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A determined driver drops extra pounds and goes on to compete in triathlons

By on January 1, 2016

Nathan Bugg • Corsicana, Texas • Driving for 13 years

I’ve always been runner. I ran track in high school and junior college. When I was in college in Lubbock I got a call from my brother. This was during the oil field boom in Texas, and he had been driving for a tanker company but then decided to buy his own truck. His business was doing well and he told me, “I’ll pay you $100,000 a year right now to run these trucks.” And that’s how I became a truck driver.

My brother and I ran the trucking business, and we were very fortunate. I started working in the office with him. I noticed, as I got into a routine, that I was putting on weight, and that I was starting to look like the stereotype of truck drivers. I had put on 80 pounds.

At that point, my brother bet me 500 bucks that I couldn’t run a marathon. I told him, “Give me a year.”

I ran a mile that first day and could hardly breathe. That was in 2007 and I was 265 pounds. In 2008, I weighed 190 and eventually ran two marathons.

My commitment to staying in shape progressed from there. Last year I completed my first Ironman competition. That’s a triathlon where you swim for 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles — without a break and within 17 hours. It’s hard to describe the feeling of completing my first Ironman. It was a conquering feeling — like I can do anything.

I’m driving full time again and planning to enter my third Ironman. I make time every day to work out. It’s my priority. As a rule, when I plan my route, I include a stop midday to do an hour or two workout. For example, at my halfway point yesterday, I got out and did a 15-mile run. Other days I’ll find a place where I can get on a stationary bike or do some weight lifting. I’m training for my next Ironman now, so I also look for places where I can swim.

I think a lot of drivers who intend to exercise figure they will do it once they get to their destination for the day. But if you wait until the end of the day, you’re just too tired.

When I pull up at a truck stop, I get out and run. I know that I’m an oddity, but I hope that people see me and try it themselves. I tell other drivers all the time that I started by doing this day after day. Every day I would do a little more than the day before, and after a while the weight fell off.

When you see the DOT is looking at sleep apnea tests for drivers and giving provisional medical cards, you know that something has to give. A lot of drivers are scared, but all it takes is the determination to do something.

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