Interview with runner Greg Seaton
Featured in The Bulletin, Greg Seaton started running after a life of ups and downs. Read more to hear his fitness journey!
What inspires you to be such a superstar?
“I’m not a superstar…” I went to the gym and worked out with people and got that endorphine high...and it reduced my stress. So someone suggested I enter a 5K which I was pretty nervous about so my daughter suggested that I run 100 yards, walk 100 yards, run 100 yards. So I entered and I never walked - I ran and got first place in my age group; this was in 2015. I continued exercising because I loved to do it. Then someone from the gym talked me into doing a sprint triathlon.
I had a panic attack in the pool and quit that race. Ultimately I decided to enter another triathlon in Auburn, CA and this one was in open water. I was so nervous about racing. I didn’t know how to shift the gears on my bike so I only did the whole thing in one gear.
The community at the gym plays a major major role in keeping going. I call them my RAC (Redmond Athletic Club) family. They don’t go to the gym for competition - they are there for their health. It’s not usually even to lose weight, it’s usually for that depressant or stress release. I get up every day at 3:15 to get to a 5AM class because I love the people there.
In the 50+ races I’ve done over the past 3 years I’ve placed first in all of them except only a few. I came in 10th in the National Championships, two second place and two third place finishes. And 45 first place finishes. But I actually compete only against myself; I compete against my old time. Which takes a lot of the pressure off.
Was it hard to start at the age of 60? How did you overcome those obstacles?
I was in better shape than I thought because I had been going to the gym. But I had started in baby steps. Don’t try to compete with anyone, go at your level. Don’t set yourself up for failure, you’ll get a taste of endorphins and that feeds on itself.
When was a moment you felt like giving up and what did you do to get through that?
It’s 3 units - it’s a swim, a bike and a run. Don’t focus on what’s ahead. It’s basically mindful exercising - you concentrate on what you are doing when you’re doing it. Eventually you get to near the end, you hear it before you see it, and usually that gives you an extra hit of adrenaline.
Who inspires you?
My daughter Kelly - she got me to the gym in the first place. The instructors at the RAC invented a HIT class for people like me with bad knees or bad joints who can’t go out and run to train. It gets you in shape. It’s actually become known among racers that I don’t run in my training because it’s high impact. I also don’t watch my diet - I’m on the “see food diet.”
How does it feel to be a role model?
I don’t feel like I’m a role model, but if I can inspire someone else to get off the couch that’s rewarding enough. But if they get out there and feel better about themselves then that makes me feel even better.
What are three pieces of advice that you would give to someone else following in your footsteps?
Baby steps...compete against yourself. And it should be fun - it takes the pressure off! Even if you don’t compete, you’re in better shape to enjoy life. Going for a hike, swimming in a pool; you feel better about yourself when you’re healthier. The other good side effects are getting to your natural weight. Fitness is part of my lifestyle. So many people when they retire go one of two ways. 1) They either stay active, or 2) They don’t and their health can tank.
What mental benefits do you experience? How long before it took you to get to that stage?
When I’ve completed a workout I get that sense of accomplishment like “I’ve got that done.” When you cross that finish line whether you’re first or last, everyone cheers you on.
What’s your pre-workout routine?
I’ll walk for a quarter mile on a treadmill to wake up my muscles and I stretch before and after a workout. And I mentioned the see food diet....*laughter*.
Tell us a couple things on your bucket list.
I don’t really have a bucket list because I’m not old enough! If I could change people’s lives for the better - inspire them - to reach down inside themselves and pull out that happiness and embrace it, that’s on there. Giving back is also another thing that makes me happy. I believe I get more out of giving back than the people receiving get.
Did you ever dream when you started that you’d be going to the World Championships? No chance. No way. I was just thrilled to qualify for the nationals - and when I got 10th place I was like “what?” and then when I saw my name on the list for the world I was like “what just happened?” Crazy...yeah - not at all.