Saturday, October 16, 2010
My blog title this morning is one of the songs I use to warm up before I run. It not only gets my juices flowing, so to speak, but it gives me a really good reminder that I can do anything I choose to do.
I began running May 8, 2010 when I ran the last three hundred feet of a charity walk Joan and I had registered for. It felt good. Two days later I began the C25K program and went through a summer of hell mostly because I really didn’t believe I could ever get to the point at age fifty seven where I would be running a 5K. I participated in my first race on September 25, 2010.
If you are a faithful follower of my blogs you know that last Saturday I began running The Race For The Cure in Louisville. Three fourths of the way though the race I had what can best be described as a rather spectacular fall. I tore my right knee up with some pretty gruesome looking scrapes, road burns and cuts and sprained my left wrist. The worst pain was reserved for the internal me. In about ten seconds, everything I had pointed for went away. I couldn’t finish the race. That hurt worse than my leg.
Joan was off of work on Monday and her first words to me were “Don’t even think about it!!!” One MRI later I was able to bargain a walk to and from Walgreens to get a prescription filled as long as she came with me so as she put it “I didn’t get any ideas.” We walked about two miles and I felt okay. Tuesday I went to the gym and I walked around the track for about a half mile and decided to test my leg. I ran a lap, walked a lap. I did this for two miles and felt fine.
The physical part of me rebounded quickly. The mental part was like someone who kept waiting for their prom date to show up. I had some really serious self-doubt going on. So Wednesday morning I cleared my schedule and went back up to the gym. I ran a 5K. I did it indoors because if I had to stop I could just walk off the track and sit down.
Honestly? I could have run four miles the way I felt. I had this whole head/heart thing going on and my head won. I stopped at 5K. I felt redeemed. I sent a text to my core group of supporters and told them “I took care of some unfinished business.” Late yesterday afternoon, I ran 3.5 miles in what can only be described as the best fall day I have ever experienced in my life. My recovery was good and my leg wasn’t really sore except where the real bad road burn was.
While I was running this thought crossed my mind: We all fall, one way or the other. How many times do we just lay there and how many times do we get back up and start over? It just doesn’t apply to exercise. We don’t like to speak of it, because we become ashamed but how many times do I “blow it” when it comes to food? How many times do I just give up? How many times do I tell myself that when I sit down to or prepare my next meal, I’ll get back on track?
There really isn’t a lot of difference is there – me falling on the pavement and me eating a donut? It’s what I do afterwards that counts. Trainer Jen told me Thursday “Ya know John, all GREAT athletes get hurt.” (Notice the GREAT part, please, LOL) I believe success is largely determined by how we look at and handle our failures, immediately after they occur. I can punish myself and ridicule myself or I can take corrective action. The choice is mine.
“Don’t Stop Believing.”
Friday, October 15, 2010
I forgave Old John last night. It was the least comfortable thing I’ve done in quite some time. Truth be known I didn’t want to go down this road. Allegorically my running in the last five months has produced more than health it’s been a convenient way to run away from who and what I used to be. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t fair to Old John. If nothing else he needed some closure. I realized too that not dealing with him and all his exploits might be part of what has me at this seemingly impenetrable plateau. Still I didn’t want to do it. I’ve been feeling too good lately. Let’s just “not talk about Old John.” Sort of like the relative no one acknowledges. They are right there on the family tree, you just don’t talk about them.
I didn’t want to do this. My stomach got all queasy. It’s like looking at your “before pictures.” They bring back painful reminders of whom and what you once were. My internal guidance system, AKA God, reminded me that in order for me to be where I am I had to have been where I was and BTW John is that really fair to leave the poor guy hanging out there?
“I’ll think about it, not tonight, but I’ll think about it.”
So I rolled over on my back and I have to tell you I had this really, really awkward feeling inside. I started thinking about some of the mistakes, misperceptions and actions I had taken in the past, stuff that held me back. Things that hurt me, or hurt other people and I looked at Old John and said “Okay John that was really stupid; what you did, but I forgive you. What’s done is done.” This wasn’t as an emotional of an endeavor as I thought it would be. I checked stuff off the list, rolled over and tried to sleep. Stuff kept popping in my head but what was really comforting about this was that those thoughts were not judgmental. They were like watching a movie and commenting “That was really dumb!!!” Suffice to say I dealt with the important stuff.
Finished with this task, I thought we were done, but like a little kid, Old john stood there. The Voice said. “He has to heal.” I looked at him and said. “Okay, you might as well come along. You are gonna be here anyways.” I slept pretty well after that. It wasn’t one of those dramatic; grab- me- a –box- of- Kleenex- Hollywood moments. I was glad it happened and equally glad it’s over.
Real change is our lives are not measured by pounds lost, calories consumed, and distance run, swum or pedaled. It is measure by the capacity we create in our lives to look at ourselves and and make the often painful but necessary adjustments to get even healthier.
If you are like me, at all, you might try to quickly forget you read this blog or that it was ever written. We focus and fixate so much on new tomorrows that oft times we forget about settling accounts with the past. I will grow, Old John will heal. I’ll reach my goals and one day, hopefully sooner than later there will just be one John, and oh my goodness gracious can you imagine how fantabulous he will be?
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I am eternally fighting with myself. It’s not the knock, down, drag out sort of fight it’s really more of a struggle to see who wins. Maybe it’s safe to say it’s often the battle between the heart and the mind.
Because I tripped and fell this weekend I had two days where exercising wasn’t an option. The easy thing to do would have been to accept things --- “It is what it is.” It would have been nice to sit back and adopt the philosophy that I had two days to work on other areas of my life. Yeah that would have been nice.
Instead I made the choice to listen to that nasty old tape that I somehow forgot to get rid of many months ago. Maybe you have a tape that’s similar to it in your head? It basically says you are not as good as everyone else, you will never be as good as everyone else and stamped firmly on your backside, at birth I might add, are the words “People Pleaser.” It says you are overweight, fat, obese, chunky --- you pick one --- it is because of some fatal character flaw you have that no one else has…. You get my point.
A friend of mine once floated the notion in front of me that you “Take what the room gives you,” and you live with that. I took it to mean that those few words are a variation on “Playing the hand you’re dealt,” or the proverbial “When life gives you lemons create an LLC and open up a lemonade stand…” Those are wise words because if you are in the business of pleasing people and stressing over the fact that you always don’t please people, you are always looking for another room to be in. You are always looking some vehicle or some situation where you can look better than the person on either side of you simply so you will feel equal.
If I’d have been smart, which I’m not too very often, I’d have taken the two days as a break, a respite and an opportunity to work on some things, like say my book or my DVD or all those other things I’m scared to start because I mean what if I fail. Maybe you won’t love me?
I know it’s foolish.
I was sad to realize there are still small wisps of the old John in there somewhere. The guy who has to be better, look better and act better than anyone else just to be equal. I’m reminded of a line from one of the Gospels where Jesus tells his apostles, as it relates to expelling a demon “This kind does not come out through good works but through prayer and fasting.”
All the “activity” in the world does not make John a better boy. John looking at John and deciding that rolling with the flow isn’t a bad thing, a character flaw, something to revoke his pass to heaven over, is where the “prayer and fasting come in.”
I am wonderful, I am beautiful and I am worth every ounce of effort I put into my growth and development. I still have some, LOL, messed up ideas floating around in there. It starts here, by recognizing I am maybe only half way there, learning to let other people support me and acknowledging my own worth and value.
It begins by admitting to myself there are times I still want to please people and there are times I feel inadequate, alone and lonely even though people all over the universe love me.
It begins with acceptance and if it sounds tiring, boring and frustrating please realize some days, that’s all the room gives you and it gives it to you for a reason. The reason is to help you become a better you and me a better me.
When all is said and done, isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Shortly before I joined Spark I switched gyms. It wasn’t an easy decision. I had belonged to my gym for thirteen years and was on its Board of Directors for four of those years. I woke up one morning and realized that it was not meeting my needs any longer. I had asked for help in a number of areas and I got a lot of nice speeches and promises to institute programs to deal with nutrition and exercise after age fifty and a host of other concerns I had about my own health. Nothing ever came to fruition.
It was about this time my doctor had one of those heart to heart talks with me. My weight had caused my blood pressure to be borderline dangerous, my blood work showed I was border line Type 2 diabetic, and my prostate gland was enlarged. I went to my gym and asked for some help. I was told it wasn’t available. The programs I needed weren’t available anywhere in our community except from a physician and they were expensive. “Sorry, John.”
I had a lot of friends at this gym. We went to church with some of the staff; others had swum in my pool and attended our barbecues. But guess what? They weren’t helping me. So I left. It was hard. I had at least a week of tossing and turning.
The gym I went to and am currently with costs thirty dollars more per month than I had been used to paying. The benefits I received are as follows:
My blood pressure has lowered to the point that my medication has been cut in half. I see the doctor in three weeks and I anticipate it may be cut further.
My blood work is well back in the normal range. I received a metabolic analysis when I joined my gym and a dietitian reviewed it with me and gave me some good nutrition guidelines.
Because of my weight loss and over all conditioning my prostate is normal and I am not using the restroom five times per night.
In August I took advantage of the option to hire a personal trainer and as I write this I can only tell you I am tickled pink with Jen.
Despite all the positives here I still felt bad sometimes. The CEO of my old gym will not speak to me. He feels I betrayed them by going to a competitor. I had to ask myself that question I pose to so many of you, “What are you worth, John?” I am worth a lot. There is no price on my health and well-being. No amount of guilt can make me devalue who I am and what I deserve.
Life is full of tough choices. While in the end they may produce great results, they may be painful to initiate. I am healthier, happier and more active because of the choice I make. I embraced my own mantra “You are who you hang around with.”
Life isn’t always easy. Joan and I went to a movie last night, a kid’s movie, called The Guardians. There was a line in that movie that I think applies to our journey here at Spark:
“When you have flown as far as you can fly, when you are out of breath, and your wings ache ,when you feel you are going to drop to the ground ---- You are about half way there.”
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