It’s funny how life changes before you. Sometimes it’s gradual, where you don’t even notice it until someone else points it out to you. Other times it changes so quickly that you hardly have time to react. In the past few years I’ve experenced both of these types during my lifestyle change, and noticed how my life has went from one thing to another, a nd what sometimes looked impossible was actually rather easy after all.
From late night TV binging to early morning rises to get a long run in; from seeing how much ice cream would fit in a bowl to how much protein was in my energy bar; from struggling to cross the line at my first sprint triathlon to training for my first 70.3; it has been an amazing change and quite an incredible journey. There has been worry that I wasn’t good enough, struggles to get through, self-doubts, and sometimes even pain, but in the end there was always satisfaction, happiness, pride that I could do it, and that I didn’t give up on myself.
The other day I was looking at my workout schedule that my coach sent for the following week. On Saturday I had a 30 run that said “off the bike” but no bike scheduled. On Sunday, I had a 3 hour bike scheduled and then an 11 mile run. I wondered if it was a mistake, so I emailed my coach to ask. But what surprised me wasn’t that I caught it, it was the following line I wrote with relative ease:
“I’m game if you are, just wanted to clarify.”
Wow. I looked at that line after I wrote it. Did I really mean that? Was I really up to riding for three hours, only to jump off the bike and run for eleven miles?!? There was only one thought that came to me:
“You can do it”
It’s funny, I would have never considered that a few short years ago. I still feel like that overweight guy on the sidelines of the triathlon, watching my friend cross the finish and wishing I could do that. Now, suddenly, I am beyond that. With every new day brings new uncharted territory in my fitness journey, and I am the only person that can blaze the trail.
I have a running mentor who I love dearly. She started to focus more on yoga, as I continued to run. One day we ran together and she was asking questions. Then she smiled and said “The student has become the master.” I felt happy that I had learned so much, but saddened that I had grown beyond my mentor and was somewhat on my own. She is still there cheering me on and supporting me, but she wanted me to know that I am no longer a “beginner” runner.
Now I have been given a great opportunity. I am coaching a half marathon program at Fleet Feet Sports in Des Moines. I set up the running schedule, workouts, map the runs, answer questions the runners have, pace the distance runs as well as lead the way for the Wednesday hill/speed workouts. I have a lot of help from Andy, Claire, and the pacers, but it’s quite an honor to be asked to ‘coach’ the group. That is something I would have never dreamed of.
Another way you change, sometimes without noticing, is your appearance. The other day, I ran into a friend of mine that I have not seen for months. He looked at me and exclaimed “How much weight have you lost?” I told him that actually I haven’t lost any weight recently. He looked me over and said “Then you have added a lot of muscle because you have really leaned out”. After he said that, I looked in the mirror. It was true, I had leaned out a bit. I hadn’t noticed it until he pointed it out to me.
Today we are running in the Des Moines Leprechaun 10k. It’s a fun run, and it’s my third year of running in it. However, it should take me 50-55 minutes to finish the race, but my coach has me scheduled to run for 1:50 today. So it looks like I’ll be pausing my Garmin long enough to cheer for my wife and my friends, and then running off again. I would have never guessed that would be possible a few years ago.
Live healthy, be happy!