When I started this blog several years ago, my goal simply involved documenting my journey from couch potato to triathlete and eventually to ultramarathon runner.  I have achieved that and so much more.

Weight loss goals
2012 Chatter at 365 pounds, my heaviest.

First off,  I am not a ‘skinny guy’, i will never be a ‘skinny guy’.  But  I should never weigh as much as I did back before 2012.  I have struggled with my weight all my life.  My life style choices did not help.  

As a youth, sports and athletics held little interest for me.  Preferring movies, television and video games, my weight steadily rose as I transformed from a pudgy teenager  into an obese adult.  My weight reached an all time high in the beginning of 2012 at 365 pounds, a few years after getting married and settling into married life.  By that point in my life, I spent hours on the couch watching television and playing video games.  I smoked a pack to two packs of cigarettes a day.  It was in that year, 2012, that I discovered the consequences of my lifestyle choices,  the doctor diagnosed me with hypertension (I had a blood pressure of 210/90) and diabetes. His conclusion being I had to change if I really wanted to live longer than a few more years.   I was in bad shape, not just round.

Weigh loss goals
One of the pictures that made me realize how much weight I really had to loose

The doctors prognosis hit me really hard, I knew I had to do something different, but really had no clue where to start.  Changing my diet and exercising sound so easy,  but my lifestyle of forty years did not provide an answer.  Fortunately I discovered the’couch to 5k program, giving me my first glimmer of hope.  For the first time in my life I set a fitness goal, I would follow the program and at the end I would run/walk my first 5k.  This feat seemed so daunting at the time, people like me just don’t  enter races or cross finish lines.

I had a goal and a means to achieve that goal, now I just had to act on that goal.  I found weighing over 320 pounds and running had its own set of challenges.  Completing the first week of the couch to 5k program landed me  at the doctors, turns out my knees and hips did not support a 320 pound runner very well.  The doctor advised I should run in a pool until I sufficiently lost more weight. 

With this advice, I found myself at LA Fitness running in a pool a week later.  Running still proved challenging, heck walking the trash to the curb proved challenging, but I pushed on.  As I moved up and down the lanes I began to watch the swimmers next to me as they gracefully swam lap after lap. Later I found out most of those swimmers were training for triathlons of various distances,  they were real athletes.  A funny thing happened while I slogged back and forth, watching them swim and me try to run… I began to dream of doing something more than just a 5k in a few months, I wanted to complete a triathlon the following year.  

To put this crazy notion in perspective, at this point during the middle summer of 2012:

  • my weight had started to drop.
  • I still pushed the scale over 310 pounds. 
  • Too much weight and inactivity forced me to run in a pool.
  •  I did not have a bike and had never ridden a bike as an adult.
  • I had no clue how to swim like the athletes that shared the lanes next to me at the pool. 

Prior to starting the couch to 5k I had never dreamed I would enter any type of athletic race. The act  of training to run a 5k emboldened  me to believe other athletic pursuits could be possible.

John Tanner Sprint Triathlon
Chatter as an Triathlete. Had to fight at every distance!

October 2012 I finished my first 5k and signed up and finished  for my first triathlon the following April.  Little did I know this provided a gateway to other pursuits.  That year I ran several 5ks, 10ks, sprint triathlons and even an Olympic distance triathlon.  The weight continued to drop til it got down to 290 pounds.  The end of 2013 I had a secret goal for myself, I wanted to run a half marathon.  That distance seemed so crazy far, but I had done so much, proved to myself I could push myself to great distances.  

The following year I continued to compete as a Clydesdale in triathlons and run 5k and 10k and half marathon races.  I wanted a new challenge and decided a mountain trail 50k ultramarathon would give me the challenge I craved.  

Tortoise and Hare 50k ultramarathon

After 15 hours of struggle I completed my first race over a half marathon a mountainous trail 50k ultramarathon.   

As athletics go, I found I loved running on trails. It proved challenging, also it provided the right mix of hiking and running with stunning views and amazing challenges.  

The following year I completed:

  • My first 50 Mile trail race – Ga Jewel 50 Mile race
  • My first 12 hour timed race for 37 miles
  • My first 24 hour timed race for 55 miles
  • Several 50ks 

The past couple of years have not been as great for me. Plagued with injuries I had to take up open water distance swimming(longest was 5 miles) and occasional weight lifting.

I have now been an athlete for over five years.  My weight fluctuates and Its an ongoing battle.  As an athlete I have discovered my greatest happiness comes from ultramarathon distance races and mountain running.  I have had many triumphs and setbacks on this journey, I have enjoyed being able to share this journey.  

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  1. elisariva

    Wow – I admire your willingness to publish your story. I am looking forward to reading your progress. Don’t give up! There will be good days and not so good, I learned more and more than life is not linear, but it does have a positive slope! Thank you for reading my blog. If I can be of help at all, let me know!

  2. Grammadog1947

    Wow…we are both traveling the same road…and at the same time! How cool is THAT?!! Best of success to you…I’m “following” you, too….we’ll keep each other motivated!

  3. trikatykid

    OK. Consider this your first warning. Where have you been? Are you healthy? Training? Potatoing on the couch?

    Just checking in.

    Haven’t heard a peep since your declaration that it was time to get back to it. Be a man of your word. Honor your own commitment to yourself. You started this journey for a reason. Get back to it!

  4. isaac976

    I know you going to nail this fight and wishing you all the best. Definitely following your progress and all the best 8 days more to go for the Garden Gallop ! Keep us posted ok !

    As I always say “Train Hard Race Harder”

  5. Pingback: Just Average « IowaTriBob

  6. kruzmeister

    Hi Chatter, nice to meet you. Big congrats on making the move towards a healthier life and on your achievements so far. I look forward to following your journey. Good luck with your goals and training! – Simone

  7. Lorna's Voice

    My brother-in-law is a triathlete. He’s going to turn 58 this year…or 59 (can’t remember). I find what your guys (and gals) do amazing!

    Just wanted to pop over and say thanks for the follow! 🙂


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