By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
September 20, 2015
This past week I admitted a little setback in my eating regimen, and now it is time to kind of speak of another setback, which seems to be happening at the worst time for me. I can’t seem to get my butt out on the running track.
Now most people wouldn't consider that a huge problem or anything, for most of the population looks at running as some kind of “50 Shades of Grey” type of torture (and I mean sitting through someone reading that tripe out loud, not the actual subject matter). But I shouldn’t be running into this sort of problem, especially when a pretty important race is looming on the horizon for me. The summer blues are still kind of stuck in my head, but then again, perhaps some other issues are running around in my noggin. This past week, my aunt Julie finally retired from her job, setting herself up for the years of AARP magazines and senior citizen pandering that so many politicians partake in. Anyway, we had a little party for her at one of her friend’s house, which was quite the nice shindig. Sure, they had a lot of chicken enchiladas and chicken chilequiles, but the beans and rice were both vegan friendly, as well as the fruit and veggie platter. It was a pretty nice little party that we had as a family, reminiscing about the old days. One of my aunts noted how much food we had left over when the eating had stopped and the gossiping and football watching had begun. Everyone seemed perplexed when I made the observation that the biggest eaters in the family--me and my two cousins who were at the party--had pretty much given the gluttonous competition of “eating until we burst.” My cousin Ramon who had been a big guy for most of his life, has leaned out quite a bit over the last decade. It was like all the weight he lost, I decided to put on my body and make up for the loss of food. Then of course, my younger cousin Dennis has lost some 60 pounds in the last few months, turning his “pregnant with twins belly” into just a bulge. I don’t mean to take credit for the distinction, but I think the fact I have decided to eat less and take control of my eating habits is the main reason why we had so much food left over. I was easily the biggest eater out of everyone, and I’m surprised no one really mentioned how much I used to eat. Perhaps my eating problem had become so normalized, no one really remembered the difference. I also passed around a photo of myself from 2011 my father had posted on his Facebook. Here I was, holding his little precious pitbull-boxer baby Duchess, and I looked like I was getting ready to eat her rather than hold her and give her affection. It was such a bad photo, I even looked like I was wearing some make-up. All of the family members were decidedly shocked, but I was still shocked and embarrassed. I didn’t like looking at those old photos of myself, which I have indicated several times before.
I was supposed to go out for a run that night, but I had gotten so wrapped up with reminiscing with the family (plus watching the end of the Broncos-Chiefs game, my first watched football game of the year) I kind of lost track of the time and left the house somewhere around 11:30 p.m. Maybe there was something about that evening, because I felt extremely lazy the next day. I had intended on attempting my little Ragnar practice run between Thursday night and Friday, but since I had gotten up so late on Friday morning, I skipped the run. I figured, I could just run a little longer that night. But then, I just got weighed down from the heat of the day, and then opted to not run that night either. I don’t know why I had gotten so lazy, but that is what happened and I feel kinda bad for not holding onto the responsibilities I have placed on myself. Truthfully, I kind of blamed it on the tough workout on Thursday, which really knocked me for a loop in regards to my body. I had to do 50 bench presses at 145 pounds and 50 squat push presses. I also did 50 alternating dumbbell curls (50 for each arm that is) and 50 reverse grip rows. I pretty much went heavy on all of the movements, and it was definitely not the best idea for me that day. I kind of overworked my left arm and shoulder, which left my entire side sore by the time I woke up on Friday morning. That soreness left a really bad taste in my mouth, for I felt so tired and tight that I didn't feel like running that night. I walked my dogs and called it off. I didn’t feel guilty at all, for I reasoned I needed to save my body for work the next day. Rest is certainly a good reason to not do a lot of things, but I know the real reason….I just felt really content with a lot of things.
I kind of figured out why I have become a little lazy this week while also taking up some bad eating habits. For the first time in weeks, I have caught up to my bills and am not under the gun so to speak. There was no need for exercise to help relieve stress because I didn’t have much to begin with. Personally, I never really thought of it that way, for I always used to use stress as the perfect reason for binge eating. But this week kind of illustrated the new differences in my life. Sure, I’m not exactly rolling in Scrooge McDuck’s money bin, but at least I had a few extra bucks I could spare to eat some food that was outside the norm I have kinda of established for myself (i.e. the cheap stuff that is vegan friendly, like rice, beans and potatoes). From the oldest of eastern philosophies to the most corny of self help books, contentment is always looked upon as a horrible side step in whatever journey you are taking. There is plenty of truth in this sentiment, especially when I kind of got a little too content with what I was doing in 2014, gaining some 30 pounds back in the process. Contentment becomes a weird problem for me, for I often times just let go and stop worrying about everything. When my mind is constantly working and worrying, I tend to be more focused on everything I do. Of course, this really affects my sleep, which I guess explains the week of good sleep I have been having.
Now I don’t want to fall prey for this Ragnar race like I did at the Arizona Distance Classic. I don’t want to be the one that falters and has to give up a leg when I cannot finish my own. Recapturing that magic is still a tough tune to prepare for in my mind. I was once again looking at almost another week without running when a weird occurrence happened at work. I work in shipping and receiving, and you can imagine how prepared everyone is getting for the Christmas season. Well, they decided to send everyone home early on Saturday so all of the orders could back up for the next day. A pre-holiday stress test so to speak as my company is looking to figure out who needs to get their butts in gear and who they need to possibly fire in the process (seriously, people get angry and cutthroat at Christmas time!). Since I am good at just about everything, the only thing I will have to worry about is the excess of hours they will try to place upon me. They have already mentioned they expect me to work at least 60 hours a week. What?! Yes, I’m really gonna learn to hate all things Star Wars and Frozen.
Anyway, with a half-day reprieve, I decided to do what I did not do on Friday. I was going to do a mini-Ragnar training day, putting in two three-mile runs in the process. I let myself unwind for an hour or so before I attempted the first run, and I was expecting a pretty harsh weather response. But lo and behold, I was messaging one of my teammates and as the back and forth went between us, the weather mysteriously got better. With the challenge of running in 90+ degree weather gone, I decided to run without my camel pack, which is an essential part of my running regimen. Usually I can go about 2-3 miles without having to drink any water, so this time around the safety harness had been dropped. As I started running, the sky was overcast and the wind started to kick up in my face, but my body was clearly reacting quite well without the camel pack, which usually adds a few pounds to my frame. I absolutely killed the “wind in my face” front half of the run, averaging out to roughly 9.4-minute miles in the process. Of course, this really wore me out, not just from being too lax on my fitness this week, but also from the fact I was running at an incline with the wind in my face! I shaved my time down to 9.33-per mile due to a much more friendly decline on the back half of the 3.17-mile run I had done. I’ll admit, I was a little sore and tired, not to mention thirsty. But I was happy with the run even though it was a pretty short one. It had been so long since I had been able to run on a Saturday, so I was a little pleased with that effect. Due to the rigors of my job, working out on the weekends is nearly impossible.
I ultimately did another run later in the evening, mainly because I just wanted to see if my body could handle it. I didn’t run the same route so to speak, mainly because I wanted to run a different route much like I would do at Ragnar Las Vegas. Now this wasn’t exactly some huge day to really brag about, but it at least I lit a little fire on my behind. I honestly believe contentment is my ultimate enemy right now, for I seriously need to figure out a way to remain focused and ready. Maybe I was just happy so many things fell into place at once, especially when we came up with a full team for the race. That was kind of wearing on me, for I was thinking I would need to run extra miles just for everyone to survive the race. But the instant we got our last runner approved, it was like a huge rock had been lifted off my shoulders. Well, I can assure you, this past week will be a misnomer for me, mainly because I have an impetus to actually to get back on the horse.
When I start thinking about the past like I have done for much of this week, I have to consider just how far I still need to go. I still want to do so much physically, even with the slight setbacks standing against me. But journeys like this are not easy to take on. I think the biggest detail people have to take into account is you can’t be too content for too long. Personally, one little week of slacking off may be more than enough for me. I have lost nearly two weeks due to laziness and an injury. No more! So here we go! I hope to start making better and more updates on my fitness progress as the weeks tick away to Ragnar Las Vegas. Hopefully you all enjoy the journey with 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.