A Half Plus 5

“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” – James Gordon, M.D.

I wouldn’t say I was consciously aware of my readiness to change when I took my “first steps” in March of 2011; it just sort of happened. Thanks to a lack of exercise, poor diet, and detrimental habits I’d foolishly neglected my health for too long and I needed to change. In what seemed an instant, I resolved to do better; to be the me I was in high school. The me I was before had some bad habits: fast foods, overindulging on camping weekends, and smoking cigarettes. I had already quit smoking (for good) in November 2010; this was simply the next step in my lifestyle metamorphosis so I did it.

My “first steps” to the new, healthier lifestyle, me happened during Day 1 of the Running Room’s Learn to Run Clinic on March 21, 2011. That first day I ran (walked mostly) 1.85km in 00:17:14.

I quickly transitioned my first learn-to-run steps into my first ever running event. On May 15, 2011 I ran the 5k event in the inaugural RunWild Marathon and finished in a time of 00:31:13

In my first blog post on A Runnerz Ramblingz I wrote:

“I used to be athletic, very – in my childhood, teens, and twenties. I used to smoke, a lot – in my twenties, and thirties. Now I run, a little – I’m in my forties… New habits are beginning to replace old ones.”

In the 21-months that have lapsed since my first run I have logged 1,675km on 216 runs and consumed 7-days, 19-hours, and 17-minutes to do it. Those numbers include over 200 training runs, a 5k event, a couple of 10k events, a 5-mile event, a 10-mile event, and 3 half-marathons. I hit the 1,000km milestone in June this year — that’s the length of 10,000 soccer fields! Measured in time, that’s not much of an investment: 8-days out of 640-days or 1.25% of my life since March 21, 2011. Both insignificant (time) and a very big deal (life, health) — all at the same time!



I’ve learned a lot in my time spent on the trails. I’ve learned about injuries, training, nutrition, rest, shoes, running surfaces, hydration, therapeutic massage, weather, how to dress, physical limitations, mental limitations, and I’ve gained invaluable insight into me.

After a year of struggling intermittently with injuries borne of thousands upon thousands of heel strikes I decided to incorporate lane swimming into my regimen. I added regular lane swimming into my routine February of this year and since then I’ve travelled 161km in 150 swims and burned 3 days, 6-hours, and 37-minutes of my life on this earth to do it. In less than a year I’ve progressed from flailing my limbs for 30-minutes just to complete 450m to regularly swimming 1,500m in 30 minutes. I’ve also swallowed gallons of chlorine water and public pool floaties!

My notion that lane swimming would help me tone up, slim down, and strengthen my core has proven to be slightly less beneficial in those regards than I’d hoped however, it has become as integral to my personal fitness and my lifestyle as my running. I look as forward to and I am as invigorated following my swims as I am my runs. I must have both, frequently and regularly, else I become cranky, irritable, and otherwise distracted.

I have three pieces of advice to share — words that tumble through my mind regularly when running and when swimming; especially when I feel as though I’m spent. These words of advice apply not only to running but any new undertaking, activity, and to life in general:

  1. The best advice I’ve read: The 3-Ps of Running: Practice, Patience, Perseverance.
  2. The best advice I’ve been told: Trust Your Training.
  3. The best advice I’ve given myself: No Shortcuts, No Excuses.

This past weekend I ran my furthest distance ever: 26km — a half-marathon plus an additional 5k. Two events rolled into one: my farthest plus my first. I plan to run my first marathon in June 2013.

I’ve registered to run in my first marathon in June 2013. Goal race: the Fallen4 2013 Marathon. Seems fitting considering the Fallen4 2012 Marathon was my first ever half-marathon event. Want to join me?

My motivation is really pretty simple to understand: it’s my family and making sure I’m around for them as long as fate will allow. What’s your motivation?

“All it takes is all you got” – Marc Davis

Craig Pilgrim


A litte more about myself:

I’m a father & a husband before all else. Doing the very best I can… at both. Learning as I go… that’s life.

Some people say they only run when they’re being chased.

Some say they only run when they’re chasing something.

My friends have said both to me.

My friends are wrong… you don’t have to chase or be chased to run.

Connect with me on Twitter: @craigpilgrim

Stalk me on LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/in/craigpilgrim

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