Previously Fat Guy, aka PFG, is something I proudly call myself now.
My name is Rodney and after losing 80 lbs in 15 months and then completing my first 70.3 Ironman in 2010 and first full Ironman in 2011 I want to share my story and hopefully inspire you.
I was always an athletic kid and spent my youth skiing and mountain biking and being competitive, racing in both sports. I ski raced across Canada and the US as a member of the Manitoba Alpine Ski Team and raced in a few mountain bike series including the Canada Cup.
As is typical for a lot of people, life got busy, work interfered and every other excuse you can think of. Recently I heard a great saying that goes like this, “Excuses are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink. If you have an excuse you are just an asshole!”
Wise words to live by if you ask me :) So I went from being fit and 25 to being fat and 35 in what seemed like a blink of an eye.
It wasn’t until October 2008 about 8 months before I actually started exercising that a change would take place. A friend and colleague was in a mountain biking accident in that month and was left paralyzed. 8 months later another friend and colleague organized teams to participate in a 24 Hour mountain bike relay in order to raise money. Not owning a mountain bike but wanting to participate I signed up not knowing what I was getting myself into. You’ll see that is a common trend but I digress.
So in April 2009 I bought a mountain bike and started riding it. After riding I would typically come home and be hungry and order some pizza and soda and feast. Not long after that I bought a scale, something I had never owned, and was shocked to see it read 245lbs. I knew I had gotten bigger, it was obvious as I was now buying size 38 pants and size XL shirts, but it never really struck me until I saw that number. I decided that if I was going to do all that cycling I could eat a little better and maybe lose some weight. A month later and just in time for the Ride for Rob mountain bike relay I had already lost 10lbs.
I continued to ride and change what I ate. No more soda, sugary drinks, sugary snacks and more fruit, vegetables and leaner cuts of meat. The more I rode, the better I ate, the more weight I lost. By the end of the summer I had lost 50lbs and was happy. I wore a size 32 pant and medium shirt and thought this is it.
Summer came to an end and soon enough the conversation changed to what can we do to maintain this new weight. I was riding with a few friends and we all lost weight over the summer and were looking for something to motivate us to keep the weight off. We tossed around a few ideas and then the Muskoka 70.3 Ironman came up. After sharing some concerns about the swimming and running aspects we were sold after hearing “but it is on TV”. So without knowing what we were in for we signed up.
After signing up I went for a run and a swim and proceeded to panic. It took me an hour to swim 1900M and over 20 minutes to run 3KM. After the run I couldn’t walk for two days. How the hell was I going to finish a half Ironman race? After looking around at coaching and training plans online, I was referred to Mark Allen Online and signed up for an 18 week “maintenance” program. What was maintenance for most was get in shape for me. It was a long Winter of swimming in a 25M pool, running in the snow, sleet, cold and hours upon hours of riding an indoor trainer. But soon enough I started seeing progress, my body adapted to the 10-12 hours a week of workouts, my diet continued to change as I read more.
Before I knew it the 18 weeks was up but not before competing my first half marathon. I had never run more than 11KM in my life and here I was a sub-2 hour half marathon finisher. Next up was 20 of the best weeks of my life. Between the training and racing I had a blast. I loved every minute of it. I looked forward to every workout, anticipated every race and watched the fat continue to melt away. I completed my first ever triathlon, a sprint distance (750M/30KM/7.5KM) well under 2 hours and then completed a long course triathlon (2KM/55KM/13KM) in 3:35.
I was hooked. The day after the long course triathlon I signed up for Ironman Lake Placid. I continued to train and before I knew it, what seemed like a lifetime away was right around the corner and I was on my way to Muskoka for the 70.3 Ironman. You can read my race report here and see more photos here and here but it was the culmination of a major lifestyle change.
Now as I enjoy some R&R and plan for Ironman Lake Placid I look back at the changes I’ve made. I am proud to call myself a triathlete and even prouder to be a member of the PFG Tri Club.
So get out there, start easy and slowly make the changes. If I can you can too but then maybe you are just an asshole, hahaha!