The longer I train, the more it becomes abundantly clear that this road is absolutely unique for everyone who travels it. However, we all draw inspiration from people who’s story sounds similar or struggles are relatable and for that reason, I’d like to introduce you all to another amazing athlete: Jon “@ImInHereSomewhere” Posen. I personally love how Jon has overcome injuries and integrated fitness into his family life. I know Emma (daughter) will grow up seeing the example he and Sam (wife) set for her!
Hello, I’m Jon Posen, 33 years old. I live in Lansdale, PA with my wife, Sam (@momontherunpa), our daughter, Emma, and our dog, Lucy. Emma, 14 months, has been the center of our world, and now Sam and I are trying to figure how to get our lives back to a new equilibrium. It’s been a ride for sure.
How’d you get your start? And where there any bumps in the road? How are things different this time around?
I was an athlete through school but had always struggled with my weight. I wasn’t the fat kid, always athletic, but just generally big. Once I graduated college in ‘06 and the sporting structure of my life ended, things got out of hand. Weight went on and I didn’t really do anything to stop it.
September 2010. No idea my weight. But I would guess 300+ With my two sisters on the left and Sam on the right. Thats one big dude in the middle.
Everything changed October 2010. Mens league slow pitch softball championship. Yea we made the finals. No better time to give it my all, try to slide into third base and…
Ankle broke and dislocated. I have some gross pictures, if people want I can post one. This may have been the best, thing to happen to me. Without this injury I would have never gotten on a bike during my physical therapy. I never would have gotten into cycling as a way of trying to get healthy. Soon after my injury my uncle gave me a bike. It was an old Raleigh road bike. I was way too heavy for it, but I sure put some miles on that thing. I popped a spoke every other time I rode it because I was about 325 at this time coming off of 3 months on the couch recovering from a few surgeries. I ended up saving up and buying a hybrid bike at the end of the summer in 2011, and rode 80 miles in the MS City to Shore in September. I was on the right track.
The winter from 2011-2012 we started shedding for the wedding. Sam convinced me that I should do a 5K, so that was the goal. We did a 5k in march, a 4 mile race in April, and I had signed up for my first triathlon in June 2012. I had peaked. I was just under 270, it was two weeks before the wedding. The swim was cancelled, turning it into a run, bike, run. I ran the first two miles at a 9:15, rode my hybrid at 17.5 mph for 12 miles, and then ran a 29:29 5k [DAMN bro!]. See what I mean about I peaked? We got married, and continued that summer to do a color run, a mud run and I capped the season off by doing the 100 mile route for the MS City to Shore.
I really didn’t do much over the winter. We got a dog, so I assumed walking her every day would keep me in shape. The 2013 season had me hungry to do a real triathlon so I signed up for a local race and something that seemed great at the time happened. I entered the clydesdale division. Yup, if you weigh more than 220 you are a clydesdale. I placed third in the clydesdale division and I guess you could say I stopped trying after that. I slacked on my training because I had one good result. I figured I could keep racing fatties and keep bringing home hardware. Not really. The rest of that season and the following season I didn’t even place in the top half of the clydesdale division. I was eating everything I could find, gaining weight, and training less and less.
Some time between the 2014 and 2015 season I developed what was later diagnosed as exercise induced compartment syndrome. I thought it was just shin splints and told myself stop being fat. Run through the pain and you will come out on the other side better for it. It wasn’t working. I pretty much stopped running, stopped trying and stopped caring. I still considered myself an athlete, so I signed up for an aquabike. It was a nice slap in the face to me. I felt like a loser walking over to pick up my medal instead of running across the finish line with everyone who was finishing the entire triathlon.
November 2015. I convinced myself that I had to do something about my weight. I signed up for a 5k with my friend, Mike, in Chicago. ￼
This is a great picture because we started this journey together. We were both well over 300 in this picture. He is under 250 these days looking and feeling great. I’m well on my way. This 5K was actually a real low point for me. Because of my compartment syndrome it took me 58 minutes. I would start running, and my foot would go numb, then immense pain would shoot up my leg. It really opened my eyes that I might have a medical problem. I went to a doctor in December. Nothing seemed to work. My one doctor thought it was a nerve issue. Another recommended acupuncture. No results. I saw a specialist in January and ended up in surgery in February. I’m so glad I did. My weight peaked in January at 329lbs.
After my surgery I began running again. No pain. I ran sparingly though. I was real heavy and didn’t want to risk injury. I wanted to do it right this time. Slow and steady. We had a baby coming in May. I had to be there for her. I had to get my weight under control. I had to get my life together before I could be responsible for another.
The 2016 season was uneventful. My training was slowed by a new baby being around and not really caring to get faster or really try at anything except be there for my wife and try to get some sleep. I participated in a few races, but wouldn’t say I actually competed.
Flash forward to September 2016. Sam and I decided we are ready to make ourselves a priority again. We need to get our lives back in order and set a good, healthy, active example for Emma. We are in this together. We started the couch to 5k program over culminating in a 5K on Thanksgiving morning. For the first time in probably 3 years or so, I ran a 5k without walking a single step. That has been my goal. Since Thanksgiving, I have completed 5 more 5ks, a 5 miler, 2 sprint triathlons, and a ¼ marathon. No walking. Sam was right beside me for all of the running events. Emma rode along for most of the 5ks too. We are on our way. We are doing this together. I weighed in Friday at 275. [Hell ya Jon!! That’s awesome!]
What has been the hardest thing for you to overcome in training?
Mental toughness, and feeling like this should be easy. Trying to let past accomplishment take me forward. Saying things to myself like, “I used to be able to run fast.” I find myself trying to mentally move too fast. “I’ve been training for x months, why aren’t I faster? Why haven’t I lost more weight?” That kind of thing. Just getting ahead of myself.
You have a lot of races coming up, which is the the biggest for you? Why?
I have two. Wildwood in three weeks. It’s the first of my stepping stone races. I want to get off the bike and run 5 miles(3 in the sand) without walking. Then I want to finish a half marathon. That will more than likely be Philly in November. I’ll be 34 in two weeks. My goal is to complete an Ironman 70.3 while I’m 35.
How have you gone about training? Any method to the madness?
Yes and no. I have been piecing together training plans from all over the internet. Since I have taken a from scratch approach to this training, I started with the couch to 5k program as my run training. My goal has been no walking. I have concentrated on running while adding in as many bike rides and swims as I can fit in. Not the best structure, but for short courses I think it’s been working. For the half marathon we will be using the Hal Higdon novice training program. I have taken all of these random internet plans and built this calendar that we put our workouts on post it notes. It’s all color coded and when you complete your workout, you toss the post it.
Do you have any bucket list races?
The Norseman. HAHA. Have you heard of that race? Its insane. [Uh, ya! I was watching the livestream this past weekend drooling] I get chills when I watch the video on their website.
But seriously. I don’t have a particular race in mind, but I would like to do a 70.3. Maybe in a cool place like New Orleans or Tennessee.
What’s your biggest source of motivation?
Emma. My goal isn’t to lose 100 lbs. That’s part of it, but that’s not my end goal. My end goal is to be able to run next to her while she is learning to ride a bike. I want to be there when she is training for pre season lacrosse or something in high school and needs to go for a run. I want her to look up to me. Not be embarrassed by the fat dad on the bench who is afraid to sit on the swings with her.
As you’ve gone through this journey, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Every once in awhile I think about an interview I heard with Craig Alexander. He won Kona a few times, so I think he knows what he is talking about. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of, “at least start every workout.” I have used that multiple times to get out the door. I might have 3 miles planned. I may really want to skip that day. I say to myself, “you have to at least walk the dog. So get a mile in and see what happens.” Any miles are better than no miles, and more often than not, you end up finishing the workout.
If someone was going to make you a personal cheering sign, what would it say?
If I were running down the finish chute I think I would laugh pretty hard at a sign that just said “Hurry Up!” Or maybe Sam would have a sign mentioning “Bonus Miles.”
You’ve been quickly adding to your multisport training, what would you say is your (1) strongest and (2) favorite discipline? (Swim, bike, run)
My strongest would probably be the bike. I’m not fast by any means, but I have checked out my numbers compared to other finishers in past races. My bike splits are always better than my finishing position.
My favorite on the other hand has become an internal struggle. Swimming is very peaceful. I tend to just relax in the water and save it for the bike and run. I would lean toward the bike, But… If you would have asked me this at any point before a few months ago the run would have been a distant third. Now I get a great feeling of accomplishment after a run, whether it’s pushing the stroller for two miles or running 5 miles. I’m starting to really like it.
Any personal shoutouts?
You, your constant positivity and encouragement has been a huge motivator the past few months. [Thanks man, it really goes both ways! I see your unrelenting spirit, that keeps me focused when I want to sit at home] Of course Sam, and Emma. Mainly Sam because she deals with me every day. She supports me, encourages me, but also keeps me grounded. Emma doesn’t have much of a choice, I strap her in the stroller and we’re off. But she is a good sport. Also Ian, @doing_it_for_yourself. He has been a big inspiration to me. My best friend Jim has been there for me the entire time. He is the only local friend that I can convince to sign up for any of these races with me. My two good friends have been along for the ride as well. Mike who is pictured above, and Matt. Mike and I actually have a shot at redemption coming up in October. I’ll be visiting him again and we are signed up for another 5k.
Matt has been a big supporter of my journey and of my instagram page. Because we all know, none of these miles count unless we post about it after. [True that!]