Race, Triathlon & Lifestyle Training


Blog 24: Robert Harriss Feature

FC: Describe a day in the life of Robert Harriss! 

RH: I’m a morning runner, typically each morning Monday through Friday I’m up and out the door before 3:45am to get in my workouts before work. Saturday and Sundays I allow myself a little sleep in time, but depending on the workout plan or training goals that could always change. I’m sure my neighbors always wonder who the dark figure is each morning doing weird warm-up exercises in the road. The plus side of being a morning runner I know all the Gastonia Police officers that work the night shift. After workouts I try and get something to eat and head off to work, depending on how that work day is scheduled I try and get in a second workout a couple of times a week where I can, this helps me refocus and gives me a stress relief.

FC: Wow, talk about an early wake up call!! How much sleep do you get nightly?

RH: I know Coach Meghan will cringe at this, but I normally average about 6 hours of sleep each night, but I do like to cat nap here and there when possible especially on weekends.

FC: Cringing now! Make sure to get those naps in daily!! How did you get motivated to start a running program?

RH: I needed accountability in my workouts, after doing a decent job in getting back into shape after being sedentary after Military service, I lost the focus in my workouts and saw not only my times slip but my weight increased. When I started with Fillnow Coaching in 2013 I was at 231 pounds and as of my 10th Marathon in November I was at 170 pounds, lowest weight since middle school which is about 30 years.

FC: Your weight loss journey is incredibly inspiring! We love your work, Robert! What has been the biggest accomplishment in your running journey?

RH: This is an easy question. There are two: first is  2014 Chicago Marathon, easily my most favorite city, getting into the Chicago Marathon through the lottery and the training leading up to it, I was the most prepared and relaxed I have ever been before a race, the results showed as it was almost a 10 minute PR that day and sharing it with my favorite Sherpa (wife LeAnn) made that journey the greatest feeling.  The second is up to 2013 I had never placed in the top three of my age group, in the last 65 races entered I have accomplished a top three age group finish in 40 races.

FC: That is spectacular! Consistent, hard work pays off! What has been your hardest moment in sport?

RH: By far the hardest moment was taking the challenge of doing a triathlon and jumping into the first Sprint Triathlon with an open water swim. I’m not the best swimmer and to be honest I was hoping to just not to drown that day…I passed that challenge and even did another Sprint Triathlon a month or so later.

FC: We love how you got outside of your comfort zone! What has training taught you about life?

RH: This has been by far the hardest year I have had training with my dad being sick since summer of 2016 and the longest year of work ever onboarding a new customer. There was a lot of driving to be with dad and a lot of late nights working, there were nights where I got only a couple of hours of sleep. I threw everything I had into my training, it gave me a way to escape my thoughts and everything that needed to be completed but also gave me some relief over the grief I had when my dad passed away in June 2017. Life was always a constant change this year but I learned to focus on the task at hand, but training in some ways kept me sane and got me through the year.

FC: We are so sorry about your loss. We love how you used your training for the necessary mental and physical release from life stress. What drives you? 

RH: Looking in the mirror, in 2004 I tipped the scales at 315 pounds, I have a lot of internal drive and can focus on multiple things at once, but I also know that I want to live as long as possible in order to spend time with loved ones, travel and continue making memories, but to do that it starts with a healthy mind and body so staying in shape to do those things is important.

FC: From 315 to 170. That is awe-inspiring! What are your goals for 2018?

RH: For starters to escape the cold as we are heading to Montego Bay Jamaica in mid-January for a week, the rest of year will be race heavy as I work to identify goal races throughout the year and what I would like to accomplish this year in my training.

FC: I am sure there will be some 80 degree runs on the plan! Anything you want to add?

RH: I have been working with Meghan and Fillnow Coaching since November 2013, I remember that first night at Run Class it was raining and cold and I had no clue what I had gotten myself into…After all these years I have accomplished a lot through not only races, meeting new friends each week at Run Class but also thankful for Meghan being my coach as she always has the right thing to say after a bad race or tough workout but has also been there through a lot of life’s up and down’s which is greatly appreciated.

FC: Robert, we are blessed to have you a part of the team! Thank you for inspiring those around you to do more than they thought was possible!