I have a different sort of Motivational Monday today. It was a slow week for MM submissions, but a HUGE week for one person, so I'm making this a "special edition" of MM... ;)
One of the things I've been very fortunate to witness since starting my blog is the transformation of some of my readers. I get a lot of email from people who are getting started on a health journey, but I really love to get follow-up emails months or even years later--after they've accomplished some awesome milestones. It's exciting (and super motivating) to see their progress!
It's one thing to see someone's before and after photos, but it's quite different (and so exciting) to see their continual progress as it's happening.
One of these stories is Dean's. I know I've bragged about him several times here, but he just hit some major milestones which are totally worth sharing. I normally just share one photo with each submission, but I'd love to recap Dean's progression here with all of his Motivational Monday stories. If you've been reading Motivational Monday since the beginning, you may remember Dean from his first submission, when he ran his first 5K in April 2013...
He had recently lost 34 pounds, and completed his first 5K in 33:27. Just a couple of weeks later, he ran the Glass City 5K, shaving 25 seconds off of his previous time.
Just six weeks after that, Dean ran his first 10K race. He'd set a goal to reach a weight of 225 and run a 10K, and he did it!
Ten weeks after that 10K, Dean had a 10-mile run on his training schedule. He had such a great run that he decided just to add another 5K on there, and run a spontaneous half-marathon in his training! He had lost 60 pounds at this point:
In seeing Dean's progress, and how hard he was working on the weight loss and running, I was so inspired by him that I asked him to join a Ragnar Relay team that I was putting together, and he did. When I learned that he was going to be running the Detroit Free Press Half-Marathon in October for his first "official" half, I asked if he'd like to meet for dinner the day before the race. Jerry and I drove to Detroit to meet up with Dean and his wife, Mandy.
The following day, he ran the Detroit Free Press International Half, and I was thrilled to be there to see him running it after watching his progress on Motivational Mondays!
Just a couple of months later, in December 2013, Dean reached a huge weight loss milestone--100 pounds down!
Around this time, Dean mentioned to me that he decided to shoot for a sub-2:00 half-marathon, and he wanted to know my thoughts as a running coach. He had just finished a half in about 2:15, so I told him that I didn't want to be discouraging, but I thought he should aim for more like 2:10. He thought about it, and then told me that he was going to shoot for sub-2:00 anyway--which would require shaving 15 minutes off of his time in just 4 months!
And you know what? Come April, at his goal race, he ran 1:57! I was shocked, but very excited for him. That was a huge improvement! Next, he told me that he was going to sign up for his first marathon to take place that fall... and that he was going to aim for sub-4:00. Again, I didn't want to discourage him, but I never recommend having a time goal for one's first marathon--it's challenging enough just to finish, let alone worrying about pace. But Dean is honestly the most determined person I've ever met...
And in October 2014, Dean ran his first full marathon in 3:52:43!
That day, I learned that when Dean says he's going to do something... he does it. He could tell me that he'll be the first person to run a sub-2:00 MARATHON one day, and I would bet my life savings that he would.
Since then, Dean has been working hard to reach his goal weight, which has been just a few pounds away for several months now. His goal weight is 173 pounds, which was his wrestling weight in high school. Well, last week, Dean hit it! He weighed in a 173, for a total of 144 pounds lost.
As if that wasn't awesome enough, he celebrated his three-year "runniversary" yesterday by running the same 5K that he ran for his first race. And this time? HE WON THE RACE. Not just his age group... but he was literally the first person to cross the finish line!
Dean has truly transformed right in front of our computer screens, which has been so fun to watch. I feel blessed to have met him, because Dean is, without a doubt, one of the nicest people I've ever met. He has worked harder than I can even imagine, and has more determination than Joey when he chases after Estelle!
(Dean blogs at Running in the Fat Lane, if you'd like to follow his progress... although I'm not sure if there is any room for improvement from here!)