Every journey must begin somewhere. This journey begins after putting on the pounds after a hip injury and then soon after my first child Henry being born. I grew up playing multiple sports in high school and I’m built like a football player. I’m 5’8” and my weight usually is around 180lbs but after the weight gain I tipped the scale at 197lbs!
I remember as a child racing at the Boys & Girls Club of America. I loved to run and I remember the first time I got beat in a race! Then I remember beating him in a race and getting a finishing ribbon at the school field day. Soon after I started to experience a severe limp and my mother and father took me to the hospital in Atlanta. I was diagnosed with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a rare disease that restricts blood flow to the top of the hip and causes it to deteriorate and fall out of socket. I spent a year on crutches and then another year in a specialized steel brace (purchased by the Shriners) to keep my hip in socket and to heal properly. As you probably might expect this was pretty tough for a 7 year old boy to go through. Luckily my hip healed really well and I ended up playing football at age 10, even becoming the high school quarterback later, along with basketball, baseball, and a brief bought of wrestling.
I’m not new to the exercise world but still largely inexperienced in the realm of diet and proper exercise training programs. I’ve got the grit but I need a plan and a good diet. My experience began with running a couple 5ks and then participating in my first sprint-triathlon. I began running more 5ks (PR 22:16) and half-marathons (PR 1:46.59) and a painful marathon (PR 4:26.25). A marathon is something you cannot just show up for … lesson learned! Due to hotel reservations problems I had little sleep the night before (strike 1), I only ate a banana before the race and had no GU energy gels (Strike 2), and as an untrained youthful valiant effort I began at a 8:00 pace on my first marathon which I held until I blew up at mile 13. After that I’m not sure what my pace fell too but there was a lot of walking and pain. Little did I know that much of my mistakes could have totally been avoided and could have been more of a pleasant day with a better time. After this experience I pushed the idea of qualifying for a BQ (Boston Marathon Qualifier) and switched my focus to the sport of triathlon. I already had completed some sprint triathlons so I sought out to complete an Ironman. After finishing Ironman New Orleans 70.3 in 2011, I finished Ironman Louisville 140.6 in the Fall of 2011. During all of this I was largely an undertrained grad student with a avg. diet. Although my goal was just to finish the Ironman, looking back I wish I would have trained and prepared better for my best possible time.
So fast forward 6 years and I’m running again. I picked up the book I purchased years ago titled ‘Racing Weight: How to get lean for peak performance 5 Step Plan For Endurance Athletes’ by Matt Fitzgerald. The concepts in the book were fascinating and it showed me in the first time in my life how to eat properly. Although I never really ate bad and I picked up some good habits by reading the ‘Abs Diet’ years earlier I was still largely ill-informed on calorie control and portion sizes as well as good versus bad food. I began watching what I put in my body and monitoring my calorie intake using UnderArmor’s popular app MyfitnessPal. I began losing weight and training again for my upcoming West Point Half Marathon on March 26, 2016. I thought to myself if I were to set my goals high and get into peak racing shape then I might as well shoot for a BQ while doing it. I stumbled across a blog while researching for a training plan and was introduced to someone who did what it took to make his goal a reality. On Floris’ blog he mentions a popular health expert who has coached many athletes named Dr. Philip Mafetone. One of his articles titled ‘Want Speed? Slow Down’ I found fascinating and informative. Once again I realized that I was not only eating wrong but training at the wrong heat rate zone and not spending any time on the track speed training or hill repeats. After this information I considered why not give a BQ a shot. If I can stay healthy, get my weight down, maintain a proper diet, and put in the training what is stopping me?
Let the journey begin …