Could I be an Athlete Again?

Could I be an Athlete Again?

I've had a very on again off again relationship with my body, weightloss, and strength conditioning for many a year. I grew up in a house where my father regularly battled it himself having been so successful in the early years of Weight Watchers existence that he was featured in a newspaper about it. But maintenance is a bitch as I would personally come to learn and so it was not abnormal to see him take it up in doses here and there. Weight Watchers, Atkins, some type of biblical version I don't even remember that met at the church, I was regularly surrounded by that and as an overweight kid often participated in it. Like many fad diets it never really stuck as it was only focused on extreme types of portion control or foods and anything in the extreme is bound to not last.

After college my wife and I joined Weight Watchers with more purpose and motivation and I had a lot of success with it. I believe at my lowest I got down to 188lbs in 2007. I know the year because some of the pictures at my lowest weight ever were a trip to NYC where I got to see an iPhone for the very first time at the Apple Store on 5th Avenue.

25 Year Old me playing with an iPhone for the first time in 2007

I wasn't doing much in the way of exercise, again it was all just focused on portion control and eating the "right" foods. And like everything else once I got to some semblance of a goal weight I reverted back to adding in cheat meals regularly and the weight slowly but surely crept back up. In the summer of 2015 Emalee and I committed to not just joining a gym but also to hire a trainer/nutritionist to help us do things right. It was the first time learning about clean eating but also having the accountability not just in the home but in the regular sessions at the gym. After several months of losing weight and building muscle we started running a few small races, a 5k here or there. And then Emalee suggested we make it a goal to run a Spartan race. I've written about that journey here and while the post was in process, I went on to complete 3 Spartan races in 2017 (A "trifecta") as well as 3 Half-Marathons. I was slimmer sure, but I was also stronger and pushing myself.

In the years since I've lost that motivation. Our trainer moved on to other things and I used the replacement for awhile but eventually fell out of the habit. Life gets in the way and certainly between work, moving into a new house, the start of the arcade, it all just felt a lot like this would become a chapter in my life that is no longer there. Last year my brother reached out and wanted to talk about us being accountability partners to lose some weight. I jumped at the chance as by that point I was at my absolute heaviest I could remember. I set some goals to get down 40 pounds by my birthday and I'm happy to say I met that goal. The past 5 months I've been less strict and the creep has begun so I'm anxious to not slide back on those goals too far. I'm also aware that while losing the weight was great I really want to get back the strength I had and push myself towards larger goals. I still think about those Spartan races and how much fun they were.

A friend of mine recently did a Spartan race in September and it was fun to talk with him about his experience. I hadn't yet found anyone that would be interested in doing a challenge of that nature so I asked if he planned to do more and he was in to it so I told him I'd love to commit to something like that next year.

Screenshot of a countdown image saying "117 Days To Race: You've Committed to Atlanta Spartan Super 10K"

One of the constant trends with this lifelong battle with my self is that I'm most successful when I am held accountable by others. It's too easy to convince myself to cheat or give up. Much harder when others are expecting me to do what I said I would. So consider this a line in the sand. On March 17th I'll complete my first Spartan race in almost 6 years. I'm terrified that I might not have it in me. That 4 months is not nearly enough time. That I'm too old. For now I'm going to quiet those fears by digging in. It's time to go for a run.

Photo of me after my final race of 2017 with all three medals of the "Trifecta"