What caused me to get interested fitness? The answer to that question is a little complicated and probably not what you would think so here goes…
In 2004 I was an fast-food eating, out-of-shape programmer who sat at a desk all day and joked about exercise. I had no idea that less than a decade later, I would be a vegan marathoner. What happened? I actually wasn’t sure myself.
To find out, I retraced my steps until I found the catalyst. What I found was a total surprise. My life was changed because of a crabby neighbor.
It sounds strange but here is how it all happened. [Scroll down]
The Year 2004
I am the father of two young girls. My weight is 200 pounds. The most I have ever weighed in my life but I just assume it is part of growing old. I am horribly out-of-shape but have know idea since I spend all day, every day sitting in a chair.
The City of St. Louis Park informs us that a neighbor had complained about our garage being in disrepair. They want to send an inspector to take a look at it.
The city inspector says that our garage needs minor repairs. However, he also tells us that all of the windows need to be repaired in our house. He gives us 3 months.
It is a hot summer but I spend most weekday evenings and every weekend working on the repairs. I also notice that my weight is dropping and by summer’s end, I have lost a total of 25 pounds.
After noticing how much better I feel after losing weight. I start paying attention to my diet and dust off my 1991 Trek hybrid bike and start riding 10 miles before work each day. It works and by winter, I am down another five pounds.
The Year 2007
My weight stays about the same overall but I am a much stronger cyclist now. I lose weight during the summer but gain over the holidays. I increase my ride distance from 10 to 15 miles before work.
My weight is still the same. After seeing a lot of runners on the biking trail, I consider trying it. After a block, I am exhausted but figure it’s normal. I actually do not believe that people can run continually.
One day – after several months of routinely run/walking a two-mile route – my oldest daughter asks to come with. She does not walk. Not wanting to look like a wimp, I don’t either. I make a new rule; “No stopping”.
I spend the summer doing “bricks” every morning which consists of riding 15 miles on the bike then running two miles every morning before work. Sometimes the other way around. My weight drops another 10 pounds by fall.
I am now running five miles regularly. Instead of letting my fitness decline over winter. I go on my first winter run and decide start running year-round.
I start tracking my activities using a phone app called RunKeeper. For the first time, I can see the actual pace and distance of each run or bike ride.
I run 8 miles for the first time on July 9th. My family is out of town so I celebrate by going out and having a big meal with two tall beers afterward.
On the 14th I run 10 miles for the first time. On the 20th I run the 13 miles for the first time. After the 13 miler, I feel sick. I do some reading and discover that you need to take nutrition when running long distances.
On the 20th I finish my first 20-plus mile run. A friend on RunKeeper ran 20 so I decided to run 21. The last 8 miles or so were absolutely awful and I was flat-out limping by mile 18.
I run my first race on the 16th. It was a tiny 5k called the Dad Dash. There were about 30 runners total. I finished in top 8 and was the 3rd male finisher.
On the 4th I learn the freestyle stroke and practice it at the lake cabin. When I return home, I go to the pool and try swimming. I do my first lap on the 12th.
My first marathon. I run the Mankato Marathon on the 21st. It is my first marathon and I finish in 4:44:28. I was disappointed with my time but stoked to become an actual marathoner.
I complete the Ironman Bike Ride on the 28th. It is my first century ride but it went pretty smooth. I finished in 6 hours and 50 minutes not counting a 30 minute break that I took at mile 60.
I complete my first triathlon. It is a sprint distance tri called the “One Last Tri”. The swim was frustrating by I made up for it on the bike and run.
I finish the Twin Cities marathon. It is my second and I finish 45 minutes faster than my first with a time of 3:56:28.
After reading about Scott Jurek and Rich Roll, I am curious about plant-based diets so my wife and I watch a documentary called “Forks Over Knives” which talks about it’s benefits. We decide to go vegan immediately.
After some people in my running group tell me about the advantages of cross-country skiing, I decide to purchase skis and immediately head to a nearby golf course to try it out. I ski 2 miles.
I finish the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. My time of 3:58:15 is about two minutes slower that the previous marathon but it actually went a lot smoother than previous races.
I finish the Minneapolis Marathon and shatter my previous record by almost 20 minutes. My time is 3:38:04 which is 13 minutes shy of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
I finish the WhistleStop Marathon and shatter my previous record set in March by 21 minutes. My time is 3:17:36 which qualifies me for Boston by over 12 minutes. I finished 16 out of 310 and received an award for finishing 3rd in my age group.
Some friends and I start the Twin Cities Swim Club and do our first open-water swim across Cedar Lake and back. I am terrified but I still complete it. In September I register for the 2017 Boston Marathon and, because of my BQ time, I get to sign up early and bypass the lottery.
I complete the Boston Marathon with a finish time of 3:57:11.
I finish the Dick Beardsley Marathon in 3:24:17 which is 8th overall out of 115 runners and 1st in my age group. I also qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon which I register for 6 days later.