By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
December 17, 2015
So in two days, I will officially be 38 years old. I grow a little somber during my birthday, mainly due to the fact I feel I wasted so many years being angry and trying to eat myself to an early grave. Truthfully, it kind of makes me edgy and self loathing, bringing out a lot of personal hurdles that constantly need attacking and dismantling. That’s right, I consider my personal hang-ups as massive walls, and I really have no way to get over them. I become paralyzed with an inability to actually problem solve, for usually I am quite adept and thinking things through. But not with this problem. I might have a sledgehammer or a pick that might help me in the interim, but it seems like a horrendous journey that continues to make my life difficult. I’ll admit, I’m not dealing with it too well right now, for a massive tsunami of negativity and anger is pouring through my mind and poisoning my heart, making me think and say things I don’t even want to share on this blog. But with each day, I wake up with some new resolve, only to knock myself down again with some new problem that I have created in my head. It all seems to revolve around the typical hang-ups permeating my life, but I try to keep it from seeping out on social media or poisoning other people. I’ll admit, when your subconscious life goal was to end your journey early, it gets weird growing older. I had a massive hissy fit about my gray hair, getting extremely frustrated that only older women are hitting on me and people think I look much older than I really am. The worst incident was in a selfies group I was in and people were playing a “How old do you think I am” game in the group. I played along, and people thought I was 45! I’ve kind of calmed down about it recently, but I still want to go back to coloring my hair when I can start affording the luxury of doing so (I deemed it unimportant in my budget, which makes me wonder why I can’t get the idea of having gray hair out of my head).
For me, growing older brings about such an anxiety, I don’t even care about the new Star Wars movie or the new Quentin Tarantino movie or whatever silly pop culture thing that is going on right now. People talk about being anxious to see those type of things, but I have a newsflash in my own life which seems more important. I mean, I’m turning 38! Think about it for a second. I thought I might be dead by the time I was 50, where I kind of made this pact in my head where if I somehow made it to 50, then I might go vegetarian or even vegan to kind of save my life (I was quite aware of the health benefits for both eating philosophies, but I also found them too much of a hassle due to the engineered “food” I ate constantly kept me doped up and of unsound mind). Truthfully, I was probably on my way to a heart attack by the time I hit 40, maybe even multiple since I was a pretty gigantic man. It was kind of funny how my parents posted a photo of me that was about seven years old, and I looked a “healthy” 350 or so. Of course, I looked like the fat slob I was projecting, complete with grease stains on my shirt while wearing an undershirt under the main shirt due to the shortness of the main shirt (which I did not want anyone to see the overhang). I realize how far I have come from those days, and I realize the insanity I was putting myself through. There is just no real explanation…I must have been subconsciously trying to kill myself! So even though I complain and become anguished about my inability to assimilate into society whether it be through social interactions, dating or even job seeking, it’s certainly a much better alternative. So I know there are some people who think I over dramatize these facts, but it is definitely the truth now. In the past four years, I have understood and learned about myself in much better ways than I could imagine. I am still learning and trying to figure stuff out, and I am still frustrated with my inability to understand. A logic and numbers kind of person like myself always has these issues.
I will always be thankful for my life right now, because despite the inner torment and the lack of inner peace in my mind, is it better to live and deal with these things rather than turn away and lose yourself in the unhealthy alternative? I say no. Right now, I just think there may have been a large hole in my life due to the lack of a future, and I fortunately believe I may have found something awesome to look forward to once again, something to feed my heart and give me a purpose once again to help deal with the issues and make me feel better. I joined a Ragnar Del Sol team, and the scariest part about it is all the uncertainty surrounding it. I’m not joining Victorious Secret this year, for the team captains opted to take a hiatus from the event, most likely due to the fact running a team for a good six years is tough on the mind and the pocket book. I joined on a whim, casually blurting out I would join a team to a Facebook friend provided they needed another runner. Well, it took all of 48 hours or so to have myself a team and be officially registered to run in the 10th anniversary of the race. It makes me wonder if the medals we get will be made out of tin! (or some websites claim the new modern equivalent is aluminum, and for the insanely rich, a blue sapphire. What the heck is that all about!). This time around, I opted to take a very brave course in my life and go completely against the grain in regards to everything with this race. One thing that Ragnar Las Vegas taught me was I could easily adjust to a group of unusual people, people I have no real common relationship with other than being stuck in a van with them (though my friend Stacey was vegan like me, so there was that! hehe). I am still weird and not consistent with societal norms, but at least I am not so weird that I would alienate a lot of people. This gave me the confidence necessary to move forward and actually throw my name out there, which I guess would be considered a nice growing point in my life. It gets even more interesting as well!
For the first time in my Ragnar Del Sol career, I’m going to be in Van 2. While I know every route in Van 1 like the back of my hand, I kind of made it a point to be in the second van, even if it is not as scenic and beautiful as Van 2. The familiarity was something I needed to break, and I figured this would make for a good opportunity. And here is the real kicker….I am the last runner! I kind of made it a weird point to volunteer for runner 12, but it was also a pretty logical one. I have always wanted to finish or start the race, and since this would be an incredibly new experience for me, I figured I might as well go full tilt. I’m not trained at all to be runner nine, which has a 13.5 mile leg in it, but I will be ready for the 7.38 and 7.29 mile runs I have to deal with. Running 18.4 miles is a pretty doable endeavor for me, for it won’t even be the most miles I have run in this race. Plus I am mostly looking at flat, level running, so the issue of cramps might not be such an issue for me at all. Training is general is going to be a sticky problem, because I still have yet to run in almost a month.
The blisters on my feet are doing just fine, in case you are wondering. And yes, I mean multiple blisters. On my smallest toes, they all seemed to develop little blisters at once, making it difficult to even walk. But now I have a purpose to fulfill for the next three months, and in this time of turmoil, I think I need it more than anything. During this past month, I was expecting a huge amount of hours at work, believing I was going to save enough money to go on trips to Denver and Austin in order to visit family and friends. But like my dream had always been in regards the Christmas season—a year where people didn’t fully entrench their hearts in crass commercialism—it has come and hit me like a boomerang as the peak season at work has been more of a hill than anything. A lot of ideas have been tossed to the wayside, so doing this race might be a much cheaper alternative than planning for two out of town trips. My anxiety was really met with a brick to the face, when I was forced to lose a day of work due to a screw-up with the Department of Public Safety (high way patrol in the state of Arizona), making life very difficult for me in regards to a fine a had to pay. There records were so messed up I had to skip a day of work just to get it settled in person (see, automation and technology are not always good). So while a couple of huge things I want have now been tossed aside, at least I have a little joy to look forward to in the upcoming year.
So now comes the next step….I have to start moving forward with my training again. I have to turn off the pain and turn the fear of an uncertain situation into a positive influence in my life. I have to start using these strengths that I find in my fitness into other avenues of my life. I have yet to really catalyze this method of life into everyday operations, but maybe this will finally be the year I get over it. Maybe this will be the year I will fully reach some of the potential that has been stunted from the last couple years. I don’t know if I have the strength or the will anymore, merely because I have seen so much failure in myself and my life. Perhaps that is why I hate my birthday so much. Yes, I truly hate my birthday, not because it is so close to Christmas, but it is a reflection of what I did the previous year. The last couple years have been difficult for me, for the lack of consistency and the drama have made me wish I had never started taking care of myself, like wanting more life and wanting more time on this blue marble is a miserable journey which needs to end quickly rather than drag on for a long time. I often times wish some good luck would come my way, but it seems more like the luck happens in a way where the bad luck isn’t really horrible (like me getting into an accident recently and ONLY damaging my front bumper and front grill as opposed to really hurting someone or even myself, since I blanked out temporarily from fatigue). But I guess that is the road you travel.
Starting today, I will be getting back into my running regimen, and I doubt it will be all that great due to my near month impasse. But then again, I like the challenge of getting myself ready to go for these types of races. I didn’t think I would do nearly as ell as I did on at Las Vegas, so we shall see what happens this time around. I got about two months to get myself back into running shape, stinking blisters be damned! It will be tough so to speak, for I have gotten soft and tired from the time away. While may 800 mile goal in one year is in serious jeopardy, I at least want to make a big push in the second half of the year. So let’s do this, because what this blog always needs is a fun blog about running a massive race that often times has a lot of twists and turns for me!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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