Dads Who Run: Meet Brian Fulton

This is the next installment of Dads Who Run here on cubicle dad runs.

Working parents have a lot on their plate. And as a working dad, I think we sometimes get taken for granted. It’s tough to balance work, family and life in general. Now add in endurance sports? You’re upping the ante a bit. I thought it would be nice to highlight some Dads who run! If you’re a dad who runs, and want to share your story, send me an email and we’ll talk!

With that said, take it away Brian!

“Holy $#!*, I am FAT!” Those are the words, or something equally as vulgar, that I said as I stepped on the scale the morning of Jan. 4, 2009. The only savings grace was that in the days leading up to this moment my wife and I and a few other close family members committed to a friendly game of the “biggest loser”. So, I knew that things were going to change.

I met my wife in 2002, and at the time we were both what could be considered by many as physically fit. Since then, we had spent much of our time in blissful adoration and complete love. We have been lucky enough to have two beautiful children, and I have been fortunate to have gainful employment at the University of Illinois. All of this bliss, love, child rearing, and work had led to a feeling of comfort, on the verge of complacency, and I did very little in the way of exercise or physical fitness.

So there was little mystery behind how I had gotten to be so fat, but the future was still in question. I can point out, almost to the minute, when I became a runner. It was about 20 minutes after I stepped off of that scale and onto the treadmill that morning of Jan. 4. That first run only lasted about 3 or 4 minutes (I did walk the remainder of a 30 minute workout), but that is when I officially became a runner. I had run. I continued to step onto that treadmill three times a week for almost 5 months. Then, some time in April or May, I decided to see what it would be like to run on the roads. I was hooked immediately. Soon thereafter, I saw a pamphlet for a 5k race in a nearby town. Right then and there I decided that I would be running that race. Since then I have run a handful of races, logged probably a couple of thousands miles in training, and on Sept. 25, 2011 completed my first half marathon.

After each race, I come to the question of “what next?” The biggest goal that I have with all of this is to get fit and be healthy. I also would like to be a good example to my children, and could not be more proud of my son who has asked to train for and run his first 5K next April. I would like to organize a local charity race to support the purchase and preparation of more fresh fruits and vegetables in our schools. Since I do some bicycling as well, I sometimes fascinate about competing in a triathlon. And somewhere in the deepest part of my heart, I hold onto the dream of one day completing a full marathon.

The most difficult task to achieving all of these goals is how do I fit the time it takes to train and prepare into an already busy schedule. Besides working 40 hours a week, I coach t-ball and soccer and volunteer at my church. Then there is the home and the mowing and raking and cooking and laundry and cleaning, as well as spending time with my wife and playing with the kids and visiting with friends, family, and neighbors. It is exhausting to just write those things down, let alone actually do them. Thankfully, I have the best partner, my wife, and we do a great job of working together to get things done.

We communicate with one another to work out a schedule that works for everyone. We compromise on our priorities to make sure that each of us, the kids included, gets the time and attention they need. We commit to spending time together as well as time as individuals. And somehow it all works out. To do so, my wife and I have shared our running days; I get Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and she gets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On our off days we may do some weight training or take care of “to-do” lists while the other is out running. We wake up super early, like 3:30am some days, in order to get our workouts in. Some days it stinks, other days not so much. We try not to kill ourselves and if we really need the rest, we take it.

I just re-read that paragraph and I think I make it sound too easy. The fact of the matter is that it is hard to balance your life with your work and fitness. It has taken us two and a half years to figure it out as much as we have, and there are still days that I question just what the hell we are doing. Watching folks like Cubicle Dad has been a great inspiration, not only to see his tremendous weight loss and amazing marathon experience, but also to look at everything that he has on his plate and think “I am not alone! Other people are out there getting it done!”

Whatever we are doing it seems to be working. My wife is the skinniest she has been in her adult life and runs farther and faster than she ever thought she could. I myself have not reached my goal weight, but I am working hard to get there. Running has been the most important thing that I have done to help achieve my weight and fitness goals, and now and forever I will continue running and racing.

If you would like to read more about my and my family’s escapades, please check out my blog.

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