Worth His Weight In Gold

An en­gi­neer ran it off – and reaped the health and per­for­mance benefits.

Runner's World South Africa - - Human Race - – AS TOLD TO LISA ABDELLAH

The Wake-Up

I was nei­ther a fat nor a skinny kid – some­times I was heavy for no ap­par­ent rea­son, but I also went through pe­ri­ods of my life where I was slim­mer, be­cause I had to walk or run long dis­tances to farm schools. When I be­came an adult, I started a job, got mar­ried and had kids. Life be­came com­fort­able, and I in­dulged in and en­joyed un­healthy food and take­aways.

I vis­ited the doc­tor with a mi­nor ail­ment, but af­ter check­ing my vi­tals he told me my blood pres­sure was dan­ger­ously high. The doc­tor rec­om­mended I re­duce my salt and red meat in­take, and in­tro­duce health­ier al­ter­na­tives like veg­gies and fruit. He also ad­vised me to start ex­er­cis­ing.

The Shake-Up

I had just moved jobs, which didn’t make stick­ing to train­ing easy. But when a new gym opened up in Wit­bank, of­fer­ing more af­ford­able rates, I saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to en­list the help of a per­sonal trainer there. I also made use of a cir­cu­lar run­ning track in­side the gym. Los­ing my first 15kg was mo­ti­vat­ing.

My friend Lu­cas had been road run­ning for a cou­ple of years, and con­vinced me to join him. And the rest, as they say, is his­tory: I have since run three Com­rades (PB: 9:15.14).

The Re­ward

I’m train­ing for a sub-9:00 Com­rades. The benefits have been huge: be­fore I started run­ning, I suf­fered from back pain that be­came so bad, I even con­sid­ered buy­ing a new bed.

Be­sides hav­ing ban­ished back pain for good, I don’t get sick as of­ten now, my blood pres­sure has re­turned to nor­mal, and I’m full of energy. And now I’ve reached my goal weight, my fo­cus has shifted to im­prov­ing my run­ning per­for­mance.

All this was made pos­si­ble by con­trol­ling what I eat – in­clud­ing pro­tein and low-GI food in my diet – and be­com­ing ac­tive. Here’s to the (bet­ter) sec­ond half of my life!

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