WELCOME: I built this site to chronicle my 10 month journey from 320 lb “couch potato” to marathoner back in 2009. After I accomplished that goal, my new goal was to continue running marathons (64 as of June 2019) in order to raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis, as well as set an example for others that they too can change just as I did.
If you need help please feel free to contact me: Roger@RFME.org.
VIDEO: If you are here to watch the video of my journey that went viral (9 million+ views), here it is. You can watch the other videos I have made by clicking HERE.
LATEST BLOG: Read Below
Help Me. I’ve Been Bad!
Posted on April 26, 2019
The following was written on April 20, 2019 in response to a question posted on Quora.com. The questions was Why do people run marathons if it’s bad for your body? and this was my response.
People always ask me a question similar to yours: Doesn’t running hurt your knees? and I will usually respond with My knees and I have an agreement – If I agree not to put the weight back on, then they agree to put up with my running marathons.
Neither of us have ever regretted this agreement. Here’s why…
I promised my wife when I turned 40 that I would go see a doctor for a complete physical. I don’t know why, , but Mary was worried about my health…
So, at 44 when I had my 1000th nosebleed that wouldn’t stop, rushed to the emergency room where they introduced me to my new best friend, the Rhino Rocket, and was informed that my blood pressure was “slightly” elevated at ~220/125, I considered going to a doctor…
A year later, when I had a kidney stone that required not one or two but THREE trips back to the hospital for lithotripsy (ultra sound waves to break up kidney stones) because they couldn’t penetrate the fat surrounding my stomach to effectively break up the stone and literally breaking the skin in the process, the thought of going to a doctor for a full exam re-entered my mind.
But it remained there, as just a thought.
NOTE: There are some times that it’s best to NOT have a picture taken of yourself, and even more times that you should think twice about posting it on the interweb, but unfortunately for you, I ignored both suggestions. And if you thought the above picture was bad (and just to confirm, it was), then the next one is like 26.2 times worse, so I will apologize in advance. Sorry.
It IS extremely embarrassing, but it IS important to show just how unhealthy and overweight I was. I have never posted this picture anywhere (it’s really not one of those pictures you post on Facebook or Instagram with a #badday hashtag) but fortunately I don’t think there are very many people that visit this site or will read this so it’s all good…
BTW, I stuck a quarter there for size perspective. Seriously, who does that? We both know the answer at this point.
I warned you! The good news is it’s over and I promise that there’s nothing but happy and uplifting pictures from this point forward.
Sometime during my 45th year, I finally went to see a doctor as my heart, like the rest of my body, was starting to complain and act funny. Not in a “Ha ha, I can’t believe you ate an entire dozen of Krispy Kreme Donuts. That was so funny!” way, but in a “Hey moron, wake up and notice that I’m having a really tough time circulating the blood through your body and I’m about to give up on you!” kind of way.
As for my mind, it had started screaming “help me” since I was a kid but I just repeatedly ignored it until it eventually went away by medicating it with lots of bad, but very pleasing food.
Now, even more rare than pictures of the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, is a picture of me eating a salad, or really anything healthy. This rare event was captured and recorded in December of 2007. And while many may claim/insist that this HAD to have been photoshopped, I can confirm that it is in fact 100% authentic. That said, I feel I must add a qualifying statement as to the context of the situation.
As I recall, it was actually a challenge by my nephew Adam to see if my body would explode if I ate something healthy. It didn’t, but that was probably because I single-handedly attacked and devoured the entire desert tray to quickly counteract the “health” and taste of the salad.
Oh, back to the highly overdue doctor visit…
After taking my blood pressure (around 200/120), weight (318 lbs), height (5′6″), etc she announced her findings that (shockingly) I was not in good health! Who knew? With a calculated Body Mass Index (BMI) that was literally off the chart at 51.3 (see below), I had earned everything that goes with a lifetime of abusing my body, a lack of exercise and the resulting morbid obesity (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux/heartburn, sleep apnea, high blood sugar that eventually led to Type 2 diabetes, etc., etc., etc.).
Even though she was a holistic doctor, she suggested. While excited about the proverbial “fat loss magic pill” and not having to do anything but have surgery to get rid of my lifetime of poor eating and exercise habits, I was surprised that she would recommend it. Her response: To be honest, you are the first person I have EVER recommended it to. You’re THAT bad Roger!.
In order to have the procedure, you must first attend a 3 hour seminar about the surgery which I eagerly attended. I considered it just one of the pesky requisite hurdles that I had to jump over (or in my case, knock down and walk over or frankly just walk around) and then I would be allowed to happily hop and skip down the road to the surgery table.
But things didn’t go as planned…
While listening to the various doctor’s sugar coated sales pitches and miraculous results, I also picked up on the ones that they sort of glossed over such as “possible” complications including a quick mention of death (!). It was at that point that I walked out shaking my head NO and needed to find another way.
It took about two years, a number of failed diets, hypnosis, nutritionists, weight watchers (4th and 5th time), and another failed attempt to be cast onto name a few.
It was right after I found out that I didn’t make the cut for upcoming season of The Biggest Loser that I came up with my latest plan to lose weight. Ironically, I came up with this plan while cooking TWO racks of BBQ ribs in order to gain MORE weight and have a better chance of being cast on the following season of the show. Only those who are/have been morbidly obese would really understand that reasoning, but it’s true.
But I digress. Here was my plan:
Run the 2009 Boston Marathon, just like my father did when I was 7 years old. In the process I would lose weight and raise money for Cystic Fibrosis (a disease my niece Julia has). Simple but just a few questions I asked myself as I contemplated this plan:
Can I run? NO
Have I ever run a mile in my entire 47 years? NO
Do I have any comprehension of just how far 26.2 miles is? NO
Do I hate the thought of walking, let alone running? YES
Do any of the above questions matter? NO!
Here I am about a week after walking three miles. My body was complaining but my mind was celebrating. Fortunately, my mind told my body to get over it!
I could continue to ramble on, tell you about what I went through, my highs and my lows over the next 10 months, how I learned to actually embrace and enjoy exercise, figured out that food is meant to fuel the body and not to just please and placate the mind, that love is the most motivating and powerful force in the world, and many other bits of wisdom I gained over those 10 months, but this would require hundreds of paragraphs, more confusing and superfluous comments and some additional “Help me” pictures, so I will just post a single picture to get us there.
I’ll say Presto Chango and someone cue the…
Wow, right? Now, I know what most of you are thinking “Why didn’t he use a better polyurethane sealer for the front door?”. My wife asks the same question. SMH
But others may wonder “Did you really do this in 10 months?” and the answer is YES!
So to answer the original question of “Why do people run marathons if it’s bad for your body”, I will let the picture below with my niece Julia right after I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon be my answer.
Really? You’re still reading this answer? I did it, I lost the weight, I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon and I answered the question so what else do you want to know?
The front door maybe? Do you actually care about the front door? Sadly, it still looks about the same. Sorry to disappoint.
Me? Are you curious what happened to me? Ironically, that marathon was EXACTLY 10 years ago today (April 20, 2009) so what have I been up to? OK, as a reward for persevering and putting up with me, here are a few more pictures for you.
These were taken 5 days ago (April 15, 2019) and I had just finished running the 2019 Boston Marathon with the race director,and a fantastic group of people.
It was my 63rd full (26.2) marathon in 10 years. And my body (and mind) STILL does not think that running marathons is BAD for it.
OTHER BLOG POSTS
2014 Boston Marathon Video: We Come Running (written Feb 17,2014)
Just as I did 5 years ago I will usually make a video to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that my niece Julia suffers from. This is that video.
When I initially started thinking about this video a few months ago (more like 6 months ago when I received my entry confirmation), I envisioned splitting the screen and have two videos playing simultaneously: my original 2009 Boston Marathon video (which ended up being reposted/renamed “The Most Inspiring Video You Will Ever Watch” and going viral) and the same shots, same clothes, etc 5 years later. I suppose I was inspired by those Now and Then pictures.
Fortunately I quickly came to the realization that this years race is not just about me, but about the event of last years bombing and the effect it had on others. I went down to the Boston Marathon course and started shooting video of everyone training. And while I got some great footage, I just couldn’t get it to work.
First, Just how important the Boston Marathon is to me and how it actually saved my life.
Right after I ran Boston 2009, I made a promise to myself that I would run the marathon five years later for a couple of reasons. Primarily so that I would be forced to keep on running and keep the weight off. In addition, I wanted to show others that have come to know my story that I was able to keep the weight off for 5 years and hopefully inspire them to embark upon their own journey, if they haven’t started yet.
In addition, I also wanted to show the viewers of my original video that I DID end up crossing the finishline of the 2009 Boston Marathon and that the story has continued to go on. This is the reason that I started out the video with the same footage as I did in the first video and I look at this video as kind of the conclusion of what happened after I left Hopkinton that day. In addition it also established that the only way you can cross the finishline in Boston is to start running in Hopkinton. And finally, selfishly, I love that Mary says “Love you” because without her support, none of my story would exist.
Second, I wanted to show the camaraderie amongst all runners.
I shot the footage of all the runners back in September when I ran Mainly Marathon‘s “Center Of the Nations Series” (aka CONS) of marathons. I thought it would be a nice idea to designate one of the 5 days as “Boston Strong” day where runners could show their support for Boston. I contacted the race director, Clint Burleson, with my proposal and he was 100% on board.
Before the race Clint suggested that everyone wear an old Boston Marathon shirt, a blue or yellow shirt (marathon colors) or anything representing the Boston Marathon. In addition, after I set up my camera on the course, I asked everyone to maybe give a shout out to Boston, showing their support for the victims and the survivors of the bombs. My plan was to use footage to chronicle the 5 day event and I thought this would be a nice addition. After a couple of weeks recovery, I put the video together and ended up calling it “The 555” after the name given the series by my friend Lisa. Here’s the finished product:
I generally don’t like to reuse footage from one video but after struggling with fitting the footage that I shot on the marathon course, this footage popped into my head and it did a excellent job of accomplishing what I wanted to show: the camaraderie of the runners.
There is also a sub- component of this video and this “camaraderie” idea as well. The Boston Marathon is a unique race in that it is a goal of most marathoners to someday run this iconic race, known throughout the world. This year, we are a unique group of 36,000 runners and each of us did everything we could to run the race this year. Each one of us has our own special reason for wanting to run it and all 36,000 of us will start running in the same place (Hopkinton) and stop running once we reach Boston. And that is why I chose the song “We Come Running”. We will not run in fear of what happened in the past and we will run with “Boston Strong” pride in our hearts.
Thirdly, I need to somehow make a solicitation for donations for Cystic Fibrosis.
Of the three purposes, this was without question the hardest. Actually if you ask any runner who runs a marathon for charity which is harder to do, solicit donations from friends and family or run 26.2 miles, I have little doubt they would all say asking for donations. It shouldn’t be hard, especially looking at the picture below of my wife Mary and Julia (now 15!), but it is.
I really had no idea how to segue over to subject of donations until I had watched the footage of the runners for the 100th time and then it dawned on me.
One of my earlier videos was a project where I got different people to say “Julia”. I have never stopped collecting these videos and every once in a while my friends will just say “Julia” out of the blue. Sally was one of the 5 people that I ran the 555 with and as she ran by the camera she shouted “Julia”. No one would get the reference outside of my friends so I really didn’t pay any attention to it…until the day I was looking for some way to bring in the donation request.
Like a light bulb going off in my head, I saw the opportunity and with a little audio and video editing, was able to line Sally’s comment up. So if you would like to help out Julia and everyone else that suffers from CF, you can click on the link below and you will be whisked away to my 2014 Boston Marathon Firstgiving page. 100% of your donation goes to the Boomer Esiason Foundation which funds research as well as financial aid for the families that must deal with this disease on a daily basis.
Well that is obviously WAY too much information about a simple video but I thought it would be a good way to start the blog on my new website off. Thanks for reading and watching and have a great day!