(Leo Tyska, 2021 Trainer)

People have said to me in the past that you are a natural born runner and think that I have ran my whole life.  This is far from the truth.  Here is my story:

I’ve had asthma my whole life but didn’t get this diagnosed until I was in High School.  In High School, I quit all sports and decided to work (not sure why looking in retrospect).  When I graduated college, I decided to do a biathlon that my fraternity was sponsoring.  I had never ran a race before but decided to try it out.  I ended up loving it and have run since.

I joined a running walking club around 25 years ago.  The group met every Saturday morning at 8am to walk/run then go out for coffee.  I didn’t know any of these people when I joined.  They were so welcoming and it was so much fun. I met so many happy-go-lucky people.  Saturday morning runs were the highlight of my week.  These people didn’t care if I was the president of a company or if I was unemployed, etc..  They just wanted someone to run with.  One of my friends signed up for the Chicago marathon and I decided to join him.  I never thought I could run 26.2 miles.  What a crazy goal for a non runner.  I FINISHED IT – YEAH.  WOW, WHAT A FEELING.  Then, I decided to run a marathon in a different state, then another, then another; and then I thought of a crazy idea to run a marathon in all 50 states.  I have now completed 45 marathons in different states.

Achieving a Goal is FUN and ADDICTING.  My same friend who talked me into running a marathon did Ironman.  If you think running a marathon is crazy.  Ironman consists of (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and then a 26.2 mile run).  I always thought IRONMAN was insane.  I would watch the Ironman on TV every year and loved seeing the stories of people who achieved this crazy race.  Guess what? I signed up and did it 2x.

After doing this for a while, I noticed that most runners are fun, positive, goal oriented and glass is half full kind of a people.  I’ve met so many great people running.  I’ve seen how running has helped people through a divorce, losing a job, etc..  They also say running is like an antidepressant or mood stabilizer.

I decided to start a walking running club in my town.  I told everyone about it.  I put it on Facebook, sent emails, etc.. But didn’t get any replies or interest.  I made an event and said show up on Saturday at 8am.  You can walk, run, etc.. Bring your dog, kids etc..  you can go at your own pace then at 9am we will go out for coffee.  On that Saturday morning I thought that I would be the only one there but 30 people showed up.  Since that day my running group HIP meets every Saturday, Sunday and they have random meet ups throughout the week as well.  BTW, we also meet for beers, movies, etc..  I just looked on Facebook and we have over 750 glass is half full, fun members.  I’m very proud of this.  I’ve been told many times that going to HIP is the highlight of their week as well 🙂

I love when someone new joins.  It is so much fun to see a non runner who couldn’t run around the block sign up for a 5k and achieve it.  They are so proud of themselves.  Then once they achieve something – they do it again.  A lot of these people who never ran before are now doing 10k’s, 1/2 marathons, Triathlons, etc..  On a side note, I just got a text from someone I worked with 7 years ago out of the blue.  He sent me a picture of him running a 10K.  He was so proud of himself and told me that he was thinking that he could do a half marathon in 10 weeks.  My reply was – “your mind is the only thing stopping you”

Running is tough at the beginning, keep it up and trust me it will change your life 🙂


Leo is one of the 2021 Seaside School Virtual Half Marathon + 5K Training Coaches. Leo, we appreciate your support of our runners and the Seaside School!

Leo Tyska

Author Leo Tyska

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