I went straight back to the hotel and Googled “how to start running.” I found a Couch-to-5K program. I started the run/walk thing, started to eat better and drink less alcohol. By the end of the program I could go for a 35 to 40 minute jog, and the pounds were coming off.
How did you stay motivated after the Couch-to-5K program?
A buddy suggested I sign up for a 10K charity run so that I could continue to have a goal. I signed up for the Great North Run in Manchester, England, with no idea that it’s the largest 10K in the world with more than 60,000 people. It was such a rush to be out there with so many people cheering you on. I was hooked. Next I signed up for a half marathon, and finished in under two hours, which I was really excited about. I signed up for a marathon in Florence, Italy, which was where we lived at the time. I ran that in about four hours.
How did you make the switch to trails and ultra running?
One day these guys that I ran with in Florence asked if I had ever run on trails. I didn’t even know that trail running was a thing.
One Saturday morning we met at a coffee shop, and we ran right up this mountain. It was so different. Road running felt like a lot of checking splits and worrying about workouts. With this group on the trails, though, if we ran 30 minutes and saw something cool, we stopped to take pictures and joke around. Some people didn’t even stop their watches.
That was it. I went home and said, “I don’t care about Boston, I don’t care about roads. This trail thing is awesome.”