Something new today – A guest blogger’s first 5K

Posted: December 17, 2009 in Motivation, Training

Running A guest blog entry by Rob Ackley

I’d never given running much thought to be honest.  I had friends who ran and seemed to enjoy it.  I’d “run” to the grocery store or the gas station. I’d been on numerous beer runs in my life.  I’d even watched some of the best runners in the world run around the track at the University of Oregon while in college – a track made famous by Steve Prefontaine, a man who is almost worshipped in some circles I’ve heard.  But the thought of actually getting up and running myself never crossed my mind.  Running was something done either by people who have nothing better to do at 5 am or by Forrest Gump – it simply wasn’t for me.

Most of my "runs" ended here

For the sake of full disclosure, it should be said that I am not built like a runner.  I am 6’1” and between 250 and 260 lbs.  This means that if I go back to the buffet after dinner, and Joe goes light on the salad during dinner, two of Joe equals one of me.  I also like chicken wings.  And microbrew beer.  And a nice glass of pinot noir with prime rib and a loaded baked potato.  Clif Bars and energy goo don’t really appeal to me.  I don’t have any issues with people who do enjoy those things, but they don’t jump off the shelf at me when I go to a running store.  On second thought, they may not jump off the shelf because I’ve never actually been to a running store.

Size and build wise I was best suited for the all American game of football.  The unfortunate thing for me was that I didn’t have the talent to play football.  I played in high school as an offensive lineman and while I could bluff and say we won state, the truth is we stunk.  And I was a third string lineman.  A backup to the backup lineman on an awful team – athletic glory was not in the cards for me.

All of this, combined with about 500 other excuses, kept me from running.  Really it kept me from pursuing almost any athletic pursuit.  I was happy sleeping in, tail gating in the parking lot before the game, and just generally thinking about anything other than exercise.  Yet there I was the weekend before Thanksgiving with a number on my chest lined up for a 5k run.  How did I end up at the starting line of an actual timed race?

My nemesis

I wish I could tell you that I had a life changing event that put me on the road to running, but that simply isn’t the case.  My inspiration came in the form of a treadmill taking up space in my bedroom.  My wife and I purchased the treadmill with the best of intentions, but as is the case with many pieces of exercise equipment it turned into an overpriced coat rack.  So as I tripped over the thing for the umpteenth time, I got upset and decided to use it.  It wasn’t a grand revelation or some sort of bolt from the blue – I simply got mad at a bad investment and decided to do something about it.

Once I started using the treadmill I discovered that I actually kind of liked running.  I also discovered what many other runners already knew – running on a treadmill is a tediously boring experience.  I quickly moved outdoors and let my wife use the treadmill, which was another benefit of getting mad at the thing in the first place.  Some practice jogs and an online beginning runner program later (thanks, I found myself at the start of a 5k with three simple goals:

  1. Don’t stop moving
  2. Finish in under 40 minutes
  3. Don’t pass out along the way.

3.1 miles later, I hadn’t stopped moving, I finished in 38:36 and I didn’t black out.  I was beat by a pair of nine-year old girls, but not getting beat by them wasn’t on my goal list so I was okay with that.

So does this mean I’m now in training for a marathon and am working to shave seconds off each mile? No.  It does mean, however, that I am getting out there at least a few times each week and doing some runs.  I’ve had some days that I skipped or couldn’t do what I wanted to, but I didn’t give up like I would have in the past.  I continue to find people who run like Joe to be amazing, and Dom’s story is truly inspirational.  My situation is simpler but it illustrates that if I can get off the couch anyone can.  I’m looking forward to running another 5k in early 2010 and shaving some time off the clock – maybe this is the year the nine-year olds go down.

Rob Ackley works with Joe and lives in Ft. Worth Texas.  In addition to ignoring running for most of his life, Rob is happily married with two sons.

Note from Joe – Rob is a long-time friend and co-worker who I have known for over a decade.  I have shared a lot of good times, not so good times, laughs, smiles and beers with Rob.  I can’t say however that I have ever been more proud of my good friend than I was getting the call that he finished his first 5K.  Way to go Rob, you my friend, are the man.

  1. Josh Robertson says:

    Rob, your story was a great way to start off the day. Keep on running!

  2. Jessica Neno says:

    Rob: You are a great writer and really enjoyed reading your story. I think you are one of the funniest people I know. Congrats on the 5K!!

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