Ok, this first post is a big one, but stick with me, there was just a lot to get out this first time…
Well hello, not sure exactly where to start with this, so I guess I’ll begin with a little bit about myself and why I’m writing all this in the first place and putting it out there.
My name is Andy, and I am trying to document my efforts and experiences while getting myself back into shape. I’m doing it to keep myself honest, keep myself accountable, and use it as a way to remember exactly what I am going through so that whenever I feel myself slipping (and I will slip), I can look back at everything i’ve done and use it as a tool to keep going forward. If someone else out there can relate to what I’m going through, all the better…
So where to begin? Like I said, my name is Andy; I’m a 6’3”, 330 pound, 34 year old guy living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I’m a husband to a spectacular woman who truly is (pardon the cliché, but damn if it’s not the truth) the love of my life and my best friend (Jenn), and an amazingly proud father to a 6 month old daughter, (Tessa). Jenn & I just recently celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary in October, and back in April, my life (actually, both of our lives) changed completely when Tess came along.
For me, that was the game changer.
Tessa has completely rocked my world, in all of the best possible ways. I am so in love with her and she gives me strength and drive that I never even knew existed. It’s not about me anymore, it’s all about her and while I am doing this for myself, my driving force is the two ladies in my life. I need to make sure I am healthy and around for them. (Plus Tess is going to be mobile soon, rolling and crawling and such, which only leads to walking and running, so it’s important to me that I be sure that I can keep up with her, I don’t want to ever come across a situation where she is held back in any way because I was too damn lazy to be in shape for her)
A little history on me: I’ve always been a big guy. As a matter of fact, my nickname has always been “Big Andy”. In the beginning, it was always because I was just a big guy, taller and broader than just about all of my friends, not heavy, just a big boy. Over the past 10-15 years or so, however, the nickname has come to take on a whole new meaning. I ballooned up by approx 100 pounds, bringing me to my robust current state. I honestly attribute it to my being content and lazy. I met Jenn about 10 years ago, and when we started dating and I fell pretty hard and amazingly fast for her. And once I was with her, happy and content, the weight just started coming on slowly and I really didn’t even notice till it was too late. Fast forward to today, I’m Big Andy still, only difference is that now it’s because it’s much nicer and less offensive to say than “Fat Andy”. Not that anyone would actually say that, but you know what I mean. Now, I’ve accepted that name a long time ago, and I actually used to wear it as a badge of honor, I’m guessing after I realized I was heavy and it had a dual meaning, I stuck with it as my way of dealing with the fact I was so big or whatever… but those days are over, and it’s time to make a move on this. I am no longer content with being fat and lazy. I was ok with it when I was responsible for just me, and I was still ok with it when it was me and Jenn, but now with Tessa in the mix, it is no longer acceptable for me to be in this shape.
So as with a lot of people who have been heavy over a long period of time, I’ve been down the diet road time and time again. I’ve joined weight loss programs, had some success, then fell off the wagon time and time again. I know they always say that “it’s a lifestyle change” and all that, yadda yadda yadda, but damn if it’s not the truth. I can say this with certainty because every time I let my guard down or fizzled out on the program, I packed the pounds right back on. Here’s how it went with me: every time I was going to start, I would completely pig out the week or so beforehand, (because you know, I was about to give up all the bad food for good, right?) Which resulted in me giving one last minute beef up to my weight before I even started. I’d go on the diet or plan or whatever and follow it hardcore (with success, I might add) until I ran out of steam a few weeks or a month into it, and then I’d fizzle out, and slowly gain all the weight back. Then repeat the cycle, over and over again, with months, usually years in between. I’m not one of those who will sit there and say “I gained it all back plus some”. I always seem to settle back at the 330-340 range and fluctuate around there. So here I sit, right at 330, and honestly sick of it. So screw it, if it takes a lifestyle change, then it’s time to change up the lifestyle.
OK, so I’ve given a little about me, a little about how I got into this mess, and a little about my successes (or lack thereof) with weight loss thus far. The only thing left is to lay out my plan to fix it and then just get on with it.
I’ve given this a good deal of thought and this time around I’m doing things a little differently, at least in the way that I am approaching everything. I am not going to focus on just losing weight, not going to be hyper-focused on just the number, but moreover I am going to focus on getting back to being physically fit, because I believe that the two are linked anyway, and with one will come the other. I’m sure you will read this and think it’s the same thing, Po-tay-to/Po-taa-to, but it’s my way to get my head right going into this, and you know what they say: Free your mind and your ass will follow. (or something like that)
So the plan came about as a direct result of me finally getting completely disgusted with my current condition. It’s a shame that it takes me getting absolutely disgusted with myself to make a move like this, but that’s the way it worked out. (On a side note, I can’t guarantee some great insightful significance to come out of my writing all this, but I can guarantee honesty, even if it’s not the most flattering to myself) Now I am typically a pretty happy guy, I have a great family, a wide circle of friends, and I have always been very quick and eager to meet new people and will often start up a conversation with anybody I come across, which is why my being so fed up is kind of a departure from my normal disposition and how I knew it was time. That’s the only answer I can give my closest friends and family when they ask me the inevitable “why now?” question. Quite simply, It’s just time. …Sorry, back to being disgusted. I’m pretty sure that the last straw was my getting winded while walking up the stairs in my office building. We’re not talking about a lot of steps here, I work on the second floor, and it’s got to be 20 or so steps max. (Hence my disgust)
So this was all on my mind and I was talking to one of my buddies (I’ll call him BB), and I was telling him what was new with me and what I was thinking about lately, namely, my big fat ass and how I am recently dedicated to losing it. I was saying that I knew it would be a ton of work, be hard as hell to do it, and I wasn’t even really sure how to start yet. This is where he saw the proverbial “open door”. BB launches into this little idea he’s had for a while now, but, and I’m paraphrasing here, “He hasn’t found anybody stupid or crazy enough to do it with him yet”. He goes on to tell me about the Tough Mudder. A 10-12 mile event that is less a race and more a military style obstacle course. (www.toughmudder.com) And it’s not enough to just do one of those obstacle course races, oh no, this is the one where you crawl through mud, jump into ice cold water, run between bales of hay on fire, carry logs up hills, run through live electric wires, etc…So it’s the most Badass of all the events I’ve seen. As a matter of fact, the whole point of the Tough Mudder is not to finish with the best time, it’s just to finish, period. Now I’ve had friends who have done “Mud Runs” before, and they have a lot of similar stuff: mud, water, cargo nets, the walls to jump over, etc… but the best way I’ve heard to describe it is that the Mud Runs are a “Light” version of the Tough Mudder.
The Tough Mudder has events all across the country, and it comes back to our general area in October of 2012, so I have approx. a year to change from completely out of shape to fit enough to complete that madness.
This works for me because I always work better when I have a specific goal (no matter how insane it may be) that I’m working towards (as opposed to the broader “getting into shape and losing weight” accomplishment alone, with no measuring stick to gauge my success or failure) and having this hardcore goal will give me something to work for.
Ok, so I have a goal, now I just have to get there. The only way I am going to pull this off is to set incremental goals for myself and work up to it. I am starting my first run tonight, and beginning with the “4 weeks to one mile” program (http://tinyurl.com/c7uahf5). This will allow me to pick up the “Couch to 5K”( http://tinyurl.com/4gtmz) running program as soon as it ends, and allow me to run my First 5K on Feb 11th. (I’ll be running the Cupid’s Chase 5K in Philly- http://tinyurl.com/c7krea6 ).Now I have Step 1.
My plan is to not stop, just keep pushing all year, so as soon as I hit the 5K, transition right into training for a 10K, and run that on May 19 (the Kennett Run 10K in Kennett Square, PA. http://tinyurl.com/7e66a5g) It’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere in relation to where I live, but the dates line up to where I’d like it to be, so I’ll haul my ass out there to run it. There’s Step 2.
The Third Step comes on June 9 with the10K MS Mud Run in Philly. This will be my first taste of the mud, water and obstacles. Good news is for that one, you can put together a team to run with, and I’ve already started to reach out to a bunch of friends and family that I know I can’t back on to do it with me. (Team Morning Wood- “we run hard”, I know it’s kind of toilet humor, but still pretty funny, right?) This is a way to make sure I’ve got strong people to help me if I need it, and also to guarantee that I will do it, because I sure as hell can’t back out on my brothers or cousins now that we said it’s going to happen.
Step 4 will be very similar to 3, with the Down and Dirty Mud Run in Philly. Date is still to be set, but looks like July. Same deal, 10K run with obstacles to serve as a tune up for the mudder, doing it with a team.
During the months of June, July, and August, along with the mud runs I want to train for and complete my Step 5, a half marathon in Sept, The Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Philly and finally the Tough Mudder on October 27.
Extremely Ambitious? Hell yeah. Is there I chance I will fall flat on my face, fail, and not complete all of this? Of course. But like I said, It’s time, and I am ready go get on with it. So no more talking about it, it’s just time to start moving this big body and see if my ass can cash the checks my mouth has been writing.
So there it is, or in a much more clear and succinct layout:
11/2011- Train for 5K
12/2011- Train for 5K
1/2012- Train for 5K
2/2012- 5K (2/11)/ Train for 10K
3/2012- Train for 10K
4/2012- Train for 10K
5/2012- 10K (5/19)/ Train for Half Marathon
6/2012- 10K Mud Run (6/9)/ Train for Half Marathon
7/2012- 10K Mud Run (??)/ Train for Half Marathon
8/2012- Train for Half Marathon
9/2012- Half Marathon (9/16)
10/2012- Tough Mudder in NJ (10/27)
So here we are, thanks for reading this very long winded introduction and hopefully you will join me as I go through this insane challenge. I’ll keep updating as I go along, and try to give you an honest account of what I’m going through. Until next time, take it easy. -Andy