The Republicans lost the majority of the senate last January and a mild case of depression had set in for Senator David Senjem. Due to losing the majority in the senate, they were forced to let a lot of good staff members go.
"The elections were over, it was January and I wasn't feeling good about a lot of things," he explained. He said he needed a challenge. While he was working late in his office one night, the idea came to him; he was going to run the 5K in September.
"The thought scared me to death," he said. "I thought to myself, could I really do that?" He decided to at least try.
That night he went down to the gym that is in his apartment building in St. Paul and walked up to the treadmill. "I didn't know how to turn it on at first," he said. "But I eventually figured it out." Senjem walked a half-mile that night and slowly worked his way up to running a 5K on the treadmill. Running outside would be another challenge. "I knew I could do it inside on the treadmill but running outside is different."
On September 19, Senjem reached his goal and ran the Capitol 5K. "I met another runner named Nancy Haas and she became my coach, she ran the 5K with me." Since then Senjem has done the Turkey Trot in Rochester on Thanksgiving Day and another 5K event in the cities. The biggest downfall, Senjem has noticed since he took up running, is his suits no longer fit. "It's getting to be expensive," he said with a laugh. So far he's lost a little more than eighty pounds, on his running journey.
"One night I was carrying two forty pound bags of water softener salt to the basement and I thought to myself, I used to carry this weight along with me every day. That was an eye opening moment."
Senjem said he was an athlete in high school and college but for forty years he didn't do exercise. "I'm trying to undo forty years of disrepair," he explained. "I am fortunate I don't have bad joints or pain when I run so I'm able to keep doing it."
He said it did take some time to re-learn how to run and he started using phone apps like My Fitness Pal to keep track of what he eats during the day. "I didn't set out to lose the weight," he said. "But it has been a nice bonus."
Senjem still runs everyday and even in the bitter cold temperatures he tries to run outdoors. "There have been a few times this winter that I couldn't make it outside so I did it on the treadmill, but for the most part I've gotten out everyday." He prefers to run late at night outdoors in Rochester and has his route planned out to run about 3.1 miles a night. "When I'm in St. Paul I tend to run indoors on the treadmill," he added. "It just seems to be safer."