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Can I run?

Who Am I?

Hi! My name is Dave and I’m a 32-year-old runner, pilot, carpenter, restaurateur, father, husband (not necessarily in that order). If that sounds like a lot, that’s actually the short version. The simple explanation for this is that I am Bipolar (that’s not a joke, I actually am). It’s something I’m not embarrassed about and actually like to talk about. While I now consider myself a runner, I started this journey with the simple question, Can I Run?

Can I Run?

For many years, I dreamed of running a marathon. Just one problem, I couldn’t run. As far as I knew, there was nothing wrong with me, but whenever I tried to run, I’d find myself in pain. For years, I pushed off my dreams and believed that running was an impossibility for me. Fast forward a couple years and I have 4 full marathons and 4 half-marathons under my belt and I think it’s safe to say I can run, albeit not that fast.

 

Can You Run?

I’m not going to say that everyone can run, but as long as you’re mobile and somewhat healthy, you can probably do it. The first question to ask yourself is “do I want to run?”. If you don’t really want it and don’t know why you’re doing it, you’ll probably get burned out rather quickly.

Benefits of Running

  • Weight loss: Not all runners are thin, but running can be a great way to lose weight, if done properly.
  • Heart Health: One of the biggest issues in the world right now is heart health. The number of deaths per year as a result of heart disease is staggering (over 2.5 million, making it the number 1 cause of death in the US). Running doesn’t guarantee you a healthy heart, but there’s overwhelming evidence that runners have healthier hearts than non-runners (more details in a future post).
  • Mental Health: Another major issue in the news lately is mental illness. Personally I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a couple of years ago and my dr. recommended exercise (in addition to medication) as treatment. They say exercise is the least prescribed anti-depressant in the world. Oh, and don’t forget about the runners high :-).
  • Social engagement: The running community is extremely welcoming and we all like to talk about running to other people who run. There are tons of running groups to choose from in almost any part of the world. This is a topic I intend to delve into in the future. Aside from making friends, running with others is a great way to stay motivated.

How I did it

The first change I made was to visit a running store and get running shoes that were right for me. They analyzed my stride and explained why I was feeling so much pain. In short, I was over pronating (more on that in another post) and needed corrective shoes. The next and most important change was to follow an actual running plan, that helped me build up my strength and endurance.

The Journey

It wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies from then on. Building up endurance can be physically and emotionally difficult. Getting out the door and taking that first step is often the biggest obstacle, but even when you do run, it’s not always easy to stick to the plan and complete a run. I can’t even count how many times I changed a planned long run, into a short run, mid-run. When you start out with a goal (e.g. running a 5k, or some other race), the desire to reach your goal can keep you motivated, even if you miss a few runs.

 

When Does it End?

When training for a specific event, or with a specific goal, you know what you’re working towards. Once you accomplish that goal, or finish that event, you have to ask, what now? Is this the end? Most people I know grow to love running and want to continue to set new goals. At the same time, many runners reach a point where they stop seeing the results that they saw when they first started. This is my current state. I’m not losing weight, or getting faster at this point, so it’s tempting to say “I’m done”. Deep down I know that I love running and I want to be able to run for years to come, but sometimes it’s quite a struggle. I’m exploring a bunch of options to move forward with, and I’m hoping to share my experiences and lessons with you.

My Goals

I started this website to encourage myself to keep running, trying new things and learning. I hope that I can help other would be runners and maybe some existing runners learn from my mistakes, examples and reviews. I personally find a lot of the running sites out there to be somewhat intimidating. The runners are often extremely accomplished and hard to relate to for someone just starting out, or nowhere near their goals. I hope that you can relate to my journey and be a part of it. I’d love to hear from all of you, feel free to comment below or email me at runningpilot@irunforattention.com

RunningPilot

2 Comments

  1. Great post. Everyone has to start somewhere – it’s great your keeping yourself motivated to run. If you ever need advice or discussion feel free to contact.

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