Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dean's story

Less than seven weeks until Ragnar SoCal! Today, I'd like to introduce another member of my team (Strangers to Sole Mates). I've already posted stories from Caitlin (Runner #1), John (Runner #3), Thomas (Runner #6), and Paige (Runner #8). You may recognize this next runner from a few Motivational Monday posts...

Runner #7 is Dean. Dean shared with us his first 5K, his first 10K, his first half-marathon, and when he dropped 100 pounds. You could definitely see his body shrinking as he posted those milestones, and it was really fun to watch him become a better runner and lose the weight. He's come a very long way!

I could see just how dedicated he was to his running, and constantly trying to improve, so I thought he'd be a great person to invite to join the team. Even since joining the team, he's improved so much--his pace has literally gone from an 11:00+ minute/mile pace last summer to 9:00-something pace! And regarding his weight loss, Dean definitely has the commitment and determination it takes to reach his goal.

Anyway, his transformation has been amazing... enjoy his story!

Hello Everyone,
My name is Dean, and I am runner #7 on Katie and John's Ragnar SoCal team. I am 35 years old, and have been married for almost 10 years to my lovely and supportive wife, Mandy. We don't have any human children, but we have two chihuahuas and a big old kitty cat. I am the Parts Department Manager for a Harley-Davidson Dealer in North West Ohio and have been with H-D for 12 years. When I am not working or running, my wife and I love to go for rides on our motorcycle (a Harley of course). I recently got into reading novels, I love hockey and football, and getting tattooed. My story isn't a page turner or filled with personal tragedy that could be considered an acceptable reason for why my weight became such a problem. I AM LAZY pure and simple and this is my story...

Over my entire childhood I was always considered "the chubby one", a little bigger than most; but it never really got out of hand, mostly because I was riding my bicycle all over town to get around. When I hit 16, and traded the bicycle for car keys, my weight started to rise. 

By the time I met and married my wife, I was probably hovering around 250-260 pounds, and that is when the proverbial s#%t hit the fan. Before I new it, I was tipping the scales at 317, which was my heaviest weight. The years from 2005-2012 were a weight roller coster for me. I tried every fad diet in the book--from protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, to Atkins, to the HGC plan. The lowest weight I ever got down to was 247 pounds while on HGC; but the minute I stopped, and had one cheat day (which snowballed back into my old ways of candy, fast-food, fried food, late night eating and donuts) I ballooned back to 293 by the second half of 2012.

What was my "aha" moment? Well, there wasn't one. Not even after I went to see my doctor for a routine check up and he did some blood work, which came back with some red flags. He ordered more tests, and by the time all the tests were done, my pocket was $1200 lighter, and I was standing on the edge of the diabetes cliff and the need for medication. 

My doc gave me two months to try and change my diet and start exercising to reverse the damage, or he would recommend medication. So after the first month of not doing anything I did what most would do and got a gym membership. I spent the next month going 2-3 days a week to the gym, which was a huge accomplishment for me, but I wasn't really putting in a ton of effort while using the weight and elliptical machines. The gym has an indoor track and I thought that had to be better than the elliptical, so I gave jogging a try. Even though I couldn't even make it anywhere close to a mile, I enjoyed it, and for the first time felt like I had a quality workout. So, two days later, I did it again--and continued every other day.

As I start to get really interested in a topic I tend to research it to death, which is what I did with running. I came across an awesome podcast called Runner Academy, and found the host Matt to be very informative and helpful. The episode I have listened to the most and I think really kicked me into high gear is Episode #8, which was all about two of Katie's From Fat to Finish Line teammates. That episode gave me the inspiration and the confidence to lose the weight, and to do it with running. My plan was simple: to run for exercise, and reduce my caloric intake to around 2,000 calories per day. 

I track everything I put in my mouth with the My Net Diary App on my phone. I set my first goal to break 247 pounds, and to run a 5K. When I did that, I set my next goal to hit 225 pounds, and run a 10K. As I write this today, I have completed multiple 5Ks, a 10K and two half-marathons at a current weight of 205 (down 112 pounds from my heaviest weight). I have gone from a snug 46-inch waist to a comfortable 36. My shirt has gone down to an XL from a size 3X. 

My original goal was to stop losing weight when I reached 193 pounds, but I think that is still a little too heavy, so I decided that my finish line is my freshman-year wrestling weight of 173. I know I still have a long way to go, but my confidence seems to grow every day with the knowledge that if I put in the effort, and have the desire, I can accomplish anything. 

I now live with the mantra “only the committed will survive” and for me to succeed I must stay committed. Matt, from Runner Academy, always says "you never know where running will take you" and he is right! Without running, I would not be writing this, and wouldn't have been offered the invitation to participate in this great opportunity to experience running a Ragnar Relay in Southern California!! Thanks, Katie, for all you do for your readers, and I can't wait to spend time with my 11 new friends in SoCal!

Unfortunately, Dean doesn't have a blog for me to link to, but I'll continue to share his milestones as they come :)

Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a photo of a health/fitness accomplishment that you'd like to share, you can email it to me at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, with the subject "Motivational Monday", and a brief description. I may include it in tomorrow's post!


  1. Go, Dean! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

  2. Glad to see you helping to tell the stories of such amazing people! Thanks for all you do Katie!

  3. Dean looks great. I can really relate to how ONE cheat day while he was on HGC led to a return to his old habits. It's frustrating that if I allow myself a cheat day, I find it nearly impossible to return to my healthy lifestyle. I'm working on it. Way to go Dean---You are an inspiration to all of us!

  4. Good job Dean! Very inspiring story.

  5. Awesome, very honest & inspiring. I too gained weight due to lazyness - people seem to feel uncomfortable when I tell them that, but it's the truth!

    Dean you are doing an incredible job, I am sure you will reach your goal in the not-too-distant future :)

  6. Alright, I am a little late to the party, but congrats Dean! Can't wait to meet you in SoCal. Your transformation is amazing!


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