How I Became Homer's Twin
When I retired from the army in 2003 I stopped all forms of exercise. I disliked doing physical training (PT) every morning and I especially hated running in groups. When you run in the Army, everyone runs the same pace, the same distance, and even has to stay in step (which I was terrible at and would step on the heel of the person in front of me).
So when I retired, no more exercise, but lots more beer, burgers, pizza, and wings. In 4 months I became fat. My cholesterol was already high before I retired so I was on the down hill slide to being obese and unhealthy. I became worried when people started saying "Bruce Phillips - Homer Simpson: Separated at Birth?"
Nature and Nurture to the Rescue
In the early fall of 2003, I started walking on my lunch hour. I'm fortunate to work in a place with walking trails nearby that meander through several parks in the area. It is very pretty, especially in the fall. Walking on the trails gave me a relaxing break from the office.
After a few weeks of walking but not really losing any weight, my wife and I joined Weight Watchers. She did not really need to lose much weight, but she encouraged me to give it a try. Weight watchers' "points" system helped me reign in my over eating. Doing the program as couple made it easier to plan meals and stick to it.
I began to lose some weight and as I did so I also started jogging 2 miles or so on my lunch hour (2 miles gave me 2 extra points a day!).. I found I really enjoyed running on my own, at my own pace, and for whatever distance I felt like.
Enter the Sandman
Late in 2003, I purchased an iPod. This little music player has been one of the top 5 things I've ever bought. For the last three years, I've used the iPod almost every day. I have all my music on it and also audio books.
I started listening to songs on the iPod while running and it was Nirvana. The music helped pump up my energy so I went farther and faster. By the Spring of 2004 I was getting into shape and was losing weight!
Making My Goal
By the late Spring of 2004, I had lost over 35 pounds and was able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I was not the fastest runner by far, but I felt great. I weighed less then when I joined the Army in 1979.
Starting in the summer of 2004, I began to enter some local 10k races and in the fall I ran my first half-marathon, the Gobbler Grind in Overland Park (suburb of Kansas City) Kansas.
Since then I've run several half-marathons and three marathons. I enjoy running and all the benefits it brings. My weight remains down, my cholesterol is normal, and I feel good.