My Fitness Journey: David Jacobs
Since I began writing my blog a few months ago, I have been fortunate to forge relationships with some race directors. Once such director, let me to this runner’s story. I am pleased and honored to share his story with you today!
I grew up in the 50s and 60s in Normal, Illinois (Bloomington/Normal) home of State Farm Insurance and Illinois State University. As a child, we played outside year round including winter and summer, and we were always running and riding our bikes. From my middle school days through high school, I mowed lawns and delivered newspapers. Also, I worked on a farm which included heavy lifting and long hours of plain old hard work. I didn’t get into school sports until high school when I went out for cross country and track in my junior year in 1966 when I finally could drive to get to practice. I wasn’t great at any other sports and really didn’t like contact sports at all, so I found my niche in running. When I see high school runners at the trail training, I’ll tell them that running doesn’t get much attention like other sports, but you can run your whole life whereas all the others are short term. After high school, I didn’t run competitively again until 1998 when I was 48.
High School Cross Country picture from my year book, 1967
After high school, I spent three years in the US Army and started my career in radio communications. In these early working years, I worked as a technician which required lots of hard lifting and outdoor work. I actually climbed radio communications towers so I had lots of leg power doing that. Around 1982, I determined that I was getting too lazy, and by then I was in a less active job and so I joined the local gym and found I liked working out with free weights, although I still found that short runs were something I was really best at. Then, in 1998 my sister-in-law put my name in the lottery to run the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta, but I didn’t get my name drawn. Instead, I entered and ran the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot which was the beginning of my real running program. I finally did run the Peachtree in 2011, but by then I had qualified so I didn’t have to go through the lottery.
Boston Marathon Finish Line 2015
In 2000 I ran my first marathon in Tampa and since then I have run 35 marathons and 15 of those are consecutive Boston Marathons starting in 2002. My PR in the marathon is still the 2011 3:27 in NYC with most of my times in the 3:30s. Along with marathons, I have run close to 100 other races including half marathons, 15K, 10K, 5K and a number of 5-milers.
Over the course of my running career, I have had only a few medical setbacks, other than overuse type of issues, but really nothing that caused me to stop for any length of time:
- In 2012 I had an inguinal hernia repaired which caused me to stop running for about two weeks.
- In March of 2014, I had 90% blockage in my right artery which required a stent. I actually ran for three months including several races and a couple long 20 mile runs with this blockage until I decided to go to the ER. It’s a man thing okay! Since Boston was only 33 days away, some doctors were against me running this marathon, but with some whining and pleading I was able to convince them to let me jog/walk it. Wow!
- In October 2014, I had a herniated L4-5 disc which limited my running for a few weeks. Treatment so far is my inversion table and lots of core work. I am still experiencing numbness and cramping pain in my right foot and especially in my big toe. Running doesn’t seem to make it worse.
- In May 2016, only three weeks after 2016 Boston, I experienced chest tightness which required a second stent in the same right artery. Apparently the artery with the first stent over grew and narrowed the artery so a stent was inserted inside the first. This is very rare with approximately 1% of people with stents having this happen! Lucky me! But really, there was no actual down time.
My current training plan is running 4 days a week, anywhere from 20-60 miles per week. In between running days, I like to cross train with weight training, spin classes, and swimming. I think like many runners that it’s important to keep a running base so when getting into your marathon training plan you don’t have to work so hard. I typically run a couple paved trails nearby and avoid running in the road. Since I am such a runner junkie, I may run a 20 miler just because it feels good. Here in Florida to get hill training most runners go to San Antonio, FL, Clearwater Bridges, or Brooksville. I cannot emphasize enough to train hills if you want a great Boston Marathon.
I will leave you with this:
“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.” – Plato
Remember to train right, train often, and of course