"I Never Imagined That I Was Ever Capable of the Things I am Doing Today."

Throughout my life, I’ve stayed active playing softball, but I was not really motivated to take care of myself beyond that. At one point, I did Weight Watchers and stopped drinking regular soda, and I lost around 15 to 20 pounds. But I never took it seriously. I had a lot of negativity in my life, and things were just never quite what I had intended them to be. Overall, my health wasn’t great, and I had stopped caring.

My turning point came in August 2019 when my wife passed away from complications with type 1 diabetes. I was 50 years old at the time and I went through a series of intense emotions; I'm incredibly grateful for an amazing friend  who really picked me up from my lowest point in November of 2019.  She became sort of an inspiration for me to get healthy and she gave me a lot of support along the way.  

I started on a stationary bike in the gym. Soon, I was there 5 days a week and after 8 weeks I had lost about 30-35 pounds and I got my first bike at the end of February 2020.  My first ride was 9 miles on the LA River bike path at Griffith Park.  My friend that got me started is a triathlete so she had her coach take me out and teach me how to clip in.  I remember thinking, "How are you guys riding 50 miles later today?!"  I also remember falling over at least once. (OK maybe more than once!!)
I immediately was using Strava to track my rides and I got a garmin computer for my bike.  I wasn't interested in racing and weight loss was motivation enough.  I was riding 3-4 days a week and my rides would be usually 10-20 miles a ride. My friend would go out with me because she wasn't comfortable yet with me riding by myself. I also had a partially torn meniscus in my left knee but that didn't bother me while riding. By the end of 2020 I was cycling about 170-200 miles a week.

I also worked on my diet. Before this health journey I ate lots of fast food, visited the doughnut shop everyday, and drank diet soda four times a day. The first thing my friend did was make me eat salad; she found ingredients and a dressing that I would tolerate. Now, I make salad three to four days a week with dinner. My training partners along the way have all taught me to not completely deprive myself, as has my therapist. For the most part, I try to eat high-carb, high-protein diet because of my workout schedule. 

I'm currently training 6-7 days a week in running, cycling, and swimming and have my first of three triathlons coming up before the end of this year. I have a sprint in just under 3 weeks, then an Olympic in October, and I'll be taking on my first Half Iron Man in December of this year.

I could never in a million years imagine that I was ever capable of the things I am doing today.  I've been through a lot in the last three years, and I still have a lot of things that I deal with every single day.  I can't imagine where I would be if that one very incredible person hadn't been so kind.  I never knew I had that in me to accomplish all of this, but that one person opened that up for me to see. That is probably the most difficult thing to express!!

I lost over 110 pounds in about 16 months. My advice for other cyclists looking to make a similar change is to find a really good group to ride with that will accept you. I found a club that I was riding with and that was such a tremendous help as I was doing longer and longer rides.  I made some really good friends.  With my training ramping up for a few triathlons coming up I'm not able to ride with them as much but we still talk all the time and when I can get out and ride with them it's a really nice welcome home.