This story is the first part in a four-part series about our Halfsy Hero, Carl Samuelson. Our series will follow Carl and three other heroes as they train for the November 6th Good Life Halfsy.
On the morning of the Halfsy kickoff training run, Carl Samuelson showed up with a towel around his neck.
“Sorry if I smell,” he said. “I already got in one run this morning.”
Yes, he was serious. He was gearing up for his second run of the day and it wasn’t quite 8am.
But Carl wasn’t smug about it, mostly because he’s only been a runner for the past few years. He knows what it’s like to struggle through a run. He knows what it’s like to work toward a seemingly impossible goal – and, Carl knows what it’s like to start running when you weigh over 300 pounds.
Back in 2008, Carl was a big guy with little motivation. He described his life as “sedentary,” only getting up and moving when he needed too. He was tired all the time and just felt like his life would always be defined by a big waistline and bad food habits.
But after his second child was born, Carl decided to make some changes. He realized that if he kept up his daily habits he might not be around to watch his kids grow up, so he started to exercise.
He tried out a 10-minute training video that got him moving and Carl saw some initial weight loss. But then he got bored with his predictable workout, so he looked at the treadmill in his house and decided he’d try out running.
His first goal was to run one mile without stopping. It took a few attempts, but Carl liked the challenge. Then he tried two miles without stopping, then two miles in under 30 minutes. Meeting each goal took time, but it was a challenge and Carl liked that, he liked pushing toward a new milestone each day.
By 2009, Carl was finally ready to run outside for the first time. He was nervous and intimidated by other runners. He felt like he didn’t belong, like he was still that 300-pound guy who had no business running, but that wasn’t true. At this point, Carl had lost almost 100 pounds and looked and felt different than he ever had before.
He had more energy, was excited to play with his two young kids after work and felt happier. Sure, he still liked watching movies and listening to music, but he also couldn’t start his day without his morning run.
Carl was changing, and that’s what he focused on as he ran outside for the first time – he was free, healthy and happy.
These days, running isn’t as big of a struggle as it used to be. Sure, some days are more challenging than others, but Carl has gained a lot of confidence over his years of running.
He’s run 9 full marathons, three 50k races and countless half marathons, 5k and 10k races.
Carl is a runner. A label he never expected to have, but one he definitely lives up to as he trains for his third Good Life Halfsy.
Check back for more Halfsy Hero stories and to read the next installment of Carl’s story.