Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why I'm Running

As most of you who know me know, I've been running most of this month. I've never really been a runner outside of playing sports although I used to run at Manhattan/Hermosa back in 2006-07. This is something as challenging as anything I've done.

Those of you I've told about why I'm doing this probably will think this is old news but I figured I'd share a bit more of the backstory. One of the things I've tried to do more here is share more of myself instead of just my opinions. So with that said, here's how I got here.

I barely played any sports in 2012 - no church league basketball or volleyball and I cancelled my gym membership to save additional money. I fell into my usual eating habits since college even though I was shopping more, drinking more water and eating out less. The worst is me eating late since I work in the afternoons. I tried to commit to walking to Starbucks to hang out and write but that didn't last past a month.

End result? I wondered why my face/body got bigger in pictures. The pic on my Google+ profile looks nothing like the photo I use at work, which was taken in 2010. I was always a big guy since my doc says I'm big boned but I prided myself on being nimble (Folks who've seen me dance can confirm this) and not letting myself act bigger than my body was. But now, I was becoming what I feared.

I stepped on the scale this year. 211 pounds. Stunned me cold. I always said that at 200, I'd stop immediately and work to stay under that. Here I was. 211. In spring 2011, when I was playing in two basketball leagues, I had gotten down to under 180. I gained it all back and then some.

So I committed myself to running this time. January 3 was my first day and it was tough. Here's my exact words from my journal.

"1 mile Figure 8 around neighborhood. Walked the first 0.2 miles with Precious then turned left and tried to run the last 0.3. Not easy but Precious made it easy without losing control. I ran the next 0.2 then walked the rest of the way home. Very tough.  Started to wheeze a bit when I got home."

My dog was my companion and she lasted better than me. But I kept at it. By the next week, I went from barely being able to run the first 0.2 mile strip on my block to running that as well as running up the next hill. In a week, I extended the run to 1.3 miles by January 11. I went from bringing my inhaler to leaving it at home by January 14th.

Oh and did I mention I was running in 50 degree weather? If starting this wasn't a deterrent and I already had friends tell me I wouldn't last past 2 weeks, I did this during one of the coldest spells L.A. has had in a long while. January 14th, the day I expanded my route to 1.8 miles, I was running in 45 degree cold. By that Friday (the 18th), I was running in the 70's.

Now this is what I do. I run/walk 1.87-1.89 4-5 times a day in addition to playing basketball Saturdays. The first mile is a mix of going straight and up hill and then the rest is going downhill before I run back up to my house. I load up my phone with music and just push myself. I'm my own coach when I feel like giving up. And thanks to the RunDouble app, I've been keeping track of my distance.

Thank you RunDouble for being an awesome app!

Dietwise? I've stopped eating big portions past 8 p.m. I added an upper body workout at home by stuffing my backpack with books and things and do curls and lifts before going down to do pushups and situps. So far, I've already lost about 7-9 lbs.

Mentally, it's been a huge boost to my system. I go through my day motivated and energized to keep going instead of waking up groggy. I also started going to bed at 1-1:30 instead of 3 a.m, which has been a huge help. I journal every day and I see so much progress that I'm encouraged to keep going.

The discipline that I've brought to waking up early for my exercise has translated to getting proper rest as well as renewed spiritual growth. Every day I finish, I make sure to praise God for his strength and spend time in prayer knowing that this isn't me. It's all Him and as I shed calories/weight to gain motivation/endurance, I pray to honor my day doing His will.

One of my themes for the year. A growing discipline in my running, sleeping, faith and life.

So to wrap this up, why am I running? Why do I go to bed excited to start my day off right? Why do I enjoy stretching out during the day? Why am I eating more kale and loving it? It's for me. Not to prove anything to anybody else. Not to reach some magic number (although 180 would be nice) or run a 3K/5K.

It's for my life and my future. I want to be healthy now so later, I stay healthy. I've had family members suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and more so this is a personal quest. This is life change and since I have free time while I'm job hunting, I might as well take full advantage to reclaim it.

I've seen my sister commit to a healthier lifestyle for almost a decade. I see my 40-year-old godbrother continue to play sports with the passion of a younger man. I've seen friends commit to being healthy and I credit one of my oldest friends Jesse for encouraging me to do it and giving me tips. I see my girlfriend - a great athlete - try her hardest to stay in shape.

To paraphrase the Ethiopian eunuch's question to Phillip in Acts 8, what hinders me from getting my shape back. Nothing but my laziness and decision making. So 1 month down, I'm gonna be doing this for the near future. Whenever I want to quit, I think of that number: 211. And that pushes me to keep going.

1 comment:

  1. Good going nephew!! A young man after my own passion: FITNESS -- It's SO worth it!! - pepxc2 (Aunt Carol)