’d meet with my trainer. These two days are what I looked forward to the most. I was eager to learn new ways I could workout. My workouts were more of a HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. Soon, Crossfit intrigued me. My trainer started putting my through a Crossfit style workout, and I couldn’t believe the rush.

In the space of a year, I had gone from living a sedentary lifestyle, to being physically active on a daily basis. My trainer encouraged me to start practicing yoga. I was reluctant at first, mostly because of the stereotypes of guys and yoga. However, I decided I wanted to give it a shot, and that is all I needed. I love it. If you need a good yoga studio, I recommend Black Swan Yoga or Castle Hill Yoga.

It’s now the summer of 2012, and for a while, I’ve been looking for a cardio element to add into my workout regimen. Then, out of the blue one day, on Lululemon’s facebook status, I see an event for a running group to train for the IBM Uptown Classic in 8 weeks. Lululemon and Rogue sponsored it. Seeing as how I had lost a bunch of weight, and my asthma didn’t seem to be a problem anymore, I wanted to give it a shot. I thought, how hard could this be?

I remember the first day like it was yesterday. To say that I was nervous was an understatement. I walked in, having never run since middle school, feeling very awkward. The coaches introduced themselves: Jenn and Stephanie. As we went around to introducing ourselves, I was listening to the other runners talk about how they had run 10Ks, marathons and half-marathons. I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I introduced myself, and stated that I had not run since middle school. I was relieved to find out that others had not run in quite some time as well. I thought to myself, thank God.

Weeks went by as I trained, and soon, I saw some really good progress. Around week 4, I ran almost 4 miles in 38 minutes. The next four weeks were an uphill battle. As a new runner, I began to experience some aches and pains new runners get. The RICE rule and I became quick friends.

Daniel 2_IBM 10kFinally, October 7th, 2012 was here. It was cold, windy, and damp. We had trained hard on the course for eight weeks, and while I was scared of what I was about to do, I knew I could do it. The first half of the course had a strong head wind. My Achilles tendon on my left foot that was starting to bother me around mile 3, but I was determined to finish the race. I kept pushing on. Mile 4. Mile 5. I stayed positive. I knew I could do this. I was on the home stretch, and one of my teammates, Jessie was along the side, and told me it was less than a mile. Believe it or not, that was the extra kick I needed. I headed towards the last turn, and headed towards mile 6 and the finish line. I remember my twin brother and his wife running beside me. That was so helpful, and gave me an extra kick in my giddy up. I had passed mile 6, and was so close, but ready to pass out. I approached the finish line. My brother and sister-in-law stopped, and it was all on me. As I neared the finish line, my coach Jenn, and my teammates ran along side of me. I was in a full on sprint to the finish. I remember Jenn telling me to keep pushing, keep pushing. I ran the fastest I had ever run. Finally, it was there. I had crossed the finish line. I had finished my first race ever, a 10K. I gave my coach Jenn a huge hug.

Today, I weight roughly 200 lbs, give or take, depending on the weather. I can’t say enough for Jenn and Stephanie. Without them, I would not have kept showing up week after week. Also, I big shot out to James Dodds. Every week, I go to the Cedar Park Rogue to do my long runs, and James has always been there to provide guidance and support. Now, I am training with the Jenn and Tonics, and I’m running the Rogue 10K in January 2013. I am proud to say, I am a runner.

Check out a video record of Daniel’s journey!

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Fuel for Thought

Imageby John Schrup

The other day, or 2001, I was at Auditorium Shores, before it became the dog park, when there was grass, doing some strides after a run.   Afterward, I sat in the grass and stretched and people watched, which is the best way to pass your time, any time.  Nearby there was a group of beginner runners sitting in a semi-circle around their coach, listening to him talk about nutrition.  (You know where this is going already, don’t you?)  I remember he was a total asshole triathlete.  Nothing against triathletes at all.  Some of my best friends are triathletes.  My respect for them all is complete, except for this dude.  Total asshole.  If you ever meet a triathlete and he’s the most self-absorbed guy you’ve ever met, it’s probably this guy.  One time, I saw him checking out his reflection—checking out his calves—in a window, and there were, like, a ton of people around.   Anyway, he was giving a nutrition talk.

And he was telling them to eat this many grams of protein and carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight, in this very specific ratio, after they did their workout so that they could replenish all their glycogen stores and shit.  It wasn’t that his information was wrong, because it wasn’t.  He was right on, for the most part.  It wasn’t that he was referencing kilograms, which is, um, Canadian I think, because there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that either.  (But I’d have bet that next to none of those people could convert kilograms to pounds, which is the American way to do things.)  And it wasn’t that he was recommending a particular product made by a company that happened to sponsor him, because being sponsored is totally awesome and mostly I’m just jealous that I’ve only been fast enough to be offered a partial sponsorship (product only) by this company that makes combs.  You know, for your hair. 

Anyway, this guy was talking about replenishing your stores and why protein is important to, you know, your health and stuff.  And as he was talking he was beginning to sound kinda like the teacher in the old Peanuts tv shows, except with more flexing, and I looked around at his runners, his pupils, sitting there so intently, and realized that he was basically teaching a graduate level class to incoming freshmen.  Again, not that they didn’t have the capacity to understand all that.  That’s not what I’m saying.  It was that they were all real, true beginners.  It might even have been a Running 101 class for all I know.  Hell.  I really, really felt for these wide eyed, smiling people because they were all a bit overweight (and some were really overweight) and he was feeding them all this information that had absolutely nothing to do with them.  Nothing.  To.  Do.  With.  Them.  They were there to learn something new, to challenge themselves, to change their lives and he had given them absolutely zero information that would benefit them.   If they had really jumped on the stuff he’d just unloaded on them, really put it into practice, it would have done nothing for them, other than maybe make them gain some more weight.

What he should have been saying was, ok, here’s the deal:  I think it is the best thing in the world that you want to take up exercise as way to change your life.  I appreciate the effort you’ve made to make yourself physically healthier so you can be a better person, so you can be of greater benefit to society.  This is why I do this job.  I want to help you so you can help others, so they can spread the gospel of good health.  For the next 30 days, I want you to eat food.  Yes, food.  Not food products.  For the next 30 days I want you to eat stuff that either grew up out of the ground or that you or someone in reasonable geographic proximity hunted or fished.  You know, your veggies, your fruit, your meats.  Nothing else.  Nothing in a box, nothing that was processed in any way.  So that means no pasta, no bread, no cheese (ok, maybe a little cheese, something good, something a little smelly), no CLIF bars.  Do it.  I promise you, promise you, if you do that for 30 days, you will feel tons better and you’ll lose weight.  You will feel so much better, you don’t even KNOW.  Yes, you can eat potatoes.  No, you cannot eat tortillas.  No.  Not even the whole grain ones.    30 days.  You can do it.  It will change your life.  First, we have to start with the fundamentals, you know, baby steps.  30 days.

But, nooooooo, he was feeding them all this bullshit science-y sounding crap that would be useful to, you know, Lance Armstrong.  This is the thing about Runner’s World and just about every other mainstream health/lifestyle article or publication.  (What’s that they say about people who use the word lifestyle?  They have neither life nor style?)  They try to impress us with all this information, all this data, all this lab coat talk, but they aren’t even speaking to the appropriate audience.   

We are all guilty of buying into it.  We all do it at some point.  Most of the information we get from our desired “bible-of-(insert your favorite activity here)” is delivered to us from vendors of products.  And there is nothing wrong with the vending of products.  Nothing at all.  Some of my best friends vend products.  But they’re trying to sell us something.  They want us to buy their products.  So it behooves them to create marketing that will make us all googly eyed and begin reaching for our debit cards.   And so most of that information, that, ahem, “science” is bullshit.  At least in our context.  In these modern times, with so much information available to us so easily, we can become experts, we can become elite level (or act just like one) with the click of a button.  

I promise, I have no idea what that was all about.  I just had to get that off my chest. This is kinda like the crappy band that doesn’t know how to finish a song, so they just sort of…stop.