Our Athlete of the Week is Jim Fuller!
Who says there is an age limit for physical fitness success? Not Jim Fuller! This veteran U.S Marine learned that the mind plays tricks on you, that sometimes your mind is out of synch with what your body can really do. He took this insight and applied it to his fitness plan by focusing on execution and allowing his coach (Ryan Middleton) to take over the thinking/planning aspect.
In the last few years, this inspiring 73 year-old has completed The Firemen’s 10K in Shockoe Bottom, the Turkey Trot 10K at Quantico, Semper Five Miler in Fredericksburg AND the Marine Corps 10k. His next major goal is to qualify for Senior Nationals, to be held in June 2019 in New Mexico, hoping to qualify to run in the Senior Olympics. Keep reading below as Jim tells his incredible story of success…….
“Ryan Middleton has coached me for the last 9 months. I engaged Endorphin because I wanted to take first place in my age group in the Marine Corps 10K. I had placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in previous MCM10K’s in the 65-69, and 70-74 categories. One year I lost first place by 13 seconds, so I thought that professional coaching might help. I met Ryan at a meeting of runners at the Good Feet store, where I was being featured in TV and radio informational commercials.”
“After engaging Ryan, I learned very quickly that competitive running is now a science. It was then that I began to put into practice what science teaches us about running. First, I amended my form, and then began to build a stronger base. Eventually, I learned to approach speed work in a more incremental manner. Finally, I learned to run according to cadence and heart rate, and to run a race exactly the way my coach “drew it up”. I told Ryan at the beginning of my training that I would do what he told me to do. I have learned not to listen to my own brain, but to trust Ryan’s coaching.”
“I became a United States Marine at age 18. My service overlapped the Viet Nam era, though I was not deployed. In Marine Corps training I learned that my mind played tricks on me, ie. that my mind was out of synch with what my body could do. That awareness has remained. I found it very comforting to give over the thinking to my coach, and simply focus on execution.”
“In the last few years I have finished first in my age group in the The Firemen’s 10K in Shockoe Bottom, and the Turkey Trot 10K at Quantico. I thought I had finished first last May in the Semper Five Miler in Fredericksburg, but the results were later changed and I finished a close second. My greatest advantage, other than self-discipline and excellent coaching, is attrition. Fewer and fewer men are able to compete at the top level in my age groups. I have become an oddity. While I played football in high school in Texas, and have played other sports over the years, I have never imagined I would ever be able to compete at the top of my age category.”
“My goal on entering Endorphin Training was to win first in the MCM10K. I will turn 74 in December, and am running in the 70-74 age bracket. The 2017 race was a “heart breaker”. I finished 5th in my age group. Places 1-4 were taken by four 70 year olds who had just come up from the 65-69 age category. Had I been 75 in this race, I would have won by 10 minutes. I am working on learning to orient to the unpredictable elements in every race, eg. weather, competition in cohort groups, and the racing atmosphere. The many dimensions of running are teaching me a great deal about my mind and my body.”
“In the coming year I plan to run local races and concentrate on refining what I have learned from my coaching at Endorphin. My next major goal is to qualify for Senior Nationals, to be held in June 2019 in New Mexico, and see if there I can qualify to run in the Senior Olympics. As all athletes know, unexpected injuries and health problems can end an athletic career suddenly. If lady luck is kind, and the competition is not beyond my capacity, I will be working with Ryan and Endorphin toward these goals in the next couple of years.”