Faces of Fitness: Thomas Bradley

Thomas Bradley jumpstarted his fitness journey by signing up for a sprint triathlon (a one-mile swim, a 25-mile bike ride and a 5k).

“I was never un-athletic, but I was always on the low end when it came to endurance,” Bradley said. “People used to describe me as deceptively athletic.”

Bradley wrestled with his weight growing up. He was usually the “bigger kid” of the group. From his sophomore to senior year of college, his weight normalized at about 250 to 270 pounds.

“In college, I put on the freshman 15, and I turned it into a freshman 30,” he said. “I knew after I graduated, I needed to make a lifestyle change. It was getting unhealthy; I was losing my breath when I would walk up the stairs.”

Bradley participated in intramural sports each quarter while he was in college, but after graduation, that opportunity fell away and wasn’t replaced.

In July 2012, Bradley began training for the triathlon that September. He was a former swimmer and had never struggled with biking, but running was going to take some effort.

“The triathlon came and I finished it, but I wasn’t proud of my results.”

He continued to stay active by joining a pick-up basketball league that met twice per week for a few months.

In April 2013, a friend approached Bradley and mentioned that she had signed up for a marathon in September. She jokingly invited him to join her, but he decided to sign up anyway. At the time, he could barely run a mile—0.61 miles to be exact.

In June, Bradley began a 16-week plan to prepare for his first marathon.

“I hated running before that … running just seemed pointless to me,” he said.

During the second week of the program, Bradley moved back to Columbus, which opened up more opportunities to get outside and run. When September came, he completed the Air Force Marathon in Dayton in about four hours and 47 minutes.

It wasn’t the time he was hoping for, and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon still had spots open.

Bradley ran the Columbus Marathon a month later, shaving about 40 minutes off of his previous time.

Running has become a favorite physical activity for Bradley, but the cold and snowy weather has made it harder to get outside often.

“Now, if I don’t get to run every couple of days, I start to get an itch.”

Bradley is looking for the next step in his transformation journey. After having completed two marathons, a triathlon and a couple of half-marathons in the past year, he is not worried about being able to stick with his next challenge.

“My transformation’s not done,” he said.

What’s your next challenge?
A few more marathons in 2014 and looking for the next challenge.

How did you change your diet?
I stay away from foods that prohibit me from running. There are some foods that you feel so bad that you don’t want to go running.