I'd thank to thank RDA's own Troy Brown for sharing his story. Keep hustling brother Brown. We're proud of you.
How did you begin running? Tell your story.
In July of 2009, on the advice of my doctor, I had gastric bypass surgery. The surgical team I chose in Kingsport, TN had me attend several months of classes, support group meetings, etc. to prepare me for the surgery. When I met with the nutritionist she asked what I would do if I lost 100 pounds. I told her my wife is the Key Club sponsor at the high school and I was the fat guy standing and pointing the direction for the runners to go in the Grundy Kiwanis 5K, but if I lost 100 pounds I would run that race. On May 7, 2011, I ran the Grundy Kiwanis 5K! After that race a couple of my buddies said they were running a half marathon the next month that also had a 5K and I should go with them. I was hooked!
Who has been your biggest inspiration in the sport of distance running and why?
There are several professional runners I look at and watch their careers, but a buddy of mine, Mike Stiltner, is a huge inspiration to me. Mike was near the finish line for that first 5K cheering me on and always telling I can do it. We run together every chance we can and have run in a lot of the same races. He also had weight loss surgery. (I don't think he'll me telling you that – lol). My wife is my biggest inspiration of all!
What are biggest strengths and biggest limiting thoughts that may have caused you issues in the past? What are you doing this year differently?
My strength as far as training is training. I enjoy running hills because I know they will help me at the end of any race. As far as limiting thoughts, I used to beat myself up if I didn't run every day. Last year I suffered my first injury, when I came back I just enjoyed running again, for the fun and love of it! Now if I miss a run I work out in another way. My wife loves Zumba and has the DVDs, so sometime a middle-aged male with NO rhythm will be in the living room doing Zumba for an hour. That is what I've changed this year is to over come negative thoughts and work on different ways to work out.
What has been your biggest achievement in the sport?
I've completed 4 Half Marathons and last year I won my age group in a 5K!
What has been your biggest failure in your event? How have you overcome that?
I don't know that I've had an experience I would call a failure in running. I've finished every race and I know I'm not fast by a lot of other people's standards, but I work on improving my time, distance, and overall fitness.
If you could talk with a beginner or someone else you may know nothing about who wants to get involved in the sport, what advice would you share?
Just Do It! I know it sounds cliché or like the Nike commercial but my advice is to just get started. A running app is a big help (I didn't use one when I started) and ask questions.
What are your personal bests? Where did you achieve these times?
When I won my age group in the 5K my time was 26:31 in Grundy, VA (My hometown). My half marathon best is 2:15.11 at the Haunted Half in Kingsport, TN.
What is your short-term goal as a runner?
Short term I want to improve on my times. I'm 46 years old and I'm thinking I'm going to have to improve in the next couple of years.
What is your long-term goal and what are you doing to achieve it?
Long term I just want to keep running. When I'm 70 I want to be running in the Haunted Half as Charlie Brown and finish strong.
What is your most embarrassing moment since participating in this sport?
I was running in a 5K for St. Jude's and I could really define where the finish line was because it was at a local park. As I came closer to the finish someone shouted run to the swings, so I did. I crossed the finish line, but it was about 20 yards away from where everyone did. They were using a stop watch at the finish line for the time.
What has been your biggest hurdle to overcome and why?
I feel my biggest hurdle was to get started. I hadn't run in years and my wasn't “pretty” like say a Josh Cox or Ryan Hall.
Have you ever been injured and if so, what injuries have you had to overcome?
The only injury I had was a pulled groin muscle. I tried to rush it along and learned I'm going to have to be patient if another injury ever occurs.
What is your favorite workout?
I guess my favorite is hills. Even though I dread them, I know they make me stronger and help at the finish line.
What is your least favorite workout?
My least favorite is track work. Again, I know what a big help it is, I just don't like going in circles.
What are you most proud of thus far in your athletic and professional career?
I am most proud that I entered and finished my first half marathon. I put in the work and it paid off with a strong finish.
Who is your favorite runner and why?
My favorite runner is Josh Cox. The reason he's my favorite is because he is also a family man that works hard but seems to be there for his family. He's also a good Christian example. There are other good runners, but I think Josh is the kind of Guy I could hang out with on a Saturday afternoon.
If you could sit down with anyone, living or who has passed, who would it be and why?
My father, Roy Brown. Just to catch him up on his grand daughters lives, let him know what I have accomplished in my life, just to get to talk with him one more time. I lost dad 18 years ago to lung cancer.
What have you learned the most since being a reader of rundreamachieve? What can be done better on the site? What would you like to see more of and why?
That there are a lot more people out there busting their rear ends like me. We all have goals and dreams and sometimes we achieve them, other times we come up a little short. I would like to see a little more work out advice. It can be from the author of the site or from other runners.
Who has been your biggest role model growing up and how has that affected you as a runner?
I've always followed sports. As far as a role model I guess it was Walter Payton. He once said in an interview, “if you're looking for a role model, you shouldn't have to look any farther that across the dinner table”. I've always remembered that quote and man could he run with the football!
What has been the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome since starting in the sport?
My own mind. I always seem to place doubt in my own head when I know I can do it!
If you go back and do it all over again, what would you do differently? How, in your own words, do you think you can use what you have done wrong in the past do maximize your future performances?
I would start much earlier! I ran for a very short time in high school but gave it up. Had I developed good and healthy habits earlier in my life, I wouldn't have had to have surgery or got up as big as 339 pounds. Now I know it's all about diet and exercise. Surgery was a tool, now I have to do the work, and I accept the challenge!
22. What are your thoughts on high mileage? low mileage?
I don't think I'll ever be an ultra marathoner. I have a marathon in mind that I want to train for and run after my youngest daughter graduates from high school this year. I'm a dad first! Does running a half or full marathon make one better that a 5K person, no. I think if a person runs a mile a day they're out there moving, getting exercise, and that is the key, movement!
23. What do you think causes most runners the biggest problems in hitting their fitness goals and why?
Pressure. We put too much pressure on ourselves to reach a goal and if we miss that goal, BAM! We think it's the end of the world, like an audition on American Idol.
24. What do you plan to do differently this year that you have never attempted since you have been involved in the sport?
To increase my mileage and work more on my core. To develop a better cross training plan, since I don't have one currently. I hope my little rant is helpful. I took up running when I was 43 years old and never dreamed I would love it the way I do. My wife and daughters support me a lot! They don't always understand why I love to run in the snow or up hills, but they still support me. My wife Karen is my biggest inspiration! She was hit by a train when we were 19 and has a really tough time with arthritis. She started training for a 5K but the pounding was just too much for her joints. She follows me all over the place and is waiting for me at every finish line! We've learned the importance of diet and exercise through our weight loss journey together. She had lap band surgery the same day, yes, we thought the doctor was crazy too! I kept off 130 pounds through running and Karen has kept off 100 through low impact forms of exercise. I really enjoy the site and posts on face book. If you can't understand some of ranting, please feel free to email me. Thanks for the help and inspiration!