My Biggest Fears

I would like to share with you an event that still haunts me:

While I was finishing my degree, we would have IT competitions. I was in one, for PC Troubleshooting, where we had won the regional competition the year before. We worked in teams.

My partner was better at using command line, so I let him take the driver’s seat. He was sorting through the directories, and a line in the directory caught my eye. “Don’t stop him”, I figured, “he knows what he’s doing. I didn’t stop to consider that so did I.

We worked through the next 15 to 20 minutes. In the meantime, another team finished ahead of us. Shortly after, we circled back to the line in the code that I had seen earlier. That line, which I saw almost immediately, was the key to the whole thing.

We finished third. Had I trusted my instincts, we would have finished first, by a very large margin.

Right now, I am making the decision to return to independent contracting. I cannot continue the job I am doing anymore. As I reflect on it, though, I have always been happiest working for myself. And I’m surprisingly good at it. What I need to do is trust my instincts.

I’m going in this time with a battle plan. My work will not interfere with my workout. After hours will ALWAYS carry a premium, no exceptions. And travel rates are non negotiable.

So  I’m back on the road, sort of. But I have past experiences to guide me to future success. I will also resume work as a musician, so if you know of anyone…

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The Parts They Don’t Tell You About…

I like to joke that I’m in the “montage” phase of this journey. You know, the part in movies where they condense training in a long span down to a 3 minute montage, replete with inspiring soundtracks? Yeah, that part.

The thing is, in real life, that’s the hardest part. That’s where the real work gets done, and it is, in my opinion, why so many of the best laid plans get abandoned. Because it isn’t easy. In fact, it kind of stinks.

I woke up this morning with one of those “Sunday Morning Coming Down” sorts of headaches. I didn’t want to head out. But race day is coming up and so, I must. The thing about my story is there aren’t a lot of folks to tell it these days. I am not trying to settle for mediocrity; the goal is excellence.

So, I headed out. I put the first lap in and started on the second. I ran well past the marker on the first running leg. I could have run much further, but I pulled back, reminding myself it is about the big picture. I didn’t want to gas out on the later running legs.

It seems it was a wise choice (although it does encourage me with my first 5k forthcoming on July 6). I didn’t run extended distances on the other legs, and struggled a bit towards the middle. I’m working on adjusting my breathing, as lung capacity seems to be the main factor limiting me from running farther and faster.

I decided to run to the finish, without checking my time. When it was in sight I gave it everything I had and finished the 6 laps in a respectable (for me) 56:09. Still a long, long ways to go, and I’m not impressing anyone with those stats, unless they are properly comparing them with where I started the year.

I’ll get this done. It won’t be easy. And I’ll get it done on the parts you don’t see.

Incidentally, I am looking into a GoPro to start recording events. I am also looking into shirts and a branding campaign, hoping more folks will start  to take me seriously.

Not There Yet

I am reservedly grateful for some of the peaks and valleys in this journey. I wasn’t impressed with today’s time, but with my first event looming, consistency is the key.

And it’s hard. I have to fight my body, this wicked disease that creeps like a monster and looks for every opportunity to attack, to destroy my body. I’m winning, but daily realizing this will be a battle every day for the rest of my life.

And it occurs to me that I’m doing this right. This isn’t a 6 week plan, or a 12 week plan, this is a year commitment. And it’s about undoing not my physical limitations, but the mental hurdles that cause it.

It’s hard.

It sucks.

I wish there was an easier way.

Not being negative there, I am being honest. In a way I can be grateful that I am broke and always will be, because if I could buy my way to better health I would. This way, I am forced to battle the loneliness, the insecurity, the feelings of inadequacy, all of the mental problems that eat away at me just as fervently as the diabetes eats away at my body.

Some folks have asked me when I plan on writing a book. While I appreciate the sentiment, the answer is not now. When I cross that finish line, THEN I can reveal more about the journey. Until then I’ll be posting here regularly.

But I have miles to go before THAT sleep.

Well, I’ve Heard There Was a Secret Chord…

Thinking today. Always thinking. I’ve been in an emotional roller coaster as of late, and I’m sure that it has multiple components. My efforts towards healing, increasing intensity of workouts, the stress of the current events within our community, all of it.

I’m a hot mess right now, and there’s no easy fix. We’re just going to push through it, like any other wall.

I was ruminating today on music, and what it does for me. I always do that when WoodyFest is coming up. I haven’t played/sang much, because right now, today, my focus is on healing. And although there is a temptation to say that where I’m at is “good enough”, I promised myself a year…and a year it will be.

Anyway, the thought I had was of King David (incidentally, quite likely an ancestor of mine, as he would be the patriarch of the Solomon line). When he was not yet king, the previous king (Saul) would call him into his courts to play for him. David’s harp soothed King Saul in his time of sorrow. I believe it is this melody that Leonard Cohen was referencing in the opening lines of “Hallelujah”.

My music is who I am. For me, the voice that lifts me out of my darkest place (there are a few, but this one stands out) is Sinead O’Connor.

Because she KNOWS.

Because you can hear in her voice that she KNOWS.

There have only been a handful of voices I have ever heard that understood that dark place well enough that their voice reached down in the pit to lift it out. You can hear it especially in Johnny Cash’s voice in “Hurt”, “I Still Miss Someone”, and “Sunday Morning Coming Down”.  You can hear it in Shane McGowan’s voice in “Fairytale of New York”. The list is short, but it’s powerful.

Anyway, back to the present, because I really want to tell you about my run. It relates, but only in a way that makes sense in my bucket hopping, disjointed mind. I’ll try and connect the two.

So, after doing some short, but intense (for me) hill training yesterday, I was back on course for today’s walk/run. I have pretty much made the 7th 1/10 mile run official, as I can’t remember the last time I haven’t run it. Anyway, today, I also ran a tenth on the last lap.

Or, it started as a tenth.

Anyway, I began that section of the last lap running a tenth. I still had steam, so my rule is, keep going. Up around that bend, then hey, let’s get to that tree, then let’s go around the next bend.

At some point, I realized that if I made it to the trees, I would log another tenth. One mile. I can do this, I figured, and really wanted that mile. So I made it, short on breath (could have done more, but I’m trying not to overwork myself. I have a 5k in fewer than 3 weeks).

It wasn’t until I was cooling down after the last running stretch that I realized I had miscalculated, that I had “only” run 9/10 of a mile. Still, 25% of the total distance, and better than I had ever done.

I was regretting my miscalculation. But then I thought about it, and IF I didn’t think I was about to run a mile, there is no way I would have completed that last tenth. Because I was focused on the goal, I unlocked a level I had never unlocked before, and showed myself that I am expanding my capabilities.

So, I took this long disjointed path to get here: the truth is, we all need someone, some THING to get us out of our dark spots. I encourage you to find that voice. Let it guide you. Let it move you. And take that next step.

Giving Myself Permission to Feel

This year has been about healing, about emancipation, about liberation. And I realized at the outset that most of the hurdles we face are mental, rather than physical.

In my youth, I was conditioned more than raised. I was taught to obey, and my feelings never ever entered  the equation. What resulted was a jumbled mess of occasionally irrational ad self destructive cycles that would repeat themselves at irregular intervals, depending on thee stress level. I couldn’t break those cycles.

It affected everything: my parenting, my relationships, everything. And it was through a blowout with a friend that I was finally able to unpack it and figure out what was going on. Because in the aftermath of any confrontation, I always overanalyze and ask myself if I overreacted. Without revisiting the ordeal, I will say that in this case, I didn’t.

For once, I followed the mission statement. Which is what this entire year has been about.

I realized that one key aspect of my personality is that I do not give myself permission to feel. I am so driven by others’ expectations that I rob myself of my own humanity by my expectations.

And yet in the midst of that I am still human. I have the right to hurt, to bleed, and to feel, even when those emotions may not be acceptable reactions to the situation. Check that — ESPECIALLY when those emotions may not be acceptable reactions to the situation. My reaction may not be right, but my RIGHT to react certainly is.

The altercation was about boundary setting. I felt (and still feel) that I have a right to those boundaries, just as anyone else does. And am hopeful that the friendship may one day be restored, although for the moment, it’s too soon.

Two a Days

So I have a long way to go and a short time to get there, so to speak. I’ve been looking at my routine, and, to add to it, I either need to extend my morning workout or add an evening routine. I’m already getting up at 5:45, and don’t want to up that too much (although heat will make it essential to move it up some), an evening routine makes sense. Plus, it will help maintain the blood sugar even better.

I’ve waited for the reveal on a dirty little secret: I am in between dr. visits, and because of my declining blood sugars, decided to try cutting one of my medications in half. I’m still monitoring my sugars closely, and the plan was/is that if they start to climbm I will adjust accordingly.

I’ve been doing it 2 weeks. They are still within target.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I try to get my postprandial blood sugar an hour after the evening meal rather than two, because I want to know just how fast my body is responding. Again, thosse numbers are coming in strong as well.

I am looking into video options because I want to show you just how far I’ve come in a short amount of time. Here’s a “tale of the tape” between February and now:

weight: 292 then, 250 now
Blood pressure(average): about 160/100 then, 120/75 (or below) now
A1C: 11.1 then, 5.7 now
Blood sugar: above 300 then, below 90 (fasting), below 100 (postprandial) now
Cholesterol: 237 then, 189 now
Triglycerides: 232 then, 139 now

If you’re struggling, please feel free to message me. I’m open to questions.

#PhaseTWO

For those following along at home, my goal is to run a half marathon this fall. I’m a long ways from it, but steadily making progress.

This means moving into #PhaseTWO. My blood sugar and blood pressure numbers are phenomenal; cholesterol and triglycerides are decent, and I am moving forward. But I am having to change my diets and move forward while I move onto this phase.

I no longer fear blood sugar swings because there isn’t enough to cause that. I’m feeling better and healthier in years. My gut no longer protrudes past my chest. And while running is still a chore, it isn’t pain that is bringing me down, but energy that I trust I will gain over time.

I have 20 ppoinds to go and my BMI will be under 30. No longer obese (although still overweight), and with the choice to do things that have long been inaccessible. I don’t want to give the reveal, but it’s going to be huge.

My half marathon goal is November 2, although I plan to enter some shorter event beforehand. Somewhere along the line, I hope someone notices the 49 year old diabetic who’s out there tearing up the courses. Because I may not run faster than you, but I’ve come further.