Although he'd been lethargic and generally not feeling so great, D. Glenn Trail III was shocked by what his doctor had to say.
"I can remember being 22, weighing 225 pounds" at 5'5'' and sitting there listening to my primary care physician tell me that if I didn't try to get healthier she would have to put me on cholesterol and blood-pressure medicines," he said in an email. "It was definitely one of those 'wow' moments."
Trail had been active in athletics since he was 5, even playing high school football for Lexington Catholic. During college, he played intramural sports and lifted weights.
But by the time he entered graduate school, his weight was affecting his overall health. Four times in a year he suffered major panic attacks. Eventually the stress forced him to abandon his studies, he said.
But even the doctor's firm warnings didn't prompt immediate action. At some point though, Trail said, he decided to take a run around the block. It was 0.8 mile. He drove the route in his car to make sure.
A few days later, he went a little farther. He started watching what he ate. Now, four years later, he maintains his weight at about 170 pounds, and his blood pressure and triglycerides are normal. On an average week he runs about four times for a total of 20 miles.
He's competed in five half-marathons including the Run the Bluegrass and Iron Horse. and has run in numerous 10K races.
"It wasn't an overnight change; it took time," said Trail. "I remember the early months, things seemed to take forever, weight dropped slowly, my mileage in running came slowly, but I kept pushing."
He recently sent a friend an email that said Trail was interested in "doing a short six- to seven-mile run."
"It kind of blows me away to think that is what I consider a shorter run," he said.
Although he prefers a solitary run, he's been inspired and embraced by others in the running community. People are always willing to share a good route, a health tip or advice on shoes.
Sharing personal information, like how it was embarrassing that he had a closet full of pants that were too small, is actually easier now that he knows he's made a sustainable change. He knows that for guys in their 20s, that kind of revelation isn't always easy. Even sharing his story reflects the changes in his life.
"I would have been the last person to write my story and send it out" to the Herald-Leader, he said.
But if he can do it, anybody can, he said. Exercise changed his life in a lot of ways. He said he never would have had the confidence to ask out his now-fiancée, Sarah Downs, if he hadn't started taking better care of himself.
She is "my greatest fan and supporter, standing in the rain and even hail for two of my half marathons." She's even walked two of the 5Ks in which he has run. They will be married Oct. 15.
Now back to pursing his studies as a physical therapist, he's glad the doctor gave him a wake-up call.
As for advice?
"It has to be you," he said. "You have to be willing to be the person that makes that decision."
Reach Mary Meehan at (859) 231-3261 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3261.