About Me

 The Tatted Runner
     Yep, that's me to the left, when I was that size I never felt like I was that big.  I enjoyed life like I was "thin" and never felt like it was a problem.  My wife loved me, I had a good job and no one ever made a big deal about it.  Well something finally clicked.  My story isn't a page turner or filled with personal tragedy that could be considered an acceptable reason for why my weight became such a problem. I AM LAZY pure and simple and this is my story...    
      Over my entire childhood I was always considered the chubby one, a little bigger than most but it never really got out of hand.  Pretty much like every other kid I played football, baseball, soccer and basketball, I was always doing something.  If I had to put my finger on the main reason for my size would say my diet had a lot to do with it.  I was "addicted" to sugar, candy, Pop, cookies, donuts, etc. along with burgers, fries, pizza, fast food and having no concept portion control you can see why this is where I ended up.  
     When I started in high school I was right around 200 pounds, I know this because I decided to go out for freshman wrestling and when I was a freshman weighing 200 and up was the heavyweight class.  After a month of getting my ass handed to me by 6 foot 250 plus pound kids I talked with my coaches about cutting weight.  A month later I was weighing in at 175 and was actually winning a few matches.  The summer prior to my sophomore year I turned 16, I traded my bicycle and skateboard in for car keys, gave up wrestling for what I look back now as stupid reasons, to which I now mark as the exact moment my current struggles with weight began.  All through high school and college I continued my eating habits that I am sure was coming in around 3-5000 calories a day combined with little to no exercise.

     By the time I married my wife in 2004 I was probably hovering around 250-260, and that is when the proverbial shit hit the fan, and before I new it I was tipping the scales at 317 pounds.  2007-2012 was a weight roller coaster for me, I tried every fad diet in the book from protein shakes for breakfast & lunch to Atkins to the HCG plan. The lowest I ever got down to was 247lbs while on HCG, but the minute I stopped and had one cheat day then another and then another which snowballed back into my old ways of candy, fast and fried food, late night nachos and donuts I ballooned back to 293 by the end of 2012.

     What was my aha moment? well I claim there really wasn't one. Not even after I went to see my doctor for a routine check up and blood work. Those test came back with some red flags and he ordered more tests. By the time all the tests were done my pocket was $1200 lighter and I was standing with one foot off the edge of the diabetes cliff and the need for medication.  

     My Doc gave me two months to try and change my diet and start exercising to reverse the damage or he would recommend medication. So for the first month while feeling depressed, I did what most anyone in my position would do, NOT A DAMN THING.  I blocked it out and acted like there was nothing wrong with me.  In the second month I finally got around to getting a gym membership and going a couple of days a week.  Just going to the gym was a huge accomplishment for me, but I wasn't really putting in a ton of effort while using the weight and elliptical machines. 

     Now if you believe that there is that one moment in everyone's life when God intervenes in your life and points you in the direction that will forever change your life, then this was it.  The gym has an indoor track and one day while on the elliptical, I was watching the runners and walkers through the glass, I thought screw this, I'm gonna give jogging a try. Even though I couldn't even make it anywhere close to a mile I enjoyed it and for the first time felt like I had a quality workout, so 2 days later I did it again and continued every other day.

     The indoor track takes 9 laps to make a mile, and as I was making progress towards achieving that first mile, I started to get really interested in the topic of running, and when I get interested in something I research it to death. While in the Itunes store I came across an awesome podcast called Runner Academy, and found the host Matt Johnson to be very informative and helpful. The episode I have listened to the most and I think really kicked me into high gear is #8 which was all about two of the Fat to Finish line documentary teammates. That episode gave me the inspiration and the confidence that I could lose the weight, and do it with running. My plan was simple, to run for exercise and reduce my caloric intake to around 2000 calories.

     I tracked everything I put in my mouth with the My Net Diary App on my phone.  I started out by setting a large goal that I would break down into smaller chunks.  I set my first goal to break 247lbs, which was my lowest weight I had been able to reach.  I then broke my goal down into 10 pound increments.  Once I hit that goal I set my next to hit 225lbs.  As I reach goal then I move on to the next and so on. It sounds easy enough, but I won't lie to you, it was a long struggling journey filled with highs and lows. My original goal was to stop when I reached 193lbs, but that seemed to still be a little to heavy so I decided that my finish line is my freshman year wrestling weight of 173lbs. Two years, three months and 8 days after I began this journey I had finally reached my goal.  A number that I had not seen since sometime in 1994.  I have since re-evaluated how I look and feel and I decided that I don't need to drop anymore weight at this time even if my BMI is technically still considered overweight.

     As my weight began to fall simultaneously my running journey began to grow.  Like I said earlier, that gym track was nine laps to a mile, I was lucky if I could run three before I felt like I was gonna die.  I continued to slowly add laps till I hit a mile, then two before I set my sights on trying a 5K.  Once I completed my 5K goal I continued to push myself towards my next goal of a 10K.  I spent every evening looking for races to run.  As time went on my weight went down and my mileage continued to grow.  Several 5Ks, a 10K and a few half marathons later I set the biggest challenge in my life to date, a full marathon.  I spent all summer of 2014 training for the Columbus Marathon, it consumed my existence.  On October 19th, 2014 not only did I complete my first marathon, I did it in under four hours.  Recently I celebrated my 3rd run-aversary  running the same 5K race that started it all for me.  My outlook on running hasn't changed much, I still am looking for ways to challenge and push myself despite a minor injury that sidelined me for a couple of months.  

     Whether I am going for a goal time, contemplating a new distance or just continuing to maintain my weight I now live with the mantra “Only the Committed Will Survive”, and for me to succeed I must stay committed to the desire to be the man I have now become. Throughout this journey I have heard several time the phrase "you never know where running will take you" and I can't say enough how freaking true that statement really is.  For example, without running I would not be writing this blog in the hopes to pay it forward as the Fat to Finish Line crew did for me or met some of the nicest most inspiring people along the way.  And I cannot forget the 11 strangers that formed a Ragnar Relay team and became more than friends, we became Sole Mates.

Currently I am hovering around at 171 pounds and have gone from a comfortable 48 waist to a snug 32 waist and now wear a medium to large size shirt down from a 3X.  Below is my latest comparison photo when I reached my goal weight of 173 pounds that I created for my friend and Ragnar Relay teammate Katie Foster, who writes the very inspiring blog Runs for Cookies.  She asked to share my story and progress for one of her Motivational Monday posts on her blog.  I now use it to remind myself of how far I have come and that I will always be a "Fat Guy" fighting everyday to be the best healthy fat guy I can be