Tough Love

6 Jun

Rise and shine buttercup! It’s time to get to work. (especially if you’re reading this at work) I’ve listened patiently to you for far too long about how you want to get back into running/exercising and I’m about to go all Nike on your lazy butt. JUST DO IT!!!

Tough Love

No, I will not apologize. You had it coming. I love ya. You know I do. In fact I care enough to call you out. I want you to live out your dreams and the irony is that in order to live your dreams, you have to wake up.


I woke up one morning two years ago and looked down at a scale. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Then I got off and checked to see if the kids messed with the calibration again. Nope.

Later that day my wife talked with a colleague who had decided to run a marathon. He was even heavier than I was at the time. He hadn’t done any training, but was tired of his sedentary lifestyle. I was fascinated. I was primed.

I signed up a week later. I had a little over three months to get my fat butt ready to run a marathon.

Go Beyond What is Possible

I didn’t know if I could do it. I gave myself a 40% chance. I had to try. I was desperate to get out of the fat body that I knew was not me. Sometimes you have to set goals so audacious that you wonder if it’s even possible to achieve them. I’ve since realized that I always need a goal like that to keep me vibrant.

What Do You Want?

Let’s get real here. Do you want to get fit, or do you want your potato chips? It’s not that simple of course, but what I’m getting at is do you want to get in shape, really? Is that desire strong enough to override your desire for comfort. It’s time we stop kidding ourselves.

We LOVE, flipping LOVE our comfort. We tell ourselves we need it. Can you give up your TV time? Can you pull yourself out of bed before work to run? That may require that you not stay up chatting on facebook or watching a movie late into the night. The ten o’clock news isn’t getting any better.

More Tough Love

Guess what… you’re not special. You’re not unique. I’m not your mommy so I can say that. You’re an adult. We make decisions. Many of us have kids. Many of us have more than one job. Life is hard. I’m sorry, but it is.

It’s precisely these commitments though why we can’t give up an active lifestyle. We need to be sharp and engaged. You NEED to exercise or you’re going to die before your time. Your family and friends need the best you. Forget getting in shape for you. That’s selfish. Get in shape, find adventure and life for THEM.

Do it Anyway

I know your kid was up teething last night. Do it anyway. I know your battle-mage is about to reach level 36 and unlock a really cool spell. I know the finale is on TV tonight. I know you’ve been pulling overtime for 4 months. I know you still have that nagging head-cold that’s dragging on for a month. Do it anyway. I know your dead-line is approaching, that school is looming, your dog died, your grandma is ill, your truck blew up and you need a new furnace. We all have times like this. DO IT ANYWAY.

That phrase has transformed my life. The irony is that for a long time I had no excuses to not exercise. Then I suddenly had three kids three and under. That’s when I got better about organizing my priorities. I realized just how selfish I was. Year one of fatherhood was not pretty. I had to decide what father I wanted to be. I chose to engage. I’m no hero. It’s what every dad should do, but they don’t. Grow up and live for something bigger than yourself. You’re not a kid anymore. I know it’s hard. DO IT ANYWAY.

I wouldn’t be this abrasive if we hung out for coffee and you poured all your guts out. Sometimes we need a sympathetic ear. But then I won’t blow sunshine anywhere it doesn’t belong either. Sometimes us guys need a kick in the #%$. In the words of my high school band director:

“Those that want by the mile, but try by the inch should be kicked by the foot.”

The Race

I fought through shin splits, plantar fasciitus, dehydration, poor nutrition, depression, and finally an achilles injury that my doctor told me not to run through. I listened. Kinda. I spent an entire month running only in the deep end of a pool, suspended by a foam jogging belt. I did three and four hour workouts like that, moving along at a blazing .001 MPH. Yeah, it was boring. I did it anyway.

I didn’t know as I lined up on race day if I’d finish or not. I’d been faithful to my training and it was out of my hands at that point. When I got to mile eight some energetic spectator pointed straight at me with deranged fire in their eyes and yelled, “Brandon! Today is your day!” (we had our names printed on our bibs, it was a nice touch). Hope surged through me when I heard that. It stirred that deep desire I’d had since I was a kid to finish a marathon.

I get goosebumps even now remembering what it was like to cross that finish line. I held my arms up high. I wept. Real men celebrate. They’ve worked too hard to be afraid of what others think of them.

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