In the beginning………… Think Positive!
This blog post I am going to start to share my story that led to where I am today in my running and professional journey. Not that my story is worth the length of a book, but I plan to break this adventure up over many blog posts to be sure to hit the key points and things that were aha moments. Sound good?
To begin the journey I think I need to go back to one of the key moments that was life changing for me and made me seek change. It happened about 5 years ago and it had nothing to do with running, diet or fitness.
I had transitioned to a new position in my industry for my current fulltime employer for about 6 months and part of taking on this new role there was chance that I may have to deal with my previous employer as a customer.
When I left that employer, let’s just say I did not leave on the best of terms as I was pretty much running away. (At the time, I did not realize how true it was that I was running away like a hostage that found the door unlocked one day…..) Soon after leaving that employer he sued me over my draw vs. commission. The man was just evil and in the end, the law was on my side, but it did not help with the mental damage, it was done. Looking back, I see how mentally abusive that employer was to me and how jealous and negative of a person he was. He really did not like that customers were more loyal to me and not him and his company, this led to a chain of abusive techniques on his end to try to control me. This in turn made me pursue a new career after my wife begged me to leave him after seeing me crumble. The longer I stayed with that employer my drinking increased………………..
Getting back to the key moment: Like I said there was a chance that my previous negative, abusive employer could be one of my clients. Well it happened…….He requested to try to get in on one of the projects I was working on with my new employer (in the world of sales and contracts it is common for companies to join forces or offer finders fees if they think the other one can help close the deal). My office contacted me with the details and asked my opinion. Clearly they knew I was going to tell them to turn it down, but they felt it may be best that I turn him down myself in person. Needless to say I did not sleep that night.
The next morning I realized there was no way I could face the person that sunk me down into such a dark place face to face. I just knew the negativity that would surround the whole ordeal and I just could not allow any more drain on my mental state. So I decided to send him an email saying I was turning him down, that did not go over well. That day was one of the most nerve racking days of my life. It was at this point I knew I never wanted to feel like that EVER AGAIN!
I did not want negativity to control my life. I did not want to be depressed. I did not want to be around abusive or negative people. I did not want others to suck the life out of me with negative thoughts, words or situations. I had to find a way to get away from it.
How could I do this? Instantly I looked to those who I looked up to as role models and tried to find what made them a role model for me and why I admired them. What traits did these role models have that I needed to focus on? After taking a closer look I found a recurring trait that stood out…….. my role models all had a positive attitude even in negative situations. This was HUGE! I felt like I found the meaning of life and from that day on I said I would try to be positive all the time and look at the brighter side of each interaction. Within a few days I saw a change in my everyday life and it felt great! It is a real battle to stay positive, but in the end it is very rewarding. The other thing that happened is my career took off.
Having a goal!
So I went through June without really having a race goal. I did have my simple goal of getting my 250 miles in to meet my 3000 miles in 2016 goal (a really long goal so you can slide a little here and there) and also to keep my streak going (min 1 mi a day). I met both those goals in June, but I found it very hard to do as I did not have much drive even with a 4th of July 5k coming up. I lacked that desire to go out and run.
I also slacked off on my health and plant based diet goals. I think that is what really sucked me down into the ‘no drive’ zone. This time of year we attend a lot of Dave Matthews Band concerts and as tradition has become, I let my eating habits slide. Products with a lot of sugar kept showing up in front of me and I quickly found myself with that desire to EAT SUGAR all the time! Take it from a person who struggles with addiction, sugar is very addictive. I also let the 1 item that I let slide in my diet once in a while become a habit……. Ice cream! The one item I miss on a plant based diet is ice cream (I know there is good vegan ice cream out there, just not easy to find in my area :-( ) and I allow myself to have it from time to time, normally on long run days. One of the major reasons I only do it once in a while is the milk instantly flares up inflammation in my body and the next morning I have hangover feelings…… yup…… Needless to say I gained some weight and not the good kind in June. So for the past 5 days, I fought and got back on the plant based track minus the sugar.
So with my running in June, I got up every morning and went through my normal routine fighting to get out the door. By mile 2-3 of my run I would start to feel good and end up enjoying my run, but I was tired and lacked the boost to kick it in gear. I lacked the desire to run long, I think my longest run was 14 miles once. My HR stayed in range most days, but my pace time increased. There were a few days were I picked up the tempo, but again just so, so…….. Makes me wonder how I am going to perform at this 5k in 3 days?
Looking forward to July, I knew I needed to get something longer than a 5k on the calendar to give me a reason to keep my ‘long run’ legs fresh. I bounced around looking at different events and last night I decided to enter into the ‘Endless Summer 6hr Run’ in Annapolis, MD on July 30th. This will be my second ‘set time frame’ event and my daughter has already agreed to come crew for me. I think I will be able to make a good showing. I also have my next attempt at getting my BQ in September and need to keep building.
So this morning when I went out for my run, I FELT GREAT! I felt like I had a reason to run and my body agreed (or maybe it is just happy to be off all that sugar?). I had one of those runs were you want to just keep running……………
It is amazing the power of having a goal!