Thunder Bay Marathon – Paul Hessey runner profile: Keep going – try to go faster this year!


Paul HesseyTHUNDER BAY – The 3rd annual Thunder Bay Marathon-Miles with the Giant will take place on Sunday, September 23, 2012 and features a half marathon of 13.1 miles, a full marathon of 26.2 miles, 10K races and a series of associated events. The course will combine urban, park and residential settings combined with the beauty of Lake Superior’s shoreline.

Paul Hessey is a local Thunder Bay marathon runner. Here is a profile with his thoughts on running a marathon.

When did you start running and what prompted it?

Started running about 4 -5 years ago by accident. Was walking daily 5-7km and a certain girl – Sandy Guthrie – encouraged me by telling me I was one step away from running. So I started running one minute walking one minute. This year I am entering the 10 miler for the 4th time with the Fresh Air Training group and I’ll do Miles for the Giant again too.

What was your first organized race? Tell us about your experience.

My first race was the Fresh Air 10K – I was cold. I had a fine race with lots of great people and then discovered I had brought the house key with me, not my car key! No extra clothes…no phone…all locked safely in my car! On a borrowed cell phone luckily my son was awake and home and answered my call and I froze while I waited. I learned to always have the CORRECT key and extra clothes AT the race!

How many organized races have you participated in?

Several maybe 10 or so? Looking to give a triathlon a go.

What motivates you to keep running?

I just enjoy the feel of it – out in the air , different places, stay fit and feel a tad like I am still 10 years old.

Have you been sidelined by an injury? If so, what happened and how did you deal with it?

Ah! I had an interesting injury. I hurt my piriformis muscle which connects your spine to your pelvis aka your butt. I did it while running my second Ten Miler road race – literally broke my a$$! It hurt a lot and took quite some time to fully heal. At least it was a funny injury, of course I was the butt of several jokes and I had some fun offering to show my injury.

I couldn’t run steadily for any distance past 3km for about 4 months. I swim too – competed when I was young – that helped. I also have a great chiropractor, Dr. Brian Schroeder, who discovered I was running misaligned. Now I run technically better, and no pain in the rear! So ‘in the end’ so to speak the injury helped me be a stronger runner.

How does running help you in your daily life?

It maintains my mental as much as physical health. I know I will run at least every other day as a building block to my general well being. It feels good to take care of yourself. I always feel better after a run.

What tips or advice would you share with other new runners?

Always carry your house/car key somewhere safe and get a Road ID. I started slow and was encouraged by training with the Fresh Air group. Join a group. A fave quote I saw said ‘No matter how slow I go I am always lapping the guy on the couch’. Just start! An old Buddhist expression says, ‘When is the best time to plant a tree? 25 years ago. When is the second best time? Right now’.

Do you have any running goals for this year?

Keep going – try to go faster this year.

Any final thoughts?

I began walking then running as a result of significant changes in my personal life, not all by my choosing. It has helped me stay balanced mentally and focus on taking better care of my self – I was a smoker most of my life now almost 3 years clean – decided better to run than smoke.

I also can’t thank Al Cranston and Sandy Guthrie enough, both encouraged me to start and keep going today .

I have played music most of my life too, I have been very fortunate in that regard, and I have discovered two major similarities. One both groups are equipment hounds! The other is shared experience, both groups put themselves in situations that are challenging. When you have shared a big stage or run a tough race course and completed it – good, bad, or indifferent – there is someone else who did it too. They know the work that went into meeting that goal.

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