Typically, when I tell people I am a runner, their faces freeze in sort of a half smile and there is a moment of awkward silence as they wait for the punchline. I suppose that’s because of my… … …size. I am a large guy, 6′ 3″ with a bowl-full-of-jelly belly. What can I say? I like food. Perhaps, if I could identify with any fictional character, it would be the Ghost of Christmas Present – sitting on a throne in my bathrobe surrounded by mounds of turkey legs and stuffing with a grapevine crown that I could pluck a snack from… mmmm. Where was I? Oh yeah, but I do try to moderate my intake, particularly at this time of year. Being mid-November now, my kids have figured out that I am not really storing up fat for hibernation. They think they’re so smart. So, I need a little help during the holidays. Here’s a shout out to Coach Jenny’s Holiday Challenge Group for their endless energy and motivation through these trials of tasty temptations. Love you guys!
When I started running, I lost 30 pounds and leveled off. That’s because exercise is only half the battle. Apparently, you have to eat healthy, too. What the heck? Really? So that’s as far as I got. But there is a fun side to the misconception that I don’t look like a runner. On several occasions, I have challenged the boys in my Cub Scout pack to a race and surprised their hair straight when I beat them. Usually, people dive for cover in terror when they see me barreling down the road, but a win is a win. And now that they’ve discovered I can run, they’ve asked me to put together a 5k fundraiser. oh goodie… That will be a separate post.
There was one girl who was pretty witty – my brother’s girlfriend. He introduced me to her and proudly said, “Doug just ran a marathon.” Without hesitation, she replied, “Why? That’s what cars are for.” He-he, wasn’t that cute? NOT!
However, in running, eating carbs for energy is important. As you do your long distance training runs or run a half or full marathon, you will want to take something to refuel with about every three miles. I like to pack a sack lunch in a brown paper bag. It’s just sometimes hard to spoon out the jello and get it into my mouth as I run. People give me strange looks. One time I dropped a glob on the ground and the poor lady behind me stepped in it. Oops. She wasn’t happy so I ran a little faster.
Doughnuts are yummy but can be a little messy. I found that out a couple of years ago when I was showing off my finish line photo to a friend and he said, “What’s that all over your mouth? Chocolate?” So it’s trial and error, figuring out what works for you.
When you are a big guy like me, you often have to make exceptions, or work around obstacles. For example, if I don’t get to the expo early enough, they run out of the “Hulk Smash” sized shirts. Two years ago, I ran the Kiss Me I’m Irish 4k with my belly button exposed because I was late to the expo. It worked out, though. I just put a shamrock in it and no one noticed.
I find that scales don’t work right either and often need to be tinkered with. Problem is, when I fix it to work for me, it’s off for my wife. She’ll step on it and it will read: 35 lbs. And my kids will weigh –10 and –25 lbs. respectively. And the scale at my doctor’s office is just rude! Whatever.
The important thing is not that number on the scale, it’s being healthy. So give me my grapevine crown and let me laugh on my throne in my bathrobe and I will run all day long.