Hi everybody my name is Tony and I wanted to share the story of my Just Me 5k.
I want to start with a confession: I never wanted to be a runner. I never understood why people would choose to run because it didn’t seem like something enjoyable. Then came the day when I decided to change my life. I decided that I wanted to break free from a life of obesity. I lost over 100 pounds in just nine months and over 130 total in the span of my eighteen month journey. I started increasing my exercise by adding more walking into my daily routine. Then the walking gave way to running and then I finished my first half marathon just sixteen months after weighing in at 325 pounds. I tell my whole story in my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds in Under a Year. (click here for the link, y’all!)
I am a runner now!
I love running for fun and I enjoy running in organized races. This year I set a goal of running two half marathons (one down, one to go) and a race per month. I was very excited to make my May race a Just Me 5K. The idea of running a race without the added race day stress and hassle was refreshing. So I was super excited to run a Just Me 5K sporting my kick-ass custom bib!
I decided to run my Just Me 5K at Indian Lake in northwest Ohio. Indian Lake is Ohio’s second largest inland lake and used to feature a popular amusement park. In the 1920s the area was referred to as Midwest’s Million Dollar Playground but today it is just a wonderful retreat, a place for fun in the sun and is surrounded by 3 small towns: Russell’s Point, Lakeview and Huntsville. I have been visiting Indian Lake for about 18 years ever since marrying my wife Liz whose family has been coming to the lake since the 20s when her grandfather was a musician on the showboats.
The morning of my big race I got up (and not at 6a like I would for other 5k races, so that was nice) and ate a leisurely breakfast. I did try to get out an run a little early (8:30) because it was going to be a hot and sunny day – finally a Saturday that feels like sumer! I hopped in the car and drove into the town of Russell’s Point and parked at one of the state parks and beaches. This was going to be my start and finish line before embarking on my run.
And I was off! My 5k course was a winding path through this small lakeside community. I find that running is a great opportunity to explore small towns in a way that you just can’t when driving.
The best part about running at Indian Lake is the beauty of the lake itself.
A short 29 minutes after I started my Just Me 5k I crossed the finish line with a total time of 29:37 which meant I had a pace of 9:29. This pace was just short of my personal record time but not too shabby by any means. I am amazed with how my speed has increased in the short time I have been running.
After getting my calorie burn on in the morning I had space to make some less healthy decisions through the rest of the day. One of the biggest things I learned through my weight loss journey is that everything can fit into my diet and I have never had to give up anything. It just takes balance and being mindful about what you are eating instead of just trusting your health to autopilot. My post-race splurge consisted of pizza and beer at lunch and then delicious local (to the lake region) beer by the water later in the afternoon.
My Just Me 5k turned out to be a great way to start a warm Saturday at the lake and I will definitely be running more of these low-stress Just Me 5k races!
****EDITOR’S NOTE! Tony’s addition to the JM5K Spotify playlist is a serious banger – Feel Right, by Mark Ronson ft MYSTIKAL!!!! 🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸*********