This morning, Danny Haralson conducted his informational session for the next edition of Run University‘s “Couch to 5K” program. The next group starts in a little over a week on Monday, 27 August. If you have ever thought about starting a running program, I would recommend this one without hesitation. There have been something like 3,000+ runners that have completed Danny’s program. In fact, most of the runners that I know started with Danny. Even if you missed the informational session this morning at The Trak Shak, you can start this program by coming to the BB&T building next to the Mountain Brook YMCA on 27 August. Trust me, if you want to become a runner and try this program, you can be successful. If I can do it, anyone can.
I meet people all the time that assume I have been a runner all my life. Well, that’s not the case. In fact, I’ve only been running for a relatively short period of time. I actually hated running (and refused to do it) most of my life. I know that begs the question, “What happened?” Okay, you may not care enough to have asked that question, but this is my blog and I’m going to write about it anyway.
Even when I was in high school, I didn’t like to run. I was an athlete too. I was on the wrestling team and we ran. A lot! And I hated every minute of it. Of course, I had to do it to make weight so I was actually a pretty good runner. I just didn’t know it. Regardless, I did NOT like it but had to run to cut weight and for conditioning purposes. My coaches were adamant that we would not lose a match because of conditioning reasons so they pushed us hard.
When I got out of school, I refused to run. I enjoyed being active as long as I was not running. I didn’t mind running as part of another activity like softball. I just did not want to run. Over time, I got busier with work and other activities. My active life became less and I got lazy. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, that means I started gaining weight. Before I realized it, I had gained a good bit of weight.
My wife, Caroline, ran the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville in April 2008. I went to watch. I saw all kinds of people finishing that race. People of all shapes and sizes. There were people crossing the finish line that I would have never believed could cover 13.1 miles. What caught my attention was the looks on their faces as they finished. You could see the feeling of accomplishment as they celebrated their finish. It was a feeling that I remember from my wrestling days, especially when I won a particularly tough match. I realized at that point that I missed that feeling. Of course, I also realized that I would never be able to run that far.
The week after we returned to Birmingham, one of my wife’s friends told her about a “Couch to 5K” program in town. She had done this program before and recommended it to me. She told me the program was part of Run University and headed by Coach Danny Haralson. I looked at his website and thought I might be able to do this program so I went to the first session. It looked really easy. Or so I thought. After that first session on 5 May 2008, I came home and told my wife that I could not do this. I thought it was too hard. She convinced me to stick it out until we ran our target 5K at the end of June. I wasn’t sure if I could make it but decided to stick it out.
I did all the runs according to the schedule Danny provided. And I hated it. Every bit of it. But I did it with every intention of stopping after the 5K. Our target race was the Race to the Courthouse 5K in from the Downtown YMCA. One week before the race, Danny took us on a preview run of the course. That was the first run that I completed that did not suck. I actually realized that I enjoyed it. I ran the 5K the next week and met my goal time and thought that it was fun experience. I ran the Retro Run 5K a month later and then decided that I might be able to run a 10K. That fall, I ran the Hueytown 10K followed a month later by the Vulcan Run 10K. Then I decided to run a half marathon and a few months later ran my first marathon. The progression would have never happened with Danny and Run University. I became a runner because of him and you can too.