by Jeff Skowronski

I have battled weight issues all of my life. I was able to put weight on very easy, both muscle and fat. However, it seemed that I always leaned towards the overweight side. While I was overweight, I was still very active and involved with athletics including basketball and weight training. The battle raged on and I saw my weight fluctuate and continued rise until I reached 310 a few years ago. I used short term goals such as weddings, vacation, and family reunions as a focus for my weight loss programs. I reached as low as 244 at one point. Each time, however, I saw my weight return once the event passed.

My previous weight loss occurred while preparing for a vacation. I was able to get into decent shape and eat healthier. The result was a low of 244. However, we came back from vacation with an unexpected souvenir- my wife was pregnant. As her pregnancy progressed she was at the gym less and as a result so was I. Her cravings occurred more and more, as a a result I over indulged. I continued to weight train but was inconsistent. As a result I was reached 291.

I was a new father at 41 and if I wanted to walk my little girl down the aisle on her wedding day and needed to make a change. I NEEDED to do something. While the long term goal of living healthier is great, it is really vague and unmeasurable. I needed something that would help me make a lasting lifestyle change. Running helped, but I became easily bored with it. I had been seeing a lot about various obstacle racing (OCR) groups and began to research them. I learned about Spartan races and the various levels of challenges. I was interested in the Sprint. Mostly because I thought that I could never complete the Super or the Beast. In July 2012 I saw that Spartan Race was having a Sprint in PA in a few weeks. My heart began to race as I saw that my entry was accepted. I had taken my first step to Sparta.

In 2012 after finishing the PA sprint and NJ Super I earned my Trifecta in Texas. As I crossed the line in Texas I had what I call “Biggest Loser Moment” and my eyes began to tear up. Here I was receiving my Trifecta. This was less than six months and 45 pounds lighter and when I thought that me earning my Trifecta was impossible and something that only those amazing athletes on the cover of all the Spartan ads could do.

Today I weigh 215 and have gone from a 44 to a 36/34. By scheduling races regularly, I am unable to afford long breaks in neither my training nor much deviation from clean eating. OCR, in particular Spartan Race has helped to give me focus, and the tools needed to succeed as well as a wonderful community of support both online and at races. I now compete in the Elite Heat placing in the top 40-50% consistently. I have done multiple race laps on one day and have raced back to back days. In PA I was able to take 30 minutes per mile off my previous years pace. I am on pace to earn my Triple Trifecta and will be Competing in the World Championships in Vermont on both days.

Throughout this time my friends and family were as supportive as the could be of someone they believed surely to be crazy. However, besides my wife my greatest support was from my “friends” in the OCR world, in particularly the Spartan Street Team. Unlike any other sport that I have been involved with, the OCR community is amazing in the amount of support that we have for each other.

Spartan Race has succeeded in their mission of “Ripping this guy off of his Couch”. I have made it my mission to do the same. As of today I have had over 30 people sign up for Spartan Races and follow me on my path to healthier living.

Your turn.  Get registered TODAY.

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