I hate running. I used to be a fanatic mountain biker laughing at the runners, but we are talking 15 year ago here.
When I started university sporting happened less and less. A great benchmark for that is the “4 miles of Groningen“. This is the running event in Groningen, the Netherlands and it’s great fun whether you are a runner or not. The first time I ran it (I think in 2002), I ran something like a 33,40. Considering I had 4 hours sleep, and was sweating out the alcohol from the late night before it wasn’t a bad time. The years after that got worse with my worst time being a 37:19 in 2007.
15 years ago I was that 1,83 skinny guy weighing about 65 Kg. In 2010 I got to 77 Kg and a doctor saying I was getting chubby. I know that 77Kg for a 1.83M guy of 30 isn’t bad at all, but the 17 year old mountain biker, who did 45 road Km on an average weekday, and 40 off road pro mountain bike Km’s just for fun in the weekends told me the doctor was right. I had crossed a border a long time ago.
I started doing micro changes. I stopped skipping breakfast and started making smoothies in the morning. Me and the wife (and the 3 kids) started going to the market on Saturday to get fresh stuff. We started cooking more and ordering in less. I started taking the bike to work and taking the stairs instead of the elevator once I got there. I joined our local rugby team (Yes wing, second row positions where taken 😉 and trained and played matches for a season. I also started mountain biking again, power kiting was back on the menu and I started wake boarding I joined my younger “I live outdoor sports brother for a rockclimbing weekend in Spain and so on and so on. I did’t get fanatic about any of these sports, but I did have a lot of fun with all of them.
In march of 2013 I weighed 69 Kg and was in the best shape since I graduated. My wife weighs 14 Kg less then before she got pregnant with our first son 5 years ago. Then the 4 miles of Groningen where announced again, as they are each year and my my colleagues signed up our company for the company run. They asked me and my wife if we would join a team and we did. I stated I would run it under 30 minutes so that when up on the whiteboard. My wife in the meantime got fanatic about running and bootcamping, so when she bought new running shoes when we visited New York in the end of April I decided to buy the new Adidas Boost shoes as well. They are awesome by the way, that’s not just me, that’s runnersworld talking here too. I bought the ‘not so novice way to expensive’ shoes to push myself to running and did it a few times and started record some of my routes using My Tracks for Android.
By the time we went to Spain to live there for 5 weeks for a work/vacation combination running had halted for me but al least I packed my running shoes. My wife started each day with a run in the mountains, and after day 3 I decided I had to join here. The first day I did her “the church and back route”. Just 2,8 Km, but with a ’28c, 7,5 degree elevation, walking in the mountains’ kicker. The first 1,06 Km is downhill, so no worries there. The second part is back up. I declared my wife mentally ill the first time I did that 1,06 Km uphill. The second time it got better and the third time I did a 23,40. I started searching some other trails and then my wife told me she ran to the train tracks. I decided to do the same and the 4,81 Km was further away then I thought and it took me 31,43 minutes. I decided to do “the church” again this time pulling in a 18,05. I wasn’t just getting better I was leaping forward.
A few days later, with the temperature dropping to very dutch 22c and before breakfast I did a happy 27,35 on the 4,81 Km. Man this felt good. I decided it was time for an upgrade so I downloaded runkeeper and the closest thing to a 4 miles is the 10K running schedule. It asked me to run a 4 miles slowly today and… I got lost so I did almost 8K in 57 minutes with an average elevation of roughly 5 degrees . I’m sure I could do a 10K under the hour on the average Dutch roads (which are as flat as they can be).
Starting the day with a run is great. If you were moody when you got up you will not be afterwards. I am a very energetic guy by nature but I have more energy then I have had in a long time.
So why am I writing this? I hear a lot of people complaining about their weight so here are my lessons learned:
5 lessons learned
- First of there is no good average weight. The best weight is the one you are comfortable with yourself.
- Second, and this is the most important one, make micro changes. They are very easy to implement and much more easy to stick by. Once you have got one done, try the next. For me it was a smoothy at breakfast, 3 instead of 4 slices of bread for lunch, and one plate of food in the evening instead of the all you can eat version. Taking the stairs and the bicycle where other simple things. Combined it got me to where I am now.
- Third stop “having” to be in shape in x of y time period. It took me and my wife 3 years to get here, and that is fine. We just wanted to live healthier. The weight is a bonus.
- Number four, why do one sport only. I need wind for power kiting, I need a mountain bike if I want to go mountain biking. I need an open lane for wakeboarding and a team to play rubgy. One of will be frequently available if I want to do any of them
- And finally, I still hate running. I have to push myself out of the door each time I start. The feeling afterwards is always great. The reason I do step out of the door is that I made a promise, not only to myself but to a team, and it is up there every day on the whiteboard when I get to work. It’s my stick behind the door.