Saturday, February 1, 2014

Thomas' story

I've been wanting to introduce my Ragnar SoCal team for a while, but time just seems to be going WAY too fast... before I know it, it'll be April, and we'll be running from Huntington Beach to San Diego! This team came together much the same way as my Ragnar Florida Keys team--I looked through old emails from readers, or thought of people who have shared their stories with me in some way because of my blog (even some Motivational Monday stories). I sent out some invitations, and the team came together very fast!

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!)


  1. So glad to have you as part of our team, Thomas. I can't wait for April and our amazing SoCal experience!

  2. What I've learned from this post is that I need to stop lurking and be a more active commenter! Been following your blog ever since the Today Show story about a year ago. I've gone from barely being able to walk around my building at work to running. Running. RUN-NING. It still sounds so weird. 94.6 lbs down since 1/1/13. Another 27 to go. Running my first 10K in April and my first half-marathon in May. Put me on your list for a Ragnar 2015 or 2016!

  3. I am new to the blogging world, but I love your blog! Posts like this are so inspiring!

  4. Great story Thomas! I didn't realize you were a numbers Geek like Katie and me but I should have figured. ;-) Can't wait to meet you and the rest of the team in April. It will be here before we know it! Katie you are awesome and I thank you so much for sharing your story and inspiring me. I've learned most of "running knowledge" from your posts. :-) Go Thomas! Go Thomas! Kicking booty in the Miami Half-marathon today!

  5. Thank you for sharing Katie! You all are going to have the time of your lives in April. Enjoy the journey from now until then. That's fun too! What a great story Thomas! Thank you for sharing and congrats on your weight loss and finding your love for running!

  6. That's my name don't wear it out! Thanks all!

  7. I'm finally caught up on your blog - yay! I found you in October and have been reading posts (at work lol) every day so that I could read them from 2008 to the are SUCH an inspiration and I love hearing everyone's story. I'm so desperate to be in a body I love (I'm about 15lbs overweight) and reading about you, and Thomas, and everyone else you feature on your blog gives me hope that it is possible. I love how you have a healthy relationship with food (you don't obsess over a "slip up", etc) and I hope I can get to that point one day very soon as well. It's because of you that I started walk/jogs last year, but it's been too cold out lately to get outside, so I've been going to the gym 3x a week. I can't wait to get outside again...and I can't wait to change my life for good. Thanks for everything you have done for me, without even knowing it. You're amazing.

  8. You guys will love Ragnar SoCal! I ran it last year and despite to 92 degree 5.4 mile run, I had an amazing time. I cannot wait to run it again in 2015!

  9. I too have been horribly behind on your blog, but loved this post for obvious reasons! Thomas rocks!


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