Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Taking the first steps toward health: getting started

Changing is so difficult!  In my mind I can know 100% for certain that I want to change and live a healthier life!  I know what I want!  I know that the end result is better than anything that I could ever imagine.  Yet why is it so difficult to make the changes?  Why is it so difficult to take the first steps!!

It is the Christmas season.   For the first time in many years I’m totally excited about the holiday!  I was happy the last few years but this year, the first year in my own place again...with Jason....is proving to be extra magical!  We have taken the time to revisit some of the childhood classic cartoons (yup...we started watching on December 1!).   What fun memories ....and seriously...you can’t beat the classics!   We checked out the classic cartoon version of the Grinch  and that first night we also watched ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’.   (Amazon Affiliate links)  My dad always loved the Winter Warlock and would always sing/hum the song sung as he transformed from grouchy Mr. Warlock to nice Winter.  I never understood his fascination with the song...i guess i though that it was just really catchy.  But this year I really listened to the lyrics ...and holy moly, if they don’t speak to someone that is hesitant about taking the first steps to changing their life...than I don’t know what is!!!  (And now that I think about it, I think dad may have referenced this in a sermon once!). As the song (and speech parts)  says,  it really is OUR choice to change and it starts with one step...one foot in front of the other...and soon you are walking cross the floor...one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door!     Is that not so apprapos for a weight loss journey also?   Just take the first steps...

Here are the lyrics (with the speech parts included ...really...take the time to read them...but if you don’t want to read them...listen...I have a video included at the bottom!

It’s time to take ‘one step’ and put one foot in front of the other and change my life into one much more healthy and active!

Lyrics


[Speech]
Winter: I really am a mean and despicable creature at heart, you know. It's so difficult to... [sighs] really change.
Kris: Difficult? [chuckles] Why, why look here. Changing from bad to good's as easy as...taking your first step. 
[Chorus]
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking 'cross the floor.
You put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door. 
You never will get where you're going
If ya never get up on your feet.
Come on, there's a good tail wind blowin'
A fast walking man is hard to beat. 
[Chorus]
If you want to change your direction,
If your time of life is at hand,
Well, don't be the rule, be the exception
A good way to start is to stand. 
[Chorus]
Winter: If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn...
Kris: Oh, you do.
Winter: You mean that it's just my election?
Kris: Just that.
Winter: To vote for a chance to be reborn? Woo-hoo! 
[slowly]
You put one foot in front of the other, and
Soon you are walking
'Cross the floor
You put one foot in front of the other, and
[a tempo]
Soon you are walking out the door 
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you are walking 'cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon...
You'll be walking...
Out the door!

And now for the video ...enjoy!  


Monday, December 03, 2018

Addiction addled mind: rationalizing my food choices

Happy Monday!  Luckily for me I am off work today, so my weekend is not ending!  In a way I almost wish it were!  Why?  My eating has been out of control and it is typically easier for me to regain control with the routine of work in place. Regardless,  I found myself awake at 3AM.  Not exactly sick, but unable to sleep.  Other than that we had a fabulous weekend.  Relaxing, eye opening in terms of my food addiction and even a bit of exercise amidst the rain and fog.

First let’s recap the weekend.  I was off Friday.  (Jason has had to work both Friday and today...but I still have some use it or lose it time...I’m not losing!!). On Friday I spent my day running and doing all kinds of errands AND all of those chores that you keep saying ‘I really need to do it....next weekend for sure...’.   (ie a new shower curtain liner, bra shopping, etc)  I was on the go from the time I woke up until about 20-30 minutes before Jason got home.  Felt good to knock so much off my to do list!!!  On Saturday it was rainy...so we ran a few errands.  I knocked another big to do off my list.  When I reached my lowest weight I got rid of all of my big clothes....including winter coats.  As I regained I simply wore layers of sweatshirts to make do in cold weather. Not the optimal option but I didn’t want to spend the money if I was going to lose...it was kinda the same mindset with the bras and the bra shopping I didn’t want to buy until I was a lower size. (The bras had become a necessity though you know it’s bad when one comes out of the washer in two pieces!). So when we walked through the mall and I saw that most places had their winter coats on sale for 50% off I started to look. (It helped that this was my three paycheck month versus the normal two...so no rent/bill money was deducted!!).  I fear this winter...we are due for a bad one..and with how wet it has already been, I think we are going to get walloped!  So I purchased a coat that fits me!  It fits me perfectly ...no room for weight gain!!  And the best part?  It was 50% off...and I signed up for the store credit card (which I will never use again) and got another 50% off on top of that!  I got my winter coat for $40!  I hate winter...but after so many years without a coat, I want a cold day!!  On Sunday it was wet and foggy.  We visited Jason’s parents and hit up the canal for a bike ride. (Notice the multiple layers on me...it wasn’t supposed to be cold...and Besides, I didn’t want to get my new jacket muddy!!!)

Today will be spent with my mom!!!  I told her she can take me out for lunch to celebrate my upcoming birthday!  Hahaha. We will be shopping and who knows what else today!!

This weekend I picked up a book I had read a while back.  It is called ‘Do life’ by Ben Davis. (Amazon Affiliate link).  I haven’t gotten too far into it during this reread....but it has already really struck a chord.  He talked about his addiction with food (and with gambling). He discusses how our minds (the addicted and messed up mind) can convince us to do the exact opposite of what we had planned or what we want to do.   As I read,I could see it in my behavior of the weekend.  I made a vow/challenge for December....I am going to try to drop 10 pounds!  So why in the world did I on Friday...November 30’th make my all time favorite cookie...a cookie that I refer to as my personal crack?  I convinced myself that I would make them...eat them on Friday and by December be done!  (Seriously...I KNOW that this cookie recipe makes about 6 dozen!). But, make them I did!   Surprisingly enough on Friday I kept it under control...mostly.  Saturday not so much. I had vowed  a ‘two a night’ limit!  Somehow my addicted mind decided that two a night had nothing to do with eating 8 at lunch! (Excuse me...for lunch...I only ate cookies for lunch!). So then when night time came along I still had my nighttime two to eat...but then my addicted mind proclaimed the day already a failure...so I figured that I may as well eat 4 or 8 more!!!  And I did. What’s worse? I started to repeat the cycle on Sunday!   The whole time I was doing this I wasliterally nodding my head and saying ‘this is exactly how he said an addict thinks’. But it didn’t stop me!!!   I am proud to say that on Sunday night I packaged what was left into packages of four  (I don’t make them huge  maybe 1.5 inch in diameter...oh heck...there is the addict brain speaking and rationalizing again) and  popped them in the freezer.  Yes they are still in the house but they are not as readily accessible!  Thawing then out will make me take the time to really decide if I want them,versus sneaking one cookie when I go into the kitchen (and that one cookie turning into 4 or 10).   

As I laid here this morning unable to sleep this morning, I started to think about the nights I can’t sleep.  Without fail they are followed by either a night or a period of time on which my eating was not exactly healthy.  (Hmm And water consumption has been non existent this weekend also....). Coincidence?   I think not!!!!

So I’m kinda back on track.  It will still be a rough month food wise...lunch out with mom today...birthday celebrations....Christmas...eiiyiiyii!   But I am hot on the trail!  I can do it!!!

Friday, November 30, 2018

December plans

November...what can I say?  It’s been a month...how is that for vague and bit really informative!!!   OK...this is me and I am open and honest if nothing else.  There were extremely happy moments and utterly sad ones.   There was victories and failures in terms of my weight loss journey.   Through it all, there came a plan for the future.

Emotions
 Emotionally,  was it good or was it bad???

It was a difficult month.   We made it through the first anniversary of dad’s death   I still miss him like everything and can’t believe that he is gone!!!  Oh if only I could talk to him at least one more time!  

The month wasn’t all tears and sadness.   Jason and I celebrated our third year anniversary.    Yup..we have been together 3 years now! That is amazing!!!  I’m still amazed at how amazing a GOOD relationship really is!!!


 Victories for the month
I started to workout in the morning.   Ok, don’t get too excited, I am not working out hard core intense!!!   But it’s 20-25 minutes of activity...four mornings a week...at 5:30 AM!!!  Other than one or two days where I was fighting off a sickness, I’ve not skipped any days!!

The other big victory was definitely my eating on Thanksgiving Day   I had the eating challenge ...and it went perfectly and I felt in control!!!!

Failure for the month
Yeah, my weight...totally failure.  I am about 3 pounds higher at the end of the month than what I was at the beginning of the month!   Yes...I’m ashamed!!!

Future 
So what’s up for the future?

I am going to have some changes at work. I am being moved to a different team.  That in itself is a change...and lots of learning.  But....on top of the new team and new knowledge,  my schedule is changing.  It’s only a half hour...but it is going to eat up that exercise time that I just carved into my daily routine.  I started a habit and now I don’t know what to do.   I will be waking up at 5:30 each day to get ready to go to work....and yeah, I could get up at 5AM...but...well.....    sprightly now my thinking is to try to do something for a half hour when I get home each night.  

The other thing?  I am challenging myself.  I’m saying 10 pounds in December!!!   It’s a lofty goal...especially since it’s a holiday season!!!  And birthday season in my family.  (December 10th is the best one ever...my b-day!!).   I have set the 10 pound goal, but I’m just hoping to have the downward trend happening!!!!!  Anything down on the scales will be a victory!!!!

So there you have it...the good, the sad, the shameful, the plans!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mind over Matter

Years ago when I was running consistently, I bought a road of bracelet.  (It is an armband/ankle band that has your identifying information on it should someone find you  unable to communicate while you are out biking or running). Mine had my name and contact info on it...and I also put the phrase  ‘mind over Matter’ on it.  For me it meant that my body would be telling me that I was dying and my body would be telling me that I couldn’t do it....but if I put my mind to the task then I could accomplish unimaginable goals!   It worked for me...and I latched onto that phrase for quite a while.  But eventually my focus shifted and I forgot the phrase...until recently.  Recently I had my eyes opened to how much power the mind really does have when it comes to attaining seemingly hard to reach and even unattainable goals.

 I have the best brother in the whole wide world.   Growing up, sure we fought (like cats and dogs my mom may say) but I have many memories of amazing times with him. You see, I had a brother that played with me.  He played restaurant with me (yeah...I had a kitchen set and since my grandmother owned a restaurant, we used to pretend we owned a restaurant!)...he was willing to play something more ‘girlie’ with me....but then on the flip side, I played army men with him....I had my own collection of matchbox cars that I pulled out to play with when I wanted to join him in his play.   Growing up, he really was my best friend.   We have grown up and while life keeps us busy and running in opposite directions...I know my brother still loves me just as much as I love him....and I know he would raise an army for me if I needed it.  I just wanted to share about my amazing brother before I wrote and share the story about him!

About two or three months ago (on Labor Day to be exact) my brother was out riding his bike.  My brother rides road bikes...a LOT so this is not uncommon.  He was riding with a group of people. They actually got off the road and onto a rail trail for something a bit different.  My brother was second in line.  The person that was leading the group had an accident (from what I was told he hit something and lost his grip on the handlebars and went down).  Going the speed they were going (probably about 20 -25 mph) and being only inches off of the lead persons wheel, my brother couldn’t avoid it...he ended up crashing. It was bad...bad enough that he had to take a ride in an ambulance to the local hospital....and from there he took another ambulance ride to a hospital in Baltimore (70 miles away) for a specialist.  Why the extra ride?  He broke his pelvis and it would require surgery (and a more delicate surgery due to where the break was located).  He was in the hospital for a few days, had the surgery and added some hardware to his body (screws and I think a plate) and then came home.  I am a google person...so I researched his injury, surgery and recovery.  6 months if someone is lucky...but usually closer to a year.  Wow...that was a tough pill to swallow for me, and I worried about my brother.   But, here is where mind over matter comes into play.

As the week in the hospital unfolded we were told that he wouldn’t be able to put any weight on that side of his body for a few weeks....but that soon changed to crutches and minimal weight.  I don’t know if the doctor sensed his drive, but even that soon changed to ‘use the walking assistance as needed’. He was sent home from the hospital with crutches (he declined the walker as that seemed like an old person’s option...and he said a cane seemed too permanent).  

Jason and I stopped by for a visit sometime within the first week of him getting home. We knocked on the door and my jaw dropped ...my brother answered the door...walking on his own two feet...unassisted!  Yeah, he had a limp but where were the crutches?  They were in a corner in the other room.  The doctor said as needed...and he didn’t need them...not at that moment for short walks and jaunts.   Somewhere in those first two weeks I was talking to my mom and she mentioned that one of my brothers first forays into the world after getting home was to drive to the bike shop.  You see, he had pulled the trigger on a new bike a day or two before his accident.  He had to go to the bike shop to check out his new baby.  They has put the build on hold because they knew the extent of his injury....and my brother had to go to get them working again...and to see his buddies!

I saw my brother  again two weeks to the day after the accident and a week and a half after the surgery.  He was walking most of the time unassisted.  And he said this to me.  ‘They tell me that the average recovery time is a year.  A year recovery time is unacceptable’.  Unacceptable?  I wanted to look at him and say ‘sorry big brother but this is NOT something you have control over’. But I didn’t. He started to talk about getting back on a bike...his indoor bike.  And when he went to his first follow up appointment the next day he was cleared for 15 minute rides on the indoor bike...low resistance.  Let me say it again...two weeks and 1 day after the accident (or to make it sound  even more amazing...1 week and 5 days after surgery) my brother was on his indoor bike trainer riding!

My brother picked up his new bike...and he rode it around the block!  And then came the day.....right around the two month mark that I was talking to my mom and brother on the phone (hey I call mom and talk to her during my commute home from work each Tuesday and Thursday...she puts the phone on speaker phone and I talk to whomeever is visiting her also...yes I’m hands free also!!). I heard the news.  My brother had been riding outside...each day that week...about 25 miles .  That’s 25 miles each ride...not an accumulation of miles.  Not his new bike...he was riding his old bike just because he knows how it handles and how it feels...feels more safe to be on a bike that he knows...and as he said he didn’t even have bottle cages on the new bike yet.   But I noticed over thanksgiving while I was feeding his cat...and I was checking out his new bike...cuz that’s what a good sister does (and let me tell you..his new bike is SHARP looking...) but I noticed that he is gearing it up...it now had bottle cages!  Apparently two weeks after starting to ride, the doctor ok’d him to ride anyway...so he isn’t doing anything harmful..just maybe a bit earlier than the doctor may have wanted (of course some of that could be because he doesn’t see the doctor all that often...and I’m sure he probably spoke of it to his physical therapists). 

A year was unacceptable....his mind made that proclamation.  And he had ignored all the ‘year recovery’ babble.  He decided to forge his own recovery. And it is amazing to see. I can well imagine that there are people (even people younger than my brother...he will be 50 in March) who had the same or similar surgery and at two months in are still walking using crutches 100% of the time. I’m not downing them...their minds haven’t declared the prescribed recovery time as unacceptable!  (My brother wanted to be back on his bike badly...and the business he owns is  very physical as he builds the most incredible furniture and he needs to be back to 100% for that also).

Mind over matter!  Put your mind to something and you can achieve the most amazing results.....against all odds!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Ephiphany: Weekend recap and some revelations

It was a long weekend and I enjoyed it thoroughly!   I had some thoughts and revelations about my journey.  I had a victory.   I also suffered a bit of a set back.  So good and bad all rolld into one.  So lets take it one day at a time..

Thursday
Thanksgiving was actually a victorious day.  I had set a challenge for myself and I nailed it!  It was the perfect challenge for me.  It gave me the freedom to enjoy the holiday and the holiday eating, but yet still keep me reigned in!  I will definitely be revisiting the same challenge at Christmas! 

Friday
This is where it started to fall apart.  I had off work (that part was good) and spent the day with my mom (that part was good also).   We went out to lunch and I actually chose a place that I could get a good salad.  I was craving a salad!   I knew my calories would be higher because...well a salad with all the fixin's isn't usually low calorie. I was ok with the higher calories because I would rather eat something that is packed with nutrition versus eating a higher calorie meal that has limited nutritious value.  BUT then they said "would you like the endless soup for 1 dollar more".  Of course I got it...and of course I chose the Broccoli Cheese soup..  I ate two bowls of that soup.   I was STUFFED.  Mom and I hit up a few stores...but pretty much just hung out and avoided the crowds.  Dinner rolled around and it was our standard pizza and wings night.  I wasn't really hungry...but I still managed to eat a few wings and two slices of pizza.   See....bad.....why was I eating when I wasn't hungry?

Saturday
It was raining and miserable...and borderline freezing so in areas of our travel it was freezing over.  We relaxed and headed to Hagerstown to run a few errands and see mom.  I tried to stay close to mom this weekend.  This weekend was  the year anniversary of dad's death..Sunday the 25th to be exact.  (And I still cry at the drop of a hat when I think about life without my dad). 
Dad with his high waters and me with my short short dress!  Christmas 1977
I nibbled on some food at mom's...but nothing major.  I fell off the wagon when dinner rolled around.  I was hungry....and I ate way too much food.  I was stuffed but I STILL managed to shovel in some dessert!  Why oh why???   And then I felt miserable the rest of the night....and I woke up with a stomach ache Sunday morning.  It is SOOOO not worth it!

Sunday
 We woke up and headed to the Christmas tree farm. We took the hayride out to the fields.

We picked out the perfect tree. We (Jason) curly the tree down and we carted it home.
Of course we decorated our tree. And that took most of the day.   We relaxed in the evening and enjoyed the tree!!
So what is the revelations?

We talk about doing things.  We talk about our dreams and plans. A few months ago we sat back and said "enough is enough, next year we ARE going to Maine (Acadia)..and tentatively it is scheduled for August."   When we had our vacation in October  one of the lessons we learned was that we have to be in good shape if we plan on having an active vacation in Maine.   Motivator for sure! 

Well....we took it a step further this weekend.  We have talked about hiking the Inca Trail and seeing Machu Pichu for years.   We have set a date....well...a year.  2022    Why that year?  Well 2019 is Maine.   2020 and 2021 will be less expensive vacations while we put money aside for the biggie.  AND 2022 is the year that I turn 50.  So I will be hiking the Inca Trail the year I turn 50 (technically I will probably still be 49 when we do it......since I don't turn 50 until the end of the year).    Jason will at that time decide what big vacation we do on his 50'th year which will be in 2025. 

If we are hiking the Inca trail....I have to be in shape!   Just like all the hiking and biking in Maine will be more enjoyable if I am in shape.

Did we stop there?  No....we talked about the fact that we have always talked about doing section hikes of the Appalachian Trail.  We have talked about it for 3 years now (yup, we hit out three year anniversary on November 20th).  But we haven't done it.  We haven't even started to purchase gear.  I have no gear...and Jason is partially geared...he purged all of the stuff that needed replaced when we moved....so he needs to replace some of his stuff.  SOOOO we sat down and have started a list of gear we need.   And we will be starting to get our stuff slowly but surely.  This is going to happen. 

I'm tired of being fat.  I'm tired of being out of shape.  I'm tired of it all!  It's time to change!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Turkey day challenge

On Monday I wrote a post and threw down a challenge for myself (and for anyone else who wanted to join me!   The challenge was simple....it had four diffeeent facets and didn’t focus at all on calories...but allowed me to enjoy the holiday but still have restrictions in place.

1. Exercise
2. No bites licks or tastes while cooking (all food must be eaten off a plate..at the table)
3.  One plate/serving
4.  Picture of plate of food

So how did I do???

1.  Exercise 
I knew that I wanted to go for a run  since time wasn’t an issue....little did I know that it would be one of the coldest days of the year thus far!  It was in the mid 20’s!!!!  Brrrrrr.   But I went!!!

So how rosy my cheeck/face was...that’s a combo from exertion and coldness!!!

I was curious how I would feel!  I haven’t run in ages...but I’ve been faithfully getting on the stair thingy.  I managed to run the whole time (slowly).  And I managed it without too many aches...just the backs of my thighs!

One down...three to go!

2.  No bites, licks or tastes.   I though that this one would be easy....but it was really difficult!   ‘Hey Maryfran, taste the mashed potatoes to see if they need more salt’. ‘Does the stuffing have enough...’. Grrrrr.  So many questions...all relating to something needing a taste to check it before finishing it and calling the dish complete!    

I didn’t take a bite...I deferred and had mom taste it all.  

Victory

3. One serving/plate

This one also proved to be a bit more difficult.   I had a plate of food...(my roll laid beside the plate, I didn’t want it touching my food on the plate...lol). I ate it and then had to sit while everyone else ate...and the baked corn and stuffing were both beside me..two favorites!!!     Finally I DID cave and grabbed my small, previously unused appetizer plate and went and grabbed some raw veggies off the veggie platter to nibble on while every one else was stuffing their faces.  

So was that a victory or a failure???  I didn’t have another saw one serving  of anything.  I had a FIRST  serving of raw veggies.    I actually felt pretty good after our 1pm thanksgiving dinner.  Not stuffed or anything..but full and satisfied!

I did about two hours later have a piece of pumpkin pie when we served dessert.   And for dinner, I had some leftover corn and stuffing...I wasn’t really hungry!

4. Pictures

You can see my dinner roll. I had a small scoop of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, baked corn and  a stuffing.   Delicious!! 

I failed to get a picture of my veggies...but I had some crisp sweet bell peppers, carrots and broccoli.

I did get a picture of the pie. (With the crust that fell off)


My dinner...I failed to get the pictures...it was leftovers  (corn and stuffing...my favorites...carby but what I wanted! So I ate what I wanted and skipped what I didn’t!!)
So a partial victory...but at least I photographed the important meal!!!

Overall I feel as if I did really good! I put my food into myfitnesspal this morning and came up with 1778...a bit high,but I wasn’t aiming for perfection...I was aiming for under control indulgence! I feel like I achieved that!   As for the calories,  I thought I did much better than that (the pumpkin pie is what I’m blaming!!! Hahaha. Well yeah I guess it was the pumpkin pie...300 some calories!)   I’m ok with it.  Furthermore, it would have been much much worse had I not had these ‘rules’ in place!!! 

So now the big thing...my weight....it is looking a bit higher than yesterday morning...but right on target with what it was last Saturday. (official weigh in is  Saturday so I’ll know for sure then.) so as for right now it will probably be a maintain for the week.  My water consumption was in the toilet yesterday though ...so that’s skewing today’s results a bit I imagine.  

Sooooo...my thoughts on the challenge!  It certainly worked for me!!!  Had I not had a set plan that I was 100% determined to meet, I would have done much worse!  (MUCH worse!). My plan was NOT to stay within calories.  My plan was set in place to enjoy the holiday food but yet keep it under control. I feel as if it worked absolutely perfectly!  I will definitely be revisiting this challenge again  at Christmas for sure also in future years!  I will personally adjust it though.   The picture of my food did NOTHING for me...other than to make me stress because I was at the table with others and it was awkward....and then I stressed when I went back with my previously unused appetizer plate for the raw veggies....I was halfway through the veggies when I realized I hadn’t taken a picture...so more stressful than anything else.  But the rest of the rules...definite keepers!!!!








Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Amazing bodies: perseverance and a little sadist all thrown together

A few years ago, when I was running consistently I heard about a little known race.  It was of the endurance variety...so while it was interesting, it wasn’t on my radar of races to train for.  However, it was something that I wanted to hear more about.  I tucked the name of the race in the back of my head and vowed to look into it first chance I got.  What is the name of the race?  The Barkley Marathon.  

It wasn’t until 2016 that I had the opportunity to really learn about the race.   Jason and I were looking for a movie to watch and saw this movie called “The Barkley Marathon: The race that eats its young”.  (Amazon affiliate link) My brain immediately regurgitated the information that ‘hey, this is the race I heard about a year or two ago!’  So we decided to watch it.    I was glued to the screen while we watched...totally intrigued....and the fascination has not gone away!  

In brief....this race is brutal!  The title of the documentary ‘the race that eats its young’ is well named.  It is the mastermind of a man named Laz who apparently  has a wicked sense of humor. (Come on now...entry is based on an essay and a $1.60 entry fee....if you are accepted you get a condolence letter, there is a bugler that plays taps...quite frequently, the race starts with a cigarette lighting, just to name a few quirks.).  The race is held in the mountains of Tennessee and was inspired by a prison escape.  Yes a prison escape. A prison is/was nestled in these rugged mountains in in the late 70’s an inmate escaped.   They caught him 55 hours later....he had made it all of 8 miles in those 55 hours....Laz began to mock the story and said ‘I could make it at least 100 miles’.  And the race was born.  To say that this race is brutal is an understatement.  This race has been held yearly since 1986 and to date there have only been 15 people to ever finish it...and only 18 times someone has completed it! (This discrepancy in the numbers...one person finished it two years and another person finished it three times).  When someone does complete it, Laz makes the course more difficult.  What does the race entail?  5 loops of running/climbing/crawling and sliding your way through the rugged woods...with a 60 total time cut off. (No stopping the clock to sleep...if you sleep it eats into your 60 hours)  Each loop is between 20-30 miles....and the whole race requires just under 70,000 feet of climbing.  Oh did I mention that this course is unguided...you have a map and a compass....and it’s mostly NOT on trails.  Brutal!

I watched that first documentary and I was hooked.  I knew the race was held in March or April, so I started looking for reports of the race .  We had a winner!  And a guy local to me!   I devoured the reports..and the winning runner’s blog.   And I actually got emotional when I heard about the guy who made a navigational mistake that cost him time.....in the last 10-30 minutes of the race....and he came in exactly SIX SECONDS after the time cut off. 

I watched again in March/April of 2018 and saw a few reports....no one was able to complete it.. not one person!  If I’m correct no one even made it to attempt a fourth loop!  Not even the guy that was 6 seconds late the previous year.  

And then the other week I noticed a new documentary that came out. Of course we watched it!   It is called “where Dreams Go To Die”.  It follows one runner as he makes multiple attempts to complete this brutal race. Once again, I was enthralled!

The intrigue in this race is very real and strong for me.   I can’t get enough of it....  My mind circles at the training, perseverance, dedication and fortitude to complete something like that. Ok,not even to complete it...to even attempt it.  Most people are lucky to get one loop done.  It blows my mind!    I have no desire to complete it (although Jason said never say never!) but I just can’t atop contemplating and reading about it!  

I think the thing that gets me the most is the mindset.  What these people display is awe inspiring....and SHOULD  translate into my quest for healthy living....because what they are doing is exactly what I SHOULD be doing.. maybe just  in a slightly smaller and less extreme way.   These people have the uttermost determination. They prepare  for months and push through pain and hardship!  They sacrifice...time and comfort.  They lost sleep to finish workouts...they didn’t indulge in certain foods that were not beneficial to their goals.    They figure out how to make this work within a full schedule of work, life and family!  The finisher from 2017 did so with twin babies and a toddler at home...while working a full time job....he commuted to work every day on his own two feet ..more recently on a bicycle as he was training for an Ironman since his Barkley finish.  (as a side note...his shoe leather express commute is probably faster than my commute in a car in D.C. traffic!!).  The second documentary...he has a wife and young son...he makes it work also. 

So what excuses do I have?  My measley half hour workout in the morning is NOTHING compared to the hours these people spend training.  My aches and pain are nothing when I compare myself to the conditions that these people willingly put themselves through.   Being intrigued and immersed in something like the Barkley Marathons puts my excuses into perspective.  They are null and void!!!!