My guest on the show today is someone that I’ve gotten to know fairly well over the past few years.
I’ve had the pleasure of coaching him and over the years he has become not only a client but a friend as well.
We are long overdue for a chat and I am looking forward to going a few easy miles today with Chris Short.
A Runner In Disguise
According to Chris Short, he and running have always had an interesting relationship.
Chris was always athletic while growing up and was involved in sports year-round.
His greatest strength in any sport was that he had the ability to seemingly run forever.
Upon entering college his activity level dropped causing him to gain weight.
During his junior year of college, Chris wanted to get in shape again.
He turned to running due to its simplicity and the fact that he could do it anywhere and anytime.
After college, Chris once again became more sedentary, and running went to the back burner.
Chris is admittedly either consistently good or consistently bad with his habits.
Taking The First, Of Many, Steps
After a few years of being consistently bad with his health habits, Christmas of 2015 would be the start of the good habits.
Chris received a Fitbit as a Christmas gift and being competitive, he joined a step challenge with a co-worker.
The challenge was, in a way, the catalyst to how Chris got to where he is today.
Once the challenge was finished, Chris continued with his goal of 10,000 steps per day, even through the winter.
When the weather didn’t make it possible to walk outside, Chris turned to his treadmill.
Walking so many miles on the treadmill got monotonous, so Chris changed things up by adding in short spurts of running.
The running began to lengthen in duration and coupled with healthier eating, Chris began to shed more weight.
Once Spring came around, Chris began to run outside and signed up for his first 5k.
After completing his first 5k Chris realized two things: that he loved racing and was hooked on running.
He naturally progressed through the various distances and worked his way from a 10k up to a marathon in the coming years.
Prior to working with Denny as his coach, Chris typically followed generic, one-size-fits-all plans.
In the early stages of racing, he learned through his mistakes.
Chris hit the wall hard in his first marathon due to a lack of fueling correctly.
That first marathon only served as motivation for Chris to find ways to improve.
The first step he took was scheduling a consult with Denny which led to hiring him as his coach in November of 2017.
Before Chris began to set his sights on some big goals, he first focused on his health.
When his daughter was young, it was more challenging to make himself a priority.
As she got older, Chris began to carve out the time for his health which included running.
Once he began to focus more on making healthier food choices and being more active his wife joined in.
Chris found that his journey to improved health was made easier and more sustainable with the support of others in his household.
Tracking his food was one simple way for him to stay aware of what and how much he was consuming.
To date, Chris has lost over 100 pounds while creating healthier habits that will last a lifetime.
It’s Okay To Fail
Once Chris signed on with Denny, he shared that his primary goal in his second marathon was to run a Boston qualifier.
At the time, he required a 45 minute PR to reach his qualifying time.
Chris and Denny both agree that while it was a big goal it wasn’t necessarily out of reach.
In the end, he missed qualifying by about 5 minutes, but he still ran a 40 minute PR from his previous marathon.
He learned that it was okay to fail.
In his failed attempt to qualify, Chris managed to run his BQ pace for 12 to 13 miles which was longer than he had ever done before.
Chicago of 2018 was the next time that Chris attempted to BQ.
He once again didn’t meet his goal, but each attempt keeps pushing the needle forward and one step closer to a BQ.
Ultramarathoner At Heart
Chris refers to himself as an ultramarathoner at heart.
He doesn’t necessarily love the trails, but he does enjoy competing in multiple race distances over a weekend.
His favorite challenge race that he completed was the Philly Challenge.
The challenge included a half-marathon and an 8k on Saturday followed by a marathon on Sunday.
The total distance accumulated over the course of 2 days was 44.27 miles.
Chris approaches each challenge differently depending on when the distances occur.
The appeal for him is that there is not as much pressure as there may be for a single race distance.
He feels freer to run each distance without any expectations.
Focusing On The Big Picture
Chris, not unlike so many other runners, is familiar with injuries.
In 2019, Chris was forced to take time off from running due to surgery, and again in 2020 running had to take a back seat.
In February of 2020, Chris was running in a 40-mile race, and during the event, he felt his ankle twist.
He was able to finish, but the damage had been done which ultimately prevented Chris from running for a few months.
In the time he was unable to run, Chris asked himself what he could do.
Denny and Chris came up with a plan that included biking, stretching, and strength.
The little things that he added have now become part of his routine.
The addition of all those things has made him a better and more injury resistant runner.
A Metaphor For Life
Chris never could have imagined how running could transform his life, yet that is what has happened.
Running is a part of who he is now.
Along with serving as an outlet for him, it has also brought him and his wife closer.
Chris views running as a metaphor for life with the many ups and downs and challenges.
He has no intention of ever stopping and hopes to remain healthy enough to always do the sport he loves.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Philadelphia Marathon
- Coach Jay Johnson Shares His Simple, But Not Easy, Tips for Becoming a Better Runner
Stay connected with Chris Short by following him on Twitter.
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