This past October I ran my very first full marathon! Let me give you some background. I have ran 4 half marathons, a Tough Mudder, a Spartan race, many urban dashes, a handful of 5ks, hot chocolate runs, but never in my lifetime did I imagine I would ever run a full marathon.
First off, I am prone to leg injuries. I have had three knee surgeries, not to mention a bone graph in my hip for one of the knee reconstructions (call me robo-womyn). Anyway, with this history of leg injuries and age as my excuses, I was always hesitate to commit. However, summer and fall 2016 I was somewhat training and I thought to myself, why the hell not?! By then, I heard the Chicago marathon was one of the best marathons in the nation. From the flat terrain, spectators, views, organization, temperature, goodies, and popularity, I knew that if I was ever going to do a marathon it had to be soon and no better place than my city that I have called home for almost 5 years!
I began slightly training in February of this year. I started tracking my runs, you know, 1 mile.. 2 miles.. then eventually did a 5k without stopping (that was a big accomplishment for me!). I started to document my road to Chicago Marathon 2017 with my fitbit community. It was there in this community that I got introduced to Joe the Runner. It started off as an exchange of inspiring comments and supporting messages. After that, Joe began to follow me on my instagram. Between the fitbit and my Instagram, Joe was virtually coaching me, giving me tips and advice whenever I posted things relating to the marathon. You know, Joe didn’t have to do that, but he took time out of his life to help me. On top of months of his support, even the evening before the marathon, Joe calmed my nerves by face-timing me and gave me last minute advice and tips for race day.
I can confidently say that, had it not been for Joe, I don’t think my marathon experience would have been as successful and amazing. Joe mentally prepped me by breaking down what my carb intake should be, my liquid intake, how often I should switch between water and Gatorades, what to expect on race day, explaining to me what “hitting the wall” meant, and advice on how to deal with a cramp or if my body ever gave out on me.
In summary, I finished the marathon with the biggest smile and eyes full of joyful tears. I knew that finishing the marathon was going to mean a lot to me, but when it actually happened, ol boy, it was much more than I could have imagined! So with that all being said, Joe was absolutely right when he said to me post marathon “addicting right?!” — becauseeeeee I signed up to run the Chicago 2019 marathon!!!! ahhhhh
Please enjoy this personal interview I did with the seasoned and someone who I believe has an amazing story to share, Joe The Runner!
Joe, please introduce yourself.
My name is Joe Randene aka “Joe the Runner”. I am a 47 year old husband and father of 5. I have been absolutely blessed because I married my bestfriend and our life has been a truly happy and amazing one. We have just recently moved back to the US after living in Florence, Italy for 6.5 years. We loved every minute of this experience and it gave us an appreciation of other cultures at the same time as it taught us to appreciate our own. It also provided our children with incredible opportunities to learn other languages, meet people from all over the world, and travel.
At what time during your life did you begin your runners lifestyle?
I started running in May of 2014. I was that typical middle aged guy who had slowly let himself go over the years, and then woke up one day and said enough is enough. I have a beautiful family, I’ve worked hard to become financially independent, and I’m going to die because I haven’t taken care of myself. It was time to get back in to shape and stop making excuses.
Why is running such a large part of your life?
To start, running was a means to an end. I needed to lose weight and get back in to shape. However, it became so much more. First, I made some great, lifelong friends via running. The community has been nothing but supportive from day 1. When I started I couldn’t run 5 minutes without stopping and now I run ultra-marathons. But at no point, was I treated as anything other than a fellow runner. Secondly, running keeps me extremely healthy. I went from borderline diabetic, borderline high blood pressure, to perfectly healthy. It is a great vehicle to challenge yourself and to become fit. Third, I use it as a platform to raise money for various charities. To date we are approaching $6000 raised for causes such as, children’s cancer research, breast cancer, spinal cord injuries, and disabled veterans. I love to run for a cause. Finally, you learn so much about yourself when you put yourself out there. I know that if I can keep going when I’m in pain, put one foot in front of the other, I can keep going when life throws things at me. Its hard to explain, but running brings out the best you possible.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
This is an easy one, my family. Your children are your multiplier. The world can seem
like it is such a cruel and harsh place if all you do is look at mainstream media and politics, but I have been all over the world and I can tell you, there is A LOT more good than bad. The world is a beautiful place filled with amazing people. My children are their own individual selves, but if we instilled the right values in them, they will go out in to the world and improve it in their own way. We need that. I am the most proud of my wife and my children. They make me want to be the best person I can be.
What advice do you have for those who “hate” running? How do
you get someone from disliking running to actually enjoying it?
This is a great question. My advice to any new runner is this. First, go get fitted and buy the right kind of shoes. Most injuries and strains occur from poor fitting shoes. I know many people want to see if they will stick with it before they invest, but this is the one area I would spend some money on right away. If you stop running, you still have some cool shoes! Then, I would say make a commitment to run for at least 3 months. Why? Because one of the biggest reasons that I see people stop running over is the breathing thing. They say that they are immediately out of breath and that they just cannot seem to find a rhythm, so they quit. This is true, cardiovascular health has to improve before running gets easier and that takes time and consistency. So commit to running 3 to 4 times a weeks for 3 months and really stick to it. Start slow and be kind to yourself. Run slow, at a pace that you could hold a conversation and walk if you need to. Be patient, it will take time for you to get to a point where you can run 30 minutes without stopping. There are some great apps out there like Couch to 5k (C25K) that will help you to progress from run walking to running only. As your cardiovascular health improves, you will be amazed how running gets easier and you will start to run faster and longer. Again, BE PATIENT. Finally, if you are a social person, join a local running group once a week or so for a group run. Most local running stores have fun run groups that meet at least once a week for all levels of skilled runner, including beginner. Another social option is social media. Facebook groups, Instagram, blogs, etc. I know a great free running blog joerandene.com (shameless plug) that is free and offers advice from someone who started 130 pounds overweight and now runs ultra-marathons! If anyone wants to see the benefits of running look at my before and after photos, but how I feel, is 100 times better!
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Strava: Joe Randene
Alright, there you have it. Joe the Runner-A father, blogger, runner, coach, and now, my friend! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved sharing with you my first marathon experience! If I can do it, so can you!!