Starting Over. Fitness Journey, Take 112…

There’s something both totally lousy and amazingly self-inspiring about starting over.

Yesterday someone asked me “When’s your next marathon?”

Which was depressing as hell  funny to me, because I haven’t run one in 18 months. I don’t even see myself as a runner anymore, and certainly not a marathoner.

Heck, I don’t even qualify as a jogger. I’m a moderately-expressive-speed-walker, perhaps (okay, maybe not so much hyperbole…but it’s not fast).

Some know that over the past five years I went from fairly-perpetual-fat-kid-post-college-who-tried-100x-to-get-in-shape to that of…a fat kid FINALLY getting in shape and pretty leaned out over three years ago.

Then, I got fat and out of shape AGAIN.

Yes, AGAIN. I swore I’d never let that happen.

That’s the “present tense” part that people don’t as often see. Instead people still see the fitter dude from years ago…even though I’m not. I think we most often see and evaluate ourselves, and also others, not as we are today, but as who we were several years ago. For better or worse. Probably worse. And in many ways more than simply the physical.

Shortly after my last marathon 18-months ago (at which point I was in pretty terrific shape and had outlandish goals to try to qualify for Boston in ’16) I was doing box jumps and massively sliced open my shin. It didn’t properly get treated I refused to go to the ER and get stitches and instead sprayed some Windex on it, no not really regarding the Windex…  By the time I got to the doctor, oral antibiotics wouldn’t touch it and it progressed rapidly into a nasty drug resistant (MRSA) staph infection that resulted in three hospitalizations + nearly a month of IV antibiotics every six hours…and a slow recovery.

At one point it was getting serious and scary enough I thought it was inevitable I would lose my leg. But, to be fair, every time I have a headache WebMD also convinces me I have brain cancer. But this was a pretty precarious situation for a while.

After I recovered I took out my frustration with food, to the point that six months ago I was within several pounds of my “fat kid journey” STARTING WEIGHT from four years ago. At this point, I’m saying to myself, WTF? (Why The Face? Literally, why is my face getting so chubby?).

That was REALLY depressing (self-inflicted). So I did the responsible thing to try to solve it…I ate lots of ice cream and Oreos. Shazam, I love Oreos. And Donuts. I love those too. Ben and Jerry’s should make a Donut Ice Cream.

But I digress…

Finally, after getting back on the nutritional wagon back in January I’m getting pretty close to my target weight (I’m only about 15 lbs away, which I should be able to get to in 90-days).

But, shazam am I out of shape from a cardio/endurance perspective. Since my infection I’ve run maybe a total of six times.

And in about six months I’m running the Marine Corp Marathon, so tonight was my first very short training run as part of my 20-week calendar. It was shorter than anything I would’ve even bothered to run two years ago. To add to the frustration, my pace tonight was SLOWER than most of my marathon paces (uh yeah, average mile pace for the whole marathon).

And all that means is…I’m starting over. 

Which, on one hand, can feel really lousy. Like, how did I end up here again?

But tonight on my run (ehhh, jog) I had another realization.

It was a radically different one. 

Which is that this can also be self-inspiration for me. During my run I remembered that my biggest gains (not physically, but emotionally) happened when I went through the struggle of trying to get in good shape in the first place.

It was the battle (you perpetually skinny-and-fit-kids won’t understand this! 😉 ) of fighting the urge not to work out, or to grab the ice cream, or all the little things that are the difference between being fit or fat.

And the humility that you gain from understanding just how weak and broken you are…

So tonight I had this simple epiphany. And it’s randomness that I’m sharing it, though in small part it’s with some belief that other people must struggle with the same things.

The win for me is that if I can just break free of my frustration for why I’m here, and simply commit to go my “there”, and in the process learn a whole new set of lessons along the way, then I’m going to be okay…

Plus, along the way I’m getting another healthy dose of humility (pretty damn good thing for me), so the next time I get in great shape I’ll realize I’m just “Gods grace and one box jump away” from being sidelined.

Raz and Zoe, my first day training again for a marathon (starting ALLLL the way over!)
Raz and Zoe, my first day training again for a marathon (starting ALLLL the way over!)

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