Day 351 – 365 – What a Difference a Year Makes!July 8th, 2014 by David
Just over a year ago I found myself abandoned in the Tanzanian jungle after a business deal went wrong weighing in at nearly 400 pounds. Today I am over 130 pounds lighter, have regained my passion for life and have a London Marathon medal around my neck!
I started out this blog as a way to help me keep on track and accountable, recording my journey and communicating my feelings as a way of expressing the difficulties that I face in battling my demons, losing weight and regaining my health. I found writing a blog and communicating with my followers as a great way to reflect on what I was in the process of achieving which in turn motivated and inspired me to continue with my weight loss and life style change.
I started out with a 60 day juice fast/cleanse, after years of abusing my body with poor food choices and alcohol, my body was in pieces and it even cost me a gall bladder! The 60 days was not easy however the effect was drastic, I lost a considerable amount of weight and was feeling so much better, cleansing my body with raw fruit and veg was exactly what I needed and it provided me with a great base in order to start my new life of healthy eating. It was during this juicing phase that I had the idea of trying to achieve something incredible, to keep me focused on my goal of changing my life and becoming the person I wanted to be. That something incredible was running the London Marathon 9 months after weighing nearly 400 pounds! At the time I think I was getting a little ahead of myself, it is one thing losing weight in 9 months but to lose weight and run the London Marathon from where I had started would be a monumental achievement! I got straight to work in preparing a training program and asking my friends who have previously ran a marathon for their advice. It wasn’t until I started training that I realized just how tough it was going to be!
Once I had decided to run the marathon, I made a visit to my brother out in the US. I was totally unprepared and needed a lot of guidance and support. As soon as I landed we spent the week shopping for the right running clothes, accessories and trainers, visiting a personal trainer to get a program developed and undertake the necessary analysis on my current health to see if it was possible for me to take on the challenge as well as to see a chiropractor for a stretching routine. It was a busy week and I would have loved more time but the support that I received from my brother motivated me to chase the monumental challenge I had set myself and it was during that time that I really felt that the marathon was on!
I started off by walking for a certain time, then moved on to a light jog for a few minutes and then onto jogging for a mile, two, three…four! My progress was fantastic, of course it took a huge amount of mental strength and there is a big difference between running a few miles and a full marathon especially without any prior experience! During the winter I came across 2 major issues that really put pressure on my training program, they were the winter weather in Almaty which is brutal and gets down to -30C with snow covering everything and I also had some problems with injuries to both my hip and my shins, so training for a marathon was becoming unbelievably difficult. I had to get a gym membership and carry out my running on a treadmill, now it is one thing bouncing along on a treadmill and another pounding the pavement! This was a real concern as I knew as soon as the weather improved and I moved my training outside that there would be more pressure on my joints and training schedule.
Leading up to marathon day I was really struggling, I was seeing my physio several times a week and trying all that I could to patch my body up enough to get a few miles under my belt. It was always going to be a big ask running the marathon even if I was fit let alone pushing nearly 400 pounds! There were several times that I asked myself whether it was too much, maybe a year too soon but I never let myself be defeated, I kept pushing on sticking to my diet and trying to cover as many miles as I could. The time to the marathon was flying by and I was nowhere near ready when I got on the plane to London but I knew failure was not an option and that I would crawl to the finish line if I had to!
After landing back in the UK it was an absolute whirlwind getting ready for the big day, I had interviews on BBC radio and with national newspapers, also I had to keep pushing my fundraising efforts as I was desperate to raise as much as I could for Buttle UK. In addition to all of that I had to find time to head over to Twickenham studios and start recording my short film about my journey from morbid obesity to the London Marathon in 9 months! The video can be seen here!
On the morning of the race my family and friends joined me near the start line and after saying goodbye and filming my send off I made my way up the hill to the start line. I enjoyed that walk getting into the zone and speaking with some people who told me that they had been following me on Facebook and Twitter and were inspired by what I was trying to achieve. That really motivated me and by the time I got to the start line the adrenaline was really kicking in, I put on my music to drown out the noise of the other runners and to calm myself down, the last thing I needed was to waste all my energy before the race even began! After 30 minutes I crossed the start line and began my victory lap, all 26.2 miles of it! About a mile in the pain in my shins was incredible, I was hoping that my compression syndrome would not rear its ugly head but that wasn’t going to be the case. I was in agony and had to stop jogging and slow down to a walk, I was devastated but knew that on previous runs the pain had died off and I had managed to keep going, this was the case and I soon got into a great rhythm and smashed out the first 12 miles…after that though I was struggling massively and my goal of a sub 5 hour marathon went out of the window. I pushed on though and made it through to the finish line! I felt joy, elation and relief, it was finally over, the 26.2 miles seemed like an eternity but I did it, I went from nearly 400 pounds to finishing the London Marathon in less than a year. I sometimes don’t give myself enough credit for the amount of hard work and dedication that I put in to achieving this monumental goal…looking back it was amazing!
Since the marathon I have continued to watch my diet and have started a new training program, focused on building up my strength and continuing to lose weight. I am not where I want to be just yet but I am not far off. I am going to continue pushing on and will focus on a new challenge soon, I haven’t decided what just yet but I will set myself a new goal. In the meantime I am going to put all my energy into launching a mobile application to help other people to become the person that they want to be. The business plan is in place, the company is set up in the UK and Dubai, and now I am searching for angel investment to help me to realize my next big dream, becoming a successful entrepreneur. Thinking about it my next big challenge is that, launching a successful product and becoming the person that I ultimately want to be. It has been an amazing year and the rest of my life is only just beginning. The thing is with life, you can restart it at any time, if you are not happy where you are, make the change, become the person you want to be, don’t let anyone stop you. Work out who it is you want to become and go and get it. You really can achieve everything that you want!