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Fat to Fit: The Awakening

Greg Rittler Winter 2011 - 240 lbs

Winter 2011 – 240 lbs

My December 2010 post surgery plan was twofold:

  1. Let myself recover for as little time as possible so I could get active again
  2. Figure out a plan for getting & staying healthy

The first step came easy. The doctor had said no running for eight to ten weeks but that I could swim gently in the pool. I read between the lines and understood that he really meant:

Go for a couple of swims to make sure none of your organs fall out of your incisions and then start running again.

So a week after surgery I was on the treadmill at the Towson Y putting in miles. Slowly. I ignored the pain and stretching in my abdomen where the gallbladder had been. Yes, I know this makes me eligible for a Darwin award.

I spent the next two months getting back to running 12 to 15 miles a week. That was my fat runner typical mileage. Three to five miles three to five times a week. So I was back in fat runner shape by mid-winter 2011.

A New Perspective

The second step was going to take a little more work. I still needed a fresh perspective on my story.

In our work at Blue Ocean Ideas we are always looking for ways to help our clients see their story in a new light. Our clients walk in our offices with an already determined story about their business or organization. Sometimes it is a pretty boring story in their mind. They can’t see how they are influencing the world from their insider’s view.

It often takes a fresh perspective for them to feel the power of their story. And we frequently have the privilege of helping them discover a new way of looking at their story.

There is power in the story of individuals and organizations. Stories instigate change.

In my case I received a fresh perspective from a TV broadcast I watched while recovery at home in the lazy boy after surgery.

The Saturday after my surgery I was sitting in my dad chair watching TV when a rebroadcast of the 2010 Ironman World Championship came on. I’ve been fascinated by the Ironman since I was a kid. The sheer soul crushing endurance it seemed to take to complete an Ironman has always attracted me to watch.

I’ve also always loved the stories that go with various competitors: cancer survivors, obese people that became Ironman, the professionals that slave their entire lives for a chance to win. The human stories that showed up on screen that day were inspiring.

Lying in the lazy boy dad chair, overweight and recovering from an entirely preventable, self-induced condition, a switch flipped inside of me. I can’t tell you exactly what happened. But whatever it was I knew I wasn’t going to be the same.

I could never imagine I could compete in an Ironman. But I did know I didn’t have to be the same.

The awakening began.

Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

7 Responses to “Fat to Fit: The Awakening”

By Karen - 22 January 2013

Sometimes it takes more for those of us who are a bit more stubborn than the rest. But that’s what makes the effort stick! I’ve experienced that ‘switch flipping’, and I have to say, I will never be the same…ever…and it took a lot for this stubborn woman to get it…
I will never go back!
More power to you Greg, and congrats to Elise…I wish her all the best.

By greg - 22 January 2013

Thanks Karen. I appreciate it.

By Tony - 22 January 2013

Greg, I’ll lend you my copy of Mike Magnuson’s “Heft on Wheels” if you haven’t read it. It’s surprising how many of us make these mid-life 180s.

Keep it up!

By greg - 22 January 2013

Thanks Tony! Just chasing you my friend. Hope to see you out there soon with WSW starting up.

By Pamela Devine - 22 January 2013

Your 2013 racing schedule is SICK….but I am jealous.

By greg - 22 January 2013

I am a bit SICK. We’ll see how I hold up. I’ve been resting for almost 2 months so I’m ready to get back at it!

By KristerDunn - 23 January 2013

“fat runner shape” = hilarious! that’s not much off from my normal weekly mileage (until real training begins for the half then the full). that’s a great line though… haha!

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