That’s me on April 27th, 2014. I’m finishing what is one of my favourite races, the TC10k, and absolutely smashing my previous 10k Personal Best (PB). But that’s not the best place to start this story. That will come later. Instead, let’s go back to August 2012.
That’s me, at the age of 25, on vacation in New York. At this point, I was just under 200lbs, having only recently started my weight-loss journey. I don’t look too bad, but you can definitely see the difference in the two photos. So what caused me to start this journey? While using the bathroom at my friend’s place one night, I decided to step on the scale. I had known already I was gaining a bit of weight since my more athletic days as a diver, but when I read 200lbs I realized just how much I gained. From that point, I pledged to get back to a healthy weight. To be considered a healthy weight, I would need to lose about 25lbs.
While diet (calories in vs. calories burned) was my main method of losing weight, I decided to start running in order to aid the calories burned portion. My first run was on August 10th, 2012, in Montreal (where I was living and going to school at the time). It consisted of running from my place, to Parc Lafontaine, and back.
I remember it very well. I got up at 6am, mostly because I was still self-conscious about running outside and like many new runners I thought I would be judged. At first my plan was to do the Couch-to-5k plan, but then decided to see just how far I could go. Even in the early morning it was already starting to get warm. I donned a cotton shirt and socks, some long shorts, and some very very old tennis shoes.
The sun was just rising and the city was still waking up. I took it slow for the one kilometre to the park and was already getting a little tired. From there, it was another kilometre around the lake (as seen in the above picture). This kilometre did not go as well as my first: I had to stop a couple times to catch my breath and drink from a water fountain. While this felt a little humiliating, being so out of shape, the beautiful park and my motivation kept me going. The final kilometre back home was without event and I arrived at my door tired, sweating, and proud of completing my first run.
Converting the above picture for the metric-users, I ran for just over 3.2k, and at a pace 6:13/km. Slow, but I ran. I continued to get up at 6:00am on run days, because I was still self-conscious for a while, but I did get up. The weight began to drop off and I began to run for longer at a faster pace. My next run was 5k (with a few stops still) and soon I was up to 7k. Somewhere in there the purpose of running began to change. It was no longer solely about losing weight, but more because I actually enjoyed it. In fact, I loved it. I was addicted.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, this was the beginning of my journey to become stronger, faster, and more competitive – the beginning of the road to sub-elite.