Meet Kenny Byram, now a 'Marathoner' - which he never thought would be possible!
Almost 2 years to the day, I started on a journey that has completely turned my (Kenny) life around. Shortly into this new path, I was shown a book by a good friend of mine, The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown. The power of nasal breathing is something to be strongly considered, and I’ll take you through parts of my journey that have led me to this life changing moment.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, I grew up being highly competitive. Between baseball, football, surfing, you name it, I was doing it. Baseball was my passion, and I was blessed to be offered a scholarship to play Division 1 baseball at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.
After my career ended in 2015, I had sincerely lost a sense of direction in where I was going in life. Dealing with heavy anxiety and depression years after graduating, it finally got to a point where enough was enough and I needed to take my life back in control as it was quite literally spinning out of control.
It was at the beginning of 2020 where this change created a life of its own.
Throughout my sports career, I was never fond of running, ESPECIALLY any type of distance running. I had speed and used it to my advantage, but never even considered the thought of wanting to run anything over a mile
My first few runs were extremely tough, and I could barely finish a 5k. Fast forward to June of 2021, I finally completed my first half Marathon. It was also at this time that I started following and working with Master Instructor David Jackson (aka Jacko). After months of slowly incorporating the different breathing exercises I learned from the Oxygen Advantage, along following the Sports Performance Program, I was now confident that setting a goal to run a Marathon was now feasible. Not only did I see an impact with my endurance while running, but also incorporating the breathing into my weight training or HIIT exercises is where I was honest to God, shocked at how much it was helping me.
It was during this phase that I found a sense of meaning and drive once again. Training along with another close friend of mine, we both decided to sign up for the 15th annual Donna Marathon here in Jacksonville, Florida. This was big for me personally, because now this goal of mine became very realistic. Throughout my training, I would visualise the finish line- keeping it at the forefront of my mind. My Dad, who passed when I was 15, has always been a huge catalyst for me to dig in for that extra mile. And my Mom, she is my heart and soul and gives me so much strength it’s quite tough to put into words. Lastly, my brother and sister, the two that keep me humble and two that I love so dearly. Not only was I trying to prove to myself that the impossible was possible, but also provide inspiration to my family and friends that no matter where you come from or what your situation is, if you put your mind to it, you can achieve what you once thought was impossible.
Which leads us to this past Sunday, February 6th. I ran my first Marathon in 4 hours, 39 minutes and 59 seconds. It was quite easily one of, if not the most emotional and greatest accomplishments I had completed to date. Best of all, my Mom was right there at the finish line and that will forever be one of the most emotional and rewarding times I’ve ever shared with her. Despite my Dad not physically being there, I know he was with me through every step of the way.
With over 1,100 miles under my belt since January of 2020 and with little to no experience regarding distance running, I credit a lot of my successes to reading and being a student of The Oxygen Advantage, and as well through the work and help of Jacko. I can’t express the gratitude I have for Jacko and the Sports Performance Program. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be calling myself a Marathoner. With the use of the different breathing exercises, I was able to complete this massive challenge I set for myself (despite relatively brutal conditions- low 50’s, rainy, and winds upwards of 30mph- a true Florida nor’easter). Whether it be sedentary breathwork, or incorporating it through different movement exercises, through consistency and hard work, I made this dream become a reality. I am 29 years old from Jacksonville, Florida, and this is just the beginning to something truly special." - Kenny Byram (Marathoner)
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