To let you know a little about my running journey and myself; I am 37 years old, civil engineering, business partner, married to my best friend, have three young children, two highly active dogs and live in Clarenville, Newfoundland. I have been running recreationally for about 6 years. I run all year around, 5 to 6 days a week with all sorts for strength training and some cross training sprinkled throughout. With a young active family most of my miles are logged on the treadmill very early in the morning. Over the last few years I have ran a PB in the 10k at 37:57, half-marathon at 1:24:34, 10miles at 61:24 and the marathon at 3:01:47.
I have not always been a runner or even lived an active lifestyle. My wife and I, for many years, struggled to find that normal balance with proper weight control and physical activity. It even extended as far back as our early dating years in high school. I struggled emotionally with food and looked for any excuse in my life to justify why it was okay to over indulge and not be accountable. It always seemed easier to be the overweight victim and look for pity rather than taking action. Besides, where would I get the mental and physical strength to make such a drastic change when I felt like I was at ground zero?
I felt a vicious cycle of mental emotions that were temporarily relieved by food of poor nutritional value along with oversized portions. Before long food became an addiction, I lived to eat rather than eat to live. I was always looking for the easy way out, long-term commitments were just not an option. This destructive lifestyle along with being very inactivate resulted in risky health complications at an age way too young.
My wife, on the other hand, was active in her school days but my unhealthy lifestyle soon became her unhealthy lifestyle and we were both heading down a dangerous path. Unknowingly at the time we were well on our way to becoming a part of those statistics about the rise of obesity in our Country.
Seven years ago, just after our daughter’s birth and at the age of 30, I was advised by our family physician about health complications related to my unhealthy food addictions and my inactive lifestyle. I felt that at this point I could not turn a blind eye any longer and pretend that everything was okay, because really it was not. There is more at stake now than just me. I have a daughter and wife who rely on me to be the best father and husband I can be. I need to value and respect the precious life I was given, have a strong since of self-worth and lead by example for my children and community. Both Tanya and I started portioning meals and exercising daily, we were committed to change, determined to succeed and accountable to each other.
We started walking every day and as the weight came off the walking changed to jogging which changed to running. Today both my wife and I are in the best shape, both physically and mentally, that we have ever been. We are both passionate about living life to its fullest, valuing proper nutrition, and being active. We finally feel like the role models we should be to our three children and we believe the benefits of this lifestyle are vital to our whole family. My wife and I run together 5 to 6 days a week on our treadmills at 4:00am in the morning while our children are sleeping. I can certainly say that our love for each other is growing by the miles! We work as a team to schedule in long outside runs and alternate races so they have minimal impacts on our children. We have competed in several road races ranging from 5k to marathon distances. Last fall I ran a BQ marathon time and plan to run the 2016 Boston Marathon. Something I really wanted to accomplish before reaching 40.
Never could I imagine in my wildest dreams that Tanya and I would have ever found the inner strength and commitment to make such drastic changes. I can clearly remember a time when the thought of running just 1 mile was an impossible task. Now with various running accomplishments under our belts we are more motivated than ever to push beyond any imaginable limitations.
I now believe that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I love life, I feel so positive about the future and I have confidence in myself and my abilities. Just recently I became a partner in an Engineering Consulting firm with upwards of 15 employees. I attribute much of my professional success to my lifestyle change, my love of running and my rock solid family. Tanya is currently taking some time off from her professional accounting career to be a mommy to our precious babies until they start school. We are living in the moment and trying and make each aspect of the day better than it was yesterday. We want to be a positive influence to our kids and teach them to never underestimate their abilities, believe in themselves, never hold back on oportunities and live life with no regrets.
Some say we only live once…I say…we get a chance to live every single day, we only die once. Life is amazing so let’s choose every day to value it as the gift it really is.
Thanks for reading,
Lee Bennett (Tanya, Lilly, Sam & Peter)