I spent my entire life battling obesity. I was always somewhat of an athlete, I played sports all through High School and College. While in College my weight started to pack on – I stopped playing sports and eventually joined the working world where the lack of activity and continued poor eating habits lead only down a dark road that was sure to be met with medical problems and an early death. I have always felt like my life was under control with the exception of one thing, my health. I married the love of my life, I have a career that I enjoy and two of the most amazing children a father could ask for. Mentally I blocked out what was going on with my body and health. Looking back now I was truly in denial, my age played a major role in that. I guess in some weird and twisted way I thought that youth would always be on my side.
Close to a year and a half ago I was traveling on business, as I approached the airline counter I was met with a sweet, smiling young airline employee that took my bag and looked at me as I checked in. After she checked my bags she said to me something that almost took me off my feet. “Sir, you are going to need to purchase a second seat.” I was in a state of shock and awe and of course I tried to argue that it was not necessary. She then went and spoke with her manager who came over and gazed me from head to toe and agreed that I must purchase another ticket. I was embarrassed, ashamed and almost in tears as I handed over my AMEX. It was that moment that I realized I needed to make a change. I didn’t even recognize what I had become.
In May of 2012 I started on a journey to change my life. With the modern day miracle of surgery and a plan of action, I was for the first time in my life ready to take on this problem. In the past I had always started strong exercising and eating healthy only to burn out and find myself in a fast food drive-thru some where close to the 2 month mark. This time was going to be different, something was different about the wayI thought about it. It’s difficult to explain, but the reality is it just clicked. I no longer wanted to live in a self-made prison confined by Sleep Apnea, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and Diabetes. I tossed all my meds in the trash and decided to fight this with what I knew would work – exercise, healthy natural foods and a lot of hard work. The day my life changed forever I stepped on the scale to see a number that forever resonates in my mind, 452 pounds. With all of the excess weight on my body I vowed to reach 225 pounds by my 30th birthday, June 25th of this year. It’s been 8.5 months and I have experienced some bumps in the road but have lost nearly 200 pounds. I am so close to reaching my goal and plan on racing in Wildflower as a 225 pound man.
In the beginning of this journey my exercise started slow. I did what was comfortable not pushing my limits. The weight was coming off because of a drastic change in diet. As the weight came off I pushed harder and harder in the gym. Walking turned to running on a treadmill, the speed increased and the confidence kicked in. I was training to complete a 5K mud run with friends. At the time it seemed like such a difficult challenge and that it was for a man of my size. Since completing that race I found a place that opened my eyes to what health and fitness is all about. Through an old friend who struggled with obesity and overcame his demons I was introduced to a place that would change my life. Fitness Never Sleeps training center lead by Brian Nunez and his amazing coaching staff has created impact in my life that forever has changed the way I feel and think about myself, my health and fitness goals. Until I started training with FNS I had not heard about Wildflower. I had planned on running some small race, 5K and 10K distances. Never in my mind did I even think that I was capable of doing, yet alone completing a Triathlon. I would consider myself a competitive person, and when I heard about this event I researched it and decided that it was my time to prove to myself that I am more than capable of completing this challenge. Wildflower has become a passion or if you ask my wife she might say obsession. I am not ashamed to admit that I have had a dream or two of transition stations. I have never done anything like it and all I was missing was the bike so that was an easy fix. I bought my first road bike and started training. I have ran 2 half marathons since December and plan on running another.
Early on in my journey I took to the swimming pool as a way of reducing impact on my knees and hips and the swimming has only increased. The biking is new to me and I ride as much as I can to make sure that I will be as comfortable as possible on the infamous climb of Lynch Hill! In conjunction with the swimming, running and biking I train alongside some of the most amazing athletes and supporters anyone could ask for. I try to work 5-7 cardio/weight training classes into my weekly schedule along with 1-2 yoga classes. I find that this combination is extremely important to my recovery and rest for the body. The coaches and athletes of FNS understand my goals some even have very similar ones and it’s truly a community that pushes each other to achieve what is possible.
It was not long ago that I only dreamed of being 225 pounds, the difference now is that I know it’s possible. Being a man that was once 452 pounds struggling to get out of my chair to walk to the refrigerator I have experienced some setbacks. These setbacks typically have taken place in the mental arena, I find that sometimes I doubt what I am capable of. A fear exists within myself, and the biggest hurdle has been conquering the mental game that goes along with this struggle. Through my training I have experienced many new personal bests, each of these are small steps to strengthen not just the body but my mind as well. I try to take a can do approach with everything that comes my way. I understand that I can’t do everything today, but there is always tomorrow and with hard work I will reap the rewards of accomplishing what once was not attainable.
Wildflower is more to me than just a Triathlon, it’s an event in my life that will live on well past the day of the race. The time spent training for the event, the friends I have made because of it, the story I can tell. It’s all of these things and much more. When the day of the event takes place, it will be just under one year that I made the significant change in my life. I plan on racing Wildflower at 225 pounds. If I don’t make that goal weight, I am prepared for that. It’s not about the number on the scale it’s about the significant change that has taken place in my mind. I have conquered my demons and hope that my story will assist with helping others to realize that anything you dream of can be a reality.
Mario Samora is training to compete at Wildflower this year. He blogs about health, weight loss, and fitness at www.sheddingounces.net.