Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How the journey began

This blog is to chronicle my evolution from a 300 lb chain-smoking beer guzzler to an Ironman finisher, noting as many obstacles and achievements as possible along the way. The journey has been fairly slow thus far, and I don't see the pace quickening any time soon. This, however, is fine by me as it has been my experience that lasting change comes slowly and these lifestyle changes I hope and pray are lasting.

After leaving graduate school in late 2004, I weighed about 215 lbs and smoked at least a pack of Marlboro Methol Lights each and every day. I also smoke other things which did not come with any sort of filter, and drank beer quite heavily given the chance. The combination of a desk job, endless movie rentals, pizza delivery and absolutely no desire to exercise caused my weight to increase to 295lbs by December 2007.

In the summer of 2008, when gasoline prices were reaching the highest levels in my lifetime, I decided that riding a bike to work a few days a week would be a good way to both save a few dollars and maybe shed a few pounds. I found a used mountain bike on Craigslist and started riding it around my neighborhood building up to the 5 mile ride to work. After two weeks I rode my bike to work. I felt like I had accomplished something wonderful and environmentally conscientious. I am fortunate that my job has a private shower in the men's room and I have a private office in which I can change clothes. Soon I was riding my bike to work up to 4 times per week, and upgraded to a new Trek 7.3 FX hybrid bike. Man, that thing was so much faster than the MTB! By October 2008 my weight was down to abut 280lbs and things were looking better, except I still had several really bad habits that needed to be addressed.

On the night of October 9th 2008, I was involved in an accident after leaving a bar where my company's softball team had gathered to watch the Clemson vs. Duke football game. That night proved to be one of the biggest turning points in my life. As the arresting officer informed me and the Judge that my charges were changed to felony DUI due to the injuries suffered by the other driver, my knees buckled and I hit the floor sobbing. All I could picture was my 4 month old daughter growing up without a father because I was in prison, and my wife struggling to provide for the family without my earnings. It was at that exact moment my life changed.

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