As you will see, the site deals with what I see as the four major parts of my rebooted life:
- My Faith Life ("soul food")
- My Mental Health ("brain food")
- My Nutritional Health ("food...food")
- My Physical Health (endurance sports)
On Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 I weighed 348 pounds. I was at one of the lowest points in my life. Two weeks early I had asked my doctor to write a letter of medical necessity for me to join a bariatric program (weight loss) and gotten to read how I was at risk of all of these “co-morbidities” and was “non-cooperative” when it came to health choices. I had hit rock bottom enough times to say “enough is enough!”
As I stepped off the scale, I knew that I was going to be making radical changes in my life. I knew that I was going to lose weight…I just didn’t know how I was going to get healthy and stay healthy.
I’m 31 years old and have a 4.5 year old son. As a father, I have the opportunity to break the cycle of obesity in my family. So far so good…he’s active and healthy. He eats well. However, I know all too well how easy it is to change direction.
The first two weeks I lost a total of 19.6 pounds. Week 3: down 1.2. Now, I’m not saying that I was disappointed in losing 20.8 pounds in three weeks. What I realized that day was that someday my weight loss would stop. Someday in the future I would step on this scale and cross off that last pound. Someday I would hit a 36” (or whatever) waist, wear a Large Tall shirt, and not shrink anymore. What I needed was something upon which I could measure my health progress and motivate myself in perpetuity.
On April 28th, 2010 I was sitting at my desk at work praying. I had been racking my brain for something that I could do. There were ideas, but none of them hit home; none sounded interesting. I was praying to God for some kind of guidance: “Help me find some way to motivate myself for the rest of my life because this time, Father, I’m not failing.”
When I finished my prayer and looked up to start working again two slips of paper tacked to my office wall caught my eye. I had pinned them there a year or so earlier when I had subscribed to a daily bible verse email. After they started to pile up unread in my inbin, I unsubscribed, but I left those two verses up. There was just something from each one that grabbed my attention.
The first is Psalm 119:105. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
The second is a little longer, but it was the one that caused the initial “A-HA” moment. It comes from the first letter from Paul to the Corinthians:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1Co 9:24-27)
It hit me like a ton of bricks: run. I’ve never been a runner. Obviously, the 350 pounds for a prolonged period of time kind of put a dampen on that. Add to that the fact that I am 18 months post-op from a lateral release surgery on my right knee.
I searched online and came across the “Couch-to-5K” program (C25K). It looked to be right up my alley and ability level, so I started it on May 5th, 2010. Since then my weight loss, fitness level, motivation, and overall lifestyle have improved dramatically. I feel and look better than I ever have in my life…and I’m just getting started.
On Sunday, July 4th I ran my first 5K race. The 4th of July Spectacular 5K is run in Colerain Township just northwest of greater Cincinnati. My reason for choosing this event was their inclusion of a Clydesdale Division and the fact that it fell on my very last day of my C25K training.
I ran the race with a good friend who paced with me the whole time. We actually ran the route the week prior so that I’d know where the hills were and what to expect. It took me 38 minutes that time through.
It started with a mass downhill start at 8:00am. “Downhill start” sounded good to me at first, but then I saw all of the people that used it to set their pace. This is just another reason why I love, love, love my Garmin. It has been crucial to my success.
I wanted to beat 30 minutes, if possible. I knew that it would be hard, but I thought I could do it. Accordingly, I set out at a pace of 9:30-9:45/mile. It was evident early on that the heat and humidity would be an issue…even for an 8:00am start. Around mile 2 I started to feel it. I slowed my pace to 10:00/mile, hoping to make up the difference in the last half mile.
However, the one-two punch of the heat and humidity on the blacktop finally did me in and I slowed just before mile 3. It helped that my wife, son, and aunt were cheering me on for the last 2 tenths. My 4 year old actually came out and ran the end of the race with me. My aunt, who is battling brain cancer with Ali-like skill, was also a big push for me.
I finished with a time of 32:59 and was very pleased. Just like most runners, I’m sure, I started to beat myself up for walking for those 2-3 minutes or slowing to 12:00/mile going up the last hill. Then, I realized that I’m not training for the Olympics, Boston, or even The Flying Pig…I’m training for my life and I just met the first of many goals.
I signed up for my first 10K this morning. I’m training for the next 6 weeks and can’t wait to start. I had my stuff laid out and my alarm set for 5:00a (just like I have for the last month), but I slept through it. I’m very bummed. But, I’ll just start tonight instead. I’ve never run at night and then again in the morning, but you have to do everything for the first time once, right?
Some things I’ve learned for my first few races:
-Decide your pace…and then add 30 seconds to it. You can always bump it up later if you’re feeling good.
-Ask more friends to cheer you on. They’ll come. Have them spread out on the course…it helps.
-Don’t try to follow the uber hot girls in spanks. They are always too fast.
In the interest of legality:
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
The "NIV" and "New International Version" trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Biblica.