You know the kind of downpour I’m talking about, right? The ones where you would swear it’s made up of little drops of air amidst all the water falling down? That’s what we were looking at coming out of the store.
I really don’t know who all was part of that ‘we;’ it was myself and a lot of strangers. Anyway, we all stood there, waiting for it to let up. It was becoming pretty clear that this stuff wasn’t letting up any time soon, and one by one people would give up waiting and dart across the parking lot to the shelter of their cars. Pretty soon there was no we, just me, and I realized it was my turn. Off I went. Walking. There was no dart. There was no dash. Just a slow, resigned trudge while getting thoroughly drenched.
I wanted to run. I just… couldn’t. Maybe I forgot how. Or I didn’t believe I could. I don’t know, I just… couldn’t.
I couldn’t tell you what I weighed then. If you asked me, I’d have said maybe 350 pounds. Of course I’m quick to point out I’m 6’5, so that’s like 225 pounds on someone 6’2, right? Once upon a time I’d lost 86 pounds. I knew I’d gained a lot back, but I wasn’t about to weigh myself. One, my scale at home didn’t go high enough, and I’m not about to spend money on a scale when what I should be doing is losing the weight enough to use the one I have. Two, I probably really didn’t want to know. All I know is, it was maybe a year later, after I’d already started getting a bit more active, that I finally found my way to a scale that went high enough, and weighed in at 393 pounds. Had I gained more by then? Or had I already been over 400? I don’t know, but I was miserable and out of shape. That walk across the parking lot, as you can imagine, took forever.
That’s a forever of feeling completely defeated.
That’s forever of being embarrassed that all these people who had dashed to their cars could now see me completely unable to do the same thing. Not even for the fifty freaking yards to where my car was.
That’s forever of wondering how I got this way.
Sometimes that kind of forever can be a good thing. It’s that kind of moment that tells you, I don’t want to be this way.
I wish I could say that it was the kind of thing that inspired this overnight change, that I set my teeth and vowed never to be that way again, that it affected the kind of overnight life change that puts those guys on The Biggest Loser to shame.
Here I am six years later, with a long way to go. For some of us, maybe most of us, that kind of thing doesn’t happen over night. Which sounds like it’s making excuses. Maybe it is. Maybe it could be an overnight thing, I’m sure it should be a more complete and direct transformation than what it was. There’s no question about that. Just like there’s no question I never should have got myself into that position in the first place. But here I was. And here I am.
It did spark something though. Maybe it was a slower, quieter revolution. It started out as a sort of resolve that I wanted… I NEEDED to get better. No, I HAD to get better. And I’ve slowly gotten better. I currently weigh about 338 pounds. That’s not as better as I’d like to be, like I said, I have a long way to go. But it’s getting better. Better enough to be ready to take this next step anyway.
This is what will serve as my training journal as I begin training this week for a half marathon. I’ve run (as in run from start to finish, without walking) a 5K now, a couple of times. Run is a relative term, some could walk faster than my run. Sometimes I can walk faster than my run. Nonetheless I’ve done it. I’ve run a 10K as well. And walked it. I did it with splits of 2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking. But I was able to keep that pace. So this just seems the next logical step, right?
This is not the story of a guy who has it all together, of a guy who has turned it all around and is now this great success story. This is the story of a guy who is still getting there, is still working on it. This will probably be a story as full of failures and mistakes as it is of success, because after all it has been that way ever since that day in the rain. This is a story of a guy whose progress has been slow, way too slow. But here’s the point. It HAS been progress. Despite my blunders, setbacks, fallbacks, backslides and whatever other kind of backs, here I am today actually believing that I can do this. That’s a long way from being that guy who couldn’t even run the 50 yards to his car.
Many things have kept me moving forward. My wife has been a tremendous part of that. She has encouraged me, but more than that has been such a part of bringing me to this point in my life where my outlook on life is such that… moving forward is the most logical place to be. It’s where I deserve to be. And it’s where I want to be. There is something about that time six years ago that I think will always be part of that. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how that felt that day. In some ways I hope I don’t. I think it’s because even though I get frustrated that I’m still so far from where I want to be, remembering the rain reminds me how far I’ve come.
And it keeps me going.