At one point, I weighed 235 pounds and I had fallen into depression, guilt and isolation. I didn’t know what to do but when my brother asked me to join him in a mud race my response was no. I didn’t want to participate in that run until I had lost weight and built my self-esteem.
I wasn’t sure how to go about it but when my brother finished his race, I could feel something in me shift. He mentioned how much fun he had during the race. Hearing those words made me sad that I didn’t participate. At that moment, I decided that I was going to start running and lose weight. My goal was to participate in the mud fun in 12 months.
My Future Was Changed Due To Running
I trained for the event and during my training I met the GOATZ. It’s not what you think. GOATZ stands for the Greater Omaha Trail Runners, which is a running community in Omaha, Nebraska. The community was such a great help to me. Everyone was friendly, encouraging and fun.
Not only was the community everything I needed, it also had a member that I didn’t know I needed. That person turned out to be my future wife. She is a runner and has helped me organize a running group on Facebook that takes the same approach as GOATZ.
The Facebook group had its beginnings during my training for that first race. I was trying to log 100 miles for a month while prepping for the Spartan Beast race. I had never run that many miles in a month and the challenge felt right. I then challenged a friend and our running ‘group’ was born.
We Support One Another
Before I knew it, others started logging their miles and posting pictures to the group page. Feeling inspired, I invited other friends to log their miles and post their pictures of their journey. The group was officially off and running (I apologize for the bad joke!)
In the midst of all of this, one person asked if it was a fitness group. I didn’t know what to say so I said yes. I said yes to everybody that wanted to participate. The group was open to everyone at all fitness levels and various activities.
You ride a bike? Join the group. You walk and run? Join the group. You lift weights? Join the group. Everyone was participating and the community continued to grow. It grew beyond my wildest dreams. The wonderful people in the group post their workouts, photos, goals and accomplishments. Everybody supports one another and we grow together.
We Grow Together
Each month, I pick a challenge. Each challenge varies and we get a lot of fantastic involvement. To make it easier for the athletes in the group to hit the monthly challenge, my wife posts a daily workout. This allows people to stay accountable to their own dreams and goals while having support.
Our group now spans the Midwest and Florid, but we also have members in Colorado. Since we are spread out we are also able to help others. For example, a few of the members of the group helped our friend Connie Belt complete the Big Red Challenge 7k obstacle race. Connie is in a wheelchair and knowing that members of a group I started helped her finish the event made me so proud.
Beyond continuing to grow the group and do good for each other, I want my son to be proud of me. My goal is to show him with patience, time and consistency you can accomplish your goals.
What are those goals?
One day, I want to race the Boston Marathon to prove, to myself, that I can do it. My wife and friends believe in me and I have to believe in myself. The NYC marathon is another race that I will finish. I will race NYCM while representing the Project Purple.
I raced the Chicago Marathon while fundraising for the organization that I ran under for 5 years. I was committed to Project Purple because I lost 2 friends I lost to pancreatic cancer.
I will continue to run everyday with my wife, husky and friends. And tomorrow will be another day that I know that my future was changed due to running