Health & Fitness

Jim Silva: Fitness can transform your life in many ways

I was on a training run last week when suddenly a realization came to mind – it’s been five years since I started running.

Five years ago, just around the end of summer, is when I took up running again.

I’m not sure exactly what got me going. Part of my motivation was that I was about to turn 40 and decided I had been out of shape far too long. Another part was that I had some good friends running, one doing her first marathon, and I was tired of being on the sideline. Another was that I needed to do something to better handle stress and I wanted to feel better about myself.

Whatever my motivation, I set out on a journey that continues to this day. It’s a journey that has taken me from not being about to run a mile without stopping to completing numerous half-marathons and three marathons.

As I begin training for marathon No. 4 – the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon on March 29 – it seems appropriate to look back on my fitness journey and what it has meant to me.

First off, I can barely remember what it felt like to be out of shape. I know it didn’t feel good. I was tired a lot, stressed out a lot and – quite frankly – not very happy with myself.

Running has changed that dramatically. It has helped me improve my life in almost every way. Being fit improves my energy level. It reduces stress and keeps me calmer. In turn I am a better father, a better employee and a better person.

I’ve lost weight, too – about 30 pounds. And because I’ve been successful at achieving my goals, I am more confident in myself.

The last five years have been quite a journey. I’m thankful for those that have supported me along the way – my family, my kids, my friends, and teammates and supporters of Team In Training.

And now it’s time to look forward. I think about where I’ll be in another five years.

When I started my fitness journey back in 2009, I had no idea how far I could go. Now that I know what is possible, I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish in the next five years.

I know one thing. If healthy, I will continue to run, continue to improve my fitness and continue this journey. It’s been fun so far … why stop?

Training has begun

My marathon training is officially under way. I’m following an 18-week plan and the first long run was an 11-miler last Sunday. In short, I feel pretty good about my conditioning but have a long way to go.

Of course, the focus will be on getting my body accustomed to longer runs. As always, pacing myself is an issue.

But after completing three marathons in the past few years, I know it’s just as important to begin the mental preparation for the marathon and the longer training runs required.

Some of the keys: Breaking up the longer runs into smaller increments; overcoming the boredom of long runs; positive thinking; and mental toughness.

These – along with the physical training, of course – will help prepare me for the Modesto Marathon on March 29.

Wheelchair division?

Before last year’s Modesto Marathon, I wrote about A.J. Mitchell, a Modesto resident who competed in the wheelchair division of the Los Angeles Marathon and Modesto Marathon. He since has completed the Peace Officer Half-Marathon and is doing another marathon this month.

Mitchell, 30, and friend Fred Myetich, 51, of Turlock are hoping to garner interest in a wheelchair division for next spring’s Modesto Marathon.

If you are interested in competing in the Modesto Marathon or Half-Marathon, contact Mitchell at

Reach Jim Silva at

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