Here is Part Two of Kenny's story. I asked Kenny to tell me about his running journey and accomplishments and how he began to love running. If you missed part one of his story, read it now. Congratulations Kenny and thanks for sharing your story - Dr. Cory Nyamora.
By Kenny Malabag:
March 25, 2012 was my first ever-half marathon and it was with you (Dr. Cory Nyamora and Endurance Team). I completed it in 3 hours and 23 min about a 16 min pace per mile. I thought I was going to die! I think I weighed 275 pounds back then, and I swore to myself that I would never do that again!
I started to walk, jog, and run in July 2014, but was only doing it to burn calories to lose weight.
As I started to run more, I started to meet runners, and started to get introduced into that community.
My sister's partner, Tom, was actually running a 10K race in order to get ready to join your Run Like a Kenyan...In Kenya program for the half -marathon. Ironically because he was training for your event, it got me back to my first race since 2012.
In October 2014, I completed the 10K in 1hr 15mins about a 12 min pace per mile.
My 2nd race was a totally different experience than my first one. I really took a look around at the other runners, and was in awe of how many people enjoyed doing this! Not only that, but people well into their years were not only run the race, but were kicking my ass! I was inspired! I saw this as an opportunity to get better, and the potential to improve.
My Second Ever- Half Marathon came in August 2015.
It has been 10 months since the last race which was only a 10K. I didn't know it, but I was ready for this half marathon. Up to this point I was not training for races, I was only running to burn calories to lose weight.
My only goal for this half marathon was to finish it running the entire 13.1 miles without having to stop or walk.
About a half mile into the race, a pacemaker with a sign that said 2 Hrs and 9:09 pace passed me. There was a pretty good crowd behind them, and I decided I would follow at this pace and see how I do.
When I got to about 8 miles into the race I was feeling good, not tired, my legs were not sore and I was feeling amazing. I snapped a selfie and you can see I'm barely breaking a sweat.
When I got to the last mile, it dawned on me that I was doing really well. Not only did I meet my goal of running the whole time without stopping or walking, but I just ran it at a 9 min pace!
When I crossed the finished line and completed my second half marathon in 2hrs I felt like I could accomplish anything! I was bitten by the running bug, and I couldn't wait to do more races.
After my second half marathon, I began looking at running completely different. I wanted to be a great runner so I started reading about elite long distance runners. Somehow after learning about Abebe Bikila a double Olympic Marathon champion who ran barefoot in Rome and watching amazing runners like Haile Gebrselassie, Meb Keflezighi, and Mo Farah and seeing their speed and endurance it had a very profound impact on me. And now even in my late thirties I wanted to be like these guys. Running was no longer something I did for recreation or exercise, I was all determined that I was going to train, and to take running very seriously. I was now running races to compete, and to actually place very high in my age division, and to win awards.
The only thing was that I had never done this as a sport. I had no high school training or college training when it came to running. I was basically in the dark.
You referred me to Matt Fitzgerald when you took a sabbatical in early 2016. Matt wrote me a training plan, but I called it my blueprint, because up until that point I had now real knowledge of how to train or what I was doing. But when I got Matt's blueprint, it is as if I had been so lost in life and now I found a direction.
My next half marathon was in May 2016 in Sacramento, CA. I chose this race because other races only gave awards to the top 3 runners, but I think because this race was so large it was giving awards to the top 5 finishers in their age group. So I had it in my mind that I was going to finish top 5 and win my first award!
I told a few of my co-workers about my goal, and they looked at me like I was very naive. They even laughed at me and began to give me a reality check. They told me that people who run these races that finish top 10 even in their respective age group have been running most of their lives so I was told to forget getting a placing in the top 5. I was reminded that the people I will be competing with were most likely high school or even college track stars, that they have been training a lot longer than I have, run more miles and more races than I have, and had way more experience. They were right. But what they didn't have was my heart, and the fact that I believed that I could do it.
When all was said and done, I finished Top 3!
I believed in myself when no one else did, and ever since that race I've been pushing myself to be like those runners that I mentioned earlier.
Here are a few of my accomplishments.
I've run 16 total races
8 half marathons
(1) 10 miler
(1) 1500 meter and (1) 3000 meter track meet.
First Personal Record: Finished half Marathon in 1 hour 42 min.
Dr. Cory Nyamora is an endurance sports coach, a licensed clinical psychologist, and the founder of Endurance – A Sports & Psychology Center, Inc. He provides endurance coaching for beginner and experienced athletes, as well as psychotherapy services to children, adults, and families. Find out more at Run in Kenya and Endurance - A Sports and Psychology Center.