For Jesse Davidson, the decision to run the Marathon by the Sea’s Into the Night 5K event was based on a long-range desire to walk his daughters down the aisle on their wedding days.
As a result, Jesse recently came to a realization.
These days, his life is hectic, with two energetic young girls, a loving family and a career in the IT industry which leads to long stretches of time behind a computer terminal.
Yet, he knew that if he did not make changes in his physical activity levels, he might not be around for any weddings and have the honour of accompanying either of them on their most special of days.
“You can boil it down to health reasons,” Jesse says. “Specifically, I have two daughters, one is five and the other is eight and someday I want to be able to walk them down the aisle. If I keep up with my sedentary lifestyle, that won’t happen.”
So he investigated and selected a Couch-to-5 km running program and through online chats on Reddit, which provides accountability, advice and support, he is more than halfway to his goal.
“I knew something had to change,” he explained. “I used to run a little bit in middle school so I figured I would pick it up again and see how I could do.”
In the lead up to the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea,
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Once he committed to the Couch-to-5km program, he gave himself 10 days to assess how he felt after the first sessions and if his distance goal as too daunting. When he completed that initial evaluation stage, he registered for Marathon by the Sea.
“That hardest part was getting up off that couch and out the door,” he said. “I told myself I was going to do it but I think it took me 30 minutes to sit up and say, ‘OK, I have to get up and get this done’.
“It was really rough. I started with eight one-minute runs, with one minute of walking in between. I could not complete one or two sections and I had to push hard to do the rest. That did not discourage me. I knew it was going to be hard. I went back out and even on the second day, it was so much easier. Just holding onto that, knowing the next day would be easier, prevented me from stopping.”
Since then, he’s learned about pacing, dealt with minor aches and pains and he also teamed with his friend Doug Tibbits, a distance runner from Saint John who serves as a coach and mentor, offering guidance and encouragement to Jesse, who gladly accepts all the feedback.
“In the middle of week 2, that was when I realized I could do this,”” Jesse said. “I started looking forward to my runs and that this was something that I wanted to do instead of something I was making myself do.”
To prepare, he’s adapted his work schedule so he can run during lunch, predominately on Harbour Passage, which gives him a firsthand perspective for the Into the Night 5km event Aug. 7. He’s in the midst of his fifth week of dedicated training.
“It is fun to notice my distance increasing on my runs,” he said. “I try to take my program week-to-week and complete the goal for each week.”
His online group at Reddit.com provides added support and through a promotion at Treadmill.com, he received a prize for competing the third week of the program.
It is all a welcome boost.
Now though, his sights are firmly set on the 5k distance on the Friday night of Marathon weekend, complete with the fireworks display that proved popular in 2014.
“My kids love it and I have taken them out a few times. They are looking forward to the run and the fireworks.”
Check out the photo galley from the 2014 Emera Marathon by the Sea
The biggest benefit, he says, is his enthusiasm for running and he plans on continuing once MBTS is over. For example, he’s measured a loop near his home that is approximately 11 kilometres and wants to use that as part of his next goal – a 10km training program.
He’s got advice for anyone wanting to try the sport but hesitant because they feel like they won’t be able to succeed.
“What has worked me is do not run for speed. Do not try to be fast because you will kill yourself. Your goal should be to complete the distance. Speed will come with time. Once I slowed myself down, I was able to breathe better and run better.”