Name: Scott A. Lithgow
Occupation: Customer Service
Hometown: Mount Joy
How long have you been running?
I have been running since January 2016.
What prompted you to start?
In September 2015, I was 55 years old and over 300 pounds. My daughter was ready to give birth to my first grandchild. It was then that I realized if I wanted to see him grow up, I needed to change things drastically and quickly.
How often do you run?
I run every other day before work, and on Saturdays I do a long run that is anywhere from six to 13 miles.
What is your routine?
During the week, I get up at 5:30 a.m. and am out of the house by 6:15 a.m. I run a minimum of two miles and occasionally I get up to four miles. At lunch during the week, I walk a two mile route with my co-worker. At night, I go to the gym and do a turf class, spin class, or a body pump class. Occasionally, I will play pickleball or walk or run on the inside 200 meter track. I do my long run on Saturday and a long walk the following morning on Sunday. My Garmin goal is a very minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
Do you race? If so, how often, and what kind of races?
I ran my first 5K in February 2016, which led me to sign up to run a four mile race with my daughter on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in March 2016 as well as my first half marathon in April 2016. By the end of 2016, I went from never running a day in my life to completing 14 5Ks, a four miler, a five miler on the 4th of July, a 10K, and three half marathons. During my first half marathon in April, I crossed the finish line in 2:58, and I only stopped once for a potty break.
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I completed my third half marathon at the Hershey Half with my daughter, who is an accomplished runner, and she got me across the finish line in 2:29. In 2017, I’ve already run two 5Ks, and I am training for a half marathon on April 8. I’ve also signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May, and I am a captain for a Ragnar Relay on June 2. My goal is to run at least one 5K each month throughout the year.
Do you engage in other sports or activities? If so, what and how often?
I occasionally play pickleball, and after losing weight I started snow skiing and ice skating again. My wife and I also enjoy bike riding together on the rail trails in the area.
What’s the most rewarding part of running for you?
I have met the most amazing and supportive runners over the past year from all over the world who have become life long friends of mine. They helped me out and answered all the questions I had when I first started running. The highlight and most rewarding part of running for me is getting to run with my daughter Amanda. I have always supported her in her running over the years, but I never thought we would ever get to run together. Now, we run occasionally in the mornings, and do long runs together on weekends. The biggest highlight was running the Hershey Half together in October in 2:29 the day before my 56th birthday.
Please describe your weight loss journey, including your before and after weights.
I was 300 pounds in September 2015 and suffered from asthma, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. I had been that weight for the past 20 years of my life. Finally, enough was enough and I bought a tracker that September of 2015 and I started walking, which eventually led me to join a gym and start lifting and participating in group classes. After I started running, my weight loss journey really became a reality. I went from barely fitting in size 46 pants, to starting to wear a size 36.
As I type this, I am 206 pounds and slowly working towards my first goal of hitting 200 pounds. I eventually would like to be 180 pounds. Since I started my weight loss journey, I have not had to use an inhaler in 18 months, my asthma is now non-existent, and I’ve stopped taking my daily asthma preventive prescription. I also no longer need to use a C-PAP machine, as I no longer have sleep apnea. And as for my high blood pressure, I’m still trying to convince my doctor that I should wean off of my medication for that as well.
What is the secret to your weight loss success?
The secret to my weight loss success is portion control, drinking water (no soda), no candy, no cookies, and no cake. Instead, I’ve replaced those foods with apples, bananas, and oranges. I also eat a salad every day at lunch and I have cut out snacking after dinner. I also belong to a Facebook challenge group that I joined in 2016 to walk or run 2,016 miles in a year. I actually finished the year at over 2,500 miles. I joined the same Facebook group this year and I am getting close to 500 miles to date. Overall, staying active daily is my secret.
How do you stay motivated?
Running and walking have become addicting, and I cannot sit down and be idle for very long anymore. In addition, fitting into clothes I had kept but not worn in 20 years helps me to feel young again and continue my weight loss journey.
Do you have any favorite motivational quotes?
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
What are your current short and long term goals?
My long term goal is to continue to walk and run daily for the rest of my life. I will also continue to race 5Ks to half marathons. If my lower back can cooperate, I eventually might consider tackling a full marathon, and I also would like to take up trail running this year. One of my main goals is to show others my age that it is never too late to turn it around and be healthy and fit again.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Running has changed my life. Eighteen months ago I would have told anyone that there is no such thing as a runner’s high. I definitely know the truth now, as I experience it every day and I am a much happier person in my daily life at home and at work because of it. Runner’s World has helped me over the past year with informative articles that assist me with my new found love for running.
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This article originally appeared on RunnersWorld.com.