Up and running…


I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now.

This is a blog about my running, fitness, exercise, and all the related sorts of things that go along with it. I’m writing this primarily for two reasons:

1. For my family and friends to follow along as I participate in races and pursue my fitness goals.

2. To talk about all the things on my mind relative to my fitness and exercise.

For the uninitiated: I’m Josh. I used to be a small-time journalist in the Detroit area. I now have a cubicle job doing back-office type financial work in Milwaukee. It pays the bills better than journalism did and it’s nowhere near as stressful. But I do miss writing. A lot. And since I’ve picked up running and exercising as a hobby—a hobby I’m pretty passionate about—I’ve decided to combine it with my desire to write by way of this blog.

I started making a concerted effort to get in shape in October 2011. Prior to that, my efforts to stay fit were sporadic.

I’ve never been overweight and I’ve never really appeared to be in bad shape. My habits weren’t always the healthiest, though. At the same time, they weren’t terrible. In the years following my college graduation in 2002, I’d occasionally go out and run for fun. For a stretch in 2008, I worked out with a bunch of soccer moms doing circuit training through my town’s community education center. But the start of what prompted my serious motivation came in July 2011, when a bout with mono knocked me out of work for a month.

I lost 9 lbs while off work that month, which for my height and build was a lot. Around the end of September, I noticed that not only had a I gained back the weight I lost while sick, but I also gained an additional 7 lbs. Considering I wasn’t exercising at the time, I knew it was from poor eating and a lack of activity. I knew I needed to get active again.

A month before I was sick, I’d canceled a YMCA membership I had because a partnership discount my employer provided was ending. I rarely made use of the Y, and felt guilty about it while I had it. But I felt worse for not having joined another gym since then.

Coincidentally, when I noticed that extra weight following my return to health in the fall of 2011, I received a mailer from my local Snap Fitness offering a pretty appealing special to join. Within a week of receiving it, I joined.

I was pretty good about making myself go work out. But a month later when I made the decision to start working out with the trainer at the gym, it became less about “making myself go work out” and more about making myself better.

My goals have been primarily running-centered. And I’m still making progress toward my initial (and probably ridiculous) goal of being able to run a 5-minute mile. My training has included a lot of things other than simply running.

To challenge myself further, I signed up for my first 5K in April 2012, and added that extra bit of distance to my running program. I was always among the fastest kids in my neighborhood growing up, but aside from impromptu sprint-offs back then, I’d never run in any sort of race before.

By the end of the year, I’d run in five total 5Ks. I thought I ran my first one fast—or, at least, fast for me—but by the end of the year, my best was 2 minutes 4 seconds faster than that initial race.

It’s hard to believe that before I got serious I would only occasionally run “for fun.” I’ve discovered that for me, the real fun is in competing, against not only others but also against myself, and in trying to improve. So far this year, I’ve run in a 7K as well as a 47-story stair climb the week after that. I have additional races of varying lengths in my sights moving forward, as well as other goals I’m trying to achieve.

I have a wonderful girlfriend who’s a workout beast pursuing fitness goals of her own and has helped me consider additional things to help me get even better.

Here’s hoping I continue to stay motivated to keep working hard, stay healthy, & keep improving! And if you’re reading, here’s hoping you can take something from this of your own to try to be healthy.


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