It was John who had the idea to put together a team for SoCal, because he lives in San Diego, and he was totally up for having house guests. So John and I collaborated to put the team together, and we've all been getting to know each other. The only person from the team that I knew "in person" was John. I've since met a few others, but the whole team is made up of strangers, which led to our team name: Strangers to Sole Mates. Cute, right? ;)
Over the course of the next several weeks, I'd love to share the stories of my teammates. I previously introduced Caitlin, who is Runner #1; you know me, and I'm Runner #2. John is Runner #3, and I introduced him for the Ragnar Florida Keys. Today, I'd like to introduce Thomas, who is Runner #6...
I first "met" Thomas when he completed my Virtual 5K last year, and he posted his picture and results on my Facebook page. I don't have many male readers, so he stuck out (and I have to admit, he's pretty darn cute!). I noticed that he was a very regular commenter on my blog, which led me to check out his blog. Thomas shares my love of numbers and data, so I liked reading about his runs and his race reports. I later learned that he'd started running to lose weight! I never would have guessed that he used to be 50 pounds heavier.
Something else that really struck me about Thomas is that he is SO very kind and genuine. When I read (on Motivational Monday) that he was part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, I thought it was so great that he would spend his time as a "Big Brother" to a boy named Brandon. As I've gotten to know Thomas, I've learned that he has a very fun side to him, and a great sense of humor. I'm so glad I asked him to join our team!
|Some of Thomas' quality time with Brandon is spent running 5K's|
Without further ado, I present Thomas...
Hi there, I'm Thomas. I'm excited to be sharing this awesome experience with such amazing, inspirational people. Honestly, I feel like they are WAY more inspirational than me (I only had to lose 50 lbs) but the fact I am now a runner is a miracle in itself!
|On the left is Thomas after walking a 5K in 2010--he said his legs were killing|
him after that! On the right is Thomas after *winning* a half-marathon in 2013!
I HATED running my entire life. Even before losing the weight for good, when I'd try to lose weight, I would often run, since I never joined a gym or anything. I always felt great after, but the running part abso-frickin-lutely sucked. I dreaded it. So I never lasted more than a few weeks and any weight I lost would come right back.
When I went to lose the 50 pounds for good, I lost about two pounds a week doing two things... watching what I ate and exercising. Since I 'hated' running (and treadmills... still hate those) I decided the elliptical was the machine for me. And it was! I loved 'running' on there and stayed motivated. The weight was slowly falling off. The problem was that machine was in the workout room at my apartment complex and there was only one. And after getting lucky for a few months finding it free most the time, all of a sudden every time I wanted to work out, it was occupied.
So instead of waiting, I would take off on the streets, annoyed. I could just run for 35 minutes and call it good. That way I didn't have to wait around. Now, I still didn't like running, but I was in decent enough shape from the elliptical that it didn't suck quite as bad. It was very different than the elliptical, and I was going slow (compared to my current pace) at 11-12 minutes/mile, but I would bust out a 5k in place of 30 minutes on the elliptical.
Eventually, those runs became more and more frequent. I would seriously be happy when I saw the elliptical occupied. I still didn't want to admit I liked running, but those 3-mile loops outside in the fresh air were suddenly a lot more appealing than that stuffy room.
Once I did my first 5k race, I was hooked. I LOVED racing, and still do. Without races, I'm not sure I would be running. Once I did one 5k, I needed to do another, then another, then a 10k. Eventually I did a half marathon and set a goal of completing a marathon. In October, I completed my first marathon, the Portland Marathon, in 3:36:42!
To sum things up: even now, runs aren't always great. Rarely am I grinning my head off during a run. Sometimes they suck. However, I love running. I love running for the friends it has given me, the way it allows me to maintain my weight loss, and how I am able to set and accomplish really ambitious goals like completing a marathon. And I love that is has allowed me to have the opportunity to share this Ragnar journey with 11 of my new friends!
You can check out Thomas' Blog to read about his running shenanigans (and be amazed at how speedy he is!)