Prior to May 1985, I was super fit and super healthy, routinely running between 50 and 70 miles a week. That was how I measured success. Between March 16th and May 5th 1985, I ran 34:32 for 10K, 57:46 for 10 miles, 53:20 for 15K, 27:38 for 5 miles and 16:26 for 5K. I was 34 years old. On May 17, 1985, at around 5:00 pm on a Friday night, I was driving home with my then five year old daughter and we hit a van broadside. The van had been stopped in the left lane of a four lane road with its left blinker on and unexpectedly made a right turn out of the left lane directly in front of us. That accident, although we both survived, in an instant, ruined my health and changed my life. On Sunday, May 19th, I ran the Midland Run 15K (which I had run and eventually would run or try to run, 13 years in a row) and ran 53:03.
The next day, Monday, I had what seemed to be a toothache. This began a ritual of going back and forth between dentists and ear, nose and throat specialists, each saying I had a sinus infection and not a toothache or a toothache and not a sinus infection. After 3 years and 13 doctors and specialists, a root canal, extraction of a tooth and countless prescriptions for antibiotics, a dental specialist found a hairline fracture in the tooth that had actually been damaged by the car accident, which had allowed bacteria to enter my jawbone, cause an infection in the jawbone and a cyst to form in the adjacent sinus. I had to have oral surgery on my jawbone with no Novocaine (it would spread the infection) at 9:00 one night and then later, surgery to remove the cyst in my sinus, but my health issues continued.
Thinking that my health nightmare was finally over, I was devastated to find out over the next 20 years that my health was irreversibly ruined. Three doctors, two of whom were specialists and the last at the University of Pennsylvania hospital, confirmed a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome and a systemic yeast infection from the overuse of the prescribed antibiotics. The doctor who performed the surgery on my sinus also performed a Caldwell Luc procedure which “opened up my sinus” and permanently altered the sinus in such a way that I cannot blow that left nostril and I have had perhaps as many as a hundred sinus infections in that sinus since.
Out of a $10,000.00 settlement from the car accident, I got about $3,000.00 (the lawyer took the rest) and out of that, I bought my first Polar heart rate monitor in 1986 – a Polar Vantage XL. That is what led me to become a Polar authorized dealer. At my worst, I was so weak that I had to sleep on the floor downstairs because I could not walk up a flight of stairs and obviously could not work. Even on a yeast and sugar free diet and the antifungal Diflucan (at $12.50 per pill per day, with no health insurance) to combat the systemic yeast infection, I only functioned at about 50%. Given my physical gifts and will, however, that was enough to lead a somewhat normal life. I became a personal trainer to have a healthy occupation (for many, many years I had managed a woodworking shop, but could no longer do the physical labor and it didn’t seem like a healthy occupation given my compromised immune system). I also started my www.howtobefit.com website to spread the gospel of fitness (a college aptitude test showed that I should be a brick layer or a minister, so helping others with their physical walk through life seemed just right).
As for running, it came back at times, (I ran the Philadelphia Independence Marathon again and qualified for Boston) but I would never know what to expect from my body which was constantly being battered by health issues. I basically lost all confidence in my running. My marriage also failed because my wife wanted me to be able to make more money, but I simply couldn’t. I moved to Albuquerque because New Jersey was too damp and the climate here is much better for my yeast issues and to run. I also needed to get away from a racing scene that I once dominated and which had become a source of embarrassment. I began personal training in earnest, as well as coaching running at the high school and club level. At first, I ran well here, but the arrhythmias (high heart rates when I was running) that I developed, became much more frequent. In fact in my first race here, the Albuquerque’s Finest Half Marathon, I had an arrhythmia at 5 miles walked to 6 miles, stopped for my heart rate to come down from over 200 and still ran 1:30:00. At the finish, I mentioned to a local doctor/runner that I had to walk because I had an arrhythmia and he scoffed, “If you had had an arrhythmia, you would be dead.” Runners don’t like to hear excuses or reasons and although I had a few very good races here, I began to avoid them. To this day, when I go to the track and can’t keep up, my peers trash talk me, but in defense of them, they don’t know why I am running so poorly because I refuse to make excuses. My challenge is for me to deal with, not complain about.
With my fitness websites and fitness blogs, I am fully committed to helping others in achieving their health and fitness goals. I sell Polar heart rate monitors because they will help people achieve their fitness and weight loss goals and I am a Million Dollar Body Coach so that I can coach and mentor people online to achieve the same goals. From 2001 to 2005, I ran 7 days a week without missing a day, and averaged almost a 10K a day. Then Grace came along and waking up in the night for feeding and so forth plus being a full time dad has really impacted my running (not to mention the additional effect of the second baby, Carly). Now I get up at 4:00 am to work, do a 30:00 – 45:00 strength workout at 4:45 am five days a week and then work and be with my children until 4:00 pm, when I go run. Although I run 7 days a week, sometimes that means just 1/2 a mile on a bad day, but I am thankful for that because many, many people with physical, weight and health challenges can’t do even that.
It is scary just to read about the past 24 years because it was really a nightmare. What is life like today? Many changes for the better. First of all, I have a full time job and a “part time” job. My full time job is being a stay at home Dad, spending all day every day with Grace and Carly, my 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old daughters. My “part time” job is being a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach. I am using P90X again (after doing ChaLEAN Extreme and loving it) as my strength and flexibility workout at 6:45 am six days a week (I am currently not doing all of each workout because I still feel as if I have to balance energy and work and end up at zero at the end of the day instead of negative and waking up at zero like I used to). I run 5 evenings a week and do my long run on Saturday mornings
What P90X and ChaLEAN Extreme did were to increase my strength and flexibility, but I realize now that it was really the Team Beachbody nutritional products that I started using more and more of over time that made the real difference. I started with P90X Recovery Drink and it helped me to recover faster. I replaced the Whole Foods Whey Protein with the Team Beachbody Whey protein, which was cheaper and equally as good. I started eating the P90X Protein Bars for additional calories and additional protein. I replaced the multivitamin that I was using with the P90X Performance Pack and used the Performance Formula that comes with it before every workout.
I then started using products that I wasn’t currently using. I got the Herbal Immune Boost and the Joint Support Formula and both worked exceptionally well (getting me through flu season almost unscathed and greatly easing the pain in my left wrist).
After using the P90X Performance Pack for some time, I switched to the Core Nutrition Pack when it came out and continue using both the Activit Body Toning, Activit Metabolism and Core Omega 3.
Perhaps the greatest improvement in performance came when I started using Shakeology. Remember, I used to measure success by running and it is still a driving force in my life. The improvements in my endurance and speed have been nothing short of remarkable.
Just in case you are a Doubting Thomas or skeptic and need more proof, I ask my nutritionist to look at every new Team Beachbody product before I take it. Having been through what I’ve been through, I’m about as careful as anyone on the planet when it comes to what I eat. She has approved and rated as “excellent” everything that I have mentioned above, or believe me, I wouldn’t be taking it or using it. I never ever want to lose my health again and I do everything possible to safeguard it. Regular exercise, good nutrition and positive lifestyle choices are the cornerstone of good health. By using Beachbody workout DVD’s and nutritional products, I now enjoy the best health and fitness that I have had since the fateful day in May 1985 that changed my life, seemingly forever.