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Home » Let Running Help You Get Back on Track with Your Health & Fitness with Pat Doolan! Episode 024

Let Running Help You Get Back on Track with Your Health & Fitness with Pat Doolan! Episode 024

#024 – We all get off track with our health & fitness at some point or another. In this episode, we will hear from Pat Doolan who shares his story about how his health was deteriorating due to the challenges of the pandemic and how he took back control with running.

Topics Covered:

  • Physical and mental benefits of running
  • Virtual training options to help you start running
  • Fun and convenience of virtual races
  • Gain motivation through inspiring others

Today’s Guest

Pat Doolan Pat has been running since July of 2020 and has goals to lose weight, gain muscle, inspire others, and feel much better about himself in the long run.

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Additional Resources:

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Richard Conner 0:00

Welcome to Episode 24. Today we have a guest from our very own inspire virtual ones community, Pat Doolan. And he shares his story about how his health was deteriorating, and how he turned to running to improve it and get back to a healthy lifestyle. Hope you enjoy. Here’s what you can look forward to on this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast.

Pat Doolan 0:26

But my coworkers and friends are like, Look, you’re losing fat, but you’re gaining muscle. Don’t worry about the scale says Look at me or take pictures. compare yourself to like a year ago and see if you notice a change or like six months ago back in June and I could see the difference. I can feel the difference. You know, my clothes fit better. My stance is better, I’m able to be more awake, I can sleep at night.

Intro/Outro 0:54

Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast, whether you are new to running or seasoned. Get tips and the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host, Richard Conner.

Richard Conner 1:12

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. I’m here with today’s guest, Patrick Doolan. Pat has been running since July of 2020, and has goals to lose weight, gain muscle, inspire others and feel much better about himself in the long run. He is a member of the Inspire Virtual Runs community and we’re excited to have him on the show. So welcome to the show, Pat.

Pat Doolan 1:37

Thank you for having me, Richard. Hi, everyone. I’m Pat Dylan, aka Doolz Running with Doolz. And I just started becoming a member of the rock community about six months ago back in June. And every single day, I’m looking to the walk, run, skip, jump, get in better shape. And I’ve completed quite a number of virtual runs. And I like to do and more. Because it’s already six or seven months in as long as I’m able to just run keep on going.

Richard Conner 2:10

Awesome, awesome. Well, we’re very excited to have you on the show and part of the community. And you’ve shared so many inspiring posts over the last few months. And I’m just happy to have this opportunity to, you know, have the listeners get to know you a little bit better and hear about your journey. So why don’t we just, you know, kind of jump in. So why don’t we just kick it off. And you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background?

Pat Doolan 2:32

Well, okay, not a problem, that’s fine, because up until six years, six to eight months ago, I never really consider myself as a runner, I used to the gym off and on, you know, going elliptical machine and gym workouts there. And they put too much work into cardio I used to a long time ago. But then things happen. And with COVID shutting down all the gyms, there wasn’t too many choices out there. And so that’s why I decided, hey, you might as well start running, get get back into shape. And at first, you know, I always thought Why Why am I running for like, what, what’s the purpose, I’m not a runner on a flat feet, you know, I was overweight. And I just say you know what, take one step at a time and see where it leads me. And now here we are eight months later, I did about 20 5K’s, a couple of 10, a couple of 10Ks, here and there. Again, I just won’t be able to keep on going and keep inspiring others keep on posting and see where it takes me.

Richard Conner 3:34

That’s amazing. Thank you for sharing that. So 20 5K’s and 2 10K’s that you’ve done just in the last, let’s say a year less than a year. So you went from not running to to going into this to this extent. So let’s you know let’s learn a little bit more about that. So what prompted you to start running in the last year.

Pat Doolan 3:54

it was called a gym off and on. I sign up for Planet Fitness down the street from where I work and you I was kind of going off and on like your workout for gain two days off and go back and then COVID happened and shut everything down. March 17 I believe was when everything in Connecticut shut down. And I think the only thing that was open was only drive thrus so not working out not running not doing anything and go to drive throughs you know stressing from work, stressing for everything going on, just going to work and back and not making notes. You know, pounds gained. And I’m a type two diabetic. So I was trying to keep in control of who I was in my life. But when COVID happened I kind of got depressed. I take care of my blood sugar. And then in July I went to my doctor and he’s like, Pat you’re A1C almost at a 12, its at 11.9 you need to do something. And at that time was kind of like walking like you know, maybe a quarter mile that time. I was kind of taking care of myself, but not really and then right Get told, Hey, your blood sugar’s really sky high, you do something and sat down for a couple days like, Okay, what can I do to get this better? You know, of course the throw doctors, throw meds at you, more and more meds and I was just like okay, well how can I reverse this? So I have Runkeeper which I have by default for my walks and one of the things in Runkeeper is called my first 5k and I looked at it I’m like, well, maybe I could try doing a 5k you know, not in the best shape of the world and but you know, I’ll give it a shot. So anyway, I decided to start doing it was the first week was like the easiest week was like a free week. And I’m like, okay, I can do this. Yeah, they started off like a three minute walking in thirty seconds running just starts easy. So now it’s as expected run right away, which is a good thing. It’s good. A lot of people like me thought I start running non stop. I just train program kind of helped me out. I got into is my first 5K program. The first week was free. And the second week after just after the first week you have to pay for Runkeeper Go, but the second week was like a Sunday free trial before a charge your card. So in actuality, you get two weeks to figure out Hey, it’s it’s for me or not, which is good because you know, anyone paying like rat front for something that you’re not going to do. So as soon as we can like, you know what, I could do this because then second week it was getting to the point where you know it was like okay, I’m running for a minute and a half and walk for 90 seconds. So balances scale for walking running full has got you know, from walk a lot to run a lot. And within six weeks, I was running almost non stop for like 2.4 miles. And then on my last day where it’s like you’re not in works like you’re gonna run a full 5K. During that time actually sign up for Baby Yoda fit you seek run, you must 5K and grind in the last workout. I send you what in my stops like 2.5k well I’m gonna keep on going. I remember it was hot. It was like July or August I think was August 2nd actually. I did the first 5k an actual first 5k and it’s a baby Yoda that you seek running must. Very sad Baby Yoda with the yellow headband for a medal and t-shirt. And I just was like I was addicted. From that point on, I want to do another one. You know, I just kept going and then my second one was the Breast Cancer Awareness was like to on Wednesdays, you’d run pink or light pink shirt and have like, on Wednesdays run and pink medal. So I just I just kept going. You know who you’re on? What 18 later. And I’ve had to make get myself rack to hold up hold my medals. Brief. Wow. Yeah, so that’s my story. You know, I mean time I’m, like, you know, inspiring others and inspiring my family members, aspiring people in the community. Yeah, I got that newspaper article about me. And this is all within eight months in for years. So I’m like, you know, the sky’s the limit.

Richard Conner 8:08

Huh. That’s, that’s great. And, you know, you shared a lot there. So let’s kind of talk about some of these some of these things that you shared. So first off, I’m a Star Wars fan. So obviously, there’s a spot in my heart for Baby Yoda. So that’s pretty cool.

Pat Doolan 8:22

Baby Yoda is the man.

Richard Conner 8:25

And, and that’s great that you did the the Breast Cancer Awareness run. And that’s something that we find in the community that that’s one of the inspiration for people to run five K’s whether it’s virtual live as for a good cause, and that is certainly a good cause. So so thank you for sharing that. And let’s just kind of go back to you know, again, how you started. So I’ll just kind of recap a little bit of what what you said to, you decided that you’re going to start to run, you started slow and you use the runkeeper runkeeper app, and then you know my first 5k and that’s really kind of what I guess trains you or helps you to move from progressively.

Pat Doolan 9:02

It’s a good trainer. It’s not like a robotic voice a lot. A lot of things like Couch to 5k and the other ones that are good but they’re the voice that robotic like I noticed that the classified cares counting one minute for 30 seconds like one minute for 2.5 kilometers and stuff like that. Whereas my the first My First 5k was kind of like a data trainer from like the as Asics Runner to training courses they have I’m running cube because I believe runkeeper is supported by Asics but they actually got like a virtual trainer who’s a very upbeat very mantra like you know me Kim, this mantra for me use what’s called your strong be strong, it’s very, is it going to one of those classes like for cycling, where you get that training just keeps you like going into your ear listening to music and so this is very chill, very energetic, was sharing her stories and how she used to run and how she had To be a runner. So my first 5k was excellent because it kept me going, versus I hate hearing a robot in my head in my ears because I work. I work in computers like eight or nine hours a day. So the last thing that I need is a robotic voice, in my ear you go, and you have to write playlists in your ear, you have her in your ear, it’s awesome. I’m very born lion, like attention deficit. So I don’t like robots, my ears. I don’t like certain things. But that was just very, very personalable. And it’s very uplifting.

Richard Conner 10:34


Pat Doolan 10:35

I recommend everyone try it at least once.

Richard Conner 10:39

Yeah, I know that. That’s great. Thank you for sharing that. And I think that that would be interesting testimonial for folks that are looking to get into running. You know, we talked about these Couch to 5k apps. And it sounds like you found one that works for you. And these are really good reasons why. So appreciate you sharing that. So let’s talk a little bit about kind of your experience while you’re going through that. So you mentioned how the app kind of helped you and it was personable voice wasn’t robotic. But like how did you feel because you know, you went from not running to running? And I think some people would say, well, like, I’m not a runner, or I can’t run? Did you have any of those doubts as you got into it? Or did you feel like this is something that you just had to do, and you’re just going to kind of push through.

Pat Doolan 11:22

I remember, I came in halfway through training, it was like extremely human, extremely hot. And it was like no rain in sight. And I just remember, like sauna workouts like it’s too hot its too humid. I can’t run in this, what am I doing, and I just somehow got through it. It is hard, especially for me, like I have flat feet. And I have inserts, and I recommend me at least get checked for inserts get checked for running shoes. Because up to this point, I don’t have any anything for my feet. So I try to run up like before I got inserts. You know, as a lot of the impact by feet would be you’re going up to my legs and my knees and you know, as you get older young, your shock absorbers your body doesn’t really get it’s not as resilient. And I always knew if I tried to run I’m like me try running a flat footed you supposed to be on a treadmill. It sounds like you’re trying to break the thing. Actually, remember when I tried running when I was I went to Job Corps in Edison, New Jersey for computers. And I remember going to a gym there and I was trying to run and like, the person that was working there he was like, why you running all flatfooted, you are going to break my treadmill. And I think that’s what kind of like, this goes discourage me from ever running once a week back then. But I’m like, Look, there’s nothing else open. gyms were even open yet. Hair Salon for like, nothing was open. So I was like, You know what, I need to do something even though I hate running today. I know that down the line somewhere, it’s gonna lead to something great. But it’s like, what do you say life is a marathon, not a sprint. You know, I expect change to happen right away. I figured, okay, if I can get to this to the holidays, and it’s fine to winter, at least have a shot, even though it’s like a two month thing where I’m like, okay, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it’s not working out. But I’d say one thing the the virtual medals like the breast cancer one, the yellow one, couple of other ones and then one for frontline. frontline workers, you know, and the more medals I got, the more and more than I got to go out there and between the medals and t shirts. Just a different like, people like my job. And they’re starting to take notice. Actually one was the one that bought me the shadowbox for my medals because I inspired her so much. So I think once I started inspiring others, I think that was like, Okay, I can still do this. As long as I can keep doing this. I’m good.

Richard Conner 14:02

Hmm. So let’s let’s talk about that a little bit. So I know I know your story. I know that you were were published your article was published about your story, and I see all of your posts. And and you and I had talked and you talked about like how folks are really kind of receptive to your message. And they’re, they’re really inspired by what you’ve done. So let’s talk about that a little bit. Like what kind of response have you had over the last few months as you shared kind of your transformation?

Pat Doolan 14:31

I’ll be honest, when I first started running and training, I wasn’t really like a big person on like sharing it because I figured it’s like during a time when everyone was trying to be social media famous, you know, whether it was like twitch or other things and I was like, Who’s gonna really care if I’m running or walking. My friend asked me who lives overseas. She’s like, no, you’re really should start doing like some kind of like an Instagram page and sharing your writing stories and, you know, make a page for East Haven runners, because people in East Haven are more and live, they were like, Oh, we should be able to have like a running groups. I agree that and at first I was like, why like why am I even posting this and no one is even going to care, but then like when I got invited to like your page and Inspiring Virtual Runs, and I joined also, like other virtual running groups, I started posting there, and people were being very receptive. I remember being a new kid. And like, wasn’t really then thinking I was gaining any ground. But then, you know, as like the week’s turned to months and people started like them posts and, you know, I started replying back that they thought I was doing a great job. And then people at work were like, at first they’re like, what’s a virtual run? That’s not real? How could I be real and then like me are slowly as they saw me, transform my body now like, while you’re actually doing some pretty good, and it’s for good causes. And accent the transformation, I didn’t really feel because let’s be honest, scales are evil. You they are because, like, I remember when I first got my first scale to weigh myself, I got onto smart scales that records your phone, about your BMI, your weight, and all that stuff. It was at 267. And that was like four months ago, and I weighed myself out four years ago, is that 264. But my coworkers and friends are like, Look, you’re losing fat, but you’re gaining muscle. Don’t worry about the scale says look, the mirror, take pictures. compare yourself to like a year ago and see if you notice a change or like six months ago back in June, and I could see the difference. I can feel the difference. You know, my foot better. My stance is better, I’m able to be more awake, I can sleep at night. For anything thing before I started running. I was an insomniac straight up insomniac, I would stay up till four o’clock the morning, drink Coca Cola be high on caffeine. And my body was not reacting well to it. So I recently started making these changes myself. And my mental stresses, my mental stress has gone down my insomnia is pretty much gone. Because you know, as you run at night, or workout on night, like you’re fighting to stay awake, past eleven o’clock.

Richard Conner 17:29

That’s right.

Pat Doolan 17:31

And of course, it’s like, Oh, you know what, I’m actually gonna go to bed The next morning, shrug, wake up, and it is all around life has been pretty good. As far as like between myself between my peers. Again, I help inspire people, I think that’s a good thing. Because we’re in a time right now where, you know, everything’s worried about like anti trending and TV shows, or talk about COVID. And in this and that, and it’s very, I would say the word depressing. But it’s your turn when we watch TV to be entertained. Last thing you want to do is watch TV and get reminded what’s going on, we’re hearing on hearing about in the news, like 20 hours a day. So I think we live in a world right now where it’s like, we need to get out there for at least an hour a day. And just enjoy life, go hiking or running, go for a walk and just unplug ourselves for like an hour. Basically, I think basically it’s a one hour of change. I’m playing yourself go for a walk or run or anything. You’ll be surprised how much you can actually get build up your confidence of yourself and what others others will see about you.

Richard Conner 18:44

Absolutely, absolutely. You have to make that time for yourself and prioritize fitness because it’s so easy to get caught up in everything else that’s going on in the world, just like you said, the bad news that’s on TV or just everything that’s happening. But you know, kind of just making that time and prioritizing your health is is really what’s going to help you in the long term. So completely agree and that’s really sage advice for for the community. So let’s let’s talk about you know, throughout your journey, you know, one of the questions that we like to ask and kind of hear the feedback from our guests is what was your biggest obstacle that you face since you began.

Pat Doolan 19:25

Since I began running? Does the weather count?

Richard Conner 19:29

Yeah. The weather.

Pat Doolan 19:31

The weather. I mean, my first story was the middle of the summer so I started in the beginning July and I remember taking my first runkeeper selfie after I ran and I remember that’s when I think my haircut and thank you sweat got into my eyeballs. Say saarbrucken like hashtag sweat my eyeballs for my running for my Instagram. I will say that Honestly, the hardest obstacle, right? It’s, it’s high temperatures, like, humidity sucks, like stone is on, like the night December I remember I didn’t run that much because it got cold and dark early by timing at home. And when I say 30 or 4323 degrees out in December its kind of hard you get that motivation runs so obvious. I mean, I’ll be honest, I didn’t run run as much as I want to in December. But then my friend got me signed up for a challenge for January, which they called the winter warrior challenge. And it was something that you’d have to go outside and run or walk at least a mile a day in January. And I think that helps get over that hurdle as far as like, okay, it’s cold, Pat. But you know what, you didn’t go out there and do something promised a mile day outside. It doesn’t matter. It’s Walker running because most you have walked because in the area that I live in, it’s kind of icy. And it’s kind of hard to run that area, because I got ice patches everywhere. But why I did, it was like, I started going outside and going a mile like mile long walks, you know, during my lunchtime breaks, so I got assigned, go play at my playlist, and go for a walk at least a mile a day during my lunch breaks, during work over time, natural helped me get past a whole, you know, turn to three, two or three days set up for a slump. Right now you haven’t ran for like a week and you’re like, Oh my god, this is not good. But I would say the biggest obstacle is probably the cold weather. Because when it’s cold and dark, and there’s ice spots everywhere, it’s hard to get that motivation to really get out there. So what about winters? Just some people don’t mind it. Some are people like me more, they see its cold and dark and their like, I’d rather stay in.

Richard Conner 21:54

Right? You’re right, you’re right. And I love I love that you shared that. Because unless you live in a place like San Diego, you know, for the rest of us, we have to deal with the extremes, right either in the cold or the heat. And you know, I’ll share a personal story after my half marathon last October, my running fell off the the weather was getting cooler, and I got used to running outside, but I really don’t like the winter. And you know, just like you, it wasn’t until I took this winter running challenge to run outdoors more almost every day outdoors during winter. And that started in late December. So you can see if you see my Strava stats, you can see is like high in October, low in November, December, and then it kind of picks back up again. Because it was that commitment, or that challenge that that got me to get outside and keep up with my running. So I definitely agree with you, I love that you shared the fact that temperature is a real barrier because it is you just have to learn how to dress appropriately and kind of get accustomed to that whether whether it’s a winter or the summer. So, you know, kind of as we wrap up here, like what would you say to our Inspire Virtual Runs community to inspire them to either start running? Or if you run into these barriers, like you know, the weather or just a time commitment, like what would you say to inspire them to to get out and run.

Pat Doolan 23:18

When you first start it’s rough, like you don’t know where to really start off at. That’s why I suggested like the runkeeper because a lot of people have Runkeeper Strava. And both those do have like 5k training option. I first started I did the Runkeeper thing and then halfway through the Runkeeper app, it says look for 5k runs in yourself motivated because they’ll tell you like halfway through your train to like look out, look for five K’s well because the COVID there was no five K’s so I looked up for virtual five K’s because I heard about those so what do you believe that once I googled virtual five K’s and then I went back to Facebook, there’s ad for runsignup and Ilovetorun and then the different virtual 5k sites out there like flooding my web page, my Facebook feed so I’m like okay, this looks interesting. That’s how I found a baby Yoda one I always just like googling virtual five Ks see what’s out there anyway you let close out the page go back to Facebook. You’ll see ads for all like you will see on your newsfeed you’ll see right a day will start flying up your your feet to the point where you have no choice but to see one as you scroll down your feed and also look for Inspire Virtual Runs is a great great group by the way so kudos to that. Guys like seeing that how everyone is doing on there. And I had to give a shout out to Savita because he’s actually one and when we to to the page, so shout out to her. I know she’s listening. And she’s actually one that invited me to our to it because see, I thought I was starting to run the walk. And she invited me to IVR, which is awesome. There’s so many different, different virtual run groups, oh, we joined one group, Facebook, remember that, you know, say, hey, this isn’t just a page for you to follow as well. And before I know, I was on 10 different, I’m thinking like 10 or 12 different virtual run groups now. But the good thing is, is that the more groups you participate in, the more you need to join, and much more very uplifting, I will say, the virtual running group or run groups in general, have been very positive, including this one. And that seen that much negativity in this helped a lot, especially during, like, the worst times, like during, like elections and stuff, and how the world was pretty much on fire for the past four months. But I will say join these groups have has been a huge help for the past six months. So that’s always a good thing. And just connect with others. Sometimes, like if you want to say, Oh, don’t DM me or whatnot. And I find it to be a little I mean, I understand like, everyone’s busy and stuff. But if you join a group and you start networking with yourself and others, you know, you start building up with like a, like a good reputation. And then people, you know, people will reach out to you personally, like, Hey, I saw that you’re starting to run a wanting tips, let me know. And I’m the same way. I’m like, I’m not a full fledged, low BMI runner. I am still like running slash jogging, slash walking. But if I can help out others than so be I mean, I know my DMs are always open, and I’m always willing to help others out. So just go out there, have fun. Take the one even if you have to take it one mile at a time or one for my time. It’s better than being on a couch. And I think that’s the biggest thing, share very little walk or run or do training or even like look into and reach out to others. That’s a huge step forward.

Richard Conner 27:00

Awesome. Thank you so much, Pat. I really enjoyed this conversation and your story is truly inspirational. How can the Inspire Virtual Runs community find you and follow you online in your journey.

Pat Doolan 27:12

So there’s me Pat Dylan, which you will see me a lot posting because every time make a run or something I always, always post IVR. I also have a page called Easdt Haven runners, which first began for East Haven, but I like to see people come in from everywhere. There’s also running with Doolz. on my face, I just created that Facebook page all month ago after that newspaper article. So it’s run with Doolz running on doors as Doolz, right for me, because when I did the newspaper article, they thought I said wolves. So you can imagine if people saw the Facebook and saw that thing in newspaper and like you’re Running with Wolves. Anyway, running with doors, let’s do Doolz and also on Instagram as well. Same thing Running with Doolz.

Richard Conner 28:05

Thank you so much again, Pat. I really enjoyed this conversation. Like I said, I’ll include all this information in the show notes. And you know with that, Thanks and have a great day here.

Pat Doolan 28:15

You too Richard, thank you so much for having me on. I look forward to your post and you’re running and look forward to building up more in this community as much as I can.

Richard Conner 28:24

Alright, sounds good. Thanks, Pat.

Pat Doolan 28:26

You’re welcome. You have a good day.

Richard Conner 28:28

Just want to take a moment to thank Pat for coming on the show and sharing his inspirational story with us. And I’d like to share with you my three key takeaways from our conversation. The first takeaway is take control of your situation, when Pat learned that is A1C was very high, he took action, he could have just thrown his hands in the air and said, well, it is what it is. But he didn’t, he took control of his situation. The second takeaway is you don’t have to go it alone. There are a variety of options to help you get started, whether it’s a running coach, which we have some in our community, or whether it’s an app that can help you get started. So Pat talked about the one that he like, and the reasons why he liked it, it was more of a natural voice. So definitely take a look at the different options to to get started. And then the third is don’t be shy to share your story. Pat shared an amazing story about how he talked about his journey, and how his co workers and others saw his transformation and they were inspired. So don’t be shy and share your story and celebrate your successes. That’s it for this episode. I really appreciate you joining us today. If you enjoyed the episode, come to Inspire Virtual Runs calm, let us know what you like, or even go on Apple podcast and leave us a review. So with that, thanks again and have a great day.

Intro/Outro 29:56

That’s it for this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. You If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review. Also, be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for listening.

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