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Columbus, OH 43215
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Success Story: Jeff Johnson

Department of Public Service
Refuse Collection Supervisor- Morse Rd.

Jeff Johnson Success

Why Run?  I used to ask this same question every time I would hear stories from a runner.  So when Healthy Columbus hosted an employee 5k, I decided I was going to give it a try.  About a week before the scheduled date I figured I better go for a run to see what I could do before showing up at Wolfe Park just to make a fool of myself.  I ran about a mile that day and it was not easy.  I showed up the day of the 5k, nervous but ready to go for it.  Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to thunderstorms.  Regretfully, I did not run again until the next year when Healthy Columbus put together their second employee 5k.  Again, about a week before the event, I went for a short run to get myself prepared. 

This time the weather was not quite as bad and I was able to complete the 5k.  I could not believe how good I felt when it was over.  I surprised myself.  But now I had to wonder,  “what else I could do?”  I started running at least once a week, each time competing against myself to see if I could go further or faster.  I signed up for the OSU 4miler and set a goal to complete it in a half hour.  I did complete it, but in 35 minutes.  Even though I fell short of my goal, I still felt really good about what I was able to accomplish.  I even felt like I could have ran further when it was over.  The cold weather moved in and I stopped running for the winter.  That is until I saw Healthy Columbus had a discount for the 2016 Cap City Half Marathon and to get the best price I had to sign up before the end of the year.

Naturally I waited about as long as I could to commit and finally signed up on December 30th.  Immediately the anxiety set in, from a 4 miler to a 13.1 mile marathon…what was I thinking?  I had not ran in months now and was full of doubt.   Fleet Feet had a spring training series to help get prepared for Cap City and I figured I need something to hold me accountable.  So on Jan 5th I signed up for their 10k in March and their 15k in April.  It was time to start running because I knew a 10k was not going to be easy.  Thank goodness Healthy Columbus opened Front Street Fitness because I am not a fan of the cold weather. 

The first day I walked in there ready to run, I felt like an idiot. I was 37 years old to had to ask how to use the treadmill.  Pat, the center support specialist was very helpful in getting me started;  it was not long before I finally beat my 4 mile goal.  It seems like every time I run, I am setting new personal records.  Either making it further or faster, constantly surprising myself as to what I am capable of. 

On April 30th,  I completed my first half marathon.  It was definitely not an easy 13 miles but I could not be prouder to have completed, and in only 2 hours.  The support and encouragement you get from fellow runners along the way is incredible.   Running these races is not about being the first to cross the finish line.  It is a huge accomplishment for each person out on the course that day.  No matter how fast you finish, getting out there and seeing what you are capable of feels great!  Plus it is a great excuse to eat Hot Chicken Takeover!

So Why Run?  Well I guess until you get out there and try it, you won’t know.  I have to schedule time to make sure I fit some runs in each week.  To get outdoors and hit a trail is almost my favorite way to spend time by myself.   I clear my mind of all the stress and just take in the scenery as I explore new views of the city.  It’s a bonus when I finish a run to find that I set a new personal record.  Every time I run, I have the same sense of accomplishment to have done more than I thought I could!