For several years, Aestus Rogers ran on and off as a way to keep his weight from skyrocketing. “I always ran on treadmills and never with any kind of direction or purpose,” he says. “A couple of years ago I pushed myself too far and ended up with bursitis in my hip.” This injury left Aestus on crutches and unable to work at his nursing job at St. Michael’s Hospital for three weeks. “The whole winter was a write off and I began to pack on the pounds,” he recalls. “I was really miserable, so my husband took me to the Running Room and signed both of us up for a Learn to Run clinic in May 2008. I learned a lot in the last year and a half, and now my weight is where I want it to be. Along the way I also discovered how much I love running as well!”
As a way to give back, Aestus decided to become a coach for some of the clinics that he had taken and enjoyed. Currently he’s finishing coaching a Learn to Run clinic that meets three time a week in downtown Toronto. “I can’t wait to see these new runners across the finish line of their first race at this year’s resolution run,” he said. “They’ve worked really hard and are all doing very well.”
When he’s not coaching a clinic, Aestus likes to hit the recreational trails in Toronto. Among his favourite are the belt line, Moore Park, the Don Valley trails and the Martin Goodman trail. “Anything that gets me off of the sidewalks and away from the cars and stoplights, “ says Aestus. “I live less than a kilometer from the intersection of Don Valley and Martin Goodman, so I’m pretty lucky to have those choices so close to home.”
This coming January, Aestus will begin training with a clinic for his first marathon — the ING Ottawa Marathon. The support and camaraderie of a running group helps keep him motivated. “It [the Ottawa Marathon] is one of my goals for 2010, and I’d like to start working towards Boston in the next three or four years,” he says. “Ultimately, I’d love to run marathons around the world. In Marathon, Paris, New York, Sweden, etc.”
This past fall, Aestus ran both the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (1:58) and the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon (1:58) with his husband. “My husband has always been a slower runner than me,” admits Aestus. “When I crossed the finish line at Goodlife, I stopped and waited to see him finish. While I was waiting, I checked my phone and found a text message from him — he had already finished and was looking for me! I was so proud of him. I was excited about my own time, but was elated at his accomplishment.”
Since his encounter with bursitis, running has had a profound impact on Aestus. “Running has changed the way I feel about myself. Physically, I look so much better than I did two-years ago, but it has also changed my everyday life as well. I have more strength, more energy, more endurance, and a more positive outlook,” he says. “Running has even enhanced my spirituality — when I’m out running alone for a LSD, It becomes meditative and I have some of my best moments of clarity while I’m running.
I’m happy with myself, and proud of my achievements. I love that I have been able to inspire some of my colleagues and friends to get out and moving. It really feels good to know that I’ve had some part in helping them to find the courage to take those first steps. When we started running, my husband and I finally discovered a fitness activity that we could both enjoy and share, so it has even enhanced my marriage in a very direct way.”
For more on Aestus, visit his website at www.aestus.ca.
Favourite Shoe: Nike
Favourite Gear: Garmin 405 watch and ipod
Motivation: Having new goals.
Best part of running Toronto: It’s a beautiful city. There are lots of parks and trails. There are lots of running groups all over the city, and it’s pretty flat.
E-mail Sig: “DEAD LAST FINISH is greater than DID NOT FINISH, which greatly trumps DID NOT START.”