They say pain is nothing but weakness leaving the body. I wholeheartedly agree and believe that every weak atom in my frame must have been jettisoned during a 26.2 mile journey through Richmond, Virginia on November 10, 2012 – one day after my 39th birthday. The marathon was a first for me and a testament of strength, will and endurance while operating on a whole food, plant-based diet. With November marking the two-year anniversary of eating cruelty free foods, I am truly amazed at how quickly my figure and performance numbers have changed for the better.
You see, the marathon wasn’t just a race, but rather an enormous milestone in my journey. During this transformation, I ditched my regimen of fast food, heavy drinking and smoking – the very habits that took me from a fit, Division 1 football player at Georgia Tech 20 years ago to a 250-pound couch potato. I chose to make a positive change, which we all know is a deep, methodical and uphill battle. I traded in my vices for water and teas, juicing, plant-based eating and the elimination of any self-inflicted carcinogen known to mankind.
To test my inner strength, I decided to run my first marathon in 2012. When the gun sounded, a group of fast marathoners surged from the crowd like greyhounds chasing rabbits. It would have been simple to follow suit while burning fuel reserves within the first hour. Yet, I remained calm and collected while remembering the coaching during the training period.
What I like most about running 26.2 miles is that it’s a feat only a small percentage of humans around the world have accomplished. I’m a sprinter and football player by trade, so transforming myself into a distance runner was quite amusing, especially to friends and family who thought I had lost my mind, until they saw recaps of my 13- to 18-mile training sessions on their Facebook and Instagram feeds. Moreover, running a marathon on a vegan diet is even more rare. For that very reason, I was featured in the New York Times as someone planning to run the New York Marathon animal-free. But then the race was cancelled due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, and so we ran the marathon in Richmond race a week later.
Before the race, I had always wondered why people put themselves through the agony and torture of marathons. What’s the point in tearing up muscles and tendons just to show you can go the distance – especially for frequent marathoners. However, after that indelible race experience, I get it. There were people running for lost loved ones, cancer societies and fundraising groups. And, of course, some people run because they emphatically love to energize their lives. I was one in a proud group of overachievers logging miles with pride and enthusiasm. My reason? I did it to educate family, friends and followers on the benefits of a nutritious, active and healthy lifestyle by way of my newfound wellness and fitness company Fit Fathers. While the race is over, the war against gluttony, obesity, fast and enriched foods and lethargy wagers on. Far too often, we take life for granted and don’t typically improve our quality of living until after a negative visit at the doctor’s office. Why wait until a degenerative disease strikes? Why not eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes now to prevent clogged arteries and attacks from mutated cancer cells? If we know that sugar enhances the odds of diabetes, why indulge in all the soda, candy bars and pastries? If we know that our bones, muscles, lungs and hearts are strengthened through routine exercise, then why lead a sedentary life? Why wouldn’t you be running, walking, swimming or biking every single day?
Listen up. I used to work hard and party harder. Now I work hard and workout harder while operating alcohol-free, meat-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free! I’m 40 years of age and can still bench my college max of 405 pounds when I train for a month, run marathons and sprint exceedingly around tracks. Alkalinity is the goal for disease prevention, purity is the formula for life extension, and daily fitness is key for overcoming physical attrition! Eat clean, drink clean and keep moving!