My Story



My entire life I have battled with being over weight and lazy. My entire school career I was at least chubby, and it was miserable. I remember every name I was ever called in school because of my weight. I have heard of overweight people say that they were not bothered by being called “fat” or any other mean names because it was true. To me, that’s why it hurt so much. And I wouldn’t say I have always realized how damaging being mean, or bullying  a person really is. Even after I have dealt with it for a long time, I’m still not the kindest person, but I’m working on it.
Even though I was overweight I did play baseball in high school and really enjoyed it. What I didn’t enjoy was running or conditioning. Before practice or a game we all had to jog two laps on the warning track. I would typically run one, if any, and just tell the coach I ran two. Always trying to find the shortcuts or the easy way out.
When I graduated high school I enrolled as a full time student at a local community college. I found out very quickly that I was burned out on school. I did find a natural talent for playing ping pong though. I spent absolutely no time on school work and going to class and did spend all of my time playing in the rec room. My grades showed my dedication (paying the price for this now).
After one year in college I decided, or was forced to, get a full time job and start getting on with my life. I worked at several different places, from cleaning out horse barns, reading meters, to working in a warehouse. I had all sorts of jobs during this time, I was bored easily with them. Finally I decided on an actual career that I wanted to pursue and went after it. Again, my dedication was lacking but at least this time I was good enough at something that I was able to somewhat succeed and find a decent job doing what I like(d). So starting then to a little over 5 years now, I have been a graphic designer.

Now, this is where the story gets interesting. Three years ago my wife and I had our daughter, Cadence Catori. We were quite the hippie couple so we thought her name should have something to do with music and also Native American culture. So we went with Cadence for rythm, we were into drum circles and all, FO' REAL! And Catori, Hopi Indian for, “Spirit”. Even though I’m not the hippie I was, her name is still perfect!
Anyways, Nicole’s pregnancy is where we both ballooned. I don’t know what my weight was before Nicole got pregnant, I was no light weight, but when Cadence was born I had to be at my heaviest ever. If I had to put a number on it I would say 290. Being that I’m only 5’9″, that’s a big ass dude! Nicole and I would regularly eat horrible. My favorite meal was 2 flour tacos, beef enchilada, half an order of poppers, about 2 Mountain Dews and an order of krispos (Deep fried flour chips, coated in cinnamon and sugar. Yes they were awesome). I bet this meal was over 3000 calories of grease dripping deliciousness. And this wasn’t a once in a while thing, it was several times a week. And when we were not eating that it was something else just as bad!
So for a while, up to this point in the story, my mom had been working out and trying to lose weight herself. And she did very well, which gave me an idea. I CAN DO IT TOO!!! So I talked to Nicole and we agreed that we would enroll in an extreme kickboxing workout program called Farrell’s Xtreme Bodyshaping. We had heard a lot of stories about this place, it’s kind of legendary to fat people around here. So we got all signed up a few months in advance…
I forgot to mention that we were also heavy smokers. Like a pack or more a day, pretty much since I turned 16 and starting driving. Sorry Mom and Dad…
Back to the timeline. We are all signed up for FXB, all fat, all smokey smelling and several other bad habits too. So, we decided we need to start shaping up a little bit before our first day of class. We ended up pretty much binging for the remainder of our free lives because we knew we had to give it all up. About two weeks out from the first day we decided to quit smoking, and we were successful at this.
The day FINALLY arrived! FXB testing day. Holy shit I was scared. I knew what we were going to be doing and I hated the very thought of it. We had a one minute sit up test, one minute pushup test, “Step” test and finally, run one mile. Remember how I hated running two laps on the baseball field? Ya, well that was when I was at my most fit and lightest point in my life. I had never, EVER ran a mile in my life. Even the physical tests in high school I would walk the mile. So, I got all weighed in, 270 and took all my measurements. I don’t recall all the numbers but I was big and horribly out of shape. So I think I did sit ups, push ups and then came the “step” test. It was a 4 minute walk up and down a 12″ step at one step per second, or something like that. You take your HR before and after to determine whether you are fit enough to participate in “fat camp”. Well, I was too damn fat and out of shape to get in shape. I was absolutely devastated. I had been building this class up to everyone. I told everyone I knew about it and how I was going to do well, then come to find out I FAIL on my first day. I don’t think I said two words the rest of that day, to anyone. I hated myself.
After I got over feeling sorry for myself I decided that I didn’t need that class to get started. I bought a Kettlebell and downloaded some videos and starting working my ass off every night before bed. At first I couldn’t keep up with the videos at all, which now seem like old lady videos. We started eating a little better, come to find out it was still eating like crap though. In the 10 weeks that the class lasts, I lost 25lbs and was in the best shape I had been in the past several years. So I went back to the testing and passed the step test. I still think I had to lie on my HR to make it below the limit though. My mile time was 13 or 14 minutes, I don’t remember which. I do remember feeling like I was going to puke at the end. By the end of my 10 week class, I had dropped another 20lbs lots of inches and completely changed my attitude about everything. My wife also had great success and was also a new person. We have always done everything together and have always been the driving force behind the other. It’s like each of us is the motor for the other’s wheels.
So, one of my coaches from FXB asked if I would run the Des Moines Half Marathon with her. Again, I HATE RUNNING! Up to this point I have only ran 1 mile and it was always completely miserable. Water boarding would be a vacation for me compared to running. I said yes… I remember the first run was with her and Todd, he was a marathon runner. I told her that I couldn’t run anymore than 1 or 2 miles the first time. We ended up running 3 and I was hooked. I did something that I never thought was possible for me and I actually enjoyed it. Nicole E. and I ran the half marathon with a record setting time of 2:27 and some change.
So I needed a new challenge after feeling the success I had with running a half marathon. I had set out to do something and did it. I wasn’t used to this sort of thing. I am a “need success now” kind of guy. I have a hard time working for something that I will get far down the road, hence my issues with school. My next goal was triathlon.
At this point I’m ready to sign up for everything in site. I can do anything I want if I stick to it. I sign up for 5 triathlons! 3 sprints and 2 Olympic. To make a short story short, the two Olympic races were shortened due to weather. So I did 5 sprints that summer. I was still able to do another half marathon and a full marathon. The half was great, it was in Oklahoma City. Home of the best band in the world, The Flaming Lips. My time was 2:00:33 at this race and my goal was to get under 2 hours. So I was pretty much right on pace with what I had trained for and I was happy with it. My marathon wasn’t so great. I ran it in 4:54, I hit the wall at about mile 23 and had to run and walk. But I finished and I was happy with that.

This year I have ran two half marathons, another coming up in a couple weeks. One of the half marathons I PRed at 1:45, in other words I effin shattered my previous time. I’m hoping to set another PR in my upcoming race, which is also the first Half I ever ran. A couple weeks ago I finally got my chance to do my first Olympic Tri. It was a blast too! I felt great through the entire race and didn’t do so bad either. I ended up finishing right at what I had trained for, 2:33. Placed 12th out of 57 in my age group which made me feel pretty good. My goal for the season was to place in the top 50% of every race, which I have been in the top 25% of all my races this year I think. So I have seen huge progress this year. Another breakthrough this year is that my training has been much more time consuming and I have not had even a symptom of getting burned out! In fact I have been even more inspired and driven the closer to off season we get.

So, that get’s me to now. I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin this morning. I have a training schedule that lasts 9 months with an off season plan that lasts 3 months. So as soon as this half is over, I’m in Ironman training mode. After losing my grandfather earlier this year I haven’t been able to stop thinking of what I can do to make a difference somehow. I have watched, read, listened to other stories of people dealing with loss, disease, etc. I have always wanted to make a difference and even dabbled in fundraising last tri season with Team in Training. My wife and I were able to raise nearly $3000 for cancer research. This time I want to make a contribution to something or someone that I can see my hard work be put to use. So I am not only committing to training for, and completing an Ironman (in a respectable amount of time) but also to helping others with my fundraising.

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