My guest today is someone that I met over social media and after many months of chatting, I knew that we would have a lot of topics to cover.
Finally, our schedules have aligned and here we are.
I’m looking forward to going a few easy miles today with Keith West.
How It All Started
When Keith West was a child running wasn’t available to him.
There were no track or cross country programs at the schools that he attended.
Keith played various other sports growing up, but always viewed running as a punishment.
It has only been recently that Keith began to really enjoy the sport.
His first introduction to running was at a corporate 5k that he participated in.
Keith had no idea how to train or the proper shoes to wear.
He did all of his training on a treadmill in air conditioning.
His first 5k was during a Florida summer and though it was much different than he expected, he finished the race.
A Thriving Running Community
Shortly after completing his first 5k, Keith moved to the Atlanta area.
He quickly realized that Atlanta was a hub for runners and that there were races nearly every weekend.
As Keith continued to run more frequently, he found that he felt better overall.
Prior to running, he was close to 300 pounds.
The weight began to come off as he became more consistent with running, which was another motivator to continue.
His progression up to the half marathon came over the course of a year-long race series.
The Iron Horse Challenge was a series of races that included a 5k, 10k, 15k, and then culminated in a half marathon.
Successfully completing the challenge gave Keith the confidence to continue to push his limits.
Rain Or Shine, But Mostly Rain
Keith has had bad luck when it came to race day weather.
The first 6 half marathons he ever ran, had less than ideal weather conditions.
Rain, wind, and unbearable heat and humidity were a few of the things that he had to contend with.
Keith realized that running in all kinds of weather, helped to strengthen the mental side of his running.
Along with running half marathons, Keith has also run 2 marathons.
He enjoys the distance but doesn’t love training in the southern heat over the summer.
Keith was scheduled to run the Chicago marathon in 2021.
His plan was to fly in on a Friday and run the race on Sunday.
He experienced multiple flight delays along the way and during that time he noticed that he was having trouble breathing.
Keith attributed the breathing issue to anxiety surrounding the delays in travel leading up to the race.
The following morning, Keith was in the city when he unexpectedly passed out.
He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with a double pulmonary embolism.
Rather than run the race on Sunday, he spent 4 days in the hospital recovering.
The cause of the blood clot was never determined, but Keith was just thankful to be alive.
Keith was cleared to start running again around Halloween.
He was surprised that his running fitness returned quicker than he anticipated.
His health scare taught him to listen to his body better this time around when running and training.
Keith is determined to continue running and has a packed schedule of races for the upcoming year.
His schedule includes weekend challenges, half marathons, and marathons.
He is also returning to Chicago in 2022 to finish what he started the year before.
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