This morning as I was getting dressed for work, I heard a soft sobbing. I peeked in on my wife and she was sound asleep, dreaming about trading in the old oil glutton for a sleek new minivan with racing stripes and backup camera or having her own private bathroom separate from us boys, or some other cheery fantasy.
The sobbing continued and I looked down at the button on my pants. “What’s wrong Mr. Button?” I asked.
“I can’t do it anymore,” he cried. “It’s all too much. I’m leaving.”
“Don’t fly away, Mr. Button. I need you. I’m counting on you to preserve my dignity today. I’ll lose weight, I promise!”
Mr. Button had apparently been talking to my hands because in the last post, my fingers betrayed me. They typed out three little characters: 50k. Ok, ok… subconsciously, I knew that the best way to push ahead and be accountable was to tell others about my goal. So there it was for all to see. Next December I turn 50 and will mark the occasion by running a 50k. I have some time before the serious training begins, so I will use that time to drop pounds.
The first thing I did was get a haircut. When that didn’t move the scale, I knew it would require more drastic measures. Let’s face it, though. We all know what it takes to lose weight, a healthy diet and exercise, but knowing it is one thing. Doing it is something far more difficult.
Running is something I do for fun and to maintain a level of fitness, so I’ve never worried much about speed or PRs (Personal Records for my muggle friends) or my weight.
A few years ago, probably during the Phoenix half marathon, I remember trotting along taking in the sights and smiling like there was a feather in my pocket. “Hello, how are you?” I said and waved to pedestrians who couldn’t care less. When from behind me came a huffing and grunting that totally disrupted my bliss! Now, I’m big at 6’3″ and well over 200 lbs, but this guy dwarfed me. Easily 6’7″ and 50 lbs. heavier, he was a large freight train. His face was beet red and looked about ready to explode and he was breathing so hard that I could feel the atmospheric pressure fluctuate as he passed. My goodness! I thought. He’s got seven more miles to go! I glanced around for an aid station wondering if they carried cardiac paddles at these races.
“You’ve got a great pace going there,” I said, not expecting a reply.
“This is my first half,” he said. “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Sure is.” It was then that I realized that perhaps I wasn’t pushing hard enough. My pace has remained relatively unchanged for the past six halfs. If I’m going to run a 50k ultra marathon (31 miles or approximately half the distance to the moon) then I need to drop weight. Less weight to carry means less work and less risk of injury.
The day after I made that announcement, I injured my foot.
It’s all good and fine for my buttons and fingers to collude against me, but my feet would hear nothing of it. “We may be wrinkled and smelly,” they shouted, “but you need us to run a 50k!”
My brain, being neutral Switzerland in the matter, thought that climbing stairs at work would be a good way to get in extra cardio. On the second step, my foot let out a loud pop. Ow! What the heck was that?! Did a bone break? Did I step on a nail? I was down for the count.
Eyes watered to alert other body parts that something was wrong. Brain said, “Everybody calm down! Let’s evaluate the situation… no blood… nothing poking out of the skin or sticking out at an odd angle. What’s that weird lumpy thing on the end? Oh, it’s little toe. I think we’ll be ok. Let’s get back to the desk and take it easy.”
This weekend is the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona half marathon, so I’ve been babying my foot and whispering sweet nothings to it. It’s better than it was and hopes are high that I can complete the 13.1 miles on Sunday.
Thanks to the overwhelming positive comments and support from friends about this challenge, I think all body parts are finally on board with it. Mr. Button will be happy to hear that I’ll be watching my diet more closely, reducing carbs and portion sizes and increasing veggies and fruits. And Mr. Belly Button will finally be able to close his mouth.
Phase one has begun.