Fitness became a passion when I saw what it could do to change the way a person looks at themselves and the world around them. I was lucky enough to experience that change back in 2015 and it has set a new course for both me and my family in living a healthy lifestyle.
Growing up, I was always the fat kid. I lived to eat, loved video games, TV and got very little exercise. I loved sports, but never really took training for sports seriously. I continued in the same fashion through college and accelerated the weight gain after college, topping out at 315 pounds in the early 2000s, while in my early 20s. I teeter-tottered in the upper 200's until May of 2015, where I found myself a 300 pound, 36 year old, looking around realizing the fat kid had become the fat man. But this fat man had a wife, 5 kids and a group of friends that took their fitness and health very seriously (more on that at another time). These factors and more made this time rich for the strong possibility of real and sustaining change.
In May, I was introduced to Couch to 5K by a friend of my wife. In July I completed a short triathlon. My first official 5K was in August and I completed a Sprint Triathlon in September. Along the way I started tracking my food in a food diary, becoming aware of just how harmful my mindless binge eating was to my health (i.e. 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches washed down with a couple of Miller Lite's is not a good midnight snack). I finished the year down 67 pounds and in better physical shape than I had ever been in.
Since then, I have completed a few more triathlons, winning my groups in both a Sprint and a 50 mile distance. I have completed a few 5Ks, 3 half marathons, participated in the Blue Ridge Relay (12 men, 208 miles over 29 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds) and was an active member in the F3 Men's Workout group, leading and attending workouts.
My family has followed suit. My wife has found true love and passion for running. I run for fitness she runs for the pure joy of running. She has completed 2 half marathons, a number of 5Ks and a triathlon. Oh and did I mention, she is a mother to 8 great kids!
My now 17 year old son, Zach, has dedicated much of his teen years to fitness. He has run multiple half marathons, competed in cross country, competitive swimming and triathlons. His current passion is Varsity football and weight lifting. He is also moving toward making fitness a career path, learning and researching in the fields of Athletic/personal Training and Exercise science.
My 12 year old son, Zane, has also completed a half marathon, competed in cross country, competitive swimming, triathlons and started for his JV football team as an 11 year old.
Zane's twin sister, Zoe, also has competed in cross country, competitive swimming and triathlon. Also, she wants to play football this spring or fall (you go girl!)
I could keep going with exploits from the other children, but you probably get the idea. My purpose for this is not look at me, but to show how a spark for fitness has set off a powder-keg of life change moving myself and my family toward a healthy lifestyle.
I provided this background as a base of context for what you will see from this column moving forward. I have made it a goal to break 2 hours in the half marathon in 2020. I will explain a little bit further in my next column as to why this is important to me, but I will say I have a few things working against me in this pursuit. First, I have a love-hate relationship with running. I love what it does for my fitness and waistline, but kind of hate doing it (not really, but sorta). Second, to run a sub-2 hour half marathon, you have to hold a 9 minutes and 10 second per mile pace for 13.1 miles. I am currently running a mile pace of over 10 minutes per mile. The third and final thing against me is my current weight. I am currently about 25 pounds heavier than when I attempted to break 2 hours the last time.
I have my work cut out for me. I hope that you will follow along each week as I work to build the miles, get faster and cut some weight in my attempt to break 2.