First, thank you for your support!  Stop the Dad Bod took amazing strides this year, adjusting bad habits, conquering goals, and feeling happier.  Back in January I stood on a scale and read 202lbs; standing 5’7” I had no clue what my body fat but I knew I was fat!  With the reflection in the mirror, I knew I had to do something, I rekindled the seven year old dream of becoming an Ironman.

            With no plan but plenty of direction, I stepped foot out the door and began running.  I could not run a mile without walking. I felt completely destroyed, so, I walked, I jogged, I ran, I walked, I walked, I jogged, I got done my two miles.  I began to make an attempt at running three – four days a week, focusing on trying to jog longer each time. A mild focus towards eating healthier was also at the forefront of the mind.  As one month turned into two and the distance had increased to an average of four miles, making it two miles without stopping, and maintaining a ten minute mile average, I began feeling better. 

            The start of feeling better created an opportunity for me to keep moving forward with the idea of completing the Ironman.  The Ironman 140.6 is a part of a two year plan which meant a 70.3 half distance would be the goal for 2019. This also meant I would need the necessary tools, aka, activity health watch, a training plan, a bike, oh and that dad bod sexy skin tight suit!  Picking a race would be easy because we are fortunate to have one in our backyard in September, which I saw as sufficient time to train.

            I found a twenty six week half distance (70.3) training plan which was targeted for someone slightly more fit than I was but Two daughters working out in dads pain caveI thought why not, it was free and appeared to be achievable.  I also signed up for the local triathlon club, Wild Harbor Tri Club. The tri club would turn out to be much more than I had ever expected. On the surface for the group swims but towards the end of the year, a new friend. 

            What is a 70.3 half distance race?  It is a 1.2 mile swim, transition into bike gear, bike 56 miles, transition into running gear, run 13.1 miles. 

            Why would any sound brain person remotely want to complete this?  That is a great question! I wanted to use this as a tool to complete the full which means those distances doubled, but I am not just doing it to check a bucket list box.  I see triathlon as an opportunity to get to do multiple different exercises. In efforts of being prepared to cover those distances a focus on overall health is mandatory, especially because the average time to finish is right about six hours, and I wanted to finish my first half distance under the six hours! 

            How did Stop the Dad Bod do?  Well I got to complete many open water bay swims with the tri club, and a handful of ocean swims.  I biked and ran by myself but covered the distances. I managed to find a full carbon frame triathlon bike from the LetGo app and scored a Garmin Fenix 3!  I got bike average speed up to 20 mph along a 40 mile route and my run down to an 8:30 for a 10 mile run. I was really feeling prepared and ready to rock it at the Atlantic City Half Ironman 70.3, September 15th!

            Registering for that race was something else, this whole journey has been something else!  Back at that time, probably August, I was not public with any of these commitments, I was solely doing it inside of my house.  We sat down as a family, kids, wife, dog, and myself to discuss the increased level of commitment that this would take, as committing to the half was committing to the full!  With the family on board, we signed up and hugged it out with excitement that daddy was doing this, Stopping the Dad Bod!

            Two months later and three weeks away from the race, I laid in a hospital bed with tears in my eyes as the doctors placed a neck brace upon my neck explaining I had two cracked ribs.  Earlier that day while at our annual campsite, camping trip, I had to show off to some twelve year old boys. Understand, I am a stickler for bike safety, but this day, I was more focused on, showing them how it was done . . . and did I show them! 

As I soared through the air off the top of the one foot high ramp jump, I felt like I was in my mid-twenties again, when I would frequently mountain bike.  Landing the jump ever so gracefully and riding away, yes it was that simple! Go for it kids, it is cake, in fact, as I spun my bike around staring at the face of the jump, I thought, yeah piece of cake!  I dug in and peddled hard, ollie-ing the bike up onto the ramp. The front wheel landing perfectly centered, with the seat post still completely up bumping my rear end, preventing the back wheel from making it, the back wheel slammed the face of the jump, propelling me down to the side into the gravel road.  Sliced head requiring two staples and two cracked ribs, I showed them! 

I was not done, I was not going to let this stop me, and I was not about to push this dream off an entire year.  I went to the Ironman site and began searching for the different race options in North America in the month of December.  I found, Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells Laquinta. I was going to show my children, set goals, do the work, expect obstacles and setbacks, do the work, conquer your goals, and set new ones! 

Stop the Dad Bod Trucker Hat with Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells LaQuinta Finisher Medal

I did!  I finished that 70.3 mile race with one of the biggest smiles in my heart that I had ever felt!  As I sit here typing this, my eyes fill with tears from the shear emotion that continues to roll through my body.  The total time of 6 hours 18 minutes to complete all three exercising events. WOW! Just an amazing feeling, being silent, no music or audio books, just pure emotion, such an amazing and enjoyable experience.  I did not push myself to the ledge, instead I journeyed safely to ensure I could finish and enjoy the experience. I look forward to the next one!

We will review 2020 in a different post where I will list out the races and some pretty exciting headlines.  For now, some highlights I learned from all of this. To start, if we read the same information somewhere, from multiple different sources, there is a very high probability that it is accurate.  The diet matters and wow does it matter! I have been standing on this scale and watching it not move. Damn near devastatingly no movement, I have plateaued at a 190lb dad bod. The tell us to not focus on the scale as muscles mass blah, blah, blah!  I have weight that needs to be removed and the diet needs to be a major focus. 

There are countless articles and reviews across the World Wide Web along with in person stories, highlighting individuals that have shed 20,30,75lbs just from adjusting their diets!  No exercises. I love to eat, like really enjoy food and kept looking at the food I was putting into my body as clean and well balanced. I tracked my food for three days and found, I was not as perfect as I thought I was.  My calories were higher than needed, my carbs, sugars, all of it. Tracking the diet, for me I am using the free app Map my Fitness is almost a mandatory addition if we want to really get past this weight plateaued.

Additional discoveries, the type of training matters.  In 2019, I had done no serious strength training. The miles I was putting in, swim, bike, and run, where all just miles and time.  If the desire is to finish, putting in the time worked as it got me to the finish line, but if the desire to increase speed and physique, an actual training plan is needed. 

I believe my favorite element that I learned was also the most unexpected.  You are excited for this journey too. I remember hearing my mom say it took a community to raise me, and I feel like that with our children.   When my mom said it, I think she meant I was a bit of a challenging child; with our kids, I feel honored to have so many people interested in their lives, they also are a bit of a handful.  I also feel like I have a full community group cheering me on along this journey which makes me feel incredibly grateful and honored. Thank you for that.

The final major component I discovered was my security in God.  We, as a family, began going to church more regularly after the ribs cracking in September.  We made a mediocre attempt to go prior but never maintained consistency for longer than three weeks.  Even after going for just one week we could notice a difference in all of our energy. The flow within the house was much smoother, our acceptance for the little annoyances increased.  Once we started going consistently, and bringing other family members, our household has maintained total happiness. 

My heart has grown so warm from the development in 2019.  From overcoming the obstacles thrown at me, to your support, and finding God, I feel like a new person.  This world is short, and we have no guarantees; we better make the most of the time. The world is a mirror, no matter where we are at in life, we should not dwell on negativity but instead push the energy of positivity.  Life is hard, it is full of challenges, and if we look at them with the best mindset, we can see the glory in the opportunity to overcome said challenges. Your Life, Your Dreams, You are in Charge, Go Conquer Them!

Full Details coming soon.  

Thank you and  Happy New Year!

Happy Family sitting with Santa 2019