Hey everyone! I’m Darryl and I’ve been a runner off and on for a very long time.
My personal journey has been a mixture of running, injury, bicycling, illness, and slow recovery.
I was running regularly until I reached my 40s, and even did one marathon.
But then I ran into problems of back pain, endocrine health issues and stress that brought my running to a halt for some years. I never stopped following running and never stopped considering myself, at my heart, a runner, but as the weight went up and the miles went down and the speed evaporated, it became very hard to believe it. Finally, however, things started to improve and in 2011 I began to train again. I started at 320 pounds of weight and began walking with my dog. I took her to a dog park where I could let her off the leash and started to walk and slowly to run the perimeter (about a quarter mile). Sometimes I would do as much as 16 laps of the park. I lost down to 280 pounds during that summer and began training for the half marathon. (A shout-out to Team Diabetes in Phoenix for their help in getting me trained!)
Since then I’ve trained for and run 3 half marathons, several 10K and 5K races and a 4 miler. I’ve had set backs and successes, but I keep plugging along. My weight soared as I had several job changes and two transcontinental moves. My running mileage fluctuated right along with my life changes. Right now I’m training for my first marathon in 26 years. I’m at 305 pounds and going down again, and I have the goal of getting to 250 before fall (may not make it, but I’m trying!).
Talking about Gear and Accessories
My first running outfit was Keds tennis shoes, white cotton socks, gym shorts and a cotton tee shirt. I had a watch with a sweep second hand (that means it was just a plain watch with hands for the hours, minutes and seconds) to keep time. I tore off a piece of an old tee shirt for a head band to keep the sweat out of my eyes as much as possible. If I thought I was going to run a few miles, I’d smear on some Vaseline in places that might rub. That was pretty much all.
Now when I run, I have a water bottle, a digital watch, a GPS tracking app on my phone, a wicking headband or hat (depending on the time of day and weather), 2-in-1 shorts with a compression liner, a tee shirt made of a technical material that wicks away sweat from my skin and evaporates it instead of absorbing it like cotton, a pair of compression socks also made to wick away sweat, and a high tech pair of shoes – and which shoes depends on what I’m running. I have shoes for running, shoes for walking and running slow, shoes for the trail, shoes for recovery. If it’s dark, I have reflectors and a head lamp. If it’s cold, I have additional gear, such as a pair of Gore-Tex gloves, a long-sleeved shirt with space blanket technology built in, and more technical material in both a set of long underwear and a pair of tights.
That may sound like a lot of expensive stuff, but part of it spills over, like the phone, from my regular life. A lot of it has been purchased one at a time over the years. Because I bought good gear to begin with, it lasts a long time, but also if you start in the spring you’ll not need the winter gear for a while (and if you live in southern Arizona, for example, you may never need it).
I am currently lusting after several pieces of technology for running. In particular, I want a new smart watch for running and I have my eye on some shoe mounted lights for night running. Living as I do in the Phoenix metro area, summer runs mean very early runs if you’re going to beat the heat, so even in summer lights may be a required accessory, especially if you run off road.
That’s my story for now.