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.