At the end of 2007 I took a promotion that required extensive travel. Prior to this position I had been doing moderate cardio and weight training three times per week. Once I started traveling I stopped most of my exercise routine and ate out frequently. Within a few years I gained considerable weight and was over 225 lbs. Since I was always the skinny kid in school and never really part of the athletic crowd I did not pay attention. I was “too busy.”
Sometime in early 2011 I took an online health questionnaire and discovered that not only was I overweight—I was obese. This was hard for me to accept since I was always the skinny kid in school. I decided I really had to do something about it. NO MORE EXCUSES.
I started to make sure that I only stayed at hotels which offered fitness rooms. I made it a habit to run for 35 minutes on the treadmill while I was out traveling, but when I got home I still allowed myself the excuse that I didn’t have a treadmill and they were too expensive. It didn’t even cross my mind to run outside without a treadmill.
At work I always met and exceeded aggressive goals so I was well aware of the need to set and track your goals. I knew I was making some progress toward weight loss, but this became a personal goal that was a primary focus. I’m also in telecommunications and was on the forefront of the smart phone explosion. I loved trying out new apps on my phone. I stumbled across several apps that allowed to track my various activities—mostly after the fact—and this was sufficient for a short time. However after I installed Runkeeper in December of 2011, it was revolutionary.
Runkeeper turned me into a completely different person.
Initially I was very focused on losing weight and that was my sole reason for running. Once I started using Runkeeper something else began to take over—without me even noticing what was going on. As it tracked my activities each day, those very subtle features—such as the voice at the end of the run telling me “activity complete”—gave me a craving to run. The daily competition against my previous days’ time or distance took over and I soon forgot that I was trying to lose weight because I fell in love with running. In early spring of 2012, people started asking me what I was doing because I had lost weight. My own daughter who was away at college saw me and said, “Dad you are so skinny.” Without really even noticing it I had lost over 58 pounds but even more importantly, I had become a runner and adopted a completely different lifestyle. The social aspect of Runkeeper easily connected me with runners with great experience and advice. I even entered my first race—a 10k in May of 2012. And I didn’t stop there. I also ran my 1st half marathon in September of 2012. I set my 2012 running goal for the year at 1200 total miles and surpassed that in August.
I had become a runner and adopted a completely different lifestyle
I was still very much of a novice runner last year and one dark morning in October I chose to run an unfamiliar route and ended up running into an open storm drain. The result was a broken fibula and I was sidelined for 6 weeks in an air cast. Thankfully there was no surgery and the fracture was simple and not compound. Needless to say it was one of the most difficult six weeks ever having to adjust from running six days per week to sitting on the couch. However after I received the doctor’s OK I joined a gym and started elliptical training for rehab and then after a month of that I received the doctor’s OK to run again as comfortable. Runkeeper was there to track my steady progress to recovery and the new year came and offered new goals. I had to start over, but just like with running for weight loss, the daily tracking of my activities in Runkeeper was a crucial motivating factor for recovery activity. I did not have a training schedule but I set two running goals for 2013: run a total of 1500 miles and run my first marathon. Mentally that was a huge goal because, at the time I set that goal, I still had considerable ankle swelling.
Slowly I came back, tracked more and more miles, and watched them increase by at least 10% per week. I was still “recovering” in the early months of 2013 so I really wanted to make sure I was up to running a marathon before it came time to sign up in May. I worked hard and soon it was warm and I was back outside running. Before I know it I was running 15 to 20 miles for my long runs. I had recovered!
There are especially two things the help me keep on in Runkeeper. One would be the goals and the other is the social connection to other runners. My two goals for 2013 were on track, I exceeded my total mileage goal of 1500 by 250 miles. Then I was less than 24 hours from completing my goal of running a marathon when St. Jude’s was canceled due to an ice storm. Enter the social aspect of Runkeeper which helped to maintain my focus. With a few words of encouragement from several running friends I evaluated my options picked another race and will start a new 18 week program in February. Of course I’m still running in the meantime but I also have a chance to check out the tracking for some other activities like strength training. Perhaps a future Runkeeper update will allow runners to control the weather. We can always wish and in the meantime run!