Sunday, December 12, 2010

when the wind tells you to stop...

Dear Chicken Nugget,

A couple of months ago I wrote about how I changed my diet for you.  And, for the most part, it's true.

Unfortunately the holidays came.  It's hard to eat a low fat plant-based diet when there's a beautiful, juicy turkey inviting you to enjoy it.  Combine holiday eating with a lack of exercise and it turns out my cholesterol is high again.

Having a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, a high cholesterol worries me.  Since finding out a couple of days ago, I've recommitted to a low fat plant-based diet.

And, just as importantly, I've created a set of fitness goals to accompany the diet.  I've signed up for three small races for early 2011 to help get me back on track.

So, today I went out for a run.  Man, was it hard!

A couple of months ago I started coaching a Young Runners Club at my school.  I'm leading fifteen students in kindergarten through second grade through stretches, relay racing games, and some slow and steady running that amounts to no more than a mile a day.  I'm running about a mile a day! Just one!

This, from a guy who has run two marathons (26.2 miles)!

I decided that today was going to be the day that I ran two miles.  In the morning there was a strong hard rain that immediately made my decision easy.  Can't run.  But then, as if daring me to go out, the rain stopped mid-afternoon.  I looked out the window and not a drop was falling.  I looked for signs of wind, perhaps looking for another excuse, and there were none.

So, I told your mom that I was going for a run.  She, always super supportive of my health, told me to go ahead.  Then, it took me thirty minutes to get out of the house.  Not that there was anything pressing keeping me, I just kept finding something else to do.

When I finally stepped outside, I felt great.  My legs were moving, my breathing was good, and the weather seemed to cooperate.

As I ran towards Astoria Park I thought about how easy it felt.  Then I came upon a downed tree.  It looked like it had been chopped down and there were massive pieces of trunk laying on the side walk.  I slowed to a walk trying to figure out a way around it.  Not a hard obstacle to overcome but it was the beginning of the doubts.

After walking around the tree and starting back up I started feeling the wind kick up again.  Not only was the wind picking up, it was blowing right at me.  I wanted to stop.  The wind was strong.  Just then an older gentleman, probably in his 60s, ran by me. I kept running.

As I approached the one mile mark I thought about walking back home.  But, no.  Couldn't.  That wouldn't be enough.  So, I turned back at the one mile point, still running.

Making my way back home it suddenly started raining again.  There was the doubt again.  Maybe I should hop on a bus.  Then a strong gust of wind blew in my direction.  I swear the wind was telling me to stop.  For a second, I did.  I stopped.

I was about half a mile away from home and I thought, well, a mile and a half is still more than you've done in a while.  I looked at the time and realized that we had guests coming over in about thirty minutes.  I had to run home if I stood any chance at showering before the guests arrived.

I started running again.  The rain gave up but the wind didn't.  The wind was adamant about me stopping.  I almost listened to it.  But, I didn't.  I kept thinking about you, your mom, and my health, and I kept running.  By the time I rounded the corner to our block I was running pretty fast.  And I was tired.  It's hard to run against the wind.  The run was hard.

As if mocking me one last time, a breeze blew the outside door into my ankles as I stepped into the house.  &*^%!!  The wind is now my nemesis.  I'm sure it'll try to get to me again.  And, maybe it'll bring its friends freezing rain and blizzard along.  I've met those two before and I've still run through them. I can do it.

I ran two miles today, Nugget.  Two.  That's all.  I had every excuse in my head to stop.  But, that's all it was: in my head.  There are always days that are going to be too cold, too hot, too windy, too busy, and too tired.  All these excuses are going to be whispering in my ear to not go out for a run or just to stop.

But for every excuse, there's good reason to keep going: my health.

On the last line of my RoadID it says, "I run to add another day."  Really, I run to run to add another day to my life AND to add life to my days. 

Step one: Run!

Step two: Ignore the &*^%!! wind.

Eternally yours,

Tu papa

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