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Welcome to “The Middle Of The Pack”! My name is Ken Lettre, and I will be your monthly running guide as we explore the fun and exciting world of running in North Texas and beyond.

The following is not an overstatement: The sport of running has literally saved my life. And if I can run, you can run!

Here’s how my personal running odyssey started: The company I was with at the time decided to go from requiring employees to wear suits five days a week to a “Casual Fridays” policy. That meant I had to buy a pair of khakis. My wife, Karen, and I went to a local department store where I tried on a pair of 36-inch waist pants.

They didn’t fit.

Next, I tried on a pair of 38s. They didn’t fit much better, but I bought them anyway because I simply refused to buy a pair of pants with the number “4” as the front number.

After making my purchase, I commented to my wife that these pants had to be sized wrong. Then, as only a loving wife could do, she stopped walking, paused for a few seconds, took a hold of my left arm, squeezed gently and said, “No, honey, these pants are not sized wrong. You’re fat.”

Simple. Succinct. Brutally honest.

Exactly what I needed.

She was 100-percent correct. There was no politically correct way of saying it — I was fat. My 5-foot-11-inch frame was literally weighed down with over 235 pounds of ‘stuff.’ I needed to do something, anything, to start losing the weight immediately.

The very next day, my wife and I joined a local gym. I got on a treadmill and quickly found that I couldn’t even walk a mile. Not even close. My total treadmill distance on that first day was one-quarter of a mile. I simply could not go any further. I wondered to myself, at 35-years young, how could I have let myself get so out of shape.

That day was my epiphany.

I returned to the gym everyday, slowly building both my stamina and endurance.
     First walking a half mile.
     Then running/walking (more walking) a half mile.
     Then a mile.
     Then running more than walking.
     Then a mile and a half.
     Then even more running than walking.
     Then two miles.
     Then three.

I was running!

With my increase in physical activity coupled with a vastly improved diet (sorry McDonald’s), I noticed myself changing for the better. I was in the midst of an amazing metamorphosis. I was losing weight and feeling the best I had in years.

From that moment on, I was hooked.

One of my most magical moments was in June 2010 when I visited Florida to see my dad for his 80th birthday and attend a family reunion. My parents had five children, and I was always their largest child growing up. (Let’s just say I did most of my back-to-school clothes shopping in the “husky” department at Sears.) When I arrived at the reunion, I took a quick glance at my siblings and it was clear that I was by far the most fit. And I smiled quietly to myself.

Since I first started, I have run a total of 15 full marathons and a whole bunch of 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, and half marathons. Currently, I have the honor of coaching many local athletes before they run their first races, and I’ve recently become Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Certified as a running coach. Oh yes, I do love to run.

The purpose of this and future articles is simple: To encourage, inspire, motivate, and, most important of all, help readers learn to LOVE the sport of running as much as I do.

I will explore places to run around the greater North Texas area report on races I’ve attended, relate a few personal stories along the way, and discuss tips about how you too can be a runner. These articles are meant to be interactive, and I encourage you to ask questions and offer ideas for future article subjects.

My direct email address is Send me a note, and let’s talk about running.

Until next time, I’ll see you out there. Run strong!