Running Away the Pounds on a Sugar High: Interview with Salonpas Super User: Phil Patterson Jr.

July 6, 2015

JW Corbett 2015Is it possible to pick up the “hobby” of running in one’s thirties, forties or beyond?  What happens if this “hobby” becomes an obsession?  Salonpas sat down with 30something Phil Patterson Jr., who picked up the passion for running as a hobby in June 2013. Running quickly became a serious part of his lifestyle with Patterson  losing over ninety pounds, while still drinking soda and eating fast food, and placing number one in the J.W. Corbett Eighteen mile trail race on April 25th 2015.  Patterson, who turns to Salonpas for pain relief help to keep him in the race, blogs about his running journey at Heelstriker954 where he provides updated stats and inspiration to fellow runners and wannabe runners:

What got you into serious running at a later stage in life?

I wrestled back in high school and, unfortunately, that lead to many back problems that would come and go every six-to-eight months and which always sent me to the emergency room. I decided to try slow running to keep the impact low but still allow me to be active and stay in shape. Each time I went out, I seemed to get either faster or go farther without needing a break. That also led to me being able to take different routes and see parts of my city that I never did before. Over time, I lost about 90 pounds and started entering races to keep challenging myself. Now it’s become a passion and a lifestyle. The added perk is that I have not had to go to the ER for back issues for two years now!

How are you able to stay motivated to run?

For me it’s the challenge of “what can I do next”? Initially it was to stop having to go to the ER all the time. Once I stopped experiencing that issue, I knew I could push myself further so I tried to run certain distances. Next, it was to try and run the distances at a faster clip. Later, I started entering races, so that brought the challenge of finishing as fast as possible. I have many goals that I constantly create to keep challenged and motivated. Currently, I am trying to run 1,500 miles this year after doing 1,400 miles in 2014.

IMG_2038What has been your biggest accomplishment to date in running?

Placing first in the J.W. Corbett eighteen mile trail race on April 25th 2015 was my biggest accomplishment to date.  The year before it was a fifteen and one-half mile race, on the same trail, so I knew what to expect this time. I’m a hard-headed runner who hates carrying stuff so I was the only person running without a hydration pack, etc. I decided to rely on the three aid stations and trained in advance as best as possible for only having stuff to re hydrate at those points.

I took the lead around the one mile mark and never let up. On the back half, I was totally beat. Mentally, I know I blanked out a few times but physically kept pushing myself as fast as I could, even when I had to walk to conserve any energy I had left. I ended up placing first overall and it was my first win of any kind in racing.

What is your next big goal for running?

I definitely won’t say marathons are easy for me yet since I only did two but I have plans to sign up for an ultra-marathon next. Thankfully the shortest one is only about five to six miles more than a marathon so training doesn’t have to change for me.

What does your daily training comprise of?

I’m all about consistency. As soon as I get home from work from Monday to Thursday, I change into my running clothes and head out before I get lazy. I currently do four miles on those days since it’s usually ninety degrees here in South Florida and as I don’t carry anything to re-hydrate, it’s the right distance. But on days when it is cooler, I will push to five or sometimes even more miles, depending on how I feel. Friday is my rest day.

As far as the weekends go, I get up around six in the morning and head out to run. On Saturdays, I aim for at least ten miles and make sure there is a park or two that I can pass to stop and use their water fountain. Depending on how many miles I ran on Saturday and how I feel determines how many miles I run on Sunday. I usually keep my weekend mileage total to sixteen to twenty. But that’s it, just running. After so many years in the weight room, I got sick of weight training. So all I do is run, nothing else.

Have you had any injuries or do you suffer from any aches and pains?  If so, what do you do to carry on with the race?

I’ve had minor aches and pains from time to time, usually just the expected soreness after a race since I’m pushing myself harder at that point than any training session. On May 9th though, I experienced my first serious injury. I still don’t know what caused it because I haven’t gotten the results back from the doctor, but basically I woke up on a Saturday morning and my knee was slightly swollen. Being hard-headed, I ignored it and ran 10 miles. The swelling got worse, which I knew was because of this decision. I had the knee drained and fifteen days later I finally felt decent enough to attempt a run. Since then the leg has gotten stronger and my endurance is almost 100% back to where it was before the injury. The good thing about races is that there are medical teams to assist if needed and, thankfully, I haven’t been seriously injured during a training run to where I needed help. Every day, I take at least one hot bath for my legs. Almost every day I will ice my legs and even take ice baths when it’s really sore. Finally, I use Salonpas since I feel it lasts the longest compared to the other products I’ve used.

What do your friends and family think about your commitment to running?

Untitled 2My friends and family are my biggest supporters. They constantly tell me how my running inspires and motivates them. Some have even started running themselves. My wife is the best because she comes with me to my races, waits for me at the finish lines, encourages me all the time, etc. Also, since I run six days a week, my friends and family see me ‘on the run’ all the time so they love honking at me and then posting on Facebook that it was them that honked.

What was your athletic experience prior to becoming such an accomplished runner?

I wrestled for three years in high school followed by one additional year in random tournaments. My biggest accomplishment with that sport was winning the Sunshine State Games in 2001 by winning five matches in two days. Due to back problems, I moved on to city basketball leagues but again, the constant jumping and other physical bumps and bruises just made the back problems continue.

What advice do you have for other men and women in mid-life about becoming a serious exerciser, whether running or other sports or exercise?


Phil Patterson before running took the lbs. away

It is important to realize that it’s never too late. I initially thought that with my back problems, running would aggravate them more but I was wrong. I thought my weight would hinder me, which it slightly did at first, but as I stuck with it and started losing weight, I was able to run further and faster. I’ve also been extremely impressed by the age of runners I see at races, most recently the 92 year old woman and cancer survivor who finished the San Diego marathon.

I think we let our self-esteem get the best of us. If we let go of our pride and our ego, humble ourselves, and listen to the advice given from experienced people in the sport, we can eventually overcome any obstacle, we have. It is important to be committed and consistent. Don’t expect amazing results right away. Just stay focused on achieving your main goal. Keep working on achieving your smaller goals as you work toward the main one.

What is your daily nutrition like? Do you have a special diet to keep your energy high?

This is the category I cringe at inside when people ask. Even when I wrestled and had to make weight every week, I ate what I wanted. Everyone’s body is different. But for me, I drink A LOT of soda. This is the number one thing that people judge me on. I honestly drink about three to five cans a day. In the morning and for lunch, I like to have fruit. Apples, oranges, pineapples are the main three fruits that I eat. After my run, I will have a bowl of chocolate ice cream and pick at anything else in the fridge if I’m still hungry after that.

On rest day, I’ll have Burger King or Wendy’s. On the weekends, I go crazy! I’ll burn so much from the longer runs that my body continues burning whatever I put in it. So usually I just eat whatever I have at home or go out and get something I’m craving. My wife is Haitian so one of my FAVORITE meals after a weekend run is Griot with rice and peas. I think because I have consumed so much sugar and caffeine my whole life that none of the energy type products work for me anymore. I love and recommend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. PB&J sandwiches always sit well in my stomach and make me feel good. I know one day that I will have to be more careful with my food choices and consumption, but for now I am enjoying the way things are.

For more information on living a healthy lifestyle, please “like” Salonpas on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google Plus!