Ask your doctor if getting off your butt is right for you

As 2020 comes to a close, let us reflect on the year. COVID-19 has really taken a toll on my training, yet I managed to maintain a full training schedule.

My usual nine month schedule was quickly reduced to 7 weeks, from September to November. The original line up for scheduled events looked like this:

Winter Beast of Burden 25 miler – completed. Lockport, NY.  It was cold as hell.  17 degrees for most of the day.  Ankle deep snow, much of it very smooshy, like creamed butter and sugar.  First in my age group.  A friend challenged me to shave 30 minutes off my time for the summer event.  I would shave an hour. 

GORUCK Light, Au Shau Valley – Pittsburgh, PA, with my Daughter, Isabelle(Izzy) – March 14.  Great bonding experience and not too much for my daughter. 

Eagleton Trail Challenge – April 11 – cancelled.  Supposed to be my first 50 k for the year. 

Black Fork Gravel Grinder – May 2, supposed to be a 30 miler, cancelled, I am deferred to the 50 miler in 2021. 

Rock Creek Roubaix 50 miler – Gravel ride scheduled for July 11 – cancelled.  I will be riding the 50 miler with my wife in 2021. 

GORUCK Tough/Light – Buffalo, New York, honoring Operation Red Wing – July 17- cancelled

Chautaqua Gran Fondo 40 miler- Road Gran Fondo in Chautaqua Lake, NY, deferred to 2021

Labor Day Ride for the Refuge 50 k with the wife – cancelled, made a virtual event, I will ride the 100k with my wife in 2021. 

The following is the squishy 7 week schedule that actually happened:

Summer Beast of Burden 25 miler, originally scheduled for August, was cancelled and made a virtual event.  I would run it September 19 at Goddard State Park in Pennsylvania and shave an hour off of my winter time.  There was 700 feet more elevation at Goddard than in Lockport. 

Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic (YUTC) – 50k – September 12.  It was a warm one.  Not my fastest 50k time, but made it happen in 7:31. 

Sinemahone Gravel Ride in Emporium, Pa, 25 miler – September 26th

GORUCK Tough/ Light Zombie event, Pittsburgh Pa, October 23-24.  23 combined hours, 35 miles, carried a lot of heavy shit.  About 1.5 hours of sleep in between events. 

Fire on the Mountain 50 k.  Trail race in Western Maryland, 5k in climb.  November 1.  I was shooting for a sub 8, pulled in at 8:09. 

So what is your excuse?  For me it was “I don’t have anything going till September”  Guess what?, I trained.  Maybe not at the volume that I would have normally trained, but I trained. 
“I don’t want to get out of bed” – I got out of bed
“I am sore”- I did what my body let me do. 
I made goals, I spent time with my family, I enjoyed life. 

My clients come to me sometimes and ask how they can get into shape or get healty.  In no way do I advocate taking on the challenges that I sometimes put myself through.  For most, what I do is gruelling, hard and sometimes it outright sucks.  It rains, snows, sleets, is 100 degrees with a real feel of 110.  Guess what?  You don’t have to do any of that. 
Go for a walk, not a 1 mile mile stroll though, make it 3-4 miles at a brisk pace, you should be a little short of breath. Work yourself up to 5 miles and do this distance on the weekends. Walk the 3-4 miles 3-4 days a week. 
Add some weights.  Hire somebody to show you how. 
Don’t like doing all of this? Tough. Do it anyway. 
Another thing, everything in moderation.  I like a burger, fries, an IPA, cookies and doughnuts.  Not everyday.  Neither should you.  If you eat this way and you are not active, you will get fat.  Guess what?, that is not okay.  Now I don’t mean you are ugly and God does not love you.  I mean that if you are overweight, you are putting your life and the quality of your families life at risk.  Your back will hurt, your knees will hurt.  You will be plagued with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety and stress to name a few.
2021 is coming.  New Years resolutions are also coming.  “I am going to get in shape” some say. “I am going to go on a diet” say others.  Quit saying that shit and commit to it.  The way I live is not a diet, it is a lifestyle.  I come from short round people and I watched my colleagues all struggle with weight and physical health issues when I came back to Pennsylvania to be a minister.  On January 1st, commit to eating more fruits and veggies. Make a streak to see how many days you can go for a walk.  Even when the weather is bad. There is a philosphy in the fitness world called “fit at any size” and even Dick’s Sporting Goods and others like Nike have begun to produce plus size clothing.  Do not be lulled into thinking that obesity is okay.  For the sake of your health and overall satisfaction in life, do something.  It won’t be easy if you are pushing 50-100+ pounds over weight.  This will take you the better part of 18 mos to 2 or more years.  You can do this and your life quality will allow you to enjoy freedoms that you may have given up hope of ever feeling again. 
An immediate reaction my points may be that I am insensitive.  I hear some people say that they cannot help their obesity or that there are other problems leading to being obese.  As a mental health clinician, I adress all of these problems in my practice and often will systematically address functions of all behavior.  If you are struggling with weight, please understand that it is not all about losing the weight.  Sometimes, it requires one to address mental health, past trauma, current depression and anxiety.  Sometimes there are other physical conditions such as gut issues, auto immune diseases, a history of poverty and poor nutrition leading to over reliance on processed foods.  There is help available. 
On January 1st, commit to something.  In my practice, I ask my clients to consider seeing not only a therapist, but also a Psychiatrist, a Nutritionist and getting set up with a Personal Trainer or a Physical Therapist or both. 
  You are beautiful, own your beauty and compassionately love yourself. 

On January 1st, ask your doctor if getting off your butt is right for you.

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