A Man, a Plan, a Canal, Panama!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” -Marianne Williamson

As I sit down to write my plan, my manifesto, for the next few years, this quote is running through my head.  My inadequacies follow behind me, tugging at my clothes, weighing on my mind. I put off writing this blog entry for any number of reasons, mostly poorly constructed excuses.  The contemplation of what it means to truly be free and do whatever we want, uninhibited, is so scary it is paralyzing. This paragraph alone took an hour.

My big dream for the next couple of years is to run and travel.

Starting January 2016, I will run 50 marathon distances around North America. Weird phrasing is due to the fact that most of those runs will be run on official courses, just not during the official race. No need for medals or T-Shirts or cool Marathon Swag, the completion of those personal marathons will be my reward. 48 of those marathons will be in the contiguous United States; the other 2 may be run in Alaska and Hawaii or in Toronto and Vancouver as time and finances allow. I have already started to narrow down the marathons I am targeting.  My schedule will consist of 6 days in each state and 1 day for mass travel. One day will be a marathon run, one day will be a group run as I hope to meet up with various running groups around the US (and possibly Canada) to find out what really makes a great running group.  One day will be a nature run in either a State or National Park. I also hope to meet and run with some of my running heroes.

After a few weeks of rest and recuperation, in 2017 I will run the world.  I will run 50 marathons in 50 countries.  I want to learn about how other cultures run and race and hopefully report back to you my findings.

It would be great if I get a job or freelance as a rep for a running or exercise company so I could share their product and mission if it coincides with my goals and vision.  I will also write articles about the marathons, their local environs, the runners who have the home town advantage and my own travels.

What is this audacity?  What is this smug selfishness?  What makes me think that I can accomplish this? If not now, when?  If not me, who?  I can sit and read blogs about people doing amazing things and wish I was doing them or I can go about getting them done. I have a plan laid out for 10 marathons this year.  I love running long distances.  I love enjoying the scenery.  I love talking to other runners. This is hopefully the beginning of living the Big Dream.

Accountability

Decided to merge week 3 and week 4 blogs together.  Poor choice as they start to blend.  Week 3 was another successful week.  The day before my weigh in I showed 2 lbs lost, but on the actual day (Thursdays) I had only lost 1. Was it water weight or t00 many carbs or not enough time in the sauna? I don’t know but the scale showed 280 lbs.  Not a bad week eating.  4 runs in. Swam every day I ran.  Two days of weight training and stretched every day.  Week 3 was a great week.

Week 4 just sucked. 1 lb lost so I am on track with my goal of 1.5 lbs per week. Lost control at two potlucks and stuffed myself silly. Let personal stuff and blizzards get in the way of runs.  Went running outside on Sunday and slipped and fell really hard injuring my right hip on the backside which in turn led to a missed day of running. 4 days of running in though and 2 were bumped from 30 minute running days to 45 minutes and this went fairly smoothly. Only swam 3 times and no real weight training, though I have been stretching extensively.

Athletic Support – Jock Straps, Sports Bras, Running Wives/Husbands

November 22, 2009 although already happily married at that time for four years, I took another wife.

The courtship was about twenty minutes long.  There she was, literally right in front of me, keeping pace with my every stride.  It was a very romantic setting, the historic streets of Philadelphia. We were passing City Hall and William Penn gave me the nerve to reach out and approach this beautiful lady.

“We seem to be running the same pace, but I was just a small length behind you, so I thought I’d introduce myself before you thought I was a stalker.  I’m Derek.”

She quickly sized me up, saw my marathon bib and said “Excellent – you can be my running husband. I’m Stacy.”

I do. The vows were spoken and we were wed. My first running wife. I introduced her to my father as we passed by Independence Hall and he assumed we were old friends and by that point we were. More than a couple miles went by easier with someone to talk to and distract us from measuring every step of 26.2 miles.  I must admit, like my two ex-wives, I let Stacy down.  I bowed out at the half-marathon turnoff and left her on her own for the last half.  I believe this is the only wife I still owe alimony for having left her in such a lurch.

I have had a few running wives since then.  Some “marriages” have lasted just one race, others have lasted a couple seasons. We have laughed, cried, snot-rocketed, hobbled, held each other accountable, cheered each other on, bandaged our wounds and tipped our glasses.  I highly recommend this. Whether it’s guy friends working out (Jock Straps), lady friends running together (Sports Bras), running wives or husbands or just your race crew who will cheer you on at the tough parts of the course and drink beers with you afterwards, make sure you are putting together a support system that will get you through training and across finish lines.

Of course, you can be a lone wolf, running across the tundra, forging ahead through arctic vortexes, caring about no one and no one caring about you.  You may have the individual drive and singularity of purpose to do that.  I do not.

I believe in the pack.  I believe in a tribe. I believe in balance.  Once upon a time I was self centered enough to try to create a tribe of me.  We would have been burned at the stake and I hold onto just enough self loathing that I would have been the one to light the match.  I now understand that everybody has something to contribute. Everybody has a role to play and those roles may change as time goes by and character evolves. Everybody you come in contact with is part of your tribe; you have no idea what role they can play in your life and what seemly insignificant word or action from you could change their life or vice versa.

I urge you to call upon your tribe to support you.  You may feel all alone.  You may feel wronged by the world or that you have burned every bridge you ever crossed. I am here to tell you that someone believes in you.  You have changed someone’s life for the better with a word, a smile, or a moment.  If you have a dream of something better, someone will listen and someone will believe.  Maybe it’s a family member, a spouse or significant other, a close friend, an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, the guy in the next cubical over, the gal you sit across from on the bus, who knows?  You have no idea the power of sharing a dream that is in your heart.  If all else fails, tell me.  I’ll believe in you.

Accountability

My past week went very well except publishing this blog on time. To rectify that, I will start my post before the last day of the week. I lost another two pounds and now stand at 281 lbs. I actually got five runs in, ran with multiple running partners, stretched six out of seven days (not quite to goal), did my first runner’s yoga (disaster), worked out with weights twice, swam 3 days, and ate very few cookies.

“Loserlutions”

It’s been a week since New Year’s.  How’re you feeling? Checking off the goals on your list? Keeping to the straight and narrow? Running on the right track? Falling off the wagon? Feeling in a rut? You are not alone. My first week didn’t go as planned. It went better than the week before but by no means was it perfect. It is times like these that I like to think of my friends who don’t drink Tequila. I like tequila; it’s probably my favorite shooting liquor (probably due to the licking of salt and inappropriate placement of juicy lime slices).

My friends who don’t like tequila will often say “Oooo, I had a bad experience with tequila once.”

My response is “Did you ever fall off a bike?”

“Yeah, everybody has.”

“Did you walk your bike back to the garage and hang it up, or did you get back on and ride on down the road?”

“Well, I biked back home with my skinned knee.”

“Bartender, two tequilas with salt and lime slices, please!”

My point is to keep on truckin’ on.  You take your scrapes and bruises and you learn to do better. Please ignore the fact that my drinking tequila may have lead to minor flesh wounds.

You also may have come across some unbelievers, detractors, debaters, or haters. People in your life who can’t believe you are starting on a diet or a regiment again. People who will find something wrong with each choice you make, often armed with trite half truths – “Running is bad for your knees” or “Carbs can be part of a healthy diet.” They will debate the merits of your plan you have put in place even though they can’t see a plan through themselves. Some people are just plain mean. As much as I love my community at the gym, I heard a snippet of conversation this week while walking behind some regulars on the track.  It was said loud enough that all the newbies on the treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals could hear.

“I can’t wait til all these losers with their New Year’s “Loserlutions” give up, so we can get back to our regularly scheduled awesomeness.”

Don’t listen to them.  Listen to your reasons for being at the gym. Don’t listen to the unbelievers – what do they really believe in? Don’t listen to the detractors – if they use “but” instead of “and” they are not trying to help you on your path.  Don’t even engage with the debaters. As to the haters, listen to your heart.  Listen to your well of unconditional love for yourself.  Listen to the part of you that believes you can do anything you can dream and then figure out how to make it so.

Accountability:

Ran four times this week for over twelve miles, but slept through an alarm and stood up running partners.  This lead to some running days in a row without giving my body proper recovery time.  Lost two pounds so I am down to 283. I did do two days of cross training in the pool swimming. I also had a tour of the new weight machines this week to set myself up for successful weight training in week two. I did not stretch everyday. Maybe five days out of the week. I resolve to do better next week. I will watch and participate in a yoga for runners program to further me towards that goal. I have continued to develop plans towards a career supported by running and continue to be excited.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Best Intentions

Here I go…again. I don’t know how you found me but here is the beginning of another reverse Horatio Alger story in weight. Heavy boy downloaded with a ton of extra baggage works hard, loses the pounds, and does good. Lives happily ever after. Unfortunately I have lost weight before and gained it back and lost it and here we are as Vizzini said “back at the beginning”. You are probably reading this months or years after I started this and hopefully you have just read a post where I am successfully running my umpteenth marathon and feel great. You just had to go to the archives to see that at the very beginning I was wallowing in depression and self pity wondering why am I right back at the bottom of the hill. Stop being a Sisyphus and get to the good part. Where’s the motivation? Where’s the life altering event that says “Something needs to change and it needs to change now!”. Right here, right now, that event is New Year’s Day.

How trite – setting goals on New Year’s Day.  75% of Americans who set goals today are finished by week 3.  Week 3!!!  I can do better than that.  I have set goals before and accomplished them.  I have run consistently. I have raced consistently.  I have finished a Marathon, despite physical maladies.  Mostly I have set little goals, accomplished them then went back to sleep for a couple months, like a hibernating bear or an annoying strain of STD.  The new goals are big.  I’ve decided to dream big and make the results immediate. OK my goals are not going to cure cancer or bring about world peace, but there will be a massive tectonic shift in my world.  I love running and what running does for me mentally and physically .  I am going to make running my life.

Goals for 2015

Run 4 days a week, rain or shine, day or night, in sickness and in health, til death do us…wait a second.  4 days a week unless something is broken or doctor’s orders. I will run my running plan and believe in a system that has already given me so much.

Cross train 2 days a week.  Swimming, biking (uggh), and weight lifting.  Maybe kayaking and snow shoeing. Sword fighting and cliff diving.  Ok, maybe not the last two.

Stretch every day.  I have learned a number of exercises for running ailments – shin splints in 2010, ITB strain in 2013, plantar fasciitis in 2014.  I need to be doing them everyday to support the amount of running I will be doing.  Potentially incorporating yoga into my regular routine.

Run a marathon distance by June.  Finish another one a month later. Complete 6 more by the end of the year on a diminishing timeline.  This is leading to a longer term goal.

Lose 1.5 lbs a week.  This will be accomplished not only by increasing my activity consistently but also drastically changing my eating habits.  As God is my witness, I will not eat ice cream until the first day of summer.  I am starting at 285 lbs today. By the end of December 2015,  I will be 210 lbs or less.

I will write about my successes and my challenges every week.  I will go into detail about my larger dream and I will envision and execute a plan that will allow me to take the joy I feel when I am running into other aspects of my life, primarily my work and personal relationships.

I have already been starting a few of these changes, so although today is a Thursday, my week is already set for success.  I will be updating this blog each week with occasional special entries.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.