Here is some Monday inspiration from Runner’s World…and check it out! He’s a Utah local!
My 5-Year Marathon
It was the desk job that finally did me in. Forty hours a week, chained to a keyboard pushed me over 200 pounds. The number was burned into my brain, more so because I already knew that I’d crossed a line with my health that—if you’d asked me five years back—I would have never believed I would cross.
It had been a long time since I was on a scale, and if I hadn’t shown up to the doctor’s office for a strep test, I probably wouldn’t have stepped on one. As I stood there, looking at those big red numbers (which they hook up to a giant digital readout on the wall just for dramatic effect), a lump formed in my throat. I’m 5’-10”, and that number was never supposed to be in my future. I am a runner.
Or, at least I was a runner five years ago. From high school into my mid-20s, I was on the track team, in running clubs and weighing in at a skinny 155 pounds when I was 24 and on top of my game. Then I hurt my ankle (nothing serious) and things slipped away from me. Things got busy with work and school, I got married, and my daily run never made its reappearance even after my therapist gave my foot the green light. I didn’t run for five years.
The story’s probably familiar to a lot of people: My youthful metabolism didn’t hold up to my old diet once I wasn’t running and I crept toward my 28th birthday. The pounds packed on, and I could see the difference in the mirror. I could feel it in my back at work, in shooting pains down pinched nerves in my leg as I sat perched in front of my computer. And I didn’t do anything about it—until I saw that red “200” on the wall.
I swallowed the anger at myself; it doesn’t help anything. But I was going to do penance. The next day I went out and bought new shoes. I ran two miles, wheezing like a smoker and looking like someone had drenched me with a hose. I was more than a little ashamed of myself. I even waited 15 minutes for my wife to go to the store so she wouldn’t see me when I came in.
It was December, and it took me two weeks to get into a rhythm. I got two runs in that first week and four the next. I kept that up through January, and I was running 6 days a week come Valentine’s. All this culminated in me signing up for a half marathon near where I work in Lehi, Utah. The course is surrounded by sprawling gardens and a golf course that runs up against the Jordan River. Lots of hills and trails— a beautiful place to run.
The race didn’t start until 7 a.m., but I was there at 5:30 in the morning to pick up my packet. It wasn’t that cold, but I found myself shivering a little bit. I had to run in place to stop the nerves. Even before, in high school and college, I had never run a half or full marathon. And even though I was pushing past 10 miles on my weekend runs, I was a bit nervous that I couldn’t do it.
Like I said, the gardens where I work are a beautiful place to run. People hold weddings and corporate events and golf tournaments there. After the first mile, my hands stopped shaking, I dropped into my pace, and I crossed the finish line before I knew it. I didn’t even look at my time; I didn’t care. I was a runner again.
That was all it took. In September of last year, I signed up for the Top of Utah Marathon in Logan, Utah, and I came in just under the 4-hour mark ready to die. It was awesome. When I ran down the canyon into downtown Logan, the contrast of mind-blowing pain and gorgeous fall scenery was pretty surreal. Even so, it didn’t compare to the half I did in Lehi- that was the turning point for me.
Since then, I’ve been running about 30 miles a week on my regular schedule. I’m back down to 160 pounds and my back problems are erased from existence (though, I did mess up my shoulder snowboarding this season). This year, I’m slated to several more races, including the half-marathon at work and the Dirty Dash in Soldier Hollow. I honestly don’t think I could go more than six months without a race and maintain my sanity. That’s how it feels for a runner. I can’t believe I ever forgot the feeling.
Bronson Tyler is a marketing professional who works withThanksgivingPoint.org, a non-profit educational and cultural foundation in Lehi, UT. He started running again in 2012. After he runs in Thanksgiving Point’s half-marathon this spring, he’s got triathlon training to start.