Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Our son Paul is a runner. At age twenty seven he runs mini and half marathons, 5k’s and any sort of race they will let him run in. His wife runs with him. When he found out, as he put it, “I was serious about starting to run,” he told me I needed to go with him and see his “shoe guy.” As he explained it, “Dad you really don’t want some high school junior who works at Dick’s part time fitting you for running shoes.”
Okay. I’ll admit I have had a lot of new experiences in the past six months or so. There is this virtue and it’s called faith. Every now and then you have to swallow really hard, admit you don’t know something and lift a cocked eye towards heaven and trust a person who appears to know what he is talking about, even if you changed his diapers for a few years.
Saturday morning he showed up at our hotel and took me to the “shoe guy.” When we walked in the door a very athletic looking man about thirty greeted me and asked me my name.
“Why does he need to know my name?” I thought.
He needed to know my name because if you are going to spend two hours with someone calling me John works a lot better than “sir” or even “Hey you!”
He had me take off my shoes and socks and began to walk me through a process that measured both feet sitting and standing. He measures my arches. He smiled, got up and went behind a curtain. When he returned he held a box.
“I want you to put these on only so I can measure how you run.”
He proceeded to show me how to lace the shoes, put them on, tie them and make sure they were tight. He pointed to a treadmill by the store window and asked me to warm up for a minute or so and then jog for a minute or so. As he explained it, he would be videotaping my feet to see how I ran and how my feet fell when they hit the surface.
So here is fat old me in this store with all these very lean people making the earth shake for a few minutes. When I got off the treadmill, he smiled again and disappeared. He returned with six boxes of shoes and we went through the process of finding the right ones for me. He had me try on some amazing socks which felt like part of heaven had settled in my feet. He explained how the most important thing about these shoes was supporting my arches. He had me run more. When I picked a pair of shoes we moved on to inserts. This entailed another fifteen to twenty minutes of trying inserts in the shoes I purchased until I found the ones that supported me the best.
Total time: two hours.
“Jog up and down the street if you like,” he said.
I jogged to the corner and called Joan. The price for all of this was around two hundred dollars. You don’t stay married for thirty six years by just randomly spending that kind of money on shoes. She listened to me for a minute and said:
“Well, if you don’t get what you need, six months from now you’ll be sitting in an orthopedic surgeons office and the minimum we’ll be paying is the one thousand dollar deductible on our health insurance.”
Case closed. I purchased the shoes along with the amazing comfortable socks.
Other than wanting to tell you just how cool it was to buy the shoes and share my happiness with you there is a point in here somewhere.
“Fail to plan. Plan to fail.” There are so many times in my life I have just lunged into things and wondered why I wasn’t successful at them. It was because I hadn’t prepared. Lack of preparation comes from wanting to change our current reality so quickly that we don’t have to admit parts of our lives are messed up. Instead, we push forward motivated by some false thought that we are different than everyone else. We can hit fast forward and get there quicker than everyone else.
We are not different. We are wonderful, marvelous, beautiful, loved and cherished by God, but we have to prepare for everything we do or we won’t succeed.
It’s why we measure our food, chart our exercise, step on the scale and take the tape to out hips, stomach and thighs. We are preparing. We are preparing for those wonderful moments we etched in our minds. They are our goals.
Buying the shoes was fun, but more importantly, as I tested them out when we got home, I found that one action increased my confidence and my ability to do something I was still a bit shaky about.
From time to time people will tell me I am a good writer. I have to smile because you don’t see how many times I hit the back space key or high light a whole paragraph to delete before I am satisfied with what I wrote. I am a terrible speller and have taken to writing my blogs in Microsoft Word and then pasting them here because Word automatically corrects so many spelling errors. Writing like running and many of the things that give you great satisfaction require preparation and the right tools in order to be successful.
Good health requires preparation. That’s why you and I are here. That’s why it’s more than a diet.
Have a blessed Wednesday.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
I had a crummy week last week. I am not asking for pity or sympathy or condolences. In some respects it was the best week I have had since joining Spark.
Let me say right off that I am very quick to give the credit for most of these insights to you who support me and have become my friends. So before we get started please stand up and take a bow.
Let me tell you what I learned:
Success is much more difficult to deal with than failure and……………. Ultimately if we don’t get used to being successful right now, bit by bit, when we reach all those wonderful goals we put on our collage, we will crash and burn because we will have no idea how to handle the success. We won’t be able to sustain it.
Success is a process not a destination. Vacation is a destination. We celebrate it, enjoy it, take pictures of it then pack up the car and head back to “our lives.” Success is a process that if done correctly allows us to become comfortable with a new environment.
Real success and our inability to prepare for it is why so many of us have failed at dieting. Dieting is a myth, a fable and a very cruel mistress. How many of you have participated in “fast start programs?” They are advertised as the ability to lose a chunk of weight in a hurry so we feel better about ourselves and can sustain the long and arduous dieting process. While the body drops a few inches and pounds, which are mostly water and someone cashes our check, we are fooled into believing we are a success. So we starve and we over exercise and we watch the scale needle start to move slower and slower and we arrive at our goal and nothing in our life has changed. Pass the mashed potatoes please and while you’re at it the butter.
A few months later we find ourselves sitting in the middle of an empty field called despair and we wonder what’s wrong with us? Why are we so flawed? We are not. Mostly we fool ourselves into believing the world is going to change its ways for us and that we are really going to look like the people on the cover of Vogue and Maxim.
Success is a process that is galvanized by failure. Yes, you read that correctly. I had so many failures last week that I’d be here all morning detailing them all. Suffice to say they taught me that there are going to be times that I have to bend a little so I don’t break in two. There are days I am not going to get all my exercise in because it’s ninety seven outside and there is not a tread mill in sight. I learned that it’s really bad for your spirit if you sit in a restaurant and curse the world because “you can’t have this or that.” You split a dessert with your wife because at that moment it’s the thing to do.
You learn to be comfortable with your successes. You learn that you are going to have weeks where your blood pressure bottoms out, you over eat a bit and aren’t able to get all your exercise in and that despite all these allegedly fatal character flaws you are still a very wonderful and lovable person!!!
You learn success is not an event to take a picture of but the sweet journey of your life time that should be savored and enjoyed. After all, your grand daughter isn’t going to be four forever and how often to you get to be thirty feet away from all The Kardashian sisters?
You learn from your friends here at Spark so that when you look to your left and your right you see them sweating and huffing and puffing like you are. You watch them stumble and trip and you stick out your hand to help them up because you know the minute you stumble and fall, they will stick their hands out for you. Once you understand that and hold it very close in your heart, then you have learned the meaning of success.
Lasting success is born of a hard night of the labor of our failures the ultimate will and desire to triumph over those failures, just like you do every day.
See, you are already a success.
Monday, May 31, 2010
We will be headed back to Owensboro this afternoon sometime after a whirlwind visit with all the kids plus a trip to the Indianapolis 500 to sit in temperatures of 93, 95 or 97 degrees depending on which source you choose to believe. It was hot. Thank goodness we sat in the grand stand and were under some cover. I havent been to Indy in fifteen years and I had a good time.
Off to visit our grand daughter just a bit more and then home. I need to run!!! It's been since Friday.
Have a great Monday and TTYL
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I have learned a lot from my dad. I have been fortunate. The thing I will always remember most is this: “If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to ever remember what story to tell.”
Initially, I wanted this blog to be a bit of an apology for the minor meltdown I had yesterday over my medical snafu and going over my calorie limits. I was riding my bike earlier and the thought struck me that I have nothing to apologize for. Again, I learned a bit more about John.
Come close, Sparkies, I am not sure the whole world needs to hear this: “I found out I am not perfect.”
I found out that no matter how I try to convince myself otherwise there is still this bit of a desire, a need, call it whatever you like, to be perfect. Honestly, it was a bit shocking. I thought we had dealt with all that stuff. Apparently not. The residue of the diet mentality is not completely erased.
I think it goes deeper than that. I think you can change your body but unless you work equally hard on your mind and spirit then ultimately you end right back up where you started from. Trappergirl999 said it best the other day when she commented on one of my postings. She said”…….. Because if nothing changes, nothing changes.” Those words are ringing in my ears.
When I am perfect I am like the cool kids. I am not fat anymore I am skinny and lithe and move with grace. I have to be perfect to be equal because of the fact I am fat. It’s a flaw inside of me. That distorted thinking caused me to emotionally spiral yesterday. I am glad I did. I am glad I got a glimpse of what’s really going on inside of me.
I won’t lie. I learned a lot but I know that feeling isn’t going to vanish over night because it didn’t get there over night. It built up over the years of feeling insecure and out-of-place because of my weight. But at least I know.
“Yeah but John, you have accomplished so much in close to six months. You should be proud.” I am. I am proud and I am scared. Scared that I am going to wake up one day and all of this will unravel because I am not worthy to be happy and healthy.
So what do ya do?
You get up this morning and you ride your bike for thirty five minutes before it gets to hot out. You track your breakfast calories and keep in mind that you need to add a bit of protein to them. You slap yourself really hard when you start thinking “diet” and “failure.” You track your food and then you get ready to go do strength training followed by a one hour deep tissue massage because you really do deserve it………
You blog and you read the amazing support you get from those people who really do love you but are bound up by so much convention and appropriate dialogue and political correctness that they tell you they love you in code words and you ask yourself this question.
“Do I really want to waste all that energy on being perfect?”
No I dont
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