Page 1 of 2Mike (MKKAYA) started running in 2008. Since joining SparkPeople, he has continued to work toward his weight-loss goals (losing nearly 100 pounds so far), completed three half marathons, and has his sights set on participating in a triathlon.
What made you decide to start running?
I started losing weight about three years ago after my doctor informed me of some things that scared the heck out of me. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was borderline diabetic. I lost my dad around that time and really wanted to do something about my weight. During the summer of 2008, my family and I would go to the local high school track and walk three miles. I started getting bored with that, so one day I decided to run around the track—just one lap made me feel like I was dying. At the time, I weighed 260 pounds. Two weeks later, I decided to run one mile around the track. I ran it in 13:00—it was hard! At the beginning of 2009, I joined the gym again and got serious. My personal trainer encouraged me to sign up for a 5K race. The rest is history.
How do you keep your runs fun and interesting?
Participating in races helps me to keep things fun and interesting. I remember signing up for my first 5K race. Because I signed up three months beforehand, it kept me motivated to stick with my workouts. I also crank my favorite tunes on my iPod. My SparkFriends are great motivators, as well.
Were you intimidated to start running? How did you overcome that?
I remember when I first started going to the gym. As I walked on the treadmill and saw other people running I would say, "I could never do that." It was also scary when I first ran outside—people could see me and that was hard at first. My SparkFriends assured me that I could do it, though. The Rookie Runners SparkTeam has been such a help to me. I am so thankful for them and what they have taught me on this journey. Also, when I first started running my body began to change. Losing inches and pounds was my biggest motivation in the beginning.
Any tips for someone just beginning to run?
Make sure you have good pair of shoes. Go to a specialty store and get help from someone who knows how to properly fit running shoes. Also, make sure that you are hydrated. Drinking a lot of water will make your runs more enjoyable. Fuel your runs with good, clean eating as well.