Inspired to Run

My running hero, Louis Zamperini.

My running hero, Louis Zamperini.

I knew the name Zamperini from the time I spent in flight training in Torrance, California as the airport was renamed Zamperini Field after Louis. His story, chronicled in the book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand introduced me to the man. His running career and Olympic hopes were cut short by World War II, but he’s truly an inspiring individual who perceived through terrible conditions and events. Yet his story is a must read!

With the cancellation of my gym membership forthcoming I considered alternatives for cardio. At the gym I was pretty consistent with the cardio, which also made a BIG difference in those last 10 pounds I wanted to lose. I eventually worked myself up to 45 minutes of cardio, usually on the Precor Elliptical, targeting my heart rate for 142 BPM. While not as frequent I would climb the stair master or ride the stationary bike, but a majority of the cardio was on the elliptical. I was not a big fan of the treadmill, which was probably the most highly used piece of equipment in the gym.

Running was not my idea of fun, but I recall Louis Zamperini and the thrill he brought to running. Even in my younger years going back to junior high and high school I hated running the cross country course or putting in a mile of physical education. It’s no wonder I played goalkeeper in soccer. Tthat said, my college soccer coach loved to run. I still recall one fond memory of running with him and the team. I got so far behind, I got lost. It took me an addition few miles and an extra hour to get back to the practice field, by that time everyone was gone. Still, this was also one of the points in my life where I felt I was best conditioned as a runner.

Now some 25 years later I have taken control of my health, I have been faithfully working out with weights since January, 2012 and I’m experiencing the best healthy of my life. In order to supplement the loss of the elliptical, I have decided to take up running. I have a few co-workers who run, one training for a half marathon, followed by Tough Mudder. Even closer to me, my sister has been running for a few years now and loves it. She too was working towards a half and a full marathon.

I happened to be out running errands yesterday and sent a text message to a co-worker and inquired about running shoes. His response couldn’t have been more timely, as his recommendation of Roadrunner Sports was right across the street from me when I received his response. After taking care of my business I stopped in to browse. Well, let me tell you it was a true learning experience from ShoeDog and the sale associate. They spent about 15 minutes, including showing me what my footprint looked like (in 3D as well!), along with video from the treadmill of how each foot lands on the ground when running.

The sales associate took me through a few pairs of shoes, based on the information ShoeDog collected. I also learned not to wear cotton socks, as it retains moisture and could make my feet swell. I probably would have walked out with a pair of Brooks running shoes, but I was not wearing my doctor prescribed orthotics in my work boots and wanted to make sure the shoes felt as good with the inserts in place.

As for my running goals, hopefully I can start out running 3 days a week for 30 minutes, which should be able to get me about 3 miles. Starting out nearly at a 5K would be great! That’s a 10 minute mile, which I hope I can accomplish. I don’t think the times on the elliptical equate very well to running, as 30 minutes usually was just under 3 miles. I did find a 16 week training schedule that takes me from the couch to half marathon. While I don’t have any running race in mind, just like lifting weights or achieving health I want to be working towards a goal.

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