Depending on whether or not I get construction going in my house by the weekend, I’ll be going on my buddy English Pete’s birthday run, a 50 k. That will be, if I choose to do it, roughly three times farther than I’ve ever bothered to run before – ever.
I’m in good enough shape to do it, at least slowly (figure 12 minutes a mile), but it’s going to hurt. A lot.
So, do I try it, just this one time, just for fun? We’ll be doing three loops of 10.3 miles so I can pull out after 20 miles if I want, but I’ve gotta tell you, I’m really tempted to give it a go, just to be crazy and shake things up.
I’ve been thinking on my journey to becoming fit lately. I tend to be a bit of a hard-ass when it comes to excuses, mainly because I don’t have much of a defense against them so I can’t have them. In fact, I’m no different than a full-on couch potato except that I possess one trait: The ability to think beyond my laziness (and the excuses) and focus on the ramifications of succumbing to it. This is the trick to maintaining my fitness (and my sobriety).
This goes beyond simple self knowledge – knowing myself and a dollar will get me a cup of coffee. It’s all about action. When my wife and I were struggling through the decision to ride, run or sit on the couch this past Saturday, because it was cold outside, we ended up agreeing that we’d be happier sitting at the dinner table if we went out on our ride rather than sit on the couch. The question is whether or not I could have afforded to take the day off…and how I answer that question makes the difference in whether or not I succeed.
Being an ex-drunk, I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. I’m either 100% sober or drunk off my ass, there is no middle ground. My step father-in-law asked me this weekend after congratulating me on hitting 20 years sober if there was any way that he and I could just head out to a bar and sit down for one beer and then leave… I chuckled and said that it would depend on whether or not he wanted to carry me home or not. There is absolutely no chance I can have just one beer. I’ll have a case – and then I’ll do it again tomorrow because now that I pissed away the last 20 years I might as well do it again. That will go on until I lose my wife, my kids, my house, my car, my job and my life.
If I apply that same principle to skipping a workout, what happens?
This is why most people fail to reach their fitness goals. One skipped workout can turn into an infection of the spirit over night. If that weren’t bad enough, it becomes easier to make the choice to sit it out after every time we choose the “easier, softer way”. In other words, once you’ve opened Pandora’s box, it’s tough to put the lid back on.
So the statement, “Oh yes you can get fit”, is not some cheap political slogan, it’s the truth. Anyone can if they put the time and effort into it – at least until you allow that first excuse to fester into a full-blown infection of your spirit. If you allow that to happen, it’s all over but the shouting.