I started this blog as a way to record race reports and memories from my weight loss and fitness journey in the process. Like many of us when we start such a personal project, I had these grandiose dreams of going back and documenting my past races since starting this journey back in October of 2014 with the “running” of races. Of course the archival history backlog was the first thing to go. Soon thereafter, I had a bad race or two (not performing as I wanted to especially in November & December) and before long it got easier to not even look at this page than to update it.
What has happened since then? I had two races in January. One was a 5K racewalk in Vicksburg, Mississippi called Chill in the Hills. It was my first time running it and I won Overall Masters winner. Then I did something ill-advised, I race-directed my first ultra (a fixed time event called RUNNOFT Run) only a week after that racewalk and I participated in the race as well! I made a new distance PR of 45.5 miles (but fell short of the 50 miles I was wanting during the 12 hour event). February was a deferral of my Mississippi River Marathon registration from 2016. Ended up with my worst time for a marathon yet (over 6 hours). Bounced back in March with an overall masters win at the Run Thru History 5K racewalk in Vicksburg National Military Park. Just for fun, a former student of mine asked me to sign up for her sorority’s fundraiser color-run 5K in March as well, so I did. Ended up with a new PR in 5K of 26:37. In April, I ran in the Run To The Cross 5K and did fairly decent considering the hilly terrain (28:43). Finally, in May, I went on to face the Beast 12 hour for the second time. I improved and covered the same distance that I did last year (6 loops, ~34 miles) in an hour less (10 hours and 50 minutes). By that point, I didn’t have a 70 minute loop left in me so I relented to the reality that the belt would escape my grasp for one more year.
This weekend I was registered for Thonnica Khills Trail Race in what would be my fourth attempt at 50 miles. I say “was” because life cut in (as life is known to do) and I am facing what is in my mind my first DNS (did not start). Officially, I managed to cancel the registration but that’s just semantics. My two sons and I take Taekwondo from Stephenson’s Tiger Rock Martial Arts Academy in Rayville, Louisiana. My oldest son is going to be testing for his red instructor jacket on the Friday evening before the date of the race. My wife and support/crew chief for my ultra attempts is our church’s Vacation Bible School director this year and has a VBS meeting scheduled for Sunday morning at church (so making our way back from the race would have been problematic as well).
While I could easily throw some shade on those family obligations as “messing up my race” that just isn’t the truth. The fact is, I have fallen off since Beast and thought I was okay mentally/emotionally with not achieving my “A” race goal, but I wasn’t. Gradually, it has gotten easier to allow other things to get in the way of running at all. However, that’s not the only place that has been slipping.
Back in January, I participated in a round of the Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Challenge (a whole foods plant based nutrition challenge for one week with no added salt, oil, or sugar either). Since that challenge, I had maintained around a 90-95% level of sticking to whole foods or plant based eating. In that time, I saw myself shed the weight I had drifted back up from my initial loss of 100 pounds and even start down into new lows (numbers I hadn’t seen on the scale since high school football days!). I had definitely noticed reduced inflammation with regards to recovery time from workouts and my tastes changed in many cases for the better as far as just wanting to choose the right things nutritionally.
But around the time of Beast and in the ensuing aftermath, I fell off. It started with tiring of making special requests to drop the cheese from a dish or not put the typical sauce with it. Then I would try things that I knew were neither whole foods nor plant-based. Now I am back into a funk of nutritional apathy and am out of the habit of running. I slowly watch as the weight creeps back up to my 100 lb loss mark.
This morning, I read a passage of scripture that I know well in Galatians 6. We are all generally familiar if simply in a literary sense with the concept of “reaping what you sow” that is presented again in verses 7 and 8. But I really wanted to dig deeper into verse 9:
“So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.”
I am living in the comma of that verse right there. How many times have gotten on good steam down a path that was leading to where I wanted to go? (It was not necessarily always to my comfort and liking… sometimes not fast enough… sometimes too fast… but always within God’s providence and wisdom right on time.) But the words hit me right between the eyes, “WE MUST NOT GET TIRED OF DOING GOOD”. The reapers are only those that don’t give up. I been at that spot a ton of times in races. The point of decision where I have to decide if I am going to gut it through win or lose but leave it all out there. I had read of elites and others that get to points where they realize they will not meet their goals and they just drop from the race altogether. Mine has been more a history of “biting off more than I could chew” metaphorically speaking and attempting races that were beyond my ability too soon, not being patient with myself and my development, and always looking at the wrong standards for comparison. My only competition (and my worst enemy I might add) is me. Lately, I have been whooping my own tail but not in the way I need to and would like. I have been mentally defeating myself, overthinking things, and nitpicking every ache and pain.
So while it is disappointing to not get to run with my peers and friends at Thonnica this weekend, it might be exactly what God wants to get my attention at this critical point to regroup, re-up, and get back after it, son!
As I started to gather my thoughts for what to say in this post, my ipod came up with this classic Petra song, Second Wind which I think is a fitting way to close out.