Running …

… because I can … because it's fun … because it's healthy … just BECAUSE.

From 290 to a marathoner: Meet A Healthy Dad

A Healthy Dad, running

Brandon on a vacation in mid-2009.

Having gone through a weight-loss journey, I love finding runners who have also lost weight. Sometime in the past year I came across Brandon’s blog, A Healthy Dad. I also follow him on Twitter and stay up to date with his workouts on Daily Mile.

In December 2009, Brandon was only 10 pounds away from 300 pounds; on Jan. 1, 2010, he started his blog detailing his journey.

All he’s done since then is lose about 90 pounds and became a marathoner in December. You read that right — in less than a year from when he first started running, he ran a marathon. Similar to what I went through, though, he has dealt with an ITB injury. Instead of giving up, he’s coming back smarter and stronger.

But enough about what I think. Meet the 29-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska. (Also, be sure to check out the Q&A he did with me today on his site.)

You haven’t been running long, but if you knew then (when you started) what you know now, would you change anything?
I don’t know that I’d change anything, per se, but I would remind myself to enjoy myself, and to maybe slow things down a bit. I’m still relatively young, and have plenty of good running years left in me.

I ran my first marathon after only 8 months of running, and while I don’t regret that decision, I’m sure it played a significant role in my injury.

What’s your favorite running memory?
I’m going to have to go with finishing my first half marathon in August 2010. This was my first “major” race, and my whole family was there to cheer me on at the end. Overall it was just a really great race. It’s run on some very scenic paths through Anchorage, and finishes right in the middle of downtown.

At that point I hadn’t really learned much about fueling during a run, and I remember feeling pretty drained for the last mile or two. I learned a lot about running – and myself – that day. And I was pretty pleased with my 2:05 finish too!

What are you currently training for and what goals do you have for that?
Right now I’m training for the Mayor’s Marathon here in Anchorage on June 18. I originally signed up for this race back in December, before I got injured, and my goal then was to go sub-4 (I had just finished my first marathon in early December in 4:25). Coming off this injury, I’ve been reluctant to add much speedwork back into my runs. Maybe it’s just me being scared or paranoid, but one thing I learned from this injury is that I really don’t want to get injured like that again. I’ve been getting my miles in, steadily increasing my mileage each week (respecting that 10 percent rule!), but I really haven’t been pushing my pace too much.

I also know there’s a lot more hills in this race than there were in my first marathon in Las Vegas, which was pretty much as flat of a course as you can get. Of course I’d like to do well this time around and beat my previous time, but I’ve got another marathon in the fall that I think I’ll wait to set my sights on for that sub-4.

Brandon after his first half marathon in August 2010.

What’s one piece of advice you like to give?
If you’re interested in running, or just starting out, start slow. I think so many people get discouraged with running because in their heads, they want to just head out the door and run 5 miles on day one. If you’ve never run before, mostly likely you won’t be able to do that (without hurting yourself, anyways). I’d recommend using a program like Couch to 5k to help you get started, which is exactly what I did. It starts you out very slowly, with lots of walking breaks at first, and gradually builds you up to more and more running.

How has your healthier lifestyle impacted your family?
I like to think that it’s had a very large impact on my family. Whereas before, an evening after work commonly would have been spent in front of the TV, these days we’ll often go for a walk or a run together, usually with me pushing the jogging stroller with the kids. After seeing my success with it, my wife went through the Couch to 5k program too. She’s told me numerous times she has no interest in doing any sort of long distance running, but she gets out there for 30-40 minutes three times a week, which I think is great.

The biggest impact that I hope my healthier lifestyle has is on my two kids. They’re only 3 and 1 right now, but I hope that as they grow up in a house where eating healthy and being active is normal, that those things will rub off on them. My son already talks about wanting to run with me, and when we go out for walks as a family, the two of us always “race” home the last 100 feet or so. So I think it’s already starting to work.

What’s one non-running thing that people may be surprised to know about you?
I own two classic trucks. The first is a 1951 Ford that I restored with my dad. The story of why I chose “this” truck specifically to restore is kind of funny. If you remember the part in the movie “Forrest Gump,” when he’s being chased down an old country road by a truck full of teenagers, that’s this truck. While most people were watching and enjoying the movie, I was thinking “that’s a really cool looking truck, I want to own one of those some day.”

The second truck is a 1926 Model T that my grandfather restored. My grandfather has a bit of a retirement hobby of restoring classic cars, and has done five or six of them at this point. A few years ago, he was actually running out of room to store them, so he offered this one to me, which was the first that he had ever restored. It maxes out at around 25-30 mph, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun to drive, and you get a lot of friendly smiles and waves.

Keep up with Brandon on his blog, A Healthy Dad, as well as Twitter and Daily Mile. And don’t forget to check out his post today for a Q&A with me!

Recent Q&As and guest posts
A Q&A with Dr. Wimmer, April 2011
* From baller to marathoner, January 2011
* A Q&A with Steena, October 2010
* A Q&A with Steve Spiers, June 2010

Category: Q&A/Guest Posts

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