This week has been one of the best weeks I’ve had. Thinking back to when I first toyed with the idea of starting a blog, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to open up and be transparent. In retrospect, that was probably one of the best decisions I made. I was nervous about the first entry. It took me almost an hour to hit the Publish button. It seems like it was yesterday. My hands were shaking, my heart had exceeded its normal pace. I sat there staring at the screen reading and re-reading the words I had written. Finally, I got a surge of courage and hit “publish” and quickly closed the laptop. I often wonder if this is helping anybody besides me. I think of the impact it is having on others. Is it even having an impact? The last few days have confirmed its impact. I once heard a statement that resonates with me to this day. “You have to understand who wins when you win.” That statement repeatedly plays in my mind. This blog has become much more than a place where I document my trials and triumphs. It’s a piece of me that I’m giving to others to let them know they could do it too. Weight-loss or any other goal or dream you have. You can do it. Don’t believe it? Just read some of the blog entries. I have no idea who reads my entries. However, I was blessed to find out that a special group of people have been following me on my journey. I haven’t met this special group but I know them. I know them because we are all overcoming things and becoming better people. I was so humbled to find out that this blog was impacting their lives. I was told that I inspire them but I want them to know that they inspire me. I remember one of my favorite analogies because of them. The ripples of success. What is that? Well if you take a rock and drop it in a stream or lake. There are ripples that spread out from the point of impact. The place where the water meets the rock represents the impact you have on someone’s life. The ripples? They represent the spreading of your impact to others indirectly. That’s what’s happening with my blog. I’m impacting others and one of the ripples has reached a special group of friends. To those friends, I say thank you. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for letting me know the blog is helping. Do me a favor please. When you all go to the pond, take a second to drop a rock in the water and watch the ripples. Look at them to see how far they travel from the place of impact. Resolve to be the rock and let your impact have far-reaching ripples of success.
Today I had a great experience. I ran and completed my first 5k. All along my goal was to run the entire 5k and not come in last. I prepared for weeks. I ran the course multiple times training for these few minutes. My outfit was picked out weeks ago – complete with shorts to match my shoes. A shirt that I wasn’t comfortable wearing but needed to wear for motivation for my next 5k. (Yes, I’m hooked.)
My playlist was set. An hour and five minutes of songs that would help me run 3.1 miles. I’ve learned many lessons through this process. Lessons like I can do whatever I set my mind to do. Growth is found outside my comfort zone. But I was reminded of one the greatest lessons at mile two.
There I was running… Hitting my zone…. Music was blasting in my ears. I had talked myself out of walking twice by this point. Then I saw this little boy up ahead. Sweating, walking, head down. I saw his mom urging him to continue. He was having no part of it. For whatever reason, our eyes met. At this point, I hadn’t uttered one word to anyone on the course. After all, I was focused. I was competing with me, myself, and I. Goals needed to be accomplished and nothing would stand in my way!
Then it happened. I took my earphones out for the first time. I introduced myself.”I’m Antuan. What’s your name?” He looked up at me, with his hair disheveled, sweat on his face and said softly, “I’m Matthew.” I asked him if he was okay. He just looked at me. “How old are you?”, I asked. “Eight”, he said. I told him I was new to the area and needed a friend to help me finish this race. I asked him if he’d help me finish the race. He said yes. I then asked his mom if it would be okay if Matthew and I finished the race together.
Once she gave her approval, we gave each other the fist bump and started off on the last mile. We ran it slowly, at his pace. At this point, my goals were a distant memory. For one mile, Matthew and I talked, jogged, encouraged each other, and vowed to finish the race together.
We finished it. Crossing the finish line together. (Ahead of his mom as a matter of fact!) He looked up at me and said “We did it!” I replied, “We sure did buddy. We sure did.”
The lesson in all that? There’s no greater joy than helping someone else along the way. We all need each other to accomplish great things. No man is an island. I was reminded of that today.
Matthew helped me way more than I helped him. He reminded me that we’re in this together. We can accomplish more with others than by ourselves.
After the race, Matthew sought me out and brought me a banana and water.He told me this was his second 5k. I responded “Whoa! You’re amazing, buddy! This is my first. I hope to run as well as you one day.” The smile on his face as he ran off was priceless. That smile, that moment, was worth far more than any goal I set out to accomplish with this 5k.
Thanks for the reminder, Matthew.
3980. What is that? That’s my race number for my first 5k. A 5k that starts in less than two hours. Who would’ve thought I’d be running (yes running!) a 5k! My goal isn’t to come in first. My goal is to run the complete 3.1 miles and not come in last(hopefully). I’m excited, nervous, anxious, proud all at the same time.
I’ve trained for this so I’ll be fine. For the past 8 or 9 weeks, I’ve been building up endurance and destroying the “I can’t” monster weekly. These last few weeks I’ve had quite a few accomplishments – Running for 5 minutes straight, running a mile, two miles, three miles…
Proving to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. So now it all culminates in an hour and 26 minutes. I can’t wait to check another item off my list.
See you at the finish line……
I recently had the
misfortune opportunity to really see how much my lifestyle has changed. I had to listen to my body tell me I needed rest from 5k training. For an entire week, I did nothing but rest. (That drove me absolutely crazy!) No running, No weight training. Nothing…..
A few short months ago, that would have certainly spelled doom and destruction to my weight loss plan. This time, however, was different. Instead of mentally checking out for a week concerning all things weight-loss related, I found myself poring old food and exercise logs. I paid closer attention to what I was eating. After all weight-loss is 80% mental and 20% physical. How many times have I said that? Oddly enough, I was even more engaged in the process.
Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. That’s exactly what I was reminded up during my rest period. I was refreshed, rested, and amazingly I was more productive when I returned to working out.
If you’re not experiencing the results you think you should. Instead of simply trying harder, and continuing to do the same thing and expecting the same results (Isn’t that the definition of insanity?), slow down. Review your logs, identify areas on which you can improve and go from there.
Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.
Okay, April has come and gone. Here’s the second set of pictures for the Monthly updates in pictures. I think this was a good idea.
Why? Well, for one I absolutely abhor taking these pictures. Why is that good? That means I’m uncomfortable and outside of my comfort zone.
Another reason it’s good is because it pushes me to work harder and be more accountable because I know I have to take another picture in four weeks.
Click to see May’s Monthly update.
fyi – Click on the picture to enlarge it.
Had some technical difficulties with the post from Friday. As you all know, I’m training for my first 5k in May. Friday was the first “long” run. Here’s a video from Friday Morning.
My wife & I watched our daughter compete yesterday at the state gymnastics meet. She had fun. She laughed, smiled. Not only did she compete she placed 1st on the beam, 2nd on the vault, 6th on the bars, 7th on the floor and 3rd all around. Out of all the gymnasts in her division in the state, she placed 3rd!! Not bad for just her second year of competitive gymnastics. What makes it more impressive is the journey she took to get there.
At last year’s state meet, she left in tears at her performance. I vividly remember her coach telling her “It was okay. You did well this year. These girls were older and you held your own. You’re going to work hard and next year you’re going to come back and kill it at state. Why? Because you’re a beast.”
Well over the course of the year, I watched this ten-year old cry, fall endless times off the beam. (sometimes she got up immediately, other times she lay there a for a moment). I’ve watched her battle fear and self-doubt. Not just any kind of fear but the kind of fear that paralyzes you and doesn’t allow you to move forward. Each time I’d ask her the same question. “Do you want to quit?” Each time,with tears in her eyes, she responded “No.” Some times she responded quickly. Other times she had to think about it briefly.
I watched her decide to face her fears, take action, and finally overcome her fears. I watched her do back flip after back flip until she was able to do it herself.
She frequently met disappointment and frustration with an attitude of relentlessness.
So to see her standing on the podium yesterday brought unbelievable pride. Not because she placed so highly. More so because she learned that she can do anything she sets her mind to. She’s stronger than she knew was. She learned that fear isn’t real. She learned that if you keep fighting and working hard, good things will come.
Your goal is probably not to be a gymnast. However I’m sure that you’ll experience some of the same things she did while you’re pursuing your own goals and dreams.(weight loss related or anything else) When the road gets a little tough (and it will) remember the 9-year-old who left the state meet in tears. Through hard work, dedication, and refusing to quit, she became the 10-year-old who left the state meet a champion smiling ear to ear.
Okay, I’ve been thinking how to make this blog more. More what you may ask? Just more in general. More helpful. More inspiring. More accountable for me.
One of the things requested in e-mails was more pictures. I’m working on that. In the mean time, what I’ve decided to do is post monthly updates in pictures. It’ll be a picture of me at the beginning of each month. The picture will be taken in the same clothes so you follow my progress monthly.
I chose a shirt that is painted on. (for the time being) Out of all my too big and loose-fitting shirts, why did I choose this one? Well, #1 I need the motivation to do more. #2 It would be difficult to see that I’m actually making progress in an already loose shirt. So I chose a shirt that was already a size smaller than what I wear and has shrunk quite a bit because I threw it in the dryer. Once again being vulnerable and forcing myself to be accountable. (Hey it worked the first time. So here goes!)
Click to see April’s Monthly update.
fyi – Click on the picture to enlarge it.
I’m training to run my first 5k in May. I’ve been talking about doing it for a while. Now I’m actually doing it. (That’s another blog for another day.) At any rate, I’m on week 4 of the Couch to 5k program. This is the first week where it got hard. (for me anyway) Alternating between running for 3 and 5 minutes for 30 minutes. For me it was grueling, it was hard, and it was the most rewarding so far.
I was reminded of three valuable lessons while doing the workout.
You can do more than you think you can
I’ve never been a runner. I’m the guy who absolutely loathed P.E. class when we had to run a
mile. But in week four, I’ve realized that not only can I walk on the treadmill, I can run on it
for 5 minutes straight. Doing more than I thought I could. Now I know, if I can do 5 minutes I
can do 8 minutes (that’s week 5 of the program)
Pain is temporary
During the last 5 minute run, my legs hurt, lungs were burning, breathing was labored. The thought of
ending the run prematurely quitting definitely crossed my mind a time or three. But I kept going and finished it. Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I finished, the pain that was so unbearable seemingly quickly dissipated. I realized that the pain (well strong discomfort) that I was feeling wasn’t as bad as I thought. Imagine how I would’ve felt had I quit early.
Greatest growth comes when you leave your comfort zone
This whole thing is outside of my comfort zone. Running in a race, 1/2 a mile no less a 3 mile race is so not me. It’s something I’ve never done and training for it is something I’ve never done. But there in lies the beauty of it. I’ve grown in the 4 short weeks I’ve been preparing for it. I’ve run more. I’ve become for fit. I’ve become more confident and most importantly I’ve gained more belief in myself that I can do anything.
Those are three major lessons I’ve learned on this journey. I was glad that I was reminded of them while on the treadmill. Remember you can always do more, pain is temporary, and growth occurs outside of your comfort zone.
dI’ve been reflecting lately on how I’ve been able to finally turn the corner on my health. What made this time different? How was I able to keep going?
The answer to those questions(and many others) was answered in three questions I asked myself the first day I started. Unknowingly, the answer to these three questions shaped the foundation for my weight loss.
The first question I asked myself was “What do I want?” The question, at first glance, appears simple. However, it really required thought for me. What did I want? Did I just want to lose weight? Did I want to be healthier? It took about an hour to answer that question. Knowing what you want is essential. It begins to bring clarity to what you’re looking to accomplish.
With the answer to the first question in hand, I moved on to the second question. “Why do I want it?” When you figure out what you want and why you want it, you start to get an emotional tie. I’ve found that by having an emotional tie to what I wanted, a need to accomplish it was created. The need was so strong that I became almost obsessive over it. (I prefer the term laser focus.) That focus, obsessiveness, whatever you want to call it became the seeds of discipline that sprouted into a no excuses attitude.
Lastly, and maybe most important, I asked myself “What was I willing to give up to get what I wanted?” In my case, it was an hour of my day to exercise. I was willing to give up a couple of hours of sleep so I could exercise before going to work. I was willing to give up soda. You get the point.
Everything has a cost associated with it. You have to decide if what you want, why you want it, and the things you’ll have to give up (some temporarily I might add) are worth the cost. And if it’s worth it, are you willing to pay the cost.
For me, it was definitely worth it. And looking back on it, the price wasn’t nearly as expensive it appeared in the beginning.