Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Healthy Me, Take Two.

Tomorrow is July 7th.  It is normally just any other summer day.  Probably warm, if not hot.  Probably a day you go to work, fixed in your normal routine, with the possible exception of kids who aren't going to school and for whom arrangements have to be made.  Probably a day in which you will live your life as you always do: same routines, same food, same activities.  Or maybe, it can be a day that changes your life...
For me, July 7th is the beginning of my serious training for the Marine Corps Marathon, although really, the beginning of this story happened a little over a year before.  With a simple, all be it daunting, request, my friend began a tradition last year that served as the spark for a dramatic change in my life.
"Brandon," says friend.  "I want you to run the Tough Mudder with me."
"Are you serious?" says overweight Brandon.
"Yes, I'm serious."
"That's crazy, but if your asking, then okay," sighs Brandon.
You see, I had been toying with the idea of losing weight.  Toying with the thought of getting in shape, getting back to my old self (50 lbs and 10 years ago).  Toying with the idea of being a healthier person who does not snore so loud I keep my wife awake at night.  In fact, I had even promised her that I would lose enough weight by her birthday so that I would no longer snore.  Some progress had been made, but full on commitment, true dedication, they had yet to rise up within.  Even with my agreeing to the Tough Mudder, instant transformation of thought and action did not take place.  It was months away, and after all, he wasn't really serious.  Oh but he was, and months have a way of becoming weeks, and then days, faster than we'd like to admit.  12 miles, 20 plus obstacles, and a little round belly were staring me in the face.  Fear set in.  Fear of making a fool of myself.  Of lying in the mud, somewhere in rural West Virginia, sucking wind while my friend looked at his formally athletic friend and shook his head in disappointment.  I put on a pair of running shoes and set out.  1.5 side cramping, wind stealing, leg throbbing miles.  As any good William & Mary graduate would do, I got books, and started researching.  Two miles became four.  My diet shifted from no processed food to whole food plant based.  I stopped running with my heel hitting the ground first and shifted to a mid foot strike.  Four miles became six, seven, nine.  I could breath.  I stopped snoring.  Somewhere on the road, my belly fell off without my noticing (I did not go back to try and find it—belly is still MIA).  I felt alive.  Free even.  I felt healthy, strong, and happy.  The Tough Mudder became something I awaited with eager anticipation.  My friends and I ran it, enjoying every muddy, sweaty, freezing minute of it.
"So," says Brandon. "What are we going to do next year?"
"I d-d-don't know," says teeth chattering friend wearing an emergency blanket.
"We should run a marathon."
"That's crazy, but if you're asking, okay," says friend.
October becomes November, December brings winter, and with winter comes the dreaded L word—laziness.  Any scientist who claims that perpetual motion doesn't exist, need only look at laziness.  Indolence is an energy vacuum from which many have never return, growing exponentially in power as it feeds off its own existence.  Luckily for me, I had chosen a diet which is arguably the healthiest on the planet (for people as well as the sustainability of the earth).  With nearly zero effort, I maintained my healthy weight over the winter as I listened to the excuses in my head, an inner dialogue that I knew in might heart was false thinking.  My weight might have remained the same, but I had become soft, sluggish, and uninspired.  "After all, the Marine Corps Marathon is months away."

Fact: It is easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape.

Back to July 7th.  16 weeks from October 27 and 26.2 miles.  No time left for procrastination.  Time to be who I want to be, or decide that I am going to settle for less.  Kinda stings when you put it that way, doesn't it.  Time to be who you want to be, or decide to settle for less.  You see, even inaction is an activity.  Sure, it seems easier to be lazy and complacent.  After all, just a paragraph or two ago, I insinuated that laziness was likened to impossible physics.  But it is still a choice.  A decision made.  "I'm just going to sit here."  "I'll just turn on the TV for a bit."  "Ooh, another episode of Pawn Stars is on.  What's that honey?  Oh, no I haven't got to it yet." Ah, but momentum swings both ways.  Break the cycle and you find a way to your whole, healthy, happy self.  Decide to move in the other direction.  Decide to get up and move.
For the next 16 weeks, I will be posting daily on the blog.  I'll include my workout for the day and a recipe from my family's dinner.  Yes, believe it or not, my perfectly normal, well adjusted family of four, all eat a whole food plant based diet.  Me, a beautiful wife, and two wonderful daughters ages 10 and 6.  I invite you to join me one this adventure.  For me, it's one of moving on from, hopefully, the last vestiges of an old life style.  Maybe for you, it truly is just the beginning.  If I'm running 10 miles some day and you only jog one, doesn't matter; because we are both running.  We are both moving.  We are taking steps toward health and wellness.  Toward caring enough about ourselves to take care of our bodies.  Toward fending off diseases that can be almost entirely prevented.  Toward looking great, but most importantly, feeling great.  Toward being fast, lean, strong, and vital. 
I will be shedding the last vestiges of old habits.  Old thinking that led me into complacency.  No more half measures.  I know what I want to feel like.  What I want to achieve.  And the only question I really need to ask myself, that you need to ask yourself, is how much do you want it.  Because, it's not that hard.  Not if you want it bad enough. 
Let the games begin...          

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