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Life in general, Triathlon

This is how we got started

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.

8/2010 Probably about 265 lbs.

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.

Here I am today. Much healthier, but still not good looking enough for her.

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……


About paddyb76

Aspiring triathlete and endurance athlete. Husband, father and teacher. Always seeking a better life.


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