Running for your life.
It’s a phrase usually reserved for literal life or death situations, where we see someone in danger and the
best last option is to just run. Like that little guy up there in the photo. Luckily for me, I haven’t been in a situation like that lately.
This is a different form of running for your life. There are some similarities between the scenarios I’m talking about – both involve running to escape danger, for example – but in my case the danger wasn’t immediate and didn’t resemble a dinosaur. Nah, my worries had more to do with cholesterol levels and a sputtering future.
Allow me to elaborate…
Anyone who knows me knows I adore food. My world revolves around it, sure the time spent in between is great for memories and all kinds of awesome stuff, but I’m happiest when I have a delicious plate of food in front of me.
As you can imagine, that leads to lots and lots of eating. No salads or celery stick lunches either. I’m talking about double bacon cheeseburgers, Italian sausages covered in pastrami and melted mozzarella cheese served on toasted Hawaiian rolls. Double chili-cheeseburgers. Burritos the size of a large 32 oz horchata.
I’ve been blessed with good genetics and a fast metabolism my whole life, so I never really worried about the effects of my eating habits. While that gave me more leeway to eat as I please, each new decade of life has taught me that eventually things start to catch up. I’ve been a skinny guy my whole life, so when I started to see the scale move into an apartment in the 200s instead of an occasional weekend getaway there I started to worry just a little bit. Not enough to really do anything about it though. Just an occasional personal pledge to limit my bountiful buffet trips (that I rarely followed through on) and figure it out some other day. Maybe it was time to start getting used to this new weight.
So that’s the first item on my worry report. The second has to do with that sputtering future I mentioned. New perspectives come with a new body and sure enough my love affair with liberal portions of food led more to thoughts of “relax” and “take it easy” than reminders that sometimes the best thing you can do is git up, git out and git something.
I can’t think of many chances in life where you can say “Man, Cee-Lo was right!” as you experience a life-changing epiphany, so I couldn’t skip this one.
That is where I was just a few months ago. Stuck on stagnant and not sure what the future held. Then I took a trip to the East Coast, saw life from another angle and everything changed. The trip was a gift to me from my uncle, a show of gratitude for helping my lovely Grandmother close out her glorious life.
I love that it happened that way, another example of the heights we can achieve and things we can learn from strong family bonds, working together and sincerity. Anyway, before this turns into a Nicholas Sparks novel, let me get back to how this all ties together.
Running, for my life.
I started working out and tried new eating habits on my vacation. I figured I was in a new place, what better time to try new things. Every morning my uncle and I would be at the gym, logging miles on the treadmill and talking about life, the future and so much more. I lost about 10 pounds in the 32 days I was out there. I got used to daily exercise and the way it made me feel. I left a new man, energized and ready to make some major changes in my life. The thing is, it’s easy to talk about change, it’s a lot harder to actually start changing.
I know because I did it.
I ran my 200th mile a few days ago on my 100th official run, a 2-mile a day average (even I can do the math on this one) since I downloaded the NikeRunning app on my first day back in Los Angeles. That was three months ago and I haven’t missed a day of running since. I didn’t have access to a gym like I did on the East Coast, no treadmill, air conditioning and televisions to help me through my runs. But I’m a Los Angeles native, a West Coast rep, so running the streets was a natural choice.
I got up and ran every day and night in the blazing heat, the light rain (this is LA after all) and through some killer bouts with knee and ankle pain. But I kept doing it. I’ve lost 22 total pounds so far, ensuring that my affair with 200 pounds amounts to nothing more than a fling.
I doubt anyone who knew me would have ever guessed I’d suddenly start worrying about my diet and exercise. Heck, I don’t blame them. I wear my love for food as a badge of honor. I love to eat and I eat what I love. That hasn’t changed. I’m just more careful now and I always make sure to get my runs in, to find a balance and to always stay focused on how everything works smoother when you set goals and follow through on them.
I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time and my life doesn’t feel nearly as stagnant any more. Not as long as I have a say and I have to admit, I like this newer version of me. Challenges look a lot less formidable once you start to figure out you can get past them with some hard work and dedication.
I know because I ran for my life and it worked.