I was reminded this weekend of a funny story by an old Navy buddy of mine who was here in Houston on a business trip. We got together on Saturday night and were reminiscing about old times. Matt said, "Remember the time you came back from visiting home [Houston] and you were bragging about the 36 ounce ribeye you ate at that restaraunt [Taste of Texas] that finally put you over 300 lbs.?" As I recall, I had been married for a couple of years. We had our first child and I had begun to put on quite a bit of weight. I remember trying to be funny about putting on the extra weight, joking about being up to a good challenge and shooting for 300+, all the while feeling ashamed inside at it spinning out of control.
It's embarassing to say but my weight got so out of control that I was involuntarily separated from the service, after being given several chances to get my weight under control. Involuntary Separation. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. I mean I still received an honorable discharge. It was not a disciplinary action. It was just a matter of not meeting the minimum weight standards. Even though it worked out for the best, I still would have preferred to exit under my own terms instead of being forced out. I'm proud of my service in the Navy but embarassed at how it ended.
So, that was about 12 years ago when I went over 300 lbs and I've been 300+ ever since...until now. I have consistently weighed below 300 lbs for about a week now and it feels great. My weight chart that calculates sort of a moving average has not showed sub-300 yet but the calculated weight will soon be sub-300 and it feels great. I'll tell you one thing. I spent ~12 years that side of 300 and God willing, I'll never spend another day there again. Even though I don't like to look back at the past with regrets, beating myself up for wasted years, part of me wonders how much better the last 12 years would have been. Would I have been a better father, a better husband? Would I have been better able to serve my God or be a better employee? How much life have I missed? How much life have my children missed by not having a father who was active, who could run and jump and play with them? How much time have I wasted in front of the boob tube instead of living life to the fullest? Runners have to play a lot of mind games to get through workouts, to run when it hurts, to just do what a runner is supposed to do. I'm trying to tell myself that what is in the past is over and that I can make up for lost time. I've got to forgive myself for the heavy years and promise myself that I'm never going back there. I have a long way to go but I am determined to never, ever allow myself to lapse into slothfulness and gluttony. I want to serve my God, my family, my friends, my employer. I want to live!
Here are a few photos I took today that shows a little of my progress:
This morning's run was a lot of fun. A cutback week, 10 miles was scheduled. It's really amazing how the weather affects my running, well, everybody's I guess. Our friends that were visiting from Minnesota kept us up late (voluntarily) and I did not get to bed until around 11:45. I was very worried that my rest would be lacking and that my run would be screwed up. I even considered sleeping in and trying to run in the afternoon but I got up around 5:30 and gave it a whirl. Oh, and unavoidable mistake #2 was eating so late. We ate around 9 pm. This caused a little problem at around mile 9 this morning. I am like a clock. But the biggest mistake of the morning and the source of a big Homer Simpson "DOH!" on my part was my forgetting the band-aids. You know, the ones that prevent my nipples from being rubbed raw, ruining my new long sleeved tech shirt from the USA 10-miler. Yeah, those!! By the end of my run, I looked like I had been shot...TWICE!!!
Enough about what went wrong. So much more went right. Miles 1, 2, and 3 felt a bit stiff. I never felt good early, kind of like I wasn't quite warmed up. Little pains here and there, a little heavy, just not quite in the groove. After a quick gel/water stop at the tennis center and about 10-15 seconds of stretching, I started out again and almost immediately felt like the kinks were finally gone. Ok, I was warmed up.
Finished mile 3 and was in the middle of mile 4 when I came up on Rose Ennis who was walking with a friend. We spoke a few words as I passed. It was great to see Rose who is just one of the most energetic, sweet people I've ever met.
I no sooner say see-ya-later to Rose when here comes Steve Schroeder and running bud, Jacob. High 5's were in order. Steve, an awesome runner, has been a great encouragement to me. He's got some great pointers and is always encouraging and teaching me. One time, he brought me some peppermint Altoids before a race and told me it would help me to breathe better. IT DID!!! Anyway, that's the kind of guy Steve is.
Then I face forward and who do I see at long last? It'sTXRUNNERGIRL!!! Christy!!! We recognized each other immediately. It was so awesome to finally meet Christy. I feel like we've been friends forever but we've never met in person. Christy is awesome and it made my morning to see her. What a smile!!!
I said goodbye to Christy and caught back up with Rose who had walked past me and Christy while we were talking. Rose ran the next mile and a half with me to the golf course parking lot. We talked about marathons and PIM and running and mental games runners must play. It was just a great time. Oh, and I looked down at my watch and I had picked up the pace quite a bit without recognizing any increase in effort at all.
After dropping Rose off, I maintained my pace with ease through another quick water/gel/Tennis Center stop and made my way to my 3rd loop. At around 7.2 miles, I ran into Steve again who was running his last 2 of a 20 mile run. Steve turned around and ran with me for about a mile and a half. Must be tough for Steve to do those 13-minute miles. But, like I said, that's the kind of guy he is. We chatted a while, almost broke our necks a couple of times, and then Steve peeled out for his last mile leaving me running strong and conversational going into the home stretch.
I finished the loop and then went out and back to complete mile 10. Here's where the late supper started talking to me. I purposely eased off a little after a fast(er) mile 9, to coold down going home. I think my bowels got the signal and almost immediately started demanding I stop somewhere. I HAD to finish soon!!! Talk about affecting your gait...there's nothing worse than trying to run when you gotta go. I've never experienced that before and hope to never experience it again.
I finished up "just in time", did my business and was off. Here are the stats:
Total distance - 10 miles
Total time - 2:14:25
Mile 1 - 13:48
Mile 2 - 13:58
Mile 3 - 13:49
Mile 4 - 13:38
Mile 5 - 13:12
Mile 6 - 13:08
Mile 7 - 13:03
Mile 8 - 13:02
Mile 9 - 13:01
Mile 10 - 13:44
Average pace - 13:27
My 10 mile best of 2:22:57 from the USA 10-miler was shattered this morning by about 8.5 minutes. Pretty good for an easy, conversational training run versus the I'm-almost-dead-but-I'm-gonna-finish-this-race performance at the USA. What a difference 30 degrees makes.