Friday, January 9, 2009

The Story of The Running Fat Guy

Yesterday was a scheduled rest day leading up to Saturday's half marathon. Today will be as well. So, I'm going to take these opportunities to talk about related topics. Today, I thought I would rehash the story behind the Running Fat Guy.

By way of introduction, I am a 51 year old (three days away from 52) guy with a wonderful family of five. I've been married to my wonderful wife for 22 years. My three children - two in college and one a junior in high school are great kids that are every parent's dream. I was born and raised in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. My biggest move was from Pico Rivera, where I grew up and went to High School, to Newport Beach for college. My education even took place in L.A.. I moved from UC Irvine (BS Biology), to Cal Poly Pomona (BS Electrical Engineering), to USC (MBA). I am a small business owner these days, and I get to travel all around the U.S. There is no doubt that Southern California is the best place to live (not that I wouldn't mind living out of the area for a change of scenery).

As a youngster, I had always been pretty active. I was never really an athlete, even though I played basketball and tennis in high school. But, I was an avid outdoorsman (I know - how can a big city guy be an outdoorsman?). I enjoyed fishing, hiking, backpacking, and hunting. I spent many a day in the Sierra Nevada everywhere from Mt. Whitney north to the Nevada border. I used to kid that I knew the back country around Mammoth and June Lakes better than I did some areas of L.A. Needless to day, weight was never a problem in those days. In fact the problem was the opposite - how could someone 5'11" and 130 pounds be a basketball player?

Fast forward a few years. I had fallen into the trap that the comforts of life bring. I was "too busy" doing the things that were "important" to do the things necessary. I knew I was putting on the poundage because I had to keep buying new clothes. But, I wasn't really paying attention to the amount that I was packing on. I had turned into a rotund mound, huffing and puffing to climb a few stairs. Finally, I hopped up on a scale in January 2006. What the? Hey - the needle is supposed to stop! It's not supposed to move so quickly! Well - it finally did - when it hit the 260 mark! Wow. I caught my breath (because I *did* have to climb up on the scale) and decided that it was time to do something about all this nonsense.

Now, I never really liked running. So guess what? My first step was not running. Instead, I had a daughter who was rowing in high school at the time and a son who was interested. So, I got him off his butt and started out on an Indoor Rowing machine at The Iron Oarsman (, a Costa Mesa based indoor rowing studio run by Olympic Gold and Silver medalist Xeno Muller. If you live in Orange County and have never been to Xeno's, you don't know what you are missing. Xeno is truly one a of a kind motivator. He knows how to make exercise truly enjoyable. Slowly I started working my way back to physical fitness. But the best part was - I was enjoying the sweat! The pounds started coming off, muscle tone started appearing, and I was no longer huffing and puffing to walk up a flight of stairs. Slowly I started amassing the meters on the ergometer. First a million, then on to two million. Drop from 260 to 230. Wow! Feeling good again!

With all of the rowing, there was only one thing missing. A little competition. I have always been a competitive person - not so much against others, but against my own goals. So, I set out on my own competition - to climb Mt. Whitney and get back down in one day. I continued slogging through the hours and kilometers on the ergometer. But alas it was not to be. I was finding that my work and family schedule along with the unavailability of wilderness permits was working against me. So, I started looking for something that was doable, close to home that would be a physical and mental stretch. Say - what about a marathon!?!?! I started reading about the trials and tribulations of runners that had finished. About hitting the wall. About finding the port a potty before it found you. The more I read, the more I thought that I found that challenge that I was looking for. Besides - if I did a lot of running I would be able to buy one of those wrist sized GPS toys.

So, in July 2007 I started running. A few miles a week at first was all I could manage. But I kept up with it. I ran my first 5K on October 2007, followed by a 10K in November. Then the first week in January 2008 I ran my first half - the OC. I found that even though I struggled to finish the run, I enjoyed myself immensely. At that point I was hooked. I joined the Cal Coast Track Club ( and started training for the San Diego Rock N' Roll marathon. I ran and finished (although it wasn't easy)! It was after that I started getting serious and started reading all that I could about exercise physiology and running in general. Since then, I've made some big leaps in my training, cutting my PRs by minutes, and enjoying the fitness that comes from running the right way!

So, that's the story behind The Running Fat Guy. Oh yeah - I'm still on the "large" size, coming in about 220 these days. I will be watching my diet a lot closer the coming months to try to shed another 20 pounds or so by the end of the year. Maybe then I can think about renaming my blog....


  1. Good luck on your race tomorrow. I will be there too! Nice entry about your running saga. Keep with it. I took up running again after turning 50 (I'm now almost 54) and its been great!

  2. thanks for letting us 'get to know' you! you've come along way, and i'm sure you'll continue to make leaps and bounds of progress in the days, months and years to come.