I did what I didn’t ever want to do.

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I came in last.

So, I am in Nevada with my wife visiting her family for the holidays. We’ve had a good time and are heading to Arizona tomorrow to visit my family for a week, and then making the trip back to Georgia where I’ll start my FINAL semester of coursework. I know things won’t get much easier in the dissertation writing, but at least I won’t have to be on campus or go to classes. I’ve grown quite tired of them.

Anyway, back to the real story…

While here, we decided to participate in a new race in my wife’s hometown–a cross-country 5k.

There were only about 30 of us who participated in the race, so, at the starting line, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably come in last. And that’s exactly what happened.

I could easily be upset, but I’m not. After a semester that was exceptionally lackluster in terms of running and exercise, coming in last made me realize how much I’ve been missing. A lot. So, my wife hung out with me at the back of the pack, we chatted, talked about our exercise goals, and then ran the last quarter mile for a strong finish. Everyone in the family who participated got a medal, except me. But that’s ok, because in my opinion, mediocrity doesn’t deserve reward. I have, however, realized that I need to get back on track and make my health a priority.

Now my in-laws live in a small town, and there was talk of nobody wanting to come in last for fear of embarassment. More than anything, I think they were mostly joking (but there’s also a common retort in the family, in which one responds “60/40,” meaning what you said was 60% true). Regardless, I wasn’t in it to win it. I was in it to finish it, and that’s exactly what I did.

Cross-country races are probably not for me right now…I think I’ll stick to the road races until I’m in better shape and know how to navigate courses better. Granted, it was fun, but somewhat frustrating at the same time.

In any case, onward and upward…

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Milestone: 20 minutes

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I did it.

Classes have started and I already feel a bit swamped despite having a good start to the week. Life with the bambino is an adjustment, but one I’m happy to make. With all this stress Piled high and Deep, I’m amazed I had the time to run at all yesterday. Here’s what I did:

  • I ran twenty minutes straight without any walking breaks (when I first started, I could make it make it maybe 90 seconds before needing a walk break)
  • I ran my fastest 3.1 miles ever at 44:33 (when I first tried this distance, it was almost 53 minutes–lots of walking!)
  • I ran my fastest pace of 14:20 (I believe my first calculated pace was something like 16:05)

Needless to say, I am very happy. I had my doubts, but they are no longer present.

On to victory…

Time may change me, but I can’t change time…

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Geez, before I start, I almost feel like I should change shoes and put on a cardigan (ala Mr. Rogers)…

Perhaps one of the more redeeming things I have gained from this brief weight loss experience along with the desire to become a runner is the fact that I have found so many amazing and supportive people along the way.  I know I’ve said things akin to this before, but it astounds me how I can make personal goals, open up to the world about it, and have a blogger friend or two cheer me on.  I love it. There is much kinship and camaraderie to be shared, and I have been the benefactor of much of it…and to all those who’ve given me ‘virtual’ pats on the back, I sincerely thank you.

Some time ago, John wrote an open letter to his wife in which he revealed his fantastic weight loss blog. It was earnest, honest, and touching. I am a big fan of John’s and try to read his blog every day.  I’ve never met John, but I look forward to reading all that he does. I have high hopes for his goals and am thrilled when he succeeds.  The same goes for numerous others like Andrew, Annette, Matt, Courtney, Will, Elisa, Sharon…basically my entire blogroll. We’re all very different people…some of us have similar motives, while others differ, yet we have one thing in common: GOALS. We all have goals–more or less–to become better people.

I often think, then, why do we have a hard time applying the well-wishes we so freely give through cyberspace to real life, face-to-face interactions?  Maybe I should back up…you all might already do that…you probably do…but I will be honest…sometimes things like envy, jealousy and even depression get in my way. And, unlike John, I haven’t exposed my goals to most of my family or friends.  I haven’t tested the waters to see if I’ll get encouragement that I believe I so desperately need. The family and friends who do know about this blog have been extremely supportive…so why can’t I man up and tell everyone else?

Honestly?  It’s because I love you all too much.  My readers who give me what I need to keep going. The simple compliments, the amens, the mad props…whatever it is…keeps me going. Friendly strangers, blogging friends who have come through in the support area…I’ve tested the waters here, and it feels safe and secure (believe me when I say this isn’t an invitation for current readers to turn on me 😉 ).

It addition to readers here, I’ve joined other online communities that I really love (some of which I’m going to profile in the near future). My online communities have been fantastic…but I need to springboard a little more into reality.  I need to open up the desires of my heart to be a healthier me to my family and friends. The time has come to reveal some big plans to them. I may get doubt from some…but in November or December of 2009, or maybe January of 2010 when I cross the finish line of whatever marathon I run with my friend Aaron and I lose the remaining 5/6 of my weight goal…hopefully I will give the doubters a reason to believe in me again.

At my most recent weigh-in, I discovered that I have now lost just over 22 pounds. I now weigh just over 347 lbs. I will never (and don’t think I’m going to recant or think about slip ups here), never weigh 350 lbs. again. I have spent more time running in the past three months than I probably ever have at any one point in time.

As I watched the Women’s Olympic Marathon with my wife, we learned that one of the Chinese runners favored to medal supposedly ran over 700 miles a month. To me that’s amazing…nothing short of a miracle.

But then again, so is someone who used to weigh 370 lbs. who finally got off his ginormous butt to do something about it.

I might only run 30 miles a month right now, but I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, I have finally impressed…myself.

June Stats

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I’m not always the biggest fan of numbers, but as another mechanism for charting progress, I figured monthly updates on certain things I’m keeping track might be useful, so for the month of June…drumroll, please…

MILES RUN:                       15.3

TIME SPENT RUNNING:      3:56:09

DAYS I RAN:                      7

SHORTEST DIST.:              1.76mi (2.8k)

LONGEST DIST.:                3.11mi (5k)

CALORIES BURNED*:         16,234

WEIGHT LOST:                  13.2lbs.

Let’s hope July gets even better!!

*=includes cross training workouts