By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
November 1, 2015
The biggest downside about working on the weekends is all of the great things you miss. While I often times lament about the fact I have lost some gains due to losing my weekend workouts, it is really the personal stuff that I kind of miss. I have missed out on weekend hikes, which is normally the best time to do it for normal people with normal schedules. I have missed out on a lot of Meetups because—you guessed it—they primarily happen on the weekends. I also miss going out on occasion, because the downtown scene in Tucson is still open to some exploring, and I feel like I still miss out on the fun even though maintaining a hip nightlife for the weekends would get expensive after a while. Personally, I see no benefit in regards to working on the weekends. Now I say all of this because Halloween was yesterday, and while the well dressed people of the world got to have some fun, escape their lives for a few hours and be “kids,” I had to go to sleep early to be ready for my 4 a.m. wake-up call. At least I got to see some of the more interesting ideas that people had for this Halloween, even if that meant having to see a never-ending stream of Star Wars garbage (you heard that right, I kinda despise Star Wars, and I say it aloud!) I’m pretty sure I will be doing nothing but packing and shipping Christmas stuff today at work, for I’m sure some weird Christmas sale will be sprung on us and we will be struck with the impact like a slow burning cigar. There is a silver lining to the weekend though….it is a good excuse to sleep and rest rather than go out and have fun. You see, some stuff has recently changed that I kinda of hoped to have happen, but deep down didn’t really want to happen. Much like I predicted, one of my fellow runners in my van for Ragnar Las Vegas is going to switch legs with me, exchanging my very doable 4.1 mile leg for a brutal 7.8 mile leg. While I kind of wanted this to happen so I can cross the finish line, there is a deep fear brewing in the back of my head. All three of my running legs are at an incline. All three have at least a 500-foot incline climb, which is not too terrible but it is the kind of climb that would make it tough for anyone. To put it in perspective, the 6.8 mile leg that I ran two years straight at Ragnar Del Sol, the one that really got me, was a mere 600-foot climb (minus the huge hill). I have to do two of these runs on 8.1 and 7.8 mile legs…..back to back
Now, I have confidence in myself, because despite my trepidation, I survived last year’s race. In case you didn’t read the last blog for Ragnar Del Sol, I was cramping up, but with a little help from some leg wraps, I managed to gut out a 5.5 mile run in the middle of the day and finished at a sub-10 minute a mile time. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2015/02/ragnar-del-sol-2015-or-how-i-delved.html Now the key for me was the fact I went balls to the wall on the run, putting the fact that I had cramped a mere 10 minutes before my run to the back of my mind. Despite the heat and the uncomfortable hell that was the midday sun of a typical winter Phoenix day (which was about 85 degrees that day), mind over matter really worked for me during that final stretch. When you count up all the miles I will be doing, I’m slated for 21.2 total miles, which is once again a rise in mileage from 19.1 at my previous race and 17.7 the previous year. When you think deeply about the situation, it really isn’t that huge of a difference. But I can tell you one thing, doing 20+ miles is kind of a big deal to me. For the first time in a long time, I’m going to have to put my money where my mouth is. I’m going to have to live up to what I have been saying and expecting. I got to tell you….I’m scared to death. This ain’t a really convincing haunted house or a ridiculously scary movie, this is real life, and it is much worse. As you can tell so far in this blog, the doubts have already started flowing into my head. Being a deep and logical speaker much of the time, all sorts of scenarios are running around in my head. In the past, this sort of mentality has hit me before, like my attempts at personal weight lifting bests or my attempts at long distances. But as recently as four days ago, I did what I wanted to do and passed with flying colors. Can I do it again? Can my body cash the check that my mind and my heart are saying I can do? Now this sort of thing is all based on confidence, and frankly, confidence in this situation is something that will help me. I’ve done three Ragnars already, and each time was a bump in mileage that I ultimately beat. But this will be the biggest challenge yet. It’s gonna be cold, it might be windy and I’m definitely not going to be in Arizona anymore. But I have to beat the fear by accepting those differences. It won’t be as hot, which means I might not sweat out all my fluids, plus the elevation is a little lower so I might have some extra oxygen stores to help out. Either way, I won’t really know until my feet hit the ground and I start running. On another note, my new shoes are broken in, and I’m not really suffering from any injuries like I did a couple years ago.
So why do I fear anything? This isn’t like I’m worried about my job or worried about scrounging up money for a late water bill or something…this is just a race. All of this time I have been on this journey, I have been in fear of something. Fear of not losing enough weight. Fear of not finishing my first full Ragnar. Fear of not dropping the pesky pounds that don’t seem to want to come off. Fear that ultimately I will give up. You read that right, some days I am frustrated with myself in regards to my weight loss. You see, months ago, I thought I could get my weight down to 230 pounds just in time for Ragnar. But here I sit, standing ready at 245 pounds. I’m a little upset with myself still, because I really wanted to get that weight down just in time for the race. But hey, I still lost 10 pounds and have managed to keep it steady in spite of some questionable training and eating problems. But that is the difference these days. When I fail, it can still be construed as a positive. I have been failing quite a bit lately, being unable to finish some reps on the bench press or the hang clean and of course the loss of weight lifting gains. I choose not to let these setbacks bring me down, because the stress of failure and the very fear of failure can add some problems.
It is rare how little we tend to talk about the psychological side of weight loss and exercise. A lot of people contend with the idea of failure, which they then wash that sorrow down with horrible bar food or soda (or alcohol in some cases). But here was an interesting take that no one really mentioned to me. What if you succeed? When it comes down to the nitty gritty of the situation, we often times daydream about the type of success we have, and often times, the success never lives up to what we really wanted. I’ll put my situation into example. I thought more than anything my physique would be pretty chiseled by now. While a few body parts have been sculpted pretty well, the stubborn stomach fat continues to get my goat. In fact, I often wonder if that stubborn part of my body will ever go away, which would seriously wreck my psyche. I mean, I am putting myself through this hell just to get rid of that fat! And it’s not happening. But then again, what will happen when all of the fat is finally gone? I have never thought about it and it kind of makes me wonder….how the heck will I be able to get rid of the stretch marks? Yup, even with the potential future staring me right in the eye, I still have some doubts about something. Fortunately for me, my family is kind of happy to see me lose the weight, but what about the people might be the anomaly in the family? I learned a rather interesting fact about gastric sleeve surgery that I never would have thought of myself. Apparently, you have to go through a psychological evaluation before the surgery is implemented! It’s kind of funny when I think about it, for why wouldn’t anyone want to lose weight? But then fear is what comes back into the fray. What will your family think when you lose all of the weight? Will getting rid of the excess skin be difficult? What will the public think about the operation, for some might think you cheated rather than work your way to the goal line? All of these things come into play, things I never would have thought of. Fortunately, most of my fears have been pretty much put to rest, for I am kind of living the dream in regards to good health and weight loss.
Let’s get back to the fear of success part, because this is clearly something I have never touched on. Just think how weird it will make your life. Many people have written about the changes they would have to accept and go through, especially in regards to relationships. For me, the impact can be felt a little at our family gatherings, such in a way that we end up with too much food left behind. Back when I was a human garbage disposal, I would eat anything in sight. These days of course, I always get sent home with extra goodies. But here is the other little thing that some people might fear when they go on a massive weight loss journey, something I never expected myself. How will it change your personal life? I have admitted before that I really don’t care about sports much these days, for part of my eating problems revolved around the ritual of plopping my butt in a chair and eating myself silly, which followed in a customary coma. Do I feel detached from my friends and other people when I have no clue what they are talking about in regards to sports? You bet I do. Heck, ever since I got rid of my television, being detached from most of reality has been rather strange. I kinda fear I won’t be able to keep this up, for eventually the world is going to draw me back in and demand I catch up with some of the old shows I watched (and of course some new ones).
Here is one thing I always have to look back upon when I think things will always go south….I know I can do it again. I gained 30 pounds like an idiot, and then lost it again. I gained 10 pounds recently, but then lost it again and evened my weight again. I lost some gains in the gym, but I can regain them again even thought I thought I was digressing. Often times, we have these fears of failure and such swimming around in our heads, but often times we have to remember we have these other things hanging out in our noggins as well. It’s called success, and that can always be recalled when the time comes. I’m going need a lot of that next week, but with the knowledge I already have, I feel success will be in the cards again.
About Parsons Training
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
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
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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