How many times have you heard the famous line “I can’t run” from someone in your life? I think I have literally run out of fingers and toes to count on.

It’s funny, as soon as the person you are talking to imagines themselves running, or the discomfort associated with running, they instantly go to this negative place.

If I would have listened to these inner words five years ago, I would still be a 220 lb, overweight ex-football player who hated running. Instead, I decided to say “YES I CAN.”

My journey began back in June 2010. I will always remember my very first “run” on the treadmill. I lasted maybe 15 minutes at a speed of 5mph, huffing and puffing the entire time. I was winded. I was tired. I wanted to give up. But I stuck with it, and as days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, the weight slowly started to come off. I was soon able to run for 30 minutes non-stop and thought to myself, “I have come this far, I am not stopping now.”

For the first time in my life, after losing some weight, I was finally starting to feel good about myself and was gaining the confidence that I never had.

I was determined to keep run training.

I set weekly goals to stay focused and on track, whether it was to hit a certain speed or time. I would celebrate each goal completed by setting another goal.

I never hired a coach. I did not follow any type of run program or plan. I was running on pure determination. It was multiple months of tears, sweat, and eventually, happiness.

Fast forward a few more months. I thought to myself, how cool and amazing would it be to participate in a half marathon? Could I do it? What would my friends and family say? Would I fail? I don’t know how to run that far. Regardless, I put my fears aside and registered for the Manitoba Half Marathon.

I will never forget the emotions and happiness of crossing that finish line in a time of 1:39:11. I had done it.

I ran the entire race non-stop. After that, I knew I was hooked. It was the instant sensation of “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”

It’s been five years since I started my running journey. I now weigh 170 lbs and have completed five marathons, 34 half marathons, dozens of 10 mile, 10 km and 5 km races, and a hand full of sprint triathlons. My current goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon in a time of 3:05 in May 2016, and to complete my first Ironman in Arizona in November 2016.

If you have self-doubt and don’t think you can run, take it from me that you most certainly can! We all have it in us to do amazing things, and reach limits never thought possible. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. In the end, it’s worth it! If I can motivate even one person to give running a try, I have succeeded!

Happy Running!