A large part of my weight loss and blood pressure dropping involved cycling.
Not being from the area, I knew nothing about local routes or the terrain. Luckily my neighbor, Danny, was a cyclist and agreed to take me out a few times. Now Danny weighs about 160lbs and grew up in this area. So the first time we rode together I asked him to pick a flat route. I outweighed this guy by over 100 pounds at this point, and I had never ridden any real hills.
We didn’t even make it 5 miles before I was out of breath. Danny looked at me and said,
You are in for a rough ride man, this is as flat of a route as we have around here. We haven’t hit any hills yet.”
An hour and a half — and 20 miles, — later, we were back at the house, and I knew I had a lot of work to do.
Thankfully Danny took pity on me and kept riding with me. He also forced me to ride some of the bigger hills in the area, or at least they were big to me. We even rode Sugarloaf Mountain, which was a monster in my books.
Towards the end of my time in Maryland we went to Frederick to do the “Covered Bridges” ride. This is one of the top 10 rides in the country. At that point Danny paid me the biggest compliment I have ever gotten. I made a joke about him finally not having to drag me around on rides anymore. He turned to me and said,
You turned into a legitimate training partner. There have been several rides lately that YOU were the one dragging me around.”
I almost fell off my bike.
In addition to cycling, I started running a loop around my neighborhood. As I said earlier, I am a flat land guy. The route around my house isn’t even close to flat. When I first started running my loop I barely made it 3 minutes before I had to walk.
When the weight started coming off, and I stuck to my plan, I found myself being able to run one lap (1.5 miles). Then a bigger lap (2.5 miles). Then a combination of laps building up to 8 miles without stopping! But I think my biggest accomplishment was being able to run a 5K while pushing a double stroller, it wasn’t pretty but I did it.
60 Pounds Down & Off the Meds, Altogether
At roughly the six-month mark in my training, I was down 60 pounds and had stopped taking my blood pressure medication altogether. I finally made a doctor’s appointment to get the official “blessing” to stop taking the meds. When I arrived at the appointment I was armed with my print out of self-checked blood pressure readings, new weight (243 pounds), and a boatload of confidence.
My doctor, third appointment, third different doctor, listened to what I had to say about my training and weight loss. He looked over my print-out, checked my blood pressure for himself, listened to my heart, and retook my pulse. Then looked at me and said,
Stop taking the meds. You no longer have high blood pressure.”
I could have kissed him.
Come back next Friday to read the next chapter of my story…
This post is part of a series of guest posts written by friend, Mike Franklin. Mike and I, and his wife Kelly, have known each other since college, when we marched together in the Spirit of Northwestern (SON) Marching Band at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Fork ’em Demons!
I admire Mike’s dedication to taking better care of his health, and I hope that his story inspires you. I hope you’ll come back to the blog to reach all five of Mike’s great guest posts; and to see his incredible before and after pictures.