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before I go

The Short Story

I was never an athlete, never participated in school sports, and hated running. Nevertheless, I started running on May 29th, 2007 at age 34 and 45 pounds overweight. This blog is about what I am learning and accomplishing as a runner. To follow my progress read my “Becoming” page.

The Longer Version
My name is Joe. In college I put on 30 – 40lbs. After getting married I tacked on another 10 – 15lbs. When I started this blog (on my first day of running – Tuesday, May 29th 2007) I was a solid 45 pounds overweight. I wasn’t eating right, I was fatigued, and had frequent headaches. My feet hurt and any strenuous work on my knees left me limping the next day. I was classified as obese – though no one around me said I looked all that fat. Add to this there is a disease in my family that kills, and one of the best things I can do to prepare for its potential arrival is exercise that pushes cardio and balance.

So I put on my nasty, old, grass-stained, mow-the-lawn, trainers, threw on a pair of 10 year old cotton shorts and a tee and ran as far as I could. Around the block. Slowly.

When I started running it was about getting healthy, but it didn’t take long for my running to be about something bigger. Running is no longer only a means to an end. The joy of running itself is the end, or the goal. Health, strength, and weight-loss are the benefits of running.

Somehow early on I fell in love with running and it has become a very real and important part of my life. I maintain this blog to catalog my goals, experiences and progress. I offer no wisdom of my own here, this is more of a stream of consciousness and shared ideas from others who really have something to say.

I am a husband, father, pastor, an amateur photographer and now a runner. A very new one.



1. Non-Runner Nancy - July 11, 2007

Learning – Maybe we can encourage each other. I am just getting going too (running and blogging). Good luck to you. I think you will progress faster than you think.

2. Joe - July 11, 2007

Thanks Nancy! You can call me Joe, and I hope thing go well for you. I’ll check out your blog today.

3. rafael00 - August 10, 2007

Joe, I like the fact that you’ve changed the name of your blog from “Losing Man” to “Learning to Run”. It never hurts to affirm a positive outcome.

4. RunGord - August 13, 2007

Congratulations on joing the club. Until two years ago I was mostly sedintary and overweight. God pointed me in directionof running. In one day I went from “never run unless chased” to running for one minute straight – which felt like it was going to kill me.
Now, I run half-marathons a couple of times a year and am hoping to train for a full marathon next spring.
Running is a lot of fun, although not always in the usual sense. I get a lot of enjoyment from overcoming obstacles.
“I do today what you won’t so I can do tomorrow what you can’t”


5. Joe - August 13, 2007

Thanks Gord. That’s great to hear man. I have a long way to go – but that is the part I love the most. The journey.

6. LearningToRun.com — An Inspiring Running Blog by Joe Thorn « matt-perry.com - August 27, 2007

[…] — An Inspiring Running Blog by Joe Thorn Jump to Comments Joe Thorn three months ago began running.  Last week I began running.  Joe three months ago was 45 pounds overweight — […]

7. Josh - January 11, 2008

From one thirtyish fat boy to another thanks. Its very encouraging. How long did it take you to get to where you weren’t near death for the rest of the day after a run?

8. Joe - January 11, 2008

Josh, I felt like that when I tried to run in 2000. Actually thought I was going to die on my bathroom floor. But I have not felt that way since I started running in 2007 – even though I was heavier. The trick for me was run slow. There are a lot of programs out there, but I went my own way – and against conventional wisdom – and would only run as far as I could and call it a day. One block for the first week. Then 2 blocks the second week. I was running one mile in about a month (I think), and then I would increase it once I felt comfortable with that distance. My long runs (Saturdays typically) are now 8 miles.

9. Josh - January 11, 2008

Thanks Joe, I was just wondering. When I was in my early twenties I could run a mile and half in about nine minutes. Those days are LONG gone but I’ve thought about starting up again.

10. lisam2425 - January 13, 2008

Joe, my brother-in-law, our pastor who happens to be your age, told us about your blog. My husband and I started running a couple of years ago. When I started running I could only run about 2 minutes at a time before I thought I’d die. It took me about 6 months to be able to run 30 minutes without stopping. 🙂 After my husband saw how much I loved running he was finally convinced to join me. Since then we have run hundreds of miles together. We have just finished our first week of training for our first full marathon! Keep up the good work on your end. I’m sure you, your church, and your family are all reaping the benefits of your new found love of running! 🙂

11. Joe - January 13, 2008

Lisa, who is your pastor? What church?

Yeah, I am still new to running, but really love it. Congrats and God bless on your first marathon! That’s great.

12. legmaker - January 14, 2008

Joe, his name is Gene King and he pastors Grace Fellowship in Atmore, AL. There is a link to the church’s new blog on our blog. Thanks for asking. Happy Running!

13. Beth - January 17, 2008

Hey Joe,

I’m was thinking about starting to run, and was wondering what you use to keep record of your distance/time? I hope I stick with it – PRAY for me!!! :o)

14. Joe - January 17, 2008

When I started running I was committed to doing it as low-tech and low-cost as possible. I bought a 7 dollar digital watch with chrono on it at Walmart and used mapmyrun.com (or similar websites) to map out specific distances to run. I was getting ready to blog on the record keeping itself because I switched for 08. In 07 I tracked everything in runningahead.com, but have decided to catalog it all in 08 exclusively in a small Moleskine notebook. More on that soon.

15. bibomedia - March 4, 2008


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