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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Road To Running

My running story is not glamours, its actually pretty funny to me any how.  I’ve always been pretty active growing up but after getting married and starting a family that quickly changed.  Pick up games in Brooklyn were few and far in between.  The only running I did was from the car to the house trying to dodge rain drops.  Between working a full time job and running a cleaning business-(no pun intended) there really wasn’t much time for anything else.  

As my cleaning business took off I decided to leave my job and become my own boss.  All was going well until one morning during a snow storm I took a spill coming out of my apartment and went flying in the air and landed flat on my back-Ouch!  That accident put me out of work for several months during which I had to undergo therapy.  There are no sick days when you are your own boss; if you don’t work you don’t eat.  That was a pretty dark period in my life, recently divorced, unemployed out of shape and depressed.  I spent most of my evenings watching dvd’s eating fast food and ice cream.  

Before I knew it I packed on 40lbs and broke 200lbs for the first time in my life.  My sister started running in 2009.  Inspired by Yvonne’s 5k accomplishments I decided to give this running thing a try; ill prepared I put on a pair of Reebok Zig Zags and hit the streets.  I figured I could run a 5k, after all how hard could it be?  Wait a minute how far is a 5k anyway? Duh... I had no idea until I looked it up and realized it was 3.1miles. 

My first time out I got dressed sneakers shorts and went down stairs.  A little stretching, not sure what to do I tried touching my toes, stood up grabbed my right ankle with my right hand and repeated the same thing on my left side.  Shugged my shoulders shook out my legs and I took off.  I’m pretty sure I made it around the block before my legs started burning, itching and my breathing increased, okay thats enough for today.  

In retrospect I spent more time warming up and stretching than actually running.  Excited about making it around the corner, I called Yvonne to tell her.  Hey Yvonne  guess what? What?  I started running today.  How many miles did you do? Hmmm I don’t know I just ran around the block.  I think she did everything everything in her power to keep from laughing.  Wow that’s good, you just have to keep going.  

So that’s what I did extend my distance with each run.  I finally worked up to my first 5k. 3.1mi  31:14 with an avg. pace of 10:14.  Heart racing mind wandering and wondering why did I sign up for this race again?  Thoughts of stopping crossed my mind but, I couldn’t my family is waiting at the finish line and older people are zipping by me it just would’t look right quitting.       

By my 3rd race I picked up my pace 4.1mi in 36:45 with an avg. pace of 8:58.  I was feeling good about myself after each race.  

I finished my first running summer with a 10mile race in Westport Ct.  I dropped 20lbs. that summer and spent time learning about running form, sneakers, injury prevention etc. from folks like Peter Larson-Running Blogger and Ethan Newberry- The Ginger Runner.  

I met a couple of running buddies at The Home Depot-(Sean and Miguel) who talked me into doing a Full Marathon.  C’mon man it will be fun all you have to do is build up to it-sounds good.  I sat on the fence for a while, weeks went by and they would ask did you sign up yet-nah I’m still thinking about.  I finally registered now I’m committed. 

Preparing for a marathon is hard work both mentally and physically.  PR’s, Pace, Carb loading, GU Energy Shots, hitting the wall, black toe nails, Packet Pick Up, Expo and more what does it all mean?  The morning of the Hartford Marathon in 2012 was freezing I had to pick up a jacket in order to stay warm by the end of the race I over dressed.  

5:23:60 later it was all done what a feeling pain, pride and accomplishment.  I’m focused man!!  Lets do it again and soon.  I’d visit Hartford course the following year and shaved off 45min off my time. 

Now I have my sites set on qualifying for Boston.  Travel with me as I prepare for the next level feel free to share your story, training tips, or encouragement.


  1. Wow Derek you have come along way my brother physically and mentally. I was so proud to say my brother did his first marathon, then his second and now with a lot more under your belt, you're going for the 3rd next week. You are a true inspiration and such a gifted writer, you pull the reader into the story, I feel like i'm there right beside you. Well done my brother.

  2. Great story Derek, can identify with so much of it. Amazing how running can change you life. Good luck on your quest for a BQ!

    1. Pete thanks for stopping by I appreciate it. It has been quite a journey and I'm excited about the next chapter