Friday, April 22, 2011

A great inspiration

This is a great inspirational story written by a man that I have gotten to know. He is a wonderful person that truly has a passion for life. You can find his blog by going to
By Dorrian Rhodes, guest community blogger

Rhodes will be occasionally blogging for RunOregon as he continues on his journey towards his ultimate goal (read below to learn about that). I first met Rhodes through the RunOregon facebook page and then again later at the Operation Jack 6-hour run held at Summerlake Park in Tigard. When I learned about his accomplishments and what he still hoped to achieve, I asked him to share his story with RunOregon. If you want to get in touch with Dorrian, email us at and we'll forward it on to him; just include "For Dorrian" in the email subject line.

Dorrian-Rhodes.pngRhodes (#5244) at the 2011 Heartbreaker Half Marathon.
The term “obese” in America often conjures imagery of a slovenly person lying on a
couch late at night, surrounded by bags of chips and cookies, watching infomercials.
These slobs are often emotional wrecks without self-esteem or hope, and every story
related to how they came to their present condition, obesity, is sad. However, while
the criteria above for obesity fits some people; to say it fits all obese people is absurd and overbroad. 

Not all obese people share the same story. For some of us, our ability to manage care for ourselves has been overshadowed due to caring for others. Daily workouts take a backseat to properly managing household affairs and employment opportunities, also known as the daily grind. Days blur into weeks and weeks into years as our waistlines expand to resemble that of the couch potato, rather than Kate Moss. I share this story with many people who like me find themselves also overweight or obese. But a year and a half ago, something changed inside and set into motion the idea of a new possibility…that I could complete a 100-mile race. At the time, I was 365 pounds.

I believe that any worthwhile task starts with inspiration. My inspiration began when
I watched a documentary called The Spirit of the Marathon. In the documentary, four
average runners, and two elites, trained to run the Chicago Marathon. 

Of the stories that were covered, the one that I found most interesting was the one that wasn’t. As the runners lined up at the starting line, the camera briefly stopped on a runner with a prosthetic leg. Those of us with all of our limbs constantly complain about what we aren’t capable of doing. Yet, many physically disabled people rise to the challenge, and live at levels far beyond our own. I pondered within myself for an excuse or justification for not being active, when a disabled runner was about to prove that he was able. That was it! Inspiration was in the building.

There are few obstacles that can’t be overcome without training. At almost four times
the distance of a marathon, running a 100-miler seems to suggest that those who do them are not only extremist, but are just plain nuts. For even the advanced and long standing runner, my idea was extreme and far-fetched. Everyone I talked to expressed caution and various medical reports on knee injuries related to force impact. 

With that in mind, I started small by walking with my children. I also began to read literature on endurance running, and learned about running shoe construction. Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof has been instrumental in helping my advancement in running and hiking. Armed with information, inspiration and desire, I slowly began to increase my weekly mileage. After shredding 50 pounds from my body, the journey continues in making this soft hunk of man into a hardened endurance runner.

You may be wondering where to begin. Start with getting to know your feet. Go to a
running shoe store like Fit Right, Road Runner Sports, or the Portland Running Company to get your feet evaluated at no cost. All running shoes don’t require running, start with walking daily. I want other obese and overweight people to know that a healthy lifestyle is not beyond your reach. Find your inspiration, be consistent and you are already on your way!

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