How I implemented a life change and ran a 39.3 mile challenge

In October of 2008 I weighed 224 lbs. I was largely sedentary and I ate whatever I wanted. This did not align with one of my life plan categories which is health. Without personal health you are not able to take care of your loved ones and your quality of life is not what it could be. If you are interested in learning more about life planning you can read more about it here.

I went to an extreme and adopted a raw vegetarian diet. For more details on a raw vegetarian diet you can read my blog post here. Over a period of a year of a sedentary lifestyle and only a dietary change I lost 54 lbs. Over the next 2 years I maintained a raw vegetarian diet. May 2012 my I had stopped the raw diet and my weight had climbed back up to 226 lbs.

In June 2014 I was reviewing my life plan and acknowledged that I was neglecting this category and that if I didn’t do something it would impact my ability to address other goals in the long term. It was time to address this issue. I committed not to a diet and exercise routine. I committed to a lifestyle change. With any significant change you need to set a difficult but attainable goal, plan on achieving that goal, and make adjustments as necessary. To that end, I set a goal of completing the Disney Goofy Race and A Half Challenge in 2015. The Challenge is a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. 2 days, 4 parks, and 39.3 miles, couch to 39.3 miles that sounds like a reasonable challenge right?

I had 3 criteria for this event.

  1. Don’t kill yourself.
  2. Don’t get hurt. (overt training etc).
  3. Finish the race in under the required time limit

The first thing I did was go back to eating vegetarian permanently. If you want to understand why you can read my blog post why I went vegetarian permanently. Next I reviewed many training plans for Goofy online. After reviewing these training plans I realized that to satisfy my 3 criteria, I shouldn’t attempt it alone. So I contacted Elizabeth Waterstraat with MultiSport Mastery and asked if she would coach me. Most of the training plans that I had reviewed were running alone. Since I was overweight, sedentary, and completely out of shape, Elizabeth recommended a mix of activities to build fitness while I lost some of the weight. One of the first questions that I asked Elizabeth was, is this a realistic goal?

“I have NO way of knowing this as we have not worked together.

You have set the goal and certainly have plenty of equipment/resources to make achieving your goal that much easier.  That said, the ONLY thing that matters to your success is consistency – this means following the program day to day, staying healthy/injury-free.  Anything you can do to stay as consistent as possible will help you get closer to your goal.”

To put this in perspective, when I started, I couldn’t run for more than 2 minutes without having to stop for a walk break.

My friends, family, and colleagues thought I was having a mid life crisis and had lost my mind. Initially rather than being supportive they questioned it at every turn. Getting started can be very difficult, you are sore and before a workout you think of a thousands reasons not to do the workout. You question yourself and why you are doing this and having everyone else question it as well makes it that much easier to quit and go back to your “normal” routine.

The first few months I lost some of the weight and got to a baseline level of fitness. Accompanying my new fitness I had a almost unrelenting desire to go faster and do more.
During this period I also developed a  unrelated health issue with my arm that ended up requiring surgery 11 days prior to the race. After every workout Elizabeth would ask, how was it? how do you feel? She was there being supportive even when others weren’t. When things hurt or didn’t feel right she would ask questions and offer advise. When I started having shin splints she offered advice, changed the workout mix and helped me work thru it.

When I developed a baseline fitness and wanted to go to far too fast she said I feel like right now you are making progress – slowly, surely and safely.  You’re on a good path. Let’s keep it up.  In due time we will extend the duration of workouts, walks, etc.  For now, let’s continue the path we’re on and continue to make progress. Without her help I don’t believe I would have accomplished this goal and met the criteria I set. I would have either given up due to the mental stress and lack of support or hurt myself by trying to do too much and not having all the background, information, and experience that a professional coach brings.

At the end of 2014:

  • I weighed 163 lbs./li>
  • I cycled 495 miles
  • I ran 487 miles

On January 10-11th of 2015 I completed the Disney Goofy Race and A Half Challenge.

Badge half Badge marathon Badge goofy

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