Unfinished Business

It has been over five months since the last time I wrote a post. My last post was to honor Steve Prefontaine on the 40th anniversary of his tragic death. Why haven’t I posted anything in over five months? To be perfectly honest, I really haven’t been doing enough with my fitness to generate any content. Over the past year and a half, I have had made many attempts to begin losing the 60 pounds (60 pounds!!!) I have gained since my injury in June 2014 and to return to some level of my former fitness. However, all of my attempts have fallen flat.

I have written a lot over the past two years about my difficulty of finding the balance between spending time with my daughters versus spending time on my running. When given the choice between a lazy morning watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with Tamsin or waking up at 3am or 4am for a race, watching cartoons with my daughter wins every time. I don’t regret a single morning of watching cartoons with my girls over running. However, I DO regret that I have let this lack of discipline for my running bleed over to a serious lack of discipline with my diet. When my co-workers used to ask me to lunch my reply was always, “Sure. As long as we go somewhere where I can get something healthy.” Lately my reply has simply been, “Sure.” Then I proceed to order the largest and most unhealthy item on the menu. If the check is being picked up by my company, I have added appetizers and dessert. What the Hell? You only live once, right? Unfortunately, the attitude that you only live once has led to the transformation below.

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So here I sit. I am a few months away from my 36th birthday and I am in exactly the same place I was 18 years ago as I approached my 15 birthday. I currently weigh 245 pounds and my body fat percentage is hovering just under 40%. It would be bad enough if this was the second time I have had to task myself with losing over 70 pounds, but this is the fourth time. I have to be bluntly honest with myself, there was a lot of shame coursing through my body as I typed that last sentence.

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Why I am I undertaking the challenge of losing this weight AGAIN? The answer is because, it FINALLY happened. What happened? I finally have begun to feel the desire to run again. After over two years of complete burn out, the embers in my dwindling motivational fire are beginning to heat up again. Why? First and foremost, I truly miss the personal satisfaction and joy that running has provided me over the past 20 years. Second, I feel guilt about the bad example that I am setting for my two young daughters. Multiple times a week my daughter Tamsin asks me as I get dressed for work, “Daddy, are you running a marathon today?!” I laugh off the innocent comment from my little girl and assure her that I most definitely won’t be running a marathon for a while. Then, I leave the house for work carrying an extra load of guilt. I have just been reminded again, by the person I should be setting a positive example of how to live a happy and healthy life, that I am failing miserably. Finally, I miss my running family. Even after being absent from most of our group run and races over the last year and half, the consistent messages of encouragement, and emails telling me that I am missed have never stopped.

I have felt all of the things mentioned above many times over the past couple of years, so why is this time different? I feel like Steve Prefontaine when he told the professional track league when they offered him $200,000 to turn pro, “Keep it. I have too much unfinished business.” The desire to run and to take on this latest weight loss endeavor began when I threw all expectations about my running out the window. If I run 3 miles at a 13 minute pace, I don’t care as long as I enjoy it and I am out trying to be healthy. As soon as I dropped all expectations of what pace I should be running, my passion for running immediately began to return. The final thing to cement my desire to begin training again was the set of pictures below of my friend Ty Hansen finishing the St. George Marathon this year. Ty set a new personal record (PR) by over 8 minutes, qualified for the Boston Marathon, AND ran his first sub-3 hour marathon. Running a sub-3 hour marathon is a goal that has eluded me since I was 16 years old. Running a sub 3 hour marathon is my “unfinished business.”

Ty Breaks 3 Hours

The passion and satisfaction that comes from setting a physical goal, training hard, and accomplishing that goal is something I have been missing from my life for far too long. The pictures of Ty above reminded me of the joy that comes when you pay the price to accomplish your goals. The last time I felt that joy was in the picture below taken moments after I crossed the finish line of the 2010 St. George Marathon and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

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When I started Short, Round, and Fast, I ended my first post with a meme of Barney Stinson that said, “Challenge Accepted!” On a few other occasions, I made the same proclamation and fell flat on my face. This time around, I am not going to make a grand proclamation of an ambitious goal. Right now, I feel content to proclaim that I am starting over from scratch again and that I am motivated to do what I need to do to get myself and my health back on the right path. I hope that those of you who decide to read my posts enjoy coming along on this journey with me. It is time to take this weight off one more time, for the LAST TIME.

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