Monday, July 18, 2011

What Motivates You?

About two and a half years ago, I was well over 300 lbs, extremely out of shape, and tired most of the time.  I was ducking out of a lot of things because I was either embarrased about the way I looked or knew I couldn't handle anything very physical.

A turning point came when I was listening to a talk.  The speaker was giving an analogy about a local hike that he made several times a year.  Mount Timpanogos is one of the most prominent mountains in the Utah Valley portion of the Wasatch Range.  There are two main trails to the summit.  Both are very popular and both are over a 14 mile round trip.  I didn't pay much attention to the rest of the talk because my mind went back to the time many years ago when I had made it to the top.  I have always enjoyed hiking.  Utah has many diverse and beautiful trails.  The terrain varies from high altitude alpine adventures to red rock desert slot canyons and arches.

I knew what I needed to do to get back in shape!  I always do well if I have an upcoming hike which I know will be a challenge!  I came up with a Three Peak Challenge.  Peak one was Big Baldy.  It is a smaller peak near my house that sits in front of Mount Timpanogos.  Even though it is over 8,000 feet, it is hardly noticeable with the bigger peaks that tower over it.  Peak two was Timpanogos itself.  I hadn't hiked it for over twenty five years and wanted to do it again.  Peak three was the largest in Utah, Kings Peak.  I have always wanted to hike this but never set aside the time to do it.

I left that talk ready to get started.  It was a long struggle that started with a quarter of a mile up and back the Dry Canyon trail.  I hiked further and further each week during that summer, but failed to reach the summit before the snow flew that fall.  I didn't give up and kept losing weight and working out.  Along the way I took up running the same way I took up hiking.  I alternated running and walking and before long my distance was increasing.  Even better, I was enjoying both the hiking and the running more.

By spring of 2010, I was able to run 6 miles several times a week and I made it to the top of Big Baldy!  As the summer progressed, I hiked Timpanogos twice, once on each trail.  I raced in my first 10K and by late fall, I trained and ran my first half-marathon.  I never would have dreamed that I could have accomplished all this in the course of a year and a half!  I can look back to my source of motivation and realize it helped me lose 130 lbs, make two of my peaks and even start running races of significant distances.

I still have King's Peak ahead of me. The snow kept falling this year in record amounts and there is still
a lot left up above 10,000'.  With King's Peak sitting over 13,000', it may have to wait for a year.  I guess I can look at it as another year of motivation to stay in shape and lose those last pounds I need to.

What motivates you?  What gets you out of bed and out the door for a walk or a run.  What helps you keep on track with eating right.  Grab a hold of that goal and start making the steps you need to reach it!

Hang in there, and I will too!


  1. Bruce, you have an inspiring story. That motivates me. For me, it's just the opportunity to be better. And the occasional recognition of how selfish it was to let myself become obese and out of shape, especially when I have young kids. But mostly, the opportunity to be better. Today, I rode to the end of a long bike trail - 20 miles, round-trip. The most mileage I've done yet over a 3 day period (40 total). But I just had to seize the opportunity to make the end of the trail. Next time, it will be something bigger.

  2. Love this inspiration and motivation: Mountains! Hiking! oh my! :D Oh how I wish I lived near mountains. My motivation stems from seeing the horrendous pain my father was in before, during and after extensive spinal surgery. I did NOT want that to happen to me. It got me going.

  3. You motivate me. Few of us guys can claim to escape from that 300 pound club and you seem to have done it with a smile on your face.

    I've always been overweight, never an athlete and at age 45, many people would think that I will never become an athlete. I like defying expectations, becoming healthier and setting a good example for my family.

  4. I agree with the others that this post and you in general are inspiring. It helps a lot to know of people who have done it.

    I also get a great deal of motivation and inspiration from Julie ( and from Dr. Fatty Finds Fitness (

    Take care, michele

  5. It was so great to come here and visit and also follow. I love the family, the scouts and your words. We had one year at scout camp were we all ended up with those runs and all lost weight instead of gaining. I went to the scout camp this past Wednesday. I could only stay the one evening but was so happy to be with them.
    Take care Bruce and have a blessed weekend.