Ben Davis used to weigh 365 pounds. Now, 120 pounds lighter, he runs marathons. Seven, to date.
When: Sunday, May 6 at 7 a.m.
Where: Both the half and full marathon race begin at 14th and Vine Streets near Memorial Stadium and finish in Memorial Stadium.
For a full course map, click here.
Plus three half marathons and two Ironman races, a 140.6-mile competition split among running, biking and swimming.
Davis, who now lives in Canada, created a blog called “Ben Does Life” to chronicle his journey. It garnered an impressive following, a book deal and launched his career as a motivational speaker.
The 25-year-old will share his experience racing, losing weight and finding happiness through fitness during the Lincoln Marathon's expo at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln hosts the expo.
I talked with Davis about fearing failure, race-day rituals and what makes half and full marathons worth running.
Live Well Nebraska: What inspired you to stop being sedentary and start being active?
Ben: I was always obese. It really started to take its toll on me emotionally when I got into college. I got depressed. Then on Christmas Eve, my grandmother asked me if I was happy. For the first time in my life, I was honest with myself and decided to change my life.
Live Well Nebraska: What's the scariest part about embarking on a lofty goal, like losing a lot of weight or running a distance race?
Ben: Fear of failure. You're thinking, “Can I really do this?” There's a lot of uncertainy when you're changing your life, but you have to weigh what your life could be like versus the life you're living. It can be scary, but it's also exciting.
Live Well Nebraska: You've run half and full marathons. What mile marker is the toughest?
Ben: Mile 21 and 22 are really tough mentally. And of course physically. In the half, mile eight is tough. When you cross the halfway mark, it's really exciting. Then that excitement kind of wears off. You're far enough from the finish line that it's still a chore.
Live Well Nebraska: So how do you push through it? Any mantras?
Ben: For me, it's realizing that no matter what, the next few hours are going to happen, so you might as well buckle down. You've already come so far. In a couple hours you can either have that finisher's medal or have quit the race. It's worth it to push through when you think about your training and how far you've come.
Live Well Nebraska: What advice do you give to first-timers?
Ben: The 100 percent most important advice is in the first three or four miles, run a lot slower than you think you should be. I've run the first three or four miles too fast because of the high-energy atmosphere, and it kills you later in the race. You have to stay in control of your pacing so you stay fresh through whole race. Start slow. There are plenty of miles left to speed up later if you have the energy.
Live Well Nebraska: What's your favorite pre-race meal?
Ben: I eat toast with peanut butter and a banana.
Live Well Nebraska: Do you have any race-day rituals?
Ben: I know a lot of people do, but it's never been my thing. I do lay my clothes out with my bib the night before, but that's more so I don't forget. I lost my bib before one marathon. Luckily, I found it in my hotel room 20 minutes before the race started.
Live Well Nebraska: Running a half or full marathon is mentally and physically exhausting. What makes it worth it?
Ben: The moment when you stop thinking about every footstep. When everything clears away. It's a really magical thing. Everything makes more sense. You're happier. People call it a runner's high. It's a real thing. And it's rewarding, knowing you put in the effort, and you did it.
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