Be Determined; Stay Positive; Remain Passionate!
Be Determined; Stay Positive; Remain Passionate!
I am 47 years old and have to say I am in better shape now than I was when I was 30, maybe even 20! I am married to my beautiful wife Sherry (my biggest supporter and motivator) and we have three wonderful children! We live in a small town in central Massachusetts. I worked full time in fire service (deputy chief) until 2011 and I now work for an ambulance company in Springfield, Massachusetts as a manager and educator. I love hiking, camping, walking, and running! I am a big NASCAR and Boston Bruins and Red Sox fan! I am also a Star Wars fanatic (drives my wife nuts).
So where do I start? Why Dreadmill Phil? Guess that's a great place to start! I was never the kind of person who one would call in great shape, I stayed in shape enough to get by for the most part. First, I have hereditary neuropathy which affects the muscles in my extremities mostly. When I was younger, I was never encouraged to be excessively active, in fact, some medical folks said that being active and working out could make the condition worse (which is not true). Then when I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with scoliosis and was placed in back brace for a year which was real fun during the summer! Although I was active when I was young, I never played sports or did any kind of running. I got involved in the fire and emergency medical services as an adult, working in the fire service up to the rank of deputy chief and as a paramedic. You would think being a firefighter I would be in great shape! No, not really, just enough to get by really. I gained weight throughout my adult years reaching 200 pounds at one point (I am only 5'7") and started having issues as a result of my weight, including bad acid reflux which caused me to have chest pain and major discomfort.
In 2010 I had an endoscopy performed along with many other tests, and the doctor said they took a sample for a biopsy because it appeared I may have cancer. I am thankful that I did not have cancer, but this was a wake up call. The doctor told me that I was fat; not overweight; fat. He said that if I did not lose weight, I could develop further issues such as Barrett's Esophagus as well as cardiac issues. I love how this doctor did not "sugar coat" it for me, no pun intended, and just told it like it is. He told me I was fat. In a day where everyone is so damned sensitive and offended so easily, I truly owe this doctor my life for being so blunt. It's sad that so many of us have to weight until we are having medical problems to make a change. Well, I decided to. It has been a learning and growing experience ever since then!
My good friend Bill Fisher was actively involved in fitness and was a key motivator to getting me on my path to being more fit. I started by just walking the my treadmill, short distances at first but kept progressing. I was legit hitting that old beat up treadmill all the time. My other big motivator was my wife Sherry; every time I would not want to work out, she would push me to do it. Eventually Bill got me involved with the ACS Relay for Life in 2011. We were going to attempt to walk the entire 24 hours with minimal breaks. I was armed with my pedometer and although I did not make it the entire 24 hours (bad cramp ended my day) I still managed 40 miles! Not bad for someone who didn't like walking a mile!
From there it was the Jimmy Fund Boston Marathon Walk which was a 26.2 mile walk to benefit a great cause! Again, I walked with my motivating friend Bill!
Never in my mind was the prospect of running, I thoroughly enjoyed walking and hiking, until, and yes I blame her, my wife started doing a couch to 5K program, and I went with her on some her training runs. Then she signed us up for a 5K in Keene, New Hampshire in the fall of 2012. The atmosphere, the positive vibe, the comradery was just intoxicating! Plus you got a free shirt (lol)! Crossing the finish line of this event is what hooked me.
So I was running more frequently and doing races every now and then, of course Bill kept pushing me and I signed up for a 5 mile event in the dead of winter no less! I completed that run and got my first ever running medal (I love race bling). I never thought I would run farther than that, until once again, Bill convinced me to sign up for a half marathon in 2013. He said he would run with me and get me through it! I was very nervous to say the least. Race day came, and Bill could not run that day so I was going solo! I ran in 40 degree rain-wind day, but the weather could not take away from the feeling of crossing that finish line! And my biggest supporter, my wife had braved the cold rainy day and was there to meet me when I was done!
2014 brought more events including my first marathon! 2015 brought even more events and although I did not run a marathon as planned, I did accomplish my goal of becoming a Half Fanatic. 2016 brought many more miles to my legs! I completed many more half marathons bringing my total to 19!
The important thing is, I feel amazing! I am in better shape now than I was 20 years ago and I will continue to more research and continue my education in the field of health and nutrition and to pay it forward by hopefully help others achieve their goals!
I am a certified paramedic; I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science from Anna Maria College in Massachusetts and hold multiple emergency medical services instructor credentials. I am a certified personal trainer as well as a health coach. After years of helping sick people as a paramedic, I now wish to help folks stay healthy.