Runner #12 John

“Running didn’t change me. It just helped the real me find my way out.”

John was a skinny kid who grew up to be a skinny young adult. In fact, his metabolism was so fast that upon joining the Marines at 18, he almost had to go on double rations just to “fatten up” a bit. For those four years in the Marines he ate tons of calories and drank a lot of alcohol. Thanks to non-stop Marine training and that turbo-charged metabolism, he rarely gained an ounce. Once out of the military, however, he no longer trained like a Marine but still kept up his high-calorie eating habits. Over the years, the weight crept on and by his mid-thirties he could no longer pretend there wasn’t a weight issue. But he lacked the discipline and motivation to take it off.

In 2005, his best friend, Brenda (herself a competitive athlete), signed him up for a surprise 5K and he finished it. This helped kick off a short-lived healthy path, but in 2007 he was diagnosed with Pertussis (an adult version of whooping cough) that left him unable to move and workout for more than 100 days. This set John back and for the next few years he ate and drank his way to his heaviest weight ever. Then he attended his Marine Corps reunion in June 2010. Seeing his former Marine brothers and sisters awakened something in him. It had been 20 years since he had last seen many of them, but they didn’t make him feel bad about his weight gain. Instead, they reminded him of the person he once was. They made him feel once again like the funny, fearless, passionate-about-life guy he was down deep inside. That reunion inspired him to take control of his weight and his life.

John became actively involved with SparkPeople and created a  short-term challenge. He would “be perfect” (meaning no fast food, alcohol, desserts, eating out, etc) and work out every day until he lowered his weight to less than 200 pounds. He knew he couldn’t sustain that plan forever but could commit to it for the 20+ pounds he needed to shed to get to this first goal.Â

It worked. He went from riding the stationary bike to the elliptical to the treadmill, then began running on the streets of San Diego. He found his rhythm by sticking to the basics: Eat Healthy, Be Active, Repeat Consistently.Â

He signed up for a half-marathon six months in the future and made the commitment to train and prepare for it. He bravely signed up for obstacle races and even a relay. He was on his way.

Since then, John has run multiple 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, two full marathons, Tough Mudder, Super Spartan, and multiple Ragnar Relays. John has learned to focus on health and physical accomplishments rather than worry about the scale. He inspires and motivates others at and on his personal blog.

Follow John’s blog at: Runner 12