My path to running has been long and it started with an absolute hatred for running. I don’t mean that I would do it because it was something ‘I had to do’ but rather hated it. Nothing about it seemed appealing. Why are we running? What’s the point? As those questions bounced around in my head, I decided to start my journey to fitness. I ignored running for the time.
I started lifting weights and the cardio component consisted of shorter rests between sets and some calisthenics. Those workouts started to remind me of American Ninja Warrior and I was sold.
Let’s Do A Spartan Race
A friend of mine saw me doing these workouts and thought it would be a good idea to do a Spartan Race. The idea of dealing with obstacles was enticing, but there again was the sport of running.
During the race, I felt absolutely miserable. It was during the event that I found my first piece of mental strength. Throughout the race I wondered if I was going to finish. I was short of breath and everything seemed harder. This was when my friend gave me the advice of jogging to the next obstacle. Doing that gave me enjoyment because I wasn’t going so hard and thinking I’d never make it. Thanks to that advice, running and the event itself became more bearable.
You may be asking yourself: Joshua, why were you so out of breath? Didn’t you train and wasn’t the strength training enough to help you at the Spartan event? The truth is I didn’t train for the run portion at all. I figured I was in good shape from lifting and being a former bodybuilder.
Humbled But Inspired
I was absolutely humbled in those moments of the race. I learned that all the muscle I had built made running much more difficult. That race has changed my journey into running, which has been happening since 2016. Learning that lesson has changed my mind with regards to training. I know how to train for a race, which means preparing and tapering properly. I don’t want to have that feeling ever again.
That lesson allowed me to race OCR (obstacle course racing) for the first year of my journey but running was starting to feel more natural. I had gone from hating the sport of running to embracing it.
Running began to feel more normal and I decided to try my first stand alone 5k at a Turkey Trot. That run was followed by a Santa Run and the flame started to burn brighter. I set a goal of running a 5k in under 30 minutes. (Did you reach this goal? If so, when?)
A Move That Fostered My Path To Running
In 2018, I moved from Ohio to Florida and my new group of friends encouraged me to race in the ‘Pro’ waves of OCR. I finished 6th pace in my age group but I know I could do so much more. This led me to running more and searching for races and experiences.
I trained more and got stronger at running. Eventually I was able to participate in a half-marathon. Then one day, I had a bright idea. I thought I should race a marathon, but instead of training for a marathon I figured I could do it on my half-marathon fitness. I raced the Disney marathon on that type of fitness and with an injured ankle.
Being hard-headed, I knew that if I didn’t do it then I wouldn’t do it nor would I want to think about it. I finished the marathon in just under the time cut-off which was disappointing but that racing bug hit.
I Was Introduced To Triathlon
Over the next year, I raced in 60 events between stand-alone running events and OCR events. All of this racing led to my next bright idea: Racing a triathlon. This time I was going to train for an event unlike the previous bright ideas.
Despite training for the event, I underestimated the challenge that was ahead of me. I signed up for a half-ironman and nothing will prepare you for that unless you train for it. I survived the event but it wasn’t pretty and I got it done and hit all the time cut-offs.
Despite having raced a marathon and a half-ironman my journey is far from over. Ultras are an option, but for right now I’ve set my mind to races that are 20 miles and under. This means that I am also looking to cut-back on the number of races I participate in and increase the quality of my performances.
What The Future Holds
In the immediate future, I have been asked to participate on the MudRunFinder team as a pro. They help inspire and push me, even when I have my rough days. It was an honor to be asked to run for them.
Beyond that, I’ll be working on my 5k and 10k times. I broke 30 minutes in the 5k in 2017 and today can run a 5k in under 19 minutes. My 10k PR is 39:21. Focusing on speed will help me reach my goals of breaking 18 minutes and 39 minutes, respectively.
Lessons From My Path To Running
As you can see, I have come a long way and have learned a few lessons on this journey. If you’re getting started I recommend you don’t overtrain to injury and never forget how important it is to take those rest days.
Beyond that, don’t be afraid to talk to strangers at races as you will be surprised at the friends you make. You’ll turn to those same people for help and they[ll also inspire you to be better.
Challenge yourself and your friends and enjoy the journey to your starting line.
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