Weight or wait?

Weight has always been a struggle for me. Growing up I was always the fat one. I was a young kid of 15, I was 5 feet 9 inches and weighed over 280 pounds. I am one who can watch diligently what I eat, but have a real hard time losing weight! I was just the fat one.

Then when I was 16, my father grounded me for getting home 20 minutes late on a Saturday night. (9:20 PM) I had a very strict father. He did not even hesitate beating one of the kids or my mom whenever he was mad about something and if we gave him a little reason, we were the release through his fists or a belt. I know he has mellowed over the years but we still do not talk. Hard to believe almost 20 years have passed and we still do not talk much.

Anyway, he grounded me. Being the rebellious long hair hippy (his name for me), I would start walking 6 miles to town each morning in the summer and hang with friends and then walk back while may father and mother were at work. My friends offered me rides, but I never accepted, as I did not want the other farmers seeing them and telling my dad. Grounding meant no friend over, I was alone. As violent as he was, I did not want to take that risk…

I started to lose weight quickly and my walk turned into a jog. By the time my 6 weeks grounding was over, I have lost 25 pounds. I still recall the look on my dads face when he gave me the keys to the car back and I did not take the keys and took off running. Well, from that point on I started running and biking all over. Good old single speed Schwinn. I had no goals, I had no desires, I just used the feet and legs when ever I needed to go somewhere. There were limits, anything over 10 miles or was a situation I couldn’t shower and had to be clean, I drove. But being a cook in a Country Kitchen restaurant, I ran to work. Just under 5 miles each way.

Well within a year I dropped from 280 pounds to 165 pounds. I decided to start running races. I never thought much of them. Never really trained. They were just something to do. Have some good times. Never won a race, took 3rd a few times. Then I tried a marathon. I did not finish. I started training. Reading books, planning things out. Really putting a whole crapload of effort into the task. I finished my first marathon. Then I read even more, planned more, trained harder, and ran over an hour faster in the same marathon two years later.

Then running and biking became a chore. Every time I went, it was not for the any other purpose but to get that specific training plan in. I lost interest in using running or biking just for enjoyment. That was 1994. I had struggled and my weight was 210 pounds at 5 foot 11 inches.

Long story short, in 2005, I was really out of shape and topped the scale at 296 pounds. There were some changes in my life and I started walking and running to save money, sort things out and just to clear my head. I never looked at it as anything but mental health and money saving mechanism. I lost weight. I dropped to 212 pounds and entered a few races. Over the years, I had only done Grandma’s each year with little training, just to keep the streak alive.

Then I did the 50 miler in 2006 and started “training” again. No longer were my runs just to get out and see nature, just to commute to save money or just cause it was nice, my workout became rigid, planned training runs. You know, planned long runs, speed workouts and such. I began to hurt more with more aches and pains. Getting a training run in was often hard. I was gaining weight.

Now here I am, I have gained 10 pounds since June 1. I have ran little or worked out little since the knee surgery. The Doc visit informed me there was a little more of an issue than he thought and absolutely no impact on the knee at all for at least another 6 weeks. So at least September 8 before I see him again. I am watching what I eat to try to hold off more weight gain. I am at 260 right now. I was a 212 when I finished the 50 milers in 2006, 238 when I quit at mile 77 in the Superior 100 in 2007 and I was 245 when I quit Superior 100 in 2008. Even though I was training harder, mentally, it wore me down and stressed me out. I eat out of stress…

So what does this mean? I think I said this before, but I quit. I will not structure training anymore. If I feel like walking, swimming or biking I will. And if a race gets thrown in there in the middle so be it.

A big thing I did in those years was knowing my food addiction when stressed. Whenever I wanted Ice Cream or cookies, I would go for a one mile walk first. Then if i still wanted it, I did. But usually the stress that was causing the food desire was eliminated by the one mile walk. I would take my camera, stop and talk to friends, or call a long lost friend and just talk while I walked. Again, using the walk to take care of other things, not as a training run for a race.

For me, I find I am just happier without the stress exercise should relieve. I find I lose weight just using the legs to save money, reduce stress related food cravings or enjoy the scenery. It was out of another need other than my race times and what was needed to prepare for a race that got me in great shape and enjoying exercise, and it was training and trying to be better at a race that failed me in the past, I think it is a no brainer I need to give up training and let the races, times and finishes fall where they may. In any case, I will guess I will be a volunteer much more than a racer, at least for the time being. My racing plans will come as a day to day planning effort. I may enter many but if I do not feel like a run that day, the entry fee would be a donation to the race. No plans, no schedule, no stress… I think as I look back, that will make me healthier, happier and wiser…

Happy trails! Carry on…



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4 responses to “Weight or wait?

  1. Carl Gammon

    That's a great, moving story, Londell, and I understand your perspective. You need to have enjoyment in what you do, so letting the training and races fall where they may is fine good idea.Just remember that you have friends out here that don't want you to disappear completely. I hope you still get the chance to drop by some of the races once in a while. And maybe when your knee is better, I can join you for a walk.

  2. Karen G

    You have to be realistic about it. Running is not for people at all condition levels. Just like when I was 60 pounds heavier, before I could even continue with the step aerobic classes that I had once liked I had to do other things, like walk alot and do lifting type classes till I lost enough weight for my knees to handle it. Walking or biking will probably better give you the better fat burning workout tht you need instead of the tear you down workout that will just make you want to eat and make you overly exhausted anyways.Sorry about what you had to go through as a kid.

  3. Wayne

    Sounds like you are getting things sorted out, Londell… which is great. Like Carl says, don't disappear on us. I'm looking forward to seeing you out there, in whatever capacity helps you be healthier, happier and wiser.

  4. Helen

    Thanks for sharing Londell. An inspriring story as to how you got into running. And now, as Carl said, finding joy in whatever you do is most important. Hope to see you out there before long. But in the meantime keep blogging – it's always an thought provoking read.Helen

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