Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Doctor Visit

For most people, having your MD tell you that you have high cholesterol might not be a big deal. And at the time, I was more relieved than anything when Dr. Blazejowski told me that, because I thought something else was going on with having diabetes (which runs in my family). For many weeks before my MD appointment, I was feeling extremely tired, urinating frequently (especially at night) and not being able to sleep good. But then Dr. Blaze said to me, "Greg you are only 28, so you might need to think of some lifestyle changes to get this regulated, or I may need to put you on meds....come back in 8 weeks and we will re-check you". At that point, I called my wife and told her what the verdict was and she, like myself, was relieved to know I wasn't dying! When I got off the phone with her, it all set in for me on what the MD said, and at that point I remember feeling embarrassed on what was going on with myself. The fact was that I am a physical therapist, telling people everyday how therapy is a lifestyle change and how fitness needs to play some part in their lives to help prevent injuries from happening on a frequent basis. I basically was not practicing what I preached and I was exposed!!!! I have never really had weight issues, but at that time I was inching to the 190 lb mark and finding it very hard to fit into any of the pants that I owned. Most of my patients couldn't tell that I had a belly, because of the outfits that we wear at work. For the next few days, I started to google everything about cholesterol, and voila!!!! Diet and Exercise continually came up as the best way to manage cholesterol issues. It's amazing that when you are in the medical field, you can't even think when it comes to how to take care of yourself, even though you take care of others every day!!!!! Two days later started the change in my life for the better.

October 2005

I decided to go out for my 1st run on a Saturday morning and run around my neighborhood. My goal was to run for 20 minutes without stopping....which should be a breeze, or so I thought it would've been. I remember winning a 4 mile race in 4th grade at my elementary school, so I just felt as though I could switch back the clock 20 years for this run and we would be ok. Everything went well.... for the first 10 minutes.... and then I slowed down... then I stopped. Brutal.... I realized then that I had a lot of work to do, but I was determined to get going. I started running consistently about 2 days/week working my way up to 30 minutes each time over the next 3 months.

February 2006

My breakthrough with running was when I participated in the Gasparilla 5k in Feb. 2006... It was an awesome experience, as I saw thousands of people run... all ages, sizes and it was cool to see everyone running, no matter how fast or slow they were. It really got me psyched up to take my running to the next level. I finished that race in about 27 minutes, which was about 9 min/mile, and I felt like a truck hit me at the end of the race. I couldn't believe that 3.1 miles would do that to me, but it did, and due to my competitive nature, I started to train up to 35 minutes per run, and sometimes 3x/week. A few months later I signed up for the May Classic 5k and shaved off 2 minutes off my time!!! I was so pleased with myself and the progress I made. On and off through the summer and fall of 2006, I ran sparingly as I was engulfed with opening up our Wesley Chapel clinic.

December 2006

Later on in the year, I decided that I wanted to take my running up a notch and attempt to complete the Gasparilla 1/2 Marathon. I figured that I needed about 2-3 months to get ready for it, but I continuted to procrastinate until the New Year. I started running 3 days/week, running about 4-5 miles each time to get myself ready for the race. I had no clue of what I was doing, just figuring that it would suffice. I was getting excited about the race, as I was treating a good amount of patients that were runners and were trying to get ready for one of the four Gasparilla races for that weekend. As much as I knew that I was planning on doing the race, it was when I started to tell my patients that I was doing the race, that I felt locked into this feat.

Feb. 2007

5 days before the race, I pulled my hamstring while running and 2 days before the race I got food poisoning from eating at a seafood restaurant. I was in bad shape, but my pride and ego couldn't allow me to not show up for the race. I didn't want to look like a joker, so stupidly I went out there and attempted to finish the race. Believe it or not, I actually did, but I was pretty dehydrated at the end, with a sore hamstring and having to walk/run the last 3 miles. It wasn't pretty, but what a sense of accomplishment. I finished the race in 2 hours and 13 minutes. That was the day I felt like I was a "Runner"... beat up and all. I remember talking to Chris (good buddy and co-worker) after the race and telling him I would never do this distance again, because of how awful I felt, and within 5 hours after the race, I remember saying to myself "I'm going to do a marathon". Crazy huh? My competitive nature is maybe unhealthy at times, and I like to challenge myself on things that I don't think I can do.... just to prove that I can do it... so in a nutshell that has been what has gotten me to the point that I am now..... 6 days from my 2nd half marathon, "The Reggae Half-Marathon" in Jamaica, and less than 7 weeks from my 1st marathon, the Walt Disney World marathon on January 13th.