The first step in becoming a runner is as simple as lacing up your shoes.
“We’ve all been runners at some point,” says Steve Cannon, who ran across Iowa in 2009.
It starts when we’re kids, chasing one another during a game of tag or flag football.
“To start, that should be your goal – to have fun, be a kid again.”
Around the age of 30, Cannon decided it was time to return to his childhood.
“My first 5K ever was in Colorado and it took me 35 minutes. I thought I was going to die,” says Cannon.
He says he signed up for the social aspect of racing, but admits, “It was completely to meet chicks.”
Running would eventually take on a greater meaning. But first, Cannon had to build up some mileage, which is our goal. He forces us to pick a race. Erin agrees to train for the Dam to Dam 5K. I plan on doing the 20K.
Our training begins with a jog around Gray’s Lake. Steve urges us to focus on our surroundings – the lake, the trees. It keeps our minds off the exercise itself and turns the run into an adventure. He also recommends starting out slow. Give your body time to warm up and don’t worry about how many miles you log.
“It’s really important to start small and take all the stress out of it,” says Cannon. “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘What’s the best way to eat an elephant?’ And it’s one bite at a time.”
That’s especially important if you plan to work up to a longer distance – say a marathon.
“I wanted to do something bigger,” says Cannon.
Something like, 40 marathons in 40 days. Yes, 40 marathons in 40 days! Cannon wants to become the first person to run around Lake Michigan.
“If you’re going to do something like this, I think it’s great to do it for a cause, so people benefit from it and it’s a lot harder to quit.”
Canon’s cause: The Lance Armstrong Livestrong Foundation, which raises money to find a cure for cancer.
Canon was inspired by Armstrong’s come-back after battling cancer. “It’s really what your mind allows you to do then you can do.”
Right now, his mind is allowing him to run about 90 miles per week. That includes a 31 mile run on any given Saturday, followed by a 20 plus mile run the following day. So far, his body is staying strong too.
“Knock on wood, everything is holding up all right. It’s the mental part that is probably as challenging as anything. To just stay in the moment and do one step, one lap, one day at a time.”
It’s not unlike someone tackling their first 5K. If you believe you can, you will.
“It’s really what your mind allows you to do, you can do.”
If you'd like more information on Steve's mission to run 40 marathons in 40 days click here.