My journey to wellness began for me in November 2010. My friend Matt was heading to Panama City Beach Florida to compete in the Ironman Triathlon in Panama City Beach, Florida. It was his first and he finished it without any issues. At the time, I was overweight and out of shape. I basically looked like I do in the picture to the right. I had been recently diagnosed as diabetic and was in and out of the gym almost as often as I was dieting. Seeing over 2,000 people at Ironman Florida with that kind of focus and dedication was motivating.
I thought about those days in Florida throughout the winter, but did not do much about it partly out of procrastination and partly out of confusion on how and where to start. Then in April of 2011, I went in for a visit with my doctor for a check-up. I was expecting the same verdict I had gotten the past three or four of these check-ups. Instead, I got something much different. My doctor informed me that my diabetes went from the borderline to dangerous level and it had my doctor concerned about my short and long-term well-being. I was in my late 30’s, over 315 lbs with blood sugar levels out of control and numbness in my feet, a major concern for people with diabetes. At the time my son was nine and my daughter was four years old. I knew right then and there that I had to make a change. A change for me and a change for them.
I began my journey to better health in May of 2011. It started with workouts at the gym three days a week and cycling on the weekends. Diet modification was imperative because of the diabetes concerns. I slowly began to feel better and weight began to come off. Then I was bitten. Bitten by two things. Endurance Sports and a passion for a healthy food lifestyle. This included using Advocare products.
Running was something I never imagined that I could do. I had many friends who ran their entire lives. It was just a part of the fabric of who they were. They would just go for these runs for “no reason” in my mind and I never really understood it. I had run the required amount during athletics, but really no more than I had to in order to have success in whatever sport it was. I had tried it a few times and all I could remember about it is the pain in my lower back and how hard it was to breathe. Then in late May of 2011, I was in Austin for a family wedding and after reading about running for a few days, I took a suggestion from one of the bloggers and I woke up and put my running shoes on and without thinking about it, I went for a run. I went about a mile and a half that morning, stopping for a breather a time or five and walking a bit. I got up the next morning and did the same thing. Oddly enough, there was a triathlon going on in and around downtown Austin that weekend. After running from the Downtown Hilton around the State Capital and through downtown a bit, I had knocked out about 2 miles on that second day. I had to stop a few times and did a little walking, like the day before, but I got it done. I haven’t looked back since.
My most recent Ironman achievement was completing my first Ironman Triathlon. I did so on September 20, 2014. I attempted my first Ironman triathlon earlier this year at Ironman Canada in Whistler, BC. The day ended for me at around 123.6 of the 140.6 miles after significant GI issues and some very awesome medical staff member put me out of the race. I left for Ironman Maryland on September 18, 2014, my 42nd birthday. I trained hard for Ironman Canada and after a couple of weeks passed, I decided that I wanted to make use of all that fitness and try again. Becoming an Ironman was a dream of mine since 2010. Attempting an Ironman was something that I never would have imagined doing, but I am sure glad that I did it.
I’m not nearly done yet. As I have said a couple of times, this is a journey for me. A journey that won’t end anytime soon. I have more Ironman races in my sights as I hope to someday make it to the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. To make it there would be an accomplishment like none other. Bigger than my recent Ironman achievement. Bigger than my Boston Marathon Finish. Bigger than my Marine Corps Marathon Finish. Bigger than any of the several Half Ironman’s that I have completed. It’s the pinnacle. It would mean so much to represent my family there. Someday. For now, I keep working. I keep inspiring and I keep helping people get to a better version of themselves.
I was introduced to AdvoCare by my friend and tournament softball teammate, Chris Pucci. We were playing in a softball tournament and had lost our second game. We had then won three straight and all signs pointed at our making it to the championship game through the losers bracket. We had to win two more games to get there and I was out of gas. I was looking for something to give me energy to get me through a few more games. Chris handed me a slam. I drank it and it did the trick. A couple of weeks later, Chris asked me how I was doing with my workouts and my journey. He knew I was working on things. After I filled him in on my new-found addiction, running, I asked Chris to tell me more about AdvoCare. He asked me a few questions about my goals which got us talking about the AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge.
The 24-Day Challenge was exactly what I needed. I did my first challenge in July 2011 and had amazing results. I lost 16 lbs, but more importantly, I felt great. I continued on the MNS Max E and the meal replacement shakes even after the 24-Day Challenge was over. I added O2 Gold to my daily mix to help me with my running.
A year and a half or so after the news from my doctor, I have completed my fifth 24-Day Challenge. I have lost about 70 lbs. I went from size 44 waist jeans to size 36. I am very proud of my progress. I could not have gotten to where I have gotten without a commitment to getting better and AdvoCare. I believe that so much that I signed on to be a part of the AdvoCare team.