Friday, October 21, 2011

Success Story: Bradley Nelson

Happy Friday!! I hope you are doing awesome! What a busy 

I am LOVING the feeling of getting after some of my goals! I am proud to say, I hit my water goal, the last two days in a ROW!! I am aiming to make it a habit! You know they say it takes 21 days to form a habit, (more like 60 REALLY) and just a few to break it and lose track of what you are aiming for.  DON'T give up! 

Success Story: Bradley Nelson

I met Bradley on facebook AND because he works for Allied Medal hangers and I did a giveaway of one of the hangers last year! Now we spend our FB days "liking" each others running post and sending encouragement back and forth via the interwebs! 

Bradley is an accomplished runner and marathoner AND a fitness success story! Get ready to be inspired!  

I feel as though the last 3 years I’ve morphed myself into what I want to be: strong, confident, and healthy. I had a few ups and downs, but running has kept me focused and given me the confidence I needed to stay the course and believe in ME. Especially when I lost my job in 2007.  

My journey towards running a marathon started Dec. 23rd 2005.  I was 37 and weighing in at 220. My success was triggered by a girlfriend of 6 years who walked out on me and our life together. I hit the gym for a solid 4 months, every single day riding the bike and eating better.  I lost 40 pounds in 4 months!!  In April of 2006 I found myself in California with no way to workout for a week, so I thought since my legs were in good shape from riding the bike at the gym, I could start running for the first time... in 21 years? I thought, "good luck!" I ran 1.25 miles and thought I was going to DIE!!

Before and after Bradley 

Life as he knew it! 

By June (2-1/2 months later), I had already worked myself up to running 13.1 miles. So I signed up for the next race I could find. The Seafair Bellevue 1/2 Marathon. It was so much fun and I know that sounds odd, but compared to just running 13.1 miles at the gym, this was so cool! I had gotten down to 165 pounds and people where cheering me on the WHOLE way. I even saw people on their lawns in their PJ's clapping as they drank their coffee. It was nearly spiritual for me, running and thinking of all the hard work I put in, all the emotional pain I went through to come out ahead. And then to lose the weight and get back to the shape I was in 21 years ago! I finished with a 1:40:50 

Next up, can I double that mileage? The marathon calls

My lifelong friend and next-door neighbor Craig had a brother who always ran the Seattle Marathon and I wondered if I could really run a full 26.2 miles. Maybe if I just slowed down? So I trained another 3 months and increased my miles and fought many days of hip pain. I had worked up to great shape, yet my body kept warning me, YOU ARE 38!!! 

One week out from my race and I pull my hamstring and I had to STOP running the week of the race. There was so much to think about before the race, including the weather, by the time I got to Seattle it was light rain/slush but 36 degrees. Tons of roads were blocked and we arrived about 1/2 an hour before the race started. In normal Bradley fashion, I hopped out of the car 2 blocks before the start line and parking so I ASSURED I would not be stuck in traffic while I needed to use the restroom before the race. 

It turned out fine and I had just enough time to stretch, go for a jog. It snuck up on me like you wouldn't believe. There I was, in what seamed like days, when it was really EXACTLY 11 months to the DAY that I started working out after the breakup, even the date was the 26th and the race was 26.2 miles. It wouldn't have surprised me to see #26 pop up in my race time.

The race and city was great, but I was just chasing down that 3:45:00 pace group every time I took a bathroom break or walked through water stations.  I felt great the whole race, 5 hours of sleep and all.... At mile 20 (20 was my longest training run ever and the longest of my life). Mile 20-21 was straight up hill, and I mean 7% grade!!! I felt like I was walking. This is also when my legs said goodbye. No carbs or electrolytes could save me or be consumed fast enough, nothing I could consume would make that pain go away, it's just a fact of running for 3 hours when you’ve only been running 7 months. 

This is when doubt set in, believe me, I had ALL the confidence in the world I AM going to  finish this thing. But the problem is I WOULD NOT walk, no way, not me (It's called “RUNNING” a marathon). It just got worse and worse. I had my inspiring music, I had all my new running friends, my family, co-workers, my thoughts of my recently passed away father helping me, everything I could think of to channel some energy. Problem was I didn't need energy, I didn't need inspiration, inspiration got me to where I was that very day, what I needed was this pain to go away and it wasn't going to go away with inspiring thoughts. 

Marathon #1!

I just had to keep my legs moving, I have NO clue how that happened. All I know is I would have felt like a failure to walk. It's the most emotionally draining thing I have ever done combined with the most physically draining thing I could possibly think of.  Mile 25 was a tiny downhill, but stopping yourself from going to fast or falling on the wet pavement just increased the pain in my quads to the point I wasn't sure I'd make it one more mile. Then to my right I see a co-worker yelling my name,  how cool was that, he never even told me he was gonna come see the race!!

 It was surreal running into the stadium, I felt like I was in some odd dream, the guy that my friend USED to always poke in the fat tummy, running a marathon!!!!??? I was in a slight daze as I panned the people for anyone I knew.  I saw nobody, there were just way to many people. Little did I know my family had been stuck in traffic, but they finally found me at the finish! This was the greatest year I can recall in my life, losing 40 pounds, finding the love of running and you can bet, I plan on making the rest of them just as memorable! 

Bradley has run over 20 marathons and countless half marathons and came up with the idea for the steel laser cut running medal displays, the ones we bloggers know and love!! 
He lives in Washington, LOVES skulls and sticks to the motto "You don't stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running. "

 Thanks Bradley, you REALLY are a success story in so many ways!

*if you have a success story of any kind you want to share, please send an email and you too can be featured!  

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