A Journey to Personal Well Being .. by Hao Liu

I started my journey to personal well being a decade ago when I was desperately out of shape physically and mentally.  In 2000, I was a new grad fresh out of college starting a career as a software engineer at HP in Cupertino, CA.  After years of being inactive and living an unhealthy life style, I had ballooned to nearly 200 lbs.  That was hefty even for my 5’10” frame.  I was not exactly happy with where I was physically and mentally.  After another year of partying and unhealthy living, I randomly, quite literally came in contact with Team In Training and started to train for my first marathon.  My life style didn’t really change right away, but I stuck with the goal of finishing a marathon and worked at it the best I knew how.  Four months after we started our training, I crossed the finish line at the 2002 Los Angeles Marathon.  I had lost a bunch of weight in the process and was feeling that I had arrived. 

Shortly after, things took a turn.  Long story short, I started a business of my own, worked long hours, ignored my well being and fell back into the vicious cycle of unhealthy living.  Four years later, I nearly gained all the weight I’d lost back and was again unhappy with the direction I headed.  In 2006, I decided that I was tired of being out of shape and started to train for my second marathon.  This time I was on my own.  While I was training, I discovered ultramarathoning, events that are longer than a marathon (26.2 miles).  Very much intrigued by the inconceivable challenge (at the time), I dove right into it.  Upon finishing my second marathon, I was well on my way to train for my first ultra (short for ultramarathon).  A month after finishing my second marathon, I ran my first ultramarathon in Mt Tamalpais, which kicked my butt.  A month later, I ran my first 50K (31.2 miles) in Marin Headlands.  A month later, I ran my first 50 mile endurance race on the beautiful Catalina Island.  I was hooked.  I’ve since run countless number of 50Ks, three 50 milers and two 100 mile endurance runs.  Five years later, I am still running and have no intention of stopping.  Today, I am nearly 50 lbs lighter than when I started back in 2000.  I changed career to work in business development and love every moment of it.  I quit smoking after being a smoker for over a decade.  Alcohol is no longer an object of obsession.  More importantly, I’m in a lot better place mentally because of the meditative power I accidentally stumbled upon through running.

Please don’t be too impressed with the distance I’ve been able to run or how I was able to change my life altogether.  Instead, I want to point out the most important thing I’ve learned through the whole experience is learning how to be in the moment to be happy.  Running was my gateway to get there.  Yours might be yoga, triathlon, cycling, etc.  Whichever vehicle you take to get you there is not important.  What is important is through the vehicle you are able to reach a healthy state of physical/mental well being.

Bobby has always been an inspiration with his dedication to personal well being and his discipline to stay the course.  I hope to contribute in a small way on his blog to shed some light on personal well being through endurance training.

– Hao Liu

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2 Responses to A Journey to Personal Well Being .. by Hao Liu

  1. meena says:

    Bobby, Hats off to you for making such a big difference in the life of your friend.

    Meena

    • bbluford says:

      Thanks, Meena. It took me a long, long time to accept that I have something to give, that we all have something to give every day of our lives. I grew up wanting to play professional football. And unlike a lot of kids who want to be pro athletes or entertainers, at the center of that dream was a deep-seated and sincere desire to motivate and inspire people, especially young people. So it took me a long time after I finished playing college football– and didn’t make it to the pros– to realize that I have a lot of gifts and talents and, more importantly, that people from all backgrounds and at all levels can be an inspiration. When I began to think about those who inspired me and those who continue to motivate and drive me, NONE of them were professional athletes. This realization has also humbled me, opening my mind and soul to receive similar gifts from others. Like You. 🙂

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