After the break up I was left with very little. Up until that point we had been sharing a vehicle that was in her name and when she left I did not have a way to get myself to work and back anymore. Since giving up was never an option for me I did what I had to do: I asked a friend if he could take me to Wal-Mart and I left with a $100 bicycle.
When I got home I went straight to my computer, got online and began plotting out how I was going to make the six mile journey to and from work each day.
It was not easy, but it was the best I could do at the time. After a while I really started to enjoy and actually looked forward to my rides to work every day. Sometimes I would even leave several hours before I had to work just so I could take my time and explore different parts of the city that I had never seen before.
After a few weeks my co-workers and a few of my regular customers started to notice how much I had been cycling and commented on how different I looked. They were amazed with my weight loss and could not stop telling me how much happier and healthier I looked. Clearly I was onto something. I asked myself, "Could exercise and losing weight really be this fun and simple?!"
In those first three months alone I went from weighing 330 pounds to weighing 290 pounds. Eventually cycling became my passion and my obsession: I was riding my bike everywhere!
After working at the convenience store in Florida for a few months I had finally saved up enough money to move back home to Michigan and start fresh. It was not long after my return home that I found some work as a sub-contractor doing exterior and interior house painting for the landlord of a friend of mine. I loved how physically demanding that job was. A typical work day would begin with a sixteen mile bike ride to get to my boss' house in the mornings, then I would follow that up with an 8 to 9 hour day of physical labor before having to make the sixteen mile ride back home.
After a few days on the job I told my boss about all of my weight loss efforts and he told me that he couldn't help but notice how quickly my weight was melting away before his very eyes. After four months the season had come to a close and I was already down to 270 pounds! This was awesome!
Around this time there were a lot of other changes taking place in my life as well: I was in the process of moving into my friend's basement, I had finally started to feel comfortable enough to go out on dates again, and for the first time in my life I was truly living for me.
Soon exercise began filling up the all of the empty spaces in my life and many of my bad habits fell by the wayside. The more I exercised, the less I smoked. Eventually I just picked a day that I was going to do it and I just stopped. For several years I survived on nothing but fast food. I learned the hard way that exercise and fast food do not mix very well. It did not matter if I was riding to work or if I was getting ready to go on a 100 mile bike ride, fast food was just not cutting it for me anymore. Naturally I shifted my diet toward healthier foods like granola bars, clif bars, and lots and lots of water!
Even though I was working harder than ever before and cycling as often as I could, my weight loss eventually became stagnant. After doing a bit of research I decided that it was time for me to make some changes in my exercise regimen.
Then one day a military friend of mine invited me to go out for an "easy" one mile run with him. I figured that with all the cycling I had been doing every day, this was going to be a walk in the park. Boy was I wrong! By the time I had finished the run I was completely out of breath, lying on the filthy street outside of our house and loving every minute of it!
My addictive personality had finally found a new drug to latch on to and that drug was running. You see, I thrive on setting and achieving goals. Sure cycling had been fun, but it wasn't challenging me anymore. Running was hard and I knew deep down that I needed something that hard if I was ever going to achieve my the results I wanted.
So I caught the bug: When winter came I set my bike aside and began running to work every day instead. After a few months of that I decided it was time for me to sign up for my first road race.
No, my first race ever was not a 5k, or a 10k, or a half-marathon. I decided to go big and sprung for a 25k! Call me overzealous, I don't care. I knew in my heart that I could do it... and I did.
All two-hundred & fifty pounds of me!
After that I was completely hooked on distance races. They gave me something to train for; something to look forward to. They were also a really fun and simple way to gauge and measure my progress.
- Fast forward to Today -
I now weigh about 200lbs, I have six full marathons under my belt along with several shorter distance races and many, many more planned for the future.
So after everything that has happened and everything I have been through, I can honestly say that every day that I wake up alive is the best day of my life!
Thanks for reading!