About a year ago, I had become very stagnate in my weight loss endeavors. My journey started in August 2013. I underwent a lot of emotional situations that helped in someways and hurt in other ways my progress. Last year, 2015, was no different. With me working two jobs, not getting much sleep, if any, and eating everything I could get my hands on when I had the time. However, last March things began to change.
A good friend of mines invited me to join him and a group of friends for their weekly run. At first I was very hesitate about going. I was still about 315 lbs, very out of shape and had been having problems with my knees for months and the doctor couldn’t tell me what the problem was. When I’d last attempted to run on my own I felt like I was running in slow motion.
I never shared my concerns with my friend. I selected the ‘maybe’ option on the Facebook invite then looked at the group and event descriptions. Everything that I read about this group called Black Men Run was what I needed to hear. It talked about the different running levels and how a group leader would lead the run for each group so that no one would feel left behind.
As nice as that all sounded, I was till unsure about going. However, as Saturday morning rolled around, my body went into auto pilot. My internal clock went off around 6:15am. I tried to force myself to go back to sleep and it wasn’t happening. So I made my way out to the park to join this group that was to make a name for itself here in Milwaukee. As late as I was, on purpose, I was surprised that I was the first person to arrive at the start point. I told myself that I would give them five minutes to arrive and then I was leaving. Well, a few minutes later my friend pulled up and I knew that at that point it wasn’t going to be easy to get out of this. As the rest of the group arrived, I sucked up and hit the trail.
I was proud of myself as we took off. I hung with the group for about the first block, block and a half. Then I had to stop…or so I thought. My friend noticed and he fell back with me. He wasn’t judgmental or anything. He didn’t try to push me past was I was capable of doing. He helped me with my breathing and allowed me to set the pace for the rest of the run.
With all of the hesitation that I had, I was really surprised at how well I did. I was able to set a pace that allowed us to keep the rest of the group in our sight throughout the run and we crossed the finish line about two minutes behind them. That shacked me since like I said the last time I tried running period I felt like I wasn’t moving. However, that didn’t shack any worries or doubts that I had about whether or not this was the right group for me to join. I left that morning thinking that maybe I should try running on my own again for a while and build up my endurance and then try running with BMR again. I didn’t like feeling like I was holding someone in the group back. However, I found myself right back out there the next Saturday.
This time they surprised me by starting the run on time. I passed them as I arrived to the park, parked my car and took off behind them surprising myself again. I wanted to catch up or at least get close enough for them to notice that I was behind them. I think I ran a half mile before I needed to stop. I wasn’t aware that their were multiple courses the group would take, some long some short. This was the long run week. I took the short route and was just about to give up on catching up with them when our paths reconnected. I ran my heart out and again crossed the finish line just seconds behind the group. When they saw me coming they lined up on both sides of the path and high fived me as I crossed.
At that point I knew this was an awesome group and I needed to look into them some more. I quickly learned that Black Men Run was a young organization founded around 2010 by a few young men out of Atlanta, GA who has a heart for seeing other men of color or men in general return to a healthy state of living promoted through running. Currently there are over 50 chapters in 2 countries and 27 states and growing.
After reading all the positive things these men were doing in other cities, I knew that now was the time to get involved and help Milwaukee’s running captain bring attention to this group and all it stands for.
If you are at that point in your life that you know you need to get moving or maybe you have an active lifestyle and just want to find a group that offers good fellowship and cultivates new friendships, this may be the group for you. Check out blkmenrun.com to find a local chapter.