But the brush strokes are necessary. Otherwise why visit the site? You need to know my credentials as an Athlete Mastermind!
Sigh, you're going to be disappointed but hang in there. I'm just a regular person and you can see me completing my first 10K race in August of 2012 in the photo at the top of this post. This I think is my greatest qualification (the part about being a regular guy, not a 10K race).
I heard recently this amazing quote but I'm going to butcher it as I've forgotten who said it or exactly how it went but here goes. "When we idolize people we remove their accomplishments from our sense of possibility."
Think about that for a second.
When I began my life transformations it was driven by a sense that I was at a fork in the road. I knew instinctively that the path I was headed on was that of the typical North American adult. Thin to chubby, chubby to obese. Healthy to average, average to sick, sick to chronically sick. I had symptoms, my body was changing and I could actually feel myself at the top of the slippery slope. I chose a path very few people take and I'm grateful.
And once I was on the path I put my head down and went to work. I started on the treadmill in the garage, eventually getting outside and finally after seeing progress I started racing. It turned out that this guy who had never been an athlete at all growing up and never really been into sports, wasn't too shabby at running. It was May 2012 when I started on the treadmill and in August that year I knocked off my first 10K race in 47 minutes. My wife and daughter were there to celebrate and it was a huge moment. It solidified my path. Cemented my motivation. I was on a one way road and not looking back to my days of video game marathons with McCain frozen pies, chips, cola and whiskey. I was done with fast food, chicken wings, sitting on the computer all day at work then in front of a TV all night at home.
And I started looking around for others like me. I picked my head up and sought out new influences. Turns out they were easy to find. Like most people nowadays I started on the internet. I found people like Rich Roll & Brendan Brazier among others. Rich had been voted one of the most fit men in the world by Men's Fitness magazine, had done Ultraman and Epic 5 (5 Ironman distance races in 7 days) while Brendan was the Canadian 50K Ultramarathon Champion, a professional triathlete and the founder of the hugely successful Vega company. They weren't the only ones I found either. All with impressive resumes and hugely inspiring people. It didn't hurt that some of the people I'd been spending time with were massively successful photographers who's sense of dedication and business savvy translated well to a new way of thinking for me. Note: From the people I've met in person that inspire to some that I feel I somehow know by listening to their podcasts, reading their blogs etc my feeling is that the most successful wouldn't hold themselves up as idols. That's not their thing. We create idols, truly successful people rarely ask to be them.
To say that these people inspired me would be an understatement but never have I considered myself in their league. I would never have dreamed of even attempting to do what they do. They were the elite, I was some schmuk that barely finished a 10K without walking. And it dawned on me at some point that I'd lived my whole life with an expected ceiling on my possibilities. I've never considered it possible to be a professional (lawyer, doctor etc), be an athlete, or do anything much extraordinary. This is no sob story, don't break out the violins, I hardly think I've had a bad life. It's been great actually, but I think when we hold idols we instinctively tell ourselves that they do what we can't do and that dear reader is often bullshit.
Accomplishments come not from luck, wishful thinking or clicking our heels together three times and wishing a big dream. They are born out of hard work and commitment. But the failure to commit is often born out of failure to believe. You are not lazy. Read that again, you are not lazy. You simply need a reason to commit and a belief that you're worth it.
When I started all this running nonsense I met with some resistance from people in my life. I was getting too skinny, spending too much time training and away from my family (this wasn't from my very understanding wife who rocks, but from some close friends) and I was wrecking my knees. I realized that this was their story, their "stuff" and had nothing to do with me. People are comfortable with the status quo, they are just as resistant to your change as you are.
And so I present to you my greatest qualification for sharing with you a path. A roadmap. I've changed my life. Absolutely overhauled the engine. And I'm nothing special. Not only do I not come from an athletic pedigree, I've never believed I could achieve anything that involved sweat or tears. I still struggle today with the mental game of being an athlete. You can do this. You've got this. I see amazing transformations all the time and I absolutely believe now that people can change and that we all have the capacity for greatness.
I can tell you that I've lost 55 pounds, erased my health issues, reduced my stress and found happiness (as well as shaved 9 minutes off that first 10K time) while on this journey, but it doesn't really matter. That's about me. I share this story with you in hopes that you make it about you.
I'm not trying to blow rainbows up your ass and tell you you will be the next Scott Jurek but if you're sick, sedentary and feel trapped just know that I felt the same. I did it. I've busted through the tape and I'm of the firm belief that I've saved my life physically, mentally and spiritually. What I can do, you can do better.
As a final matter of history I've just qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:12:24 exactly three years after I first stepped on that treadmill. This isn't a special time, a lot of my local running friends crush that time, but it's all part of the journey. I'm still on it, I'm getting better all the time and I have no plans on getting back to that space where I felt that sweat and tears weren't worth someone like me. That the effort was lost on me. Running doesn't have to be your thing, but pick something, do it today. Commit to it and see your life change.
In this part of the website I'll be sharing what I learn about fitness. It won't always be about running but expect a large part of it to be because that's my thing. I also cycle, swim and do the gym work (grudgingly). I'll talk openly about my success, failure and what I learn. Think of me as your human lab rat and thanks for visiting.