Way back in March of 2012 I got the scare of my life, I was told I had super high blood pressure and if I did not change things I would be in the ground before I was fifty. The previous year I was diagnosed with diabetes and with a bit of a better diet and medication I got it under control. I had reduced my weight to 340 pounds but my lifestyle was extremely sedentary, eating habits were atrocious and I had a two pack a day cigarette habit. I had been a lifelong couch potato and had never involved myself in athletics. I had a small stint as an undergrad where I dropped to 280 pounds, through weight lifting and very little cardiovascular fitness. But it did not stay off and in March of 2013 my situation became dire.
That is when everything changed.
I completed my first 5k in October of that same year and in the summer of the following year, 2013 I finished my first sprint distance triathlon ( 500 meter swim, 12 mile bike and a 5k run). I had dropped some weight and I had removed my reliance on nicotine. During the summer and fall of 2013 I completed numerous 5k and 10k races as well as a total of 3 sprint distance triathlons. I was slow, but I was in control of my life. In late November I decided to shoot for a Thanksgiving half marathon. Two weeks before the race teh longest I ran was 10 miles. I managed to finish the half marathon in a bit over three hours. By the end of 2013 I had achieved all my goals, in some cases I went beyond, I set for myself at the beginning of the year.
Looking forward to 2014 I was not certain where I wanted to go next. In 2013 I had ran 307 road miles and a thousand cycling miles. I figured I would stick with triathlons, but I wanted to focus on the olympic distance races instead of sprints (.9 miles swimming, 24-26 miles cycling and 10k run). I also knew I wanted to continue to explore running and I set up my schedule to complete more half marathon distance races. At the start of the year I had a clue as to what I wanted to achieve at the end of the year but I was uncertain if it was truly attainable, I wanted to run longer than a half marathon distance. I knew I would need to elevate my mileage if I was going to have any chance of doing a race above 20 miles so I slowly started to increase my ten miles a week of running slowly upward. I silently set my sights on running 800 miles for the year, a huge jump from 307 the previous year.
In January of 2014 I had an unexpected development occur, I got talked into leaving the road and trying out trail running. Little did I know this would change and mold my athletic identity. As the year progressed I found myself drawn away from the road and more to the trails. I fell in love with the technical trails, the uphill battles and every aspect of trail running. By the end of the year I would be a trail runner.
As I headed into the summer of 2014 I had completed three half marathons, all on road except one and a couple of 5ks. My weekly run mileage slowly inched up into the upper teens. At one of the half marathon expos, the goody bag had a post card advertising a 50k Ultra trail running race later in November. Little did I know then, but this little post card had silently planted a seed and an idea on a big end of year goal began to take shape.
Highlights Of 2014 – First 4 Months
- Three half marathons with two in one week apart and one on trails.(Read entry here)
- First 20 mile run just to see if I could do it. Finished the last five miles with a whopper (read it here)
- First night trail race – Yeti Nightmare (read it here)
- Ran my first Ragnar relay: Atlanta Trails Ragnar (Read it here)
- I ran in a major snow storm (for Atlanta)(Read it here)
In the next post I will continue to work my way through recapping 2014 and the crazy road trip I took heading to my first race greater than a half marathon distance. Til next time.