Monday, June 20, 2011

Welcome to "Bestir the Beast"

I've had several people recently tell me that I should start a blog. To be honest I used to blog but did so infrequently. I often times felt that the things that I wanted to say were merely modified statements about how good of a person I thought I was. I don't know that many people even read the blog and I eventually lost interest in writing new posts. Again, there seems to be a certain level of narcissism involved in blogging.

But in February of this year I undertook a radical new outlook on my life. I have spent the majority of my adult life overweight and had really resigned myself to the belief that I would always be that way. That at the age of 42 it would be too difficult for me to make the necessary changes to improve my life. I was starting to see the physical deterioration of my body as a result of my weight and I knew that if I continued on the path that I was on that I probably wouldn't make it beyond my 50's, if I was lucky enough to make it that far.

So on the day after the Super Bowl (yes I waited long enough to get one more good party under my belt) I made the decision to start eating healthier. Initially I cut out all refined sugar, all breads, pastas, and rice, as well as all fried foods and soft drinks. I started eating fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins. I also switched to drinking diet soft drinks and increased my water intake. After about 3 weeks, I cut out soft drinks altogether. In my fourth week, I stopped eating salad dressings and replaced them with extra virgin olive oil. I also switched from eating almonds that were roasted and salted to eating "raw" almonds. In week 6 I also gave up alcohol. Now I'm not going to lie and say that I don't drink, but I very seldom drink beer or liquor anymore. If I choose to have a drink I generally will have red wine.

It was around this time that I finally stepped on the scales to see what my "lifestyle change" had done for me. I knew that my clothes were fitting better but I didn't know how I was doing weight-wise. I was down almost 35 pounds. I was amazed. And I felt great. At that point I decided that it was time to begin exercising.

I started out with very moderate exercise. I would walk around my neighborhood in the evening, sometimes with my wife, or at work on my lunch break. I started looking at applications for my iPhone to help me with the new exercise routine. I discovered Cyclemeter from Bluefin Software and I was hooked. I think a later blog dedicated to the software that I use will be a good idea so I'll explain more about that app at a later date. I also found a website called "DailyMile" which is like Facebook for people who work out. It allows you to track your exercise and post comments, pics, and videos. You can "friend" people and support them as they work out too. It is a great website and has provided me with a lot of motivation and encouragement.

After about a month of walking I decided that I wanted to get back into running. Now I say "back into running" because when I was in law school I started running and lost a lot of weight. I was very active for the last two years of law school but then after graduation real life set in and I lost my motivation to stay fit. I found an app called "Couch 2 5K" designed to help a couch potato like me go from no running to being able to complete a 5K in 9 weeks. I started the program and followed the workouts to the tee. I finished Couch 2 5K last nite by running a 5K in 41:59. Yes that one second makes all the difference in the world to me. Ok. Not really but I was amazed that I was able to run for 42 minutes and also run that far.

Along the way I have had many people tell me that I inspire them. I find that to be very humbling because I'm just an out of shape guy trying to change his life for the better. But today it struck me that if by blogging about my journey I can influence or encourage one person to change their lifestyle then why not. And I may still get the chance to say all the great things about myself that there are to say as well. Ok. Maybe not.

With that in mind, I decided to start "Bestir the Beast". During the process of learning more about running I began looking for shoes that would provide better support and stability for a big guy like me. I found a shoe from Brooks called the "Beast". So I bought the shoes and adopted the nickname. And I have discovered that there is a Beast inside of me that is longing to get out. One that wants to be an Ironman. Is it possible? I think so and until my body tells me otherwise that is my goal. My healthy lifestyle has "besitrred the Beast" within and I enjoy unleashing him daily.

So far I am down 65 pounds and I have a long way to go. This journey is far from over. But I want to share this with others in the hopes that I can continue to inspire others and likewise, so that I can be inspired. I am going to start a new program tonite called Bridge to 10K which is a 6 week program designed to get me ready to run a 10K. I have already signed up for "The Great Buffalo Chase" on July 4th in Frankfort (a 5K run) and I have also signed up to the run the "Iron Horse Half Marathon" (yes 13.1 miles) on Oct. 23rd. Yes, that is a HUGE goal to accomplish especially for a guy who was just able to run a 5K last nite for the first time in 17 years. But that's okay. I'll make it. And I hope to share my journey with you.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you feel inspired to leave me a comment.

And remember: Dream big and start small.


  1. Nice start, Mark, keep at it. And remember, graduating from C25K is just a step in the process. If you're still (only) doing halfs in the Spring, come join me for the Half Flying Pig in Cincy. Then I'll be on to full marathons after that (as I'm sure you'll be too).

  2. Beast, you are amazing and inspire me all the time! I look forward to following your journey to your first 10K, Half and beyond!!!