Writing this a year later, I’m still wondering what possessed me to take up running.
Partly because ‘Marco’ suggested I could, at a time when for no earthly reason I was obviously receptive to the notion.
Partly because a few others I spoke to didn’t immediately disagree, which in my mind was a sad indictment of their ability to see the obvious, or a sign that my friends are hopelessly dishonest with me…but nevertheless helped persuade me that maybe I COULD do it.
But mainly because I thought it would be pretty hilarious if this gimpy, non-running, food-obsessed fat bloke that is me actually managed to accomplish running a Half-Marathon. Not that I was still fat – I hadn’t seen 250lbs for a couple of years by this point, but I still thought – and think – of myself as a fat person in disguise. Albeit a particularly cunning disguise that erases 70lbs. And that’s what kept me going…”Wouldn’t it be cool if…”.
Before long, I almost felt like I owed it to my parents and to Rachael to do this. They’d seen and suffered the worries, stresses, including my self-induced gallstones from my being very overweight for most of the previous 18 years. Running this Half felt like putting the seal on my weight loss and making a statement of intent about how things were going to be from here on in. A baptism of sorts, into a new identity as a reasonably healthy, reasonably fit…person thing.
Other than the competitiveness I mentioned in the previous post, probably the final thing that pushed me into this was my son Jude. Not so much his almost irritatedly dismissive “Yes, of course” (a great response) when I asked him whether he thought I could do it, but because he’s so fit, lean and quick and I wanted my efforts – if not my performance – to encourage him to keep working hard at his sports. I figured it wouldn’t be terribly helpful if he had a fat Dad who didn’t exercise, while he was out there busting a gut trying to be the best he could be at running, football and baseball.
So having decided to do this thing, I made sure a whole bunch of people knew about it, and got myself some running buddies.
Besides, with my long history of knee problems, ankle surgery and back injury and condition, at the back of my mind I thought it was highly likely that I would be forced to stop this nonsense not long after I started. And that would be OK, I figured – I’d given it a shot. And if my body said, “No you idiot – you’re badly-built old guy who’s falling to bits – what are you THINKING??”, then I’d be offended obviously, but I’d get over it and return to something sensible, like walking across hot coals or trying to trip up bulls on the Pamplona bull run.