My Journey Back To Me

by Justin Blue

In July of 2012, I was diagnosed diabetic and weighed in at 320 pounds. Obviously I had just excessively let myself go. It was the 3 days at Carle that finally woke me up.

I was prescribed insulin shots and about every other pill you could imagine. They told me that 8 out of 10 people in my situation ended up right back in the hospital with complications. I decided then and there to prove them wrong!

I spent the first few months just concentrating on nutrition. That was always the hardest part for me.

Running was always a punishment for every sport I participated in through school. So I just started out walking as much as I could. That turned into a slight jog. I recall one day I was able to jog for 1 mile and I was so proud that I was able to do it without stopping. It just took off from there. I spent most mornings on the trails at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. I didn’t have a GPS watch and liked that the trail has mile markings. Being the competitive person that I am, the faster I got the more addictive it became. I was hooked on the results.

By March of 2013 I was down to 190 pounds and signed up for my first race, the Illinois Marathon 5k and 10k. I did the 5k with my wife and nephew as I wanted to save myself for the 10k. During training I had done a 10K in around 52 minutes. My goal for the race was to get below 50 minutes. Much to my surprise I was able to do just under 48 minutes. For most avid runners I know this is a relatively slow time, but for me it was a world away from where I was just 10 months earlier.

I continued to run the rest of the year setting PR’s at nearly every race I ran. In October I got a stress fracture and had to stop. With the extreme high of my progress, this was devastating to me. Over the next seven months I gained 60 pounds back.

Over the next year I was up and down trying to get back to where I was. I found it much harder this time. Considering the planter fasciitis, shin splints and everything else you can imagine, the progress was slow and frustrating.

Finally in May of 2015, we found out that we were going to have a baby!!! I decided right then and there I was going to make a life change. I started slowly as I was told to do. Month after month I was seeing results on the scale and my times. The results are so addictive.

Through 2016 I again set PR’s in just about every race I ran.

In January of 2017, after talking to many of the wonderful people at Body N Sole, I joined SWRC. Randy Sterns has been most helpful with direction and advice. This year I have already met every goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I wanted to beat my half time of 1:37. I did that by over a minute on a random Sunday run.

My best 10k was just over 44 min. Just a few weeks ago I did one on my own of 42:55. And the next is the reason for me deciding to write my story today: I never in my wildest dreams thought I could go from 320 pounds, not being able to walk a block without being winded, to getting a sub 20 minute 5K. Well, I did that today at the Home Sweet Home Ministries race in Bloomington!

It was called “Run for Hope” – fitting, I think. Seeing the 19:55 as I crossed the line was just insane!!! Randy said I would get there but I didn’t really think I ever could.

So now after leaving 140 pounds on the trails in Mahomet and the streets of many Illinois towns’ races, I am a healthy, proud husband to a beautiful wife and father to the most precious little baby girl in the world!!!

Thank you Second Wind and see you on the trails!! Best, Justin Blue

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of In Passing.