Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dead Coyote Run

I've been consumed by running lately. So this evening, even though I'd already run some crazy hills, ridden my bike, and lifted weights, I went for a run. Isn't vacation grand!

It was about 5 miles, half of it through deep, soft and dry sand. On the way I saw a lot of rabbits, a lot of deer, and then this:

It slowed me down quite a bit, stopping, adjusting the headlamp and trying to get a good picture, but it was worth it.

I love running, always have. It's just that for a long period of time I was too heavy to run. Before I got injured, and used that as an excuse to get fat, I ran all the time. I'd run in the mornings as part of our physical training (army PT) and in the evenings I'd sometimes run with friends who were trying to improve. It was nothing to me.

For example, one night I was restless and bored, so I ran to my friend's apartment, 8 miles away, in basketball shoes, no socks. I got there and he wasn't home. I broke in through the kitchen window and was watching TV when he and his wife returned home from an evening out on the town.

It wasn't uncommon for me to drink with my friends, get antsy and go on a run in the middle of the night. Sometimes I'd come back with some fantastic made-up stories that I'd sell, like how I stole an army truck.

In the army I was faster than 99% of the people around me. And those that were faster than me trained. They were serious. I drank and smoked and ate pizzas and ran hung over, or still drunk. I only ran for the pure pleasure, much like the reasons I drank and smoked. It was ephemeral, in the moment and then gone. You could do it again, but there would only really be the memory of it (or so I thought at the time).

When we'd run, and it was timed, there would usually be one or maybe two people (out of few hundred) that would be faster than me. Again, they trained and were very serious. Even then, I kept up with them until the end. And while I knew they'd eventually drop me, I'd talk trash the whole time. I'd tell them what I had done the night before, how much I weighed, or ask them how they could feel they were fast when I was step for step with them, talking the whole way. At the finish I'd get gasps of disbelief from the time keepers and atta-boys from those that knew me.

See, I didn't have a runner's body. I'm 5' 10" on a great day and weighed around 210 then. I was as strong as I wanted to be, or so it felt. But all of that weight was a lot to lug around. I was thick and boxy, while runners are lean and long.

So now I'm wondering what could've been. No way to tell...but, I can find out what is. I need to drop a lot more weight to really know. But I'm on my way. And with days like this, the weight will come off.

And later, when people ask me what I've done to lose weight, what's my secret, and I'll tell them, "diet and exercise," they'll look at me as though I'm lying and teasing them. But, I can count exactly how many beers I've had in 2011. Before, I couldn't count how many I'd had on any given weekend. I can count the number of cheese burgers (3), bags of chips (0) and sodas (0) I've had. Heck, before, I couldn't go a meal (other than breakfast) without meat in it. Now, I go days without meat, and weeks without red meat. And when I have it, it's because I'm either dining out or my wife made it for dinner.

I'm devoted and focused. That's what it takes to lose weight. Don't try if you can't be devoted and focused.

That's what it takes to lose weight. That should be a book.

Q: Do you want to lose weight?
If yes, follow step 1.

Step 1: You will lose weight with permanent changes in your diet and exercise. Devote yourself to dietary changes and exercise. Stay focused.

The End

I hope that didn't sound too snarky. I really don't intend it to be. It's just that there are no short cuts and everybody knows it. But stating such makes me the bad guy in some circles. I'm not the bad guy, I'm one of those guys that decided to devote myself and stay focused!

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