Hello, my name is Dave Kjaer…
I began going through a major metamorphosis when I reached middle-age and did not realize it was happening until several years later. I realize that this sounds like a routine mid-life crisis but I can assure you that it was very different. This was not a case of wanting to be young again. This was a case of losing and regaining focus of who I always was at the core.It all began shortly after the age of 40. I was an out-of-shape software developer with a wife and two daughters living a sedentary life. My days were spent on the couch or at a desk. Very average, suburban, middle-class kind of stuff.
When I was younger I was a string bean and tried everything to gain weight but could not. Between graduating high-school and hitting 40, I had gained over 50 pounds and thought it was cool to no longer be viewed as a skinny weakling. The weird thing is that I had no idea how out-of-shape I had become and honestly still thought of myself as being relatively fit. Since I had been so inactive for so long, I had no idea how wrong I was.
Fortunately, I came to my senses one day and this is where the story begins. Let me reiterate that, at the time, I had no idea why I was making these choices nor did I realize how much of an impact they would have on my future. I suddenly just started doing everything differently and had no idea why.
After several years, I now know what the impetus was. Believe it or not, it all began when an elderly neighbor complained to the city that my garage was in disrepair. I will bet that you did not see that one coming but it is true. My life was completely changed by an act of a salty neighbor.
A city inspector arrived and told me that the garage was fine by could use a coat of paint. However, he said that some of my windows were had rotten wood and gave me 90 days to fix them. I spent the summer removing old wood, hauling boards and tools up and down a ladder and sweating my ass off. The inspector arrived after 90 days and said it looked great. Little did know that this was only the beginning of the story. During those 90 days I had lost 25 pounds! I felt better and realized that, honestly, I liked looking thinner.
To keep the ball rolling, I started a routine of 10 mile bike rides every other morning. After a couple of years, I had lost a few more pounds but could not seem to get past a certain weight barrier. I decided to pick up the distance and frequency of the rides. I lost a few more pounds. I felt really good and was riding faster and longer than I ever had.
To get to the next level, I started trying different activities. Running was completely foreign to me but I saw a lot of runners on the trails so I attempted a run around the block. I was exhausted and walking less than halfway around. I kept at it however. I had never been on cross-country skis before but decided to give that a shot. The most shocking one to me is swimming. I had also never swam before but after watching YouTube videos I started. Each one of these activities was extremely difficult at first but I kept doing them. Eventually, I found myself swimming across lakes, racing bikes at a velodrome and earning a podium spots in marathons.
By this time, I had gained a reputation amongst friends for a ‘fitness guy’. They would ask me what caused such a transformation but I did not have an answer. How DID I go from making jokes about running to having a favorite hotel to stay at when I run the Boston Marathon?
Unbeknownst to me, these significant improvements to my health were only the beginning. Suddenly, things that I once felt were important began to seem frivolous. My priorities, goals and passions were all shifting and I found myself being really content and proud of who I was. My confidence level was soaring.
To fuel this new lifestyle, it became obvious that my diet needed to change. I started tracking my nutrition and was shocked by the results. I eventually ditched all meat and dairy and went entirely plant-based. I have never looked back and think this was the greatest change that I ever made. I was now able to stay fueled AND recover faster. This made me ask the question, “If animals are not needed for food, why kill them?”. Animal rights is now one of my major passions. Correction… it always was.
After all of this, I am 100% positive that if 5 year-old me could have seen his future in a crystal ball, he would have been thrilled beyond belief to see himself going full-gas in a bike crit race at the age of 50 while also fighting for animals to be treated as sentient beings. I feel like I have come out of a multi-decade funk and am now back where I should have been all along.
Early on during this process it occurred to me that I should start a blog to document everything. Over time I added more and more features that pertain to various things like the vegan lifestyle, animal rights, environmental causes, computer programming and my lifelong passion for music.
I hope you like the site and find something of interest here.