Hi. My name is Jim. I’m a regular member of the Endurance House Atlanta Tuesday Night Run group. I found out four weeks ago that I’m one of three lucky employees in my company who will be joining their vendor partner’s team for the 2016 Panasonic New York City Triathlon. This is my happy/excited face…
Yes, this looks a lot like my scared face. That’s because I’ve never done a triathlon before. Yup, I’m venturing into unknown territory. Why did I decide to throw my name in the hat when my company announced the contest to join the triathlon team? Let me tell you.
My fitness story begins just five short years ago. Well, not really. I’m 41 years old and there’s 36 years of not being fit and healthy. The healthiest part of my life started on April 1st 2011. That was the day it finally clicked. I was depressed, overweight, and quickly heading to an early grave. My blood pressure was out of control. My cholesterol was so high that the doctors couldn’t get an accurate read on my triglycerides. I would break into a sweat just from the exertion of walking from my car to the front doors of the grocery store. I was in bad shape.
On April 1st of 2011, I was taking some promotional photos for a local play in which I was performing. My clothing was too tight. I couldn’t button the top button of my shirt around my neck. I was uncomfortable. When I saw the finished photos, I was disgusted by what I saw. I knew that things had to change.
I joined a local gym and began working out. I had never lifted weights before, so I was pretty weak. My cardio stamina was very low. Starting out, I could only manage about thirty minutes of exercise. A TOTAL of 30 minutes. Warm up, whatever weights I tried to life, cardio, and cool down. It was a slow start, but it was a start.
After a week of this, I realized (I knew…but didn’t want to admit it) that working out would only get me half way to my goal. I also needed to change my diet. So, I started researching healthy eating habits and nutritious recipes. I stopped eating out and cooked everything at home. On the rare occasions I did eat out, I made better/healthier choices. It was difficult to make such a drastic lifestyle change, but I was focused. I lost 21 pounds the first month.
I couldn’t believe it. Seeing the results of my hard work was very motivating. I continued eating well and slowly increased my exercise regimen. I hired a trainer from the gym who helped me perfect my exercise form so I wouldn’t injure myself. She also gave me tips and pointers on how to improve my food intake. And the weight continued to drop.
After the first three months, my friend Lynn proposed a challenge. She wanted me to join her for a 5K race. I had never run before. I didn’t think I could because of bad knees. However, as my weight dropped off, the pain in my knees subsided. I accepted her challenge. I learned to run using the Couch to 5K program. This actually became a great bonding tool for me and my friend. She made the decision to support me in my efforts by joining me on my runs. Having a running partner/accountability partner made all the difference. Shared misery is not as bad.
On August 27, 2011 I ran my first 5K.
I continued to run. And I continued to run longer distances at faster paces. In 2012, I decided to challenge myself. I decided I was going to run 500 kilometers during the calendar year. I didn’t succeed. I fell off the wagon. I was still working out in the gym, but wasn’t running as much. I hadn’t quite figured out how to incorporate running into my workout schedule. So, I decided to try again in 2013. I found more running friends. I ran 3 days a week. By the end of 2013 I had accomplished my goal.
I joined the Endurance House Atlanta Tuesday Night Run Group and found motivation and inspiration by surrounding myself with fellow runners. In 2014, I increased my goal to 700 kilometers. This goal was accomplished on December 9, 2014 while running with my friends at EH Atlanta. In 2015, the goal was increased to 500 miles. I crushed this goal by Halloween of that year. 5K races turned into 10K races. I started running faster. I started earning podiums at races. I finally mustered enough courage to run my first half marathon on Thanksgiving 2015. I had learned to Redefine My Possible with the help and support of my friends at EH Atlanta.
In the five years since I made the decision to take my life back, I’ve lost 90 pounds. My blood pressure is now normal. All of the health issues I previously had have been resolved. The before and after is quite dramatic.
One of the things I have learned about myself over the last 5 years is that I’m very goal oriented and I need to push those boundaries once my goals are met in order to stay motivated and on track. I still work with a personal trainer. Once I reached my running goal for 2015, we set our eyes on goals for 2016. I decided to complete a Spartan Trifecta (obstacle course racing series), the Atlanta Triple Peach (Peachtree Road Race, Atlanta 10 Miler, and the Thanksgiving Half Marathon), and to run 1,000 miles.
As of today, I have completed the Spartan Trifecta and logged nearly 400 miles toward my 1,000 mile goal. The first race of the Triple Peach series will be the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th.
I’m happier and healthier than I’ve been in my entire life. I have more energy now than I had in my 20’s. I’m more confident and outgoing.
Having goals and challenges motivates me. It’s something to work towards. Something for which to strive. Something that will push me ever so slightly out of my comfort zone. So, when the opportunity presented itself to enter for a chance to become a part of my company triathlon team for my first triathlon, it was really a no-brainer that I would throw my hat in the ring. I’m thrilled to be chosen.
So, now the training begins. Most of my friends at Endurance House are triathletes. Many have competed in Ironman competitions. They’ve graciously offered to take me under their wings for the next two months to prepare me for this race. I will be posting blogs about my training here, so keep an eye out. And wish me luck! This is going to be quite an adventure!
#SwimBikeRunNYC #ITri #RedefineYourPossible