Nothing changes if nothing changes

Monday morning I found myself becoming a member of a web site that I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would even visit. I joined You see, I have NEVER been an athlete. Let me check… Yep, in almost 58 years I have never found myself being a jock. That web site in no means resembles my self-image.

I am sure you are wondering what brought me to imathelte. This past week I started a Couch to 5K (C25K) program. C25K is a 9 week series of runs that progressively condition non-runners to run a 5K race. It uses interval training moving the new runner from mostly walking to running by the end of the series. I wanted to put some skin in the game and registered for a local charity 5K run through The race entry is paid for, and I committed to run the 5K with some friends. That should cement the deal for me.

I have never aspired to run. From those torturous high school gym classes to work outings, I avoided any physical activity that involved running like it was the plague. I was generally one of the last persons selected when choosing sides for a team. Physical ability, endurance and coordination are just not my strong points. Running required way too much effort for no obvious gain.

How did I find myself wanting to run a 5K? There are a couple of motivators. First, I have been trying to change my life to a much healthier and active life. I cycle as much as I can. I’ve taken yoga. I do like to hike and have dabbled in snowshoeing. Unfortunately snow never materialized to a deep enough layer this winter to try my new snowshoes. Running, that foreign strange desire of others, began to intrigue me as something I wanted to try.

My second motivator is my pal Chuck. I met Chuck three years ago on a bike ride and a great friendship has developed. He is also a weight loss surgery post-op and attends my bariatric support group. From the first time I met Chuck, I remember him telling me how much he enjoyed running and that he was going to run a marathon. My first thought was, “Sure, you are?!?!” Well, he did and not just one but many. When putting together my 2012 wellness vision, I decided to give a nod to our friendship and add running a 5K to my goals for 2012. I felt I owed it to him as my mentor and friend.

I don’t think my story is different than many other people. In this world you are either a jock or not a jock. I fit very squarely into that non-jock classification. I was a star student and excelled in academics. This has followed me into my professional career and adult life. I strive to excel through my organizational, management and communication skills. We all choose the path of least resistance and the path most appealing. Ask a person to describe me and they will tell you I am a friendly amiable guy who is extremely well organized with a great attention to detail.

At this point in my life, I want to challenge my boundaries. They have served me well. I am happy with my professional and life accomplishments. But, I want to break out of that mold that I was forced into as a child. I now know there is no black or white; jock or not a jock. It’s my turn to get out there and try new things like running to show myself that I can do it.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes” I came across this quote last week in a discussion forum. It really spoke to me and what I have to do. C25K is just the next step on my horizon. I don’t know where it will take me. Will I run more or chalk this up to a new experience I can talk about in the years to come? Will it lead to another activity that intrigues me; perhaps something I feared in my past? I don’t know. Most importantly, it is moving me forward in the right direction. Are you moving forward, standing still, or even moving backward?  Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes.

This post is dedicated to my pal Chuck. He moves me forward and challenges me to make those changes. Thanks, Chuck.

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  1. Chuck Gough March 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you Tom for the kind words. I think we both have a way to push each other to new heights. Your dedication to biking has truley made the Spinoff’s the great success that it is today. Your an inspiration and I probably wouldn’t be pushing myself on the bike as hard or had done the Gap and C&O canal trip last year without you. I was happy you went with me. I am sure
    we will have many more hours of fun biking and now running in the future.


  2. Paul Hiles March 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Tom, that was a great article. You and the Spin Offs have been a great motivation to me. If you have not read the book “An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age”, I would recommend it.

  3. Judith (Jae) Broadhurst March 26, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    “Nothing changes if nothing changes” has been my motto for as long as I can remember (which is way back to my 20s, when it was “anything worth doing is worth doing to excess” — which didn’t turn out very well). It’s been on my website since 2002, at least. I’ve never heard it from anyone else until I just searched Google and found your post. Good luck with the running (or walking and running, for an interval training variation). Spinoff is a great name for a biking group, if that’s what it is.

    1. TomBilcze March 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks, Jae! It is a perfect quote in its simplicity and the message. Yes, the Spin-offs is a bicycle club that encourages healthy living through an active life.


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