Sunday, September 14, 2008

The advent of a new beginning


It was the fall of 1983. I was living a unhealthy lifestyle, ingesting unbridled restaurant food and way too many drinks on most occasions. I was working the Wrangler PR account, and was traveling the motocross and Supercross circuits. I made almost every major sports stadium in the country that year, and attended approximately 33 events - including many NASCAR races when I could fit them in.

Something had to give, either my way of being, or my pants that were about to explode at the seams. So, I put one foot in front of the other, and began to jog in a slow and painful fashion. The exercise increased when I purchased a low end bicycle that came as a promo from Maico motorcycles...and I was soon spinning the crank.

Then, the most insane diet I ever embraced came next. I was living on about 1000 calories per day. Mid-morning, I'd have a thin PB&J, and then two Weight Watchers "meals" rounded out my intake. For a big treat at night, I'd pour my serving over a baked potato and that was the limit.

Slogging along, trudging small loops from my little white rental house, around and through the neighborhoods...and on occasion riding that Maico bike to work, about 10 miles each way. I had no knowledge of endurance sport and was stumbling forward without a mentor.

When I finally stepped up and bought a premium bike...a beautiful Bianchi...I told the clerk to order me a 64cm frame, the largest they made, because I didn't want it to be too small.

Have I ever mentioned I wasn't skilled in asking for advice?

So, from those humble beginnings, a master competitor emerged. I lost 45 pounds that fall.

I lived in the shadow of my past, a man who was never accepted at team sports and rode the bench all the way through grade school and part of high school. But this time, it was different. A wonderful epic journey awaited, one that would take me to places I could only dream of before - duathlons, triathlons, 10K's, marathons and then ultrarunning.

What a great ride is has been.

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