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ST GEORGE — When his wife got pregnant with their first child, a St. George man decided to make a lifestyle change and shed more than 200 pounds in three years. Now he’s preparing for his first full Ironman, a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run.
Patrick Rodgers said he weighed 420 pounds in January 2009. He had just been laid off from his job, and his wife was pregnant with their first child. Rodgers said he “had the time” and decided to make a life change. He started with a simple goal to walk 1.5 miles a day.
“It was about the most I could do at the time,” he said. “Literally, I would end up in tears by the end because it hurt so much. I would get really bad shin splints.”
Rodgers said he walked 354 days in 2009 and that he only missed walking every day that year because he got sick in December. He lost 27 pounds in his first five months of walking and then lost another 29 pounds in the next two months. He said after that, he lost around two pounds a week, and he ended 2009, at 301 pounds.
“When I started, I had a scale at home that I couldn’t weigh myself on at the time because the scale I had only went to 350 pounds,” he said.
By the end of 2009, Rodgers began running and ran his first 5K in August 2010. He said he caught the “running bug” and went on to do a 10K, 12K, half marathon and then his first marathon in October 2011. By that point, he had dropped to 190 pounds, losing a total of 230 pounds over the three-year span.
“I started slow, and I worked my way up,” he said. “I made more of a lifestyle change… I actually was around 190 (pounds) when I was 20 or so, and I put on about 10 or 20 pounds every year for a decade. So it wasn’t like I gained the weight all of a sudden. It was a slow process gaining it. It was a slow process taking it off.”
Rodgers has now finished five marathons and four Ironman 70.3 races. During his training, he said complete strangers in his neighborhood would see him running or walking and tell him that he was an inspiration to them.
He began training for an Ironman but had a setback in his training when he had a bad bicycle accident in August 2014. Now, he plans to complete his first full Ironman in November with either the Arizona Ironman race or by running the old St. George Ironman course.
“I was inspired to do this,” he said. “I wanted to be able to say, ‘I’m an Ironman.’ I went out and I did this.”