Coming out of an all boys private high school as a three sport athlete, my pedigree was fairly strong. I wasn’t totally shocked when I was offered an athletic scholarship to Temple University for rowing. While at Temple, our men’s team was ranked in the top ten every year I was there. My freshman and sophomore seasons were successful. Just prior to my junior season, I broke my arm and was forced to red-shirt for the year.
Shortly after my 21st birthday, after coming home to visit my parents, I sauntered into a neighborhood bar in my hometown of Elkins Park. I was offered a job and was soon bartending. It seemed like a glamorous job for a 21 year old. Before too long, I was drinking daily and began smoking pot. Right about the time that I met my first wife, I began to develop a cocaine addiction. All the while I was drinking more and more. Eventually, after a year and a half of marriage, it became so bad, that my wife left and took our son with her. I feel into a depression and began drinking even more. I was fired from my job for drinking at work. So here I was, 25 years old, unemployed and about to be divorced. Not only that, my weight had ballooned from 200 lbs to 265 lbs and I had high blood pressure. I was a heart attack, a drunk driving wreck or an overdose waiting to happen.
One day after 14 hours of partying, I came home (I was living at my parents at this point) and was unable to sleep, cocaine does that you know. I became upset, and felt like I couldn’t go on like this anymore. I had to man up. I woke my Dad out of bed and explained to him that I had hit my low and I needed to stop and get better. The next morning I went to my first of hundreds of AA meetings and haven’t had a drink or drug since. I started going to the gym again and actually got into really good shape. I got a job selling beer for Budweiser (go figure) and then I picked up another job bartending (I was like a real life Sam Malone.) Thinks were starting to look up for me and my health.
It was about that time that I met Julie, my current wife and best friend. Unfortunately, one of the bi-products of falling head over heals in love, was that I lost my passion and energy for working out. Before I knew it, I was happy in my relationship with Julie, but my health was declining again. I had put all of my weight back on and my blood pressure and cholesterol were high again.
This past fall of 2010, several of my co-workers competed in the Philly 1/2 marathon. Always feeling like an athlete and having a bit of an elitist attitude, I didn’t understand why I didn’t think I could run too. Being a big guy I was never fast, but there couldn’t really be anything that these people could do that I couldn’t right? So the day after thanks giving, I went to the gym and got on the scale which said I weighed 267 lbs. I set a goal to run the Broad St run in the spring and to loose 40 lbs by May 1st. Within the first week I realized that my knees could not carry 267 lbs while running 4 or 5 times a week. It was at that moment, searching for something to keep my ideas a goals alive that the the idea of training like a triathlete came to mind. I wouldn’t have to run as frequently and I didn’t have to do a triathlon, just train like I was going to do one.
Well here we are in May, and I’ve since lost 47 lbs and have set a new goal to loose 20 more lbs by the end of summer and I have three triathlons planned for this year. I’ve also competed in 2 5K races and have several more planned. I’m going to run the Philly 1/2 marathon in November and the idea of running a full 26.2 has recently entered my mind.
I’ll write more about my addiction in the future, but this is the beginning of my story. It’s been a roller coaster ride, no doubt, but most good stories are. Unlike most good stories, this one doesn’t come to an end. Not yet anyway……