Fat And Depressed At 16 to Being Passionate And Fit at 34

Imagine going through grade school being the fat kid that everyone picks on and makes jokes about. Where everyone around you is skinny and able to eat whatever they want, but you’re the one that is overweight and opting to wear 2XL just to make your clothes look baggy. To be so out of shape that going up and down a flight of stairs got you out of breath or not being able to keep up with the baseball team because your body is just not able to handle the workouts like all the other fit jocks are able to. This was my reality growing up in High School. I wasn’t driven and worst of all the depression I had made me feel even more unmotivated while many around me were enjoying the benefits of being in their teen years.  These are supposed to be the years that you’re supposed to be in the best shape because of youth. That was not the reality for me and it never was all the way through High School. So how did I end up being in the best shape of my life 19 years later?

Me at 16 Years Old

Most people I know look back at their High School years and talk about how exciting life was back then.  They talk about how amazing their sports days were or how amazing all the School dances were. I\’ve heard also how much people talk about how they were so skinny back then. Unfortunately I’m unable to really relate to these conversations as I was overweight at 320lbs for most of high school and had zero confidence in myself. I did try to ask some girls out to dances, but got rejected. I really had no game at all in that department. Haha. As much as I loved Baseball, I unfortunately wasn’t driven enough to push myself to do well.  In my sophomore year, my baseball coach used to make us run so much and being mentally weak back then, I regrettably faked an injury to avoid having to run.  As a result this didn’t get me into games too much. The few at bats I did get in games, I didn’t really do much to give my coaches a vote of confidence in me. While being out of shape was one thing, I was even more disappointed in myself because I knew I was a good hitter in my little league years. However I didn’t practice or push myself enough to handle High School ball overall. So the one year I did play High School Baseball, I pretty much failed myself and didn’t end up trying again at Baseball in my Junior and Senior years. Doing this self inflicting behavior to myself only lowered my confidence and self esteem even more as High School dragged on.

By the end of High School the realization that my time in grade school started to hit me and my automatic reaction was to do a review of my years in grade school. All the regret I had about never going to a dance or participating in High School events, not trying hard enough at baseball, struggling to fit in, or just not having much to be happy about really affected me. However it was a different feeling.  It wasn’t the brooding negative feelings I had been feeling that suppressed my confidence over the years. It was a feeling where I was tired of being the person I was during grade school. I had had enough. By the time I graduated, I was ready to leave my school years behind and reinvent a new Richard that would take on life much better then I have in my first 17 years. I decided first and foremost that I would get real serious about my overweight problem and start actually pushing myself to lose weight. I wanted to make some serious changes in my life and really be a better version of myself. At 17, this is where my real transformation started.

At 19 and half years old, I made a lot of amazing strides toward reinventing myself.  I had lost 100lbs after dieting, running, and starting to do workouts for the first time in my life. This was the beginning of me being a runner as I realized that running isn’t that hard once you stay consistent. However the dieting part was and still is the hardest part, but I was determined to make a change back then. I had restricted myself to as simple less then 2,000 calories a day and stuck to it while exercising 3-4 times a week. Back then Slim Fast was all the rage and I really had used that drink to my advantage and actually used it to substitute meals (This would not be a diet I’d recommend now as my whole outlook on dieting has changed drastically). The confidence I built from doing this physical transformation really affected my personality in a positive way. My family has always been supportive of me losing weight and they were all extremely happy for me about making my big change to being more fit. I was so much happier with myself and being more confident I was able to build an IT career.  I went into my 20’s and lived my life with a much more positive perception then I did in my High School years. I really learned that how you view the world and your attitude of your view of the world really made a difference in how you tackle everyday life.

From my 20’s to my 30’s, the transformation hasn’t really stopped. I’ve become a person that has always strived towards improvement. I made a lot of mistakes in my 20’s as many of us do and learned to do things better. I ran into ups and downs still in my life.  Life isn’t as simple as the Disney movies where “You live Happily Ever After” when all the problems and conflicts in life have been taken care of.  Life continues to always throw curveballs at you every step of the way.  I found the love of my life in my late 20’s and married her at 30 years old. We adopted Leia our Husky in 2015 and she’s now my running partner on my No_B.S._Rich Fitness Instagram page. In 2016 we adopted our nephew in order to give him a better home and education. Last year we had our first baby, who’s now changed our lives forever as parents.  Life will always be full of personal struggles, but I’m extremely grateful that I turned things around after High School and became someone that can face the hard parts of life.  I’m now 34 years old and I’m the most driven and passionate I’ve ever been in my life.  I’m driven by my own little family that my wife and I have been building the last few years. The Covid 19 pandemic may have took me away from the gym, but it didn’t stop me from finding a a new way to do fitness training. I’m in the best shape of my life physically and mentally. I still believe I have so much upside still in my fitness life.  Going through my early life struggles in grade school really prepared me for adulthood. While back then I hated life and didn’t expect much out of myself for my future. I would say my 16 year old self would be completely surprised at how well 34 year old Richard is doing now. I hope this story of myself inspires others that are in High School or College that your future is not determined and hasn’t been written yet. You have a lot of time to really turn things around and live the fulfilling life that you want. I’m surprising myself everyday on what I’m doing in my life compared to what I used to think I wasn’t capable of doing. Stay positive about the future and don’t let your mind cheat yourself out of a positive future.

Me at 34 Years Old Stronger Physically And Mentally

Be sure to follow all my latest Fitness content on my Instagram: no_b.s._rich_fitness

Fitness Is A Lifestyle! Key Facts To Make It A Sustainable One!

For many fitness is a struggle and a subject of difficulty. Its not easy figuring out how to build a healthy body and I can honestly say I struggled for over a decade to figure out the true meaning of what it means to work towards your fitness. My Fitness journey started when I was 17 and I was convinced that drinking slim fast was actually going to make me lose weight and get me the strong body that I or anyone else desires. However after dropping 100lbs to 220lbs by the time I was 20, I realized over the years into my 20’s that fitness isn’t just something you do for a certain point in your life and stop all together. Its a lifestyle that needs to be adopted. As a result of not understanding this at first, my weight fluctuated between 240 to 260lbs for some years in my 20’s. I stopped working out at some points and then kept coming back to it. As I mentioned in another blog post, I had a perception in my early 20’s that just going to the gym and doing cardio was working out. So while I worked out here and there, I wasn’t working out as passionate as I am now which affected my weight. I didn’t consider fitness an important lifestyle in my 20’s and that is the reason I never got my body and muscle toned the way I wanted. I was missing a key part of working out and I want to share some key facts that can help set your mind in the right direction for success.

The Key to Lasting Change/Results

Focusing on and being consistent with healthy habits is the absolute best action you can take, right now, to attain the results you’re after and achieve lasting change. Simple yet specific dietary and physical activity habits like drinking enough water each day, including colorful vegetables on your plates each day or getting in at least 10,000 steps, are all great places to start. You don’t have to do them all at once, either. Pick one or two healthy habits to work on for a few weeks; make it so easy at first that you physically can’t fail. You’ll distract yourself from the constant worrying about the scale, and when you focus on these things, lasting and meaningful change will follow. Consistency is found in those small, repetitive, seemingly unimportant decisions you make each and every day. Slow it down, stop putting so much pressure on yourself and make the decisions that allow you to feel your best. Whether that means losing weight, getting stronger or faster, or simply trying to make better dietary choices for yourself each day, your success on this journey will depend on your consistency over the long-haul.

How to deal with setbacks?

In the world of health and fitness, setbacks happen to everyone. The most important thing is how you choose to deal with and respond to those setbacks. Real progress is made when you accept that health and fitness isn’t linear and that perfection isn’t possible. Accept responsibility for your actions, take a deep breath, and vow to get back on track. Nothing is as black and white as we make it seem, and you are not good or bad if you made poor food choices or skipped a workout. Acknowledge your shortcomings and take the time to figure out how you might avoid a particular setback in the future. Have a plan: create a workout schedule, make time in your week to shop for and prep whole and healthy meals ahead of time, set aside time in your workday to get in some extra steps, movement or stretching– whatever it may be. Make the commitment to yourself to keep moving forward and not let setbacks be the reason you give up on your health and fitness journey.

Why You Can’t Fail (Cause It’s a Learning Experience, Everything You Do Gets You a Little Closer to Your Goal)

Overcome the fear of failure: you CAN’T fail! We all learn from our errors, and no one is perfect enough not to commit any mistakes. Learning from failures is important. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be your own failures; learn also from the mistakes and errors of the people who went before you.

You should be proud of your mistakes. Don’t feel horrible because of mere errors. Mistakes help us gain knowledge in our fields. Any successful individual will tell you for free that without some failures along the way, the journey wouldn’t be what it is today.

Here are some of the reasons why failures and everything you do will get you closer to your goal:

·         Failures trigger creativity and enable us to think outside the box.

·         Mistakes and errors make us resilient; we can understand the adversity of overcoming challenges.

·         Failure teaches us humanity; we are all humans and mistakes are inevitable.

·         Every failure provides references; we are always better each day when we try something

·         Failure offers us new ideas; they push our limits in addition to offering new things that inspire us

Ultimately, everything we do should add courage. Failure makes us wiser. Thomas Edison said that, “I’ve not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Mistakes are true references!

And as John Powell said, “The only real mistake is one we learn nothing from.”

It Doesn’t Take Drugs To Fix A.D.D. And A.D.H.D., It Takes Biofeedback And Mental Willpower

After enduring a life of having A.D.H.D and going through the struggles growing up, I would like to share my experience in hopes that others look for other options instead of pharmaceutical options for A.D.H.D.   At the age of 7, I was diagnosed with A.D.H.D. This stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. This is a condition where kids like me have a hard time focusing and putting attention towards one or multiple things. While normal kids grow out of some of these phases, kids like me never really did and it was growing more apparent as I made it to the upper grades (4th, 5th, & 6th) in elementary school. A child with ADHD might day dream a lot, forget things easy, squirm & move a lot, and have difficulty getting along with others which pretty much sums up my child hood in grade school. I couldn’t sit still for long and my attention span was little to none.  My parents eventually seeked help and got the diagnosis about my disorder. To my benefit they didn’t want to put me on any type of prescription medicine and researched into other options. This was the start of my journey towards rectifying my condition, but with little resources over 20 years ago, my parents were in for a challenge.  That didn’t stop them from figuring it out and finding a solution though.

Tough Elementary School Years

My parents had a feeling years before I was officially diagnosed that there was something different about me. I struggled to focus well at all in my elementary school years.  While for many kids its normal to struggle to focus well at anything. However it became very apparent as I transitioned to middle school that my focus was not improving.  I would not be able to focus for more then 15 minutes without getting a headache or having a breakdown. It was hard for me to sit still for long periods of time without wanting to do something more to stimulate my mind. I struggled with reading, writing, and many other standard things during grade school. My teachers especially were never pleased with me. I still vividly remember ticking off my 1st grade teacher so much that she pulled me out of the class by the ear for a timeout a few times. I’m pretty sure all my elementary school teachers reached out to my parents because of my struggles with focusing and inability to stay on task. Grade school for me was a not a fun experience unfortunately.  I came to school everyday and had a lot bullies. Despite being a big kid, this didn’t scare off the bullies because they knew I was an easy target. I got annoyed and aggravated easy by their teasing and didn’t hold back on how mad it made me. Then when I did get serious and hit back, I would typically be the one in trouble in the principal’s office. The best part of the day was the last school bell of the day that allowed me to leave a school filled with hard nosed teachers and bully kids that didn’t try to understand me. Once I was home, I had my loving family and my best friend child hood Labrador dog who loved interacting with me no matter how weird I was. Spending years going to school like this not only affected my learning curve, but it severely affected my confidence growing up into the upper grades.

The Treatments & Road Trips

So after years of seeing me struggle in grade school my parents decided to find a solution. They weren’t going to put me on any drugs so they researched into other solutions. The solution they found proved to be extremely effective; Biofeedback. Biofeedback is the process of gaining greater awareness of many physiological functions of one’s own body. Its known more today as neurophysical medicine which focuses on improving the brain to work more efficient. After my parents discovered this solution, they were all in.  We lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Biofeedback company known as Drake Institute was located in Los Angeles. I would require 40 sessions in order for the Biofeedback to be effective. When I said my parents went all in, I meant it. They would need to drive me 800 miles (back and forth from San Francisco to L.A. and back to San Francisco) just to get me a few treatments over the weekend.  Every weekend was a road trip that summer which provided for some good times and also long trips. This was the summer right before I would start High School so the timing worked out because I would need improved focus to get through High School. I would be able to get 2-3 treatments done max in a 2 day span as the treatments themselves were taxing on my 13 year old.  I would spend over an hour with my head connected to a computer. The Doctors would have me focus on two separate brain waves and my goal was to focus and get these brain waves to connect. Every time they connected I would get a point. If there was one thing that I could focus on for long periods, it was any type of game whether it be a board game or a video game.  The biofeedback sessions were like a video game which totally made me excited to come back and keep doing them.  Back then I didn’t even think about how tiring it was on me or the fact that it was improving my focus little by little. I was excited for each session in hopes that it would help me get better. After getting all 40 sessions in, the changes in my focus didn’t improve just like that either. It wasn’t that simple.  There was one thing I needed to do in order to improve further. I needed to improve myself mentally. This is why I strongly believe pharmaceutical medicine isn’t really effective for A.D.H.D. because medicine does nothing to help you improve mentally to improve disorders like this.

The Results Of Biofeedback

The improvements the biofeedback did at The Drake Institute were apparent months after the treatments. I was able to focus on school work longer without getting a headache. My attention span got much better. However the damage on my own self esteem, social skills, and inability to push myself were still there. I lacked confidence and drive after living most of my childhood feeling like I wasn’t good enough to do things. It was going to be up to me to end up finishing what the biofeedback treatments started.  The real improvements didn’t happen till after High School.  I graduated and then jumped into being an adult. My blog post (Fat & Depressed at 16 to Fit & Passionate at 34) covers more in depth on how I transitioned from High School to Adulthood. When I lost 100lbs and worked on myself in my 18-19 year old years is when I made the biggest mental improvements for my A.D.H.D. I got more confident and I got more focused. I was able to work full time jobs and focus all day.  I learned to accept my disorder and work around it. Knowing I have the tendency to forget things, I developed a note taking habit so that I can always refer to a note in order to remember stuff. I set reminders for myself for important tasks in my personal and professional life. Even today I still struggle to focus, but I catch myself and just refocus and get back to focusing. I don’t get down on myself or do anything to kill my momentum. I accept my A.D.H.D. disorder and I don’t let it make me feel like its something that’ll make me feel like I’m inferior to others like I used to in grade school. I meditate here and there in order to help refocus my mind so that I can control my anxiety. Over the years in my 20’s and in my early 30’s I struggled to get to sleep, but I worked on perfecting meditation to work on slowing my mind down. After months of working towards it I’ve been sleeping so much better for years now.  The difference between how I was in High School compared to now is that I work towards fixing things about myself. I work towards self improvement. I value myself too much to where I don’t ever want to give up on myself. While I have a family to support and also have a job that requires me to help others, I prioritize helping myself and giving myself what I need to be strong in my everyday life. I makes use to fill my cup so I can be able to fill others.

Conclusion

This is how I got past my A.D.H.D. disorder. It didn’t take drugs, prescriptions, or any kind of pharmaceuticals. It took me mentally working on myself and doing it for years. There is never going to be a mental hurdle that gets fixed in a small amount of time.  Even people that don’t have disorders like me have their own mental personal battles and if you spend years going through those personal battles and not dealing with them, you can bet that it’ll take years to work towards rectifying those mental struggles. However that shouldn’t stop you from starting. That shouldn’t stop anyone from working towards self improvement. When I think about my ‘why’s on why I would improve myself. I think about how benefiting it’ll be for myself. I think how it’ll benefit my family because I’ll be stronger mentally and more happier for them.  There is so many benefits from working on self improvement and that is why I’ve dedicated my life to always improving myself. I strongly recommend biofeedback as an option to work towards improving A.D.D. and A.D.H.D over taking prescription drugs anyday. Its the harder path, but its the path get yourself right from this disorder once and for all.

How Fitness Apps Have Changed My Way Of Fitness

    The story of my transformation from 16 to 34 gave you an idea of how far I’ve come over a span of 18 years. However I’m in the best shape of my life at 34 for a reason. I was never in this great of shape in my 20’s. In my 20’s I developed weekly workout habits and made it to the gym 3-4 times a week which helped me maintain my weight throughout my 20’s. However my workout routine was all over the place. I was the typical guy that went to the gym and thought that doing cardio for 30 to 60 minutes a session was actually helping me get stronger.  I did this for years and years in my 20’s.  I maybe added some ab work here and there. Also I gave lifting weights a shot too at times, but if I’m being honest with myself I was intimidated to go do weight lifting. I was insecure about weight lifting in front of others since I didn’t have much guidance or knowledge on the subject then. So as a result I stuck with what was easy and comfortable for me; Putting on my headphones and auto piloting my workouts with cardio. I had spurts where I got in great shape running on the treadmill, but whenever it got harder for me I eventually shied away from it and went back to doing something easier like the elliptical or bike. Make no mistake that I’m not saying cardio is a bad way to workout. It’s very effective on burning fat and keeping your weight maintained if that is your goal. As I mentioned in my (Fat at 16 to Passionate at 34 post) I knew I wanted to improve my way of fitness, but I lacked passion to seek knowledge and info on how to workout better. I would not find this inspiration to learn more about fitness till my 30’s where I decided to finally seek more knowledge and a better way to workout.
    At the end of 2019 I discovered this really cool app called FitPlan which was revolutionary for me because it was an app that completely walked you through workout programs.  You simply search through a library of workout programs on an app. They detail how long the workouts will be and how many days a week you’ll be active. I started with a program created by Damien Patrick who to me looked super motivating with how big his muscles were. The program is called “Bodybuilding 101” where it was a 56 day (8 Weeks) that focused on building muscle in every part of the body. It was an enlightening body building program that really taught me a lot of what exercises target what part of the body. This program taught me why fitness folks focused on working certain muscles on some days.  By the end of the program I felt very strong and accomplished.  I was no longer insecure about going to the weights area of a gym and getting a solid weight training session in. The next program I went on to do was Corey Calliet’s 8 Week program called “The Calliet Way.”  I had heard from seeing a commercial for Khloe Kardasian’sRevenge Body” show and I quickly discovered this dude is a Celebrity Fitness Trainer.  So if he can be a trainer to get all those perfect looking celebrities in shape then he’s gotta be the real deal. His 8 week program put me through a grueling 8 weeks as I learned about even more exercises and targeting the biceps, triceps, quadriceps, calf muscles, and much more. I had created some great results for myself in the 4 months of working hard off of the Fitplan app. I now had a renewed outlook in fitness that breathed confidence into pushing myself more to get results.
    The Beachbody On Demand app is the fitness app I’ve been primarily using as of late. I signed up as a Coach last September for Beachbody and started my fitness journey using this app on October 5th, 2020. Since I spent a whole summer in 2020 running while mixing in strength workouts, I decided to go for the 30 Day Breakaway program which is Beachbody’s first running program. I loved how the program focused on strength workouts and then followed it up with an audio run. Idalis Velaquez brings the energy for both types of workouts. The Strength workouts were efficient 20-25 minute workouts that had separate days where the focus is on upper body, abs, and lower body.  She gave me a renewed sense of how effective and fun audio runs can be too as she’s in your ear on those runs. Her audio runs took me out of my normal running routine too where most of the summer when I went to go run, I typically only ran at the same speed that I felt able to do. Idalis Velaquez taught me about RPE’s which stand for rate of perceived exertion. This concept made me super aware of my speed while I run and how you can actually run at different speeds. This concept of RPE’s is super important because she uses this speed metric to push you to do interval runs. I loved this program so much that I did it two times.  The 2nd program I did is called Liift4 by Joel Freeman. This program was super awesome. I was worried at first switching to this program initially because I thought it was just strictly going to be a lifting program, but that is far from the truth. I want to maintain my running strength I’ve gained in 2020 and Liift4 not only did that for me, but it also helped build more running strength.  The program is a mix of both lifting and HIIT workouts with some workouts mixing in both lifting and HIIT. Joel Freeman is all about training efficiently in a short amount of time which I strongly appreciate due to being a full time Dad and working full time. All 8 weeks of this program feature 32 unique different workouts so there is absolutely no getting bored with Mr. Freeman here. I really appreciated his energy for all the workouts and also the effectiveness of his workouts. Also the abs are not forgotten as he finishes off just about every workout with some ab moves just to leave you with a lasting burn. Another program that my wife really likes is called Muscle Burns Fat which is a fat burning program that is 6 weeks of fat burning workouts that target all areas of your body. Feel free to check out more info on this one. I plan to get this program in sometime in 2021 myself. These Beachbody workouts have really been effective for me though. I’ve never looked so fit and tone in my life. I have visible muscle growth happening in my upper body and my quads are popping out every week I keep getting my leg days in.  I’m currently doing ‘The Prep’ which is exactly what its name is, a prep for getting you ready for the real intense program “The Work.” Keep following my Instagram for everyday coverage of my Beachbody workout sessions.
    Thanks to the power of technology and the ability to access an app from anywhere on any device I’ve been training so much more efficiently now the last few years.  I mentioned I primarily use the Beachbody On Demand app now for most of my workouts, but I also still use Fitplan to supplement my workouts and change things up sometimes.  The main difference between these apps is that the Beachbody On Demand workouts train you on screen in real time with a trainer that’s working out with other people and also talking to you throughout the whole workout.  Fitplan allows you to get your workout in, but puts you more in control of your rest times and leaves it up to you to stay accountable on the exercise moves you’re doing.  However the Fitplan app is effective to use either at home or at the gym while Beachbody On Demand is mostly geared toward working out at home or outside.  All and all I’m loving the innovative ways these fitness apps can help train you now. Hope you found this blog helpful in trusting Fitness apps and allowing them to help you work towards your fitness goals.
*For all those that are interested in signing up for the Beachbody programs, feel free to use the links in this article for 30 Day Breakaway , Muscle Burns FatLiift4, and The Work.
For those that want to try the Fitplan app for free for 30 days, here is my referral link: https://fitplan.gsc.im/J57xTOeSs5

My Spartan Race A Year Ago Inspired Me To Train Harder

    The Spartans were fierce and courageous warriors who faced adversity like they were born for it.  One year ago today I did the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever experienced.  I did my first Spartan race at Oracle Park in San Francisco in November of 2019. I completely got hooked on doing these races and soon after scheduled my next race in February 2020.  The Spartan race consists of a race course that has 20-30 obstacles to complete in order to continue on with your race. The obstacles are fun physical challenges such as a wall climb, rope climb, monkey bars, bucket carry, barbed wire crawl, and a spear throw because we all know Spartan warriors threw some bad ass spears to take down their enemies. In my point of view a Spartan race is a playground for adults that want to physically challenge themselves while running a 5K,10K, or a 22K. The one that I did in November 2019 is called a Stadion which is a Spartan race set at a professional stadium, which is normally home to a professional sports team. After doing this race and experiencing the challenge of taking on a Spartan race, I knew I wanted to do more. So I set myself up to do the longer race called the ‘Super; in February.  Little did I know I would be challenging myself physically like no other.
    I woke up on a beautiful Saturday morning and ate a solid breakfast. I prepared everything I would need to survive the grueling Spartan challenge I had for myself today. I had my shoes, my under armor runner hat, hydration pack, and my running pants ready to go. My wife and nephew also came with me for the trip as we decided to also make a it a family day trip. I felt the butterflies before this race.  I had never ever even run more then 6 miles before doing this race and today’s Super Spartan race was going to have me run 7.5 miles while being challenged to complete 25 obstacles on my way to the finish line.  So we made the drive out towards the middle of California in Diablo Grande. When we got there, I realized that the morning routine and preparation had gotten me there pretty close to the start of the race.  I was force to abandon my wife and nephew in order to get to the race before I ran too late. So I pretty much warmed up by running to the race event from where we parked. My heart was racing and thoughts of the imminent challenge before me started to set into my reality. The race festivities were a blur as I had a lot of adrenaline going by the time I reached the event. Luckily I still made it with my group of racers with 10 minutes to spare. I looked around and saw many other Spartan racers like me about to take on this challenge. I did the age group race so the racers around me weren’t completely competitive. I saw a couple who liked they were ready to go on a mild hike and then some people were dressed up in costumes to my amusement. There were some competitive racers too, but a good all around crowd of racers overall. Just before I knew it the race started and I was off.  I got into a good running pace and started out nice. The butterflies and anxious feelings went away now that I was able to start moving. I felt good starting and keeping up with the racers at the beginning of the pack.  The first obstacle came real quick and it was a simple mud ditch that I had to go down and come back up. Unfortunately it wasn’t as simple as I thought. When I finished the obstacle, my heart completely dropped.  I had lost my wedding ring and it was nowhere in sight.
    I’m sure you’re thinking what an idiot I could be to be wearing my wedding ring for this race. I can be careless at times. I’m only human. So I had a choice either to keep going or to stop racing and dig through the dirt. Of course I chose the latter and went back to find my wedding ring my wife got me. As I went the opposite direction towards other racers feeling super embarrassed, I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I made it to the dirt obstacle and started my search.  I digged through the dirt in desperation as I retraced my steps while dodging out of the way of other racers. Other racers were asking if I’m okay and once telling them what I was looking for, they made an “oof” expression and continued on their way. I felt helpless and hopeless as I searched for my ring. The negative self talk made its way into my mind and heavily criticized how careless I was not to take it off before the race. I almost gave up, but somehow some way I managed to find it at the bottom of the dirt hill in the first obstacle.  I scooped it up quickly and put it in my hydration pack pocket. I zipped it up tight and finally after 15 minutes of searching for my ring, I was ready to continue racing.
    Finally lets talk about the race. After the first obstacle I ran for a bit and the course took us into the hills of the Diablo Grande where the course steered us towards an uphill that was the steepest hill I ever faced. My negative self talk still hung around to guilt me and told me that this hill is my punishment for almost losing my wedding ring. My self talk can be a real ass sometimes. Haha. I took on this hill and pushed harder to get up to the top. It seemed like it took forever, but eventually I made it up and stared at a beautiful view of the Spartan race festivities. The downhill was a nice recovery. This was just the first mile of the course so they really kick your ass to start these races.
    I proceeded to charge forward and continue the race. I did wall jumps, and uphill bucket carry’s. I attempted the monkey bars and other similar upper body obstacles, but I was not able to complete them. If you aren’t able to complete an obstacle, you have to do 25 burpees before proceeding. I did them and kept going. My body was not ready for this race at all. Just before halfway through the race, I honestly felt like I was a lifeless zombie just moving without being too present. It got harder to focus as the race went on. As the race went on, I just focused on not stopping. “Don’t stop. Keep going,” is what I kept telling myself. I took water breaks at the stands they had during the race course. However I didn’t take more then 5 minutes as I wanted to finish this race. It would take me 2 hours and 21 minutes to finally reach the finish line where I exhaustedly made my way over seeing my nephew and wife waving for me at the finish line. You can check out the video here. What a race this was. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t train enough or condition enough to take on this race, but I did get inspired to push myself to be a stronger runner from this point on.  I also want to go for being a Spartan Elite someday and really build strength on doing those upper body obstacles.  After training hard for the last year since this race, I can honestly say I would do this Super Spartan race in way less time then 2 hours and 21 minutes. I’m a stronger runner now after running 483 miles in 2020 (See my 2020 running journey blog post) and with the Beachbody programs I’ve been grinding through since October 2020, I’ve gained a lot of muscle strength since then. I’ll be ready to take on Spartan races with a vengeance when this Covid-19 pandemic ends. Until then I’ll continue to train hard for when its time to go race as a Spartan again.

How The Covid 19 Pandemic Pushed Me To Become A Better Runner

I never liked running all the way through High School and my 20’s. When I was 320lbs I was the kid at P.E. that opted to walk and not even try. My outlook of physical activity was covered in my earlier blog post this week (Fat & Depressed at 16 to Passionate and Fit at 34). Even in my 20’s I just had no drive to push myself to run.  I would go through maybe a few weeks or 1-2 months where I would really build myself at running and get to 4-5 miles on the treadmill at the gym. Right. The treadmill as I never pushed myself to run outside much and if I did, it was once in awhile.  I lacked so much drive to continue going and never got my niche for running in my early 20’s. I’m pretty sure my depressed teenage years where I faked an injury while running during Baseball had a negative effect for me. However in my late 20’s and 30’s I did start building more of a habit for running, but I never ran more then 40 miles a month and averaged about 15-20 miles doing about 5-7 runs a month. For me, it was a simple way to get some cardio and change things up from going to the gym. It wasn’t till 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic that I would suddenly find my true passion in running.

    Losing the gym March of 2020 was a big blow and I was at a loss on how I would continue my fitness at first.  So I did the only thing I knew to do. I reverted back to doing mostly cardio except this time I had no exercise machines. No elliptical or treadmills to auto pilot on. All I had was the ability to run. So I ran I did and while normally I would’ve burnt out on running and doing the same thing in a month or two like I normally did in my 20’s. Yet this time was different.  I was unemployed thanks to this pandemic in April 2020 and I also had a baby on the way.  While most people would brood in negativity over this situation, it somehow drove me to continue my running and not give up. I began consistently using the Nike Run Club running app to track all my runs. I started out simple and ran 25 miles in April.  It then progressed to 38 miles in May where my wife and I had our first newborn.  The running for me didn’t stop there as I continued on to run 64 miles in the month of June as I hit a new monthly PR in running for me that month. I kept running steady at 55 miles in July and then charged things up again in August running 65 miles.  I had somehow pushed past my running limits that I had in my 20’s and no longer had anything holding me back. In August I had gotten a new job and was now a new Dad with a working job. However that didn’t seem to slow me down as I went on to soar to new heights in my birthday month of September and ran 100 miles which is a goal I set at the start of the month. However I didn’t make it easy for myself at all. I had only run 30 miles by September 19th and while it looked grim that I would meet my 100 mile goal I wasn’t about to give up.  I pushed hard and ran the 70 miles needed from September 20th to the end of the month and on the last day of September made it to my goal of 100 miles.  I completely became a competitive runner right before my very own eyes. I had no plan to do this. This seriously happen organically and it was something I never expected until it happened. I’m now inspired to join more running races in the future especially Spartan races.

    I’m lucky to be blessed with living in a peaceful nice town such as Foster City. I can run either at night or during the day and feel very safe.  I also have to give props to my Siberian Husky Leia who is a strong 5 year old running partner and she kept me motivated as well to keep pushing at my running. She ran over 120 miles herself in 2020 while I topped out at 483 miles of running in 2020.  I had never even ran 100 miles in a year before 2020.  I hope this blog post proves to anyone that no matter what happened in your life or what is happening in your life in the present, there is always a chance to make a big change that’ll impact your life for the better.  I look forward to when this pandemic is over and I can enter into some races and Spartan races. I’m so motivated and driven to kick some ass in some competitive racing when it comes time.  Until then, I will stay training hard and continue to work on getting stronger and stronger till its time to unleash all the running strength I gained from 2020.