Help Me. I’ve Been Bad!
Posted on April 26, 2019
The following was written on April 20, 2019 in response to a question posted on Quora.com. The questions was Why do people run marathons if it’s bad for your body? and this was my response.
People always ask me a question similar to yours: Doesn’t running hurt your knees? and I will usually respond with My knees and I have an agreement – If I agree not to put the weight back on, then they agree to put up with my running marathons.
Neither of us have ever regretted this agreement. Here’s why…
I promised my wife when I turned 40 that I would go see a doctor for a complete physical. I don’t know why, , but Mary was worried about my health…
So, at 44 when I had my 1000th nosebleed that wouldn’t stop, rushed to the emergency room where they introduced me to my new best friend, the Rhino Rocket, and was informed that my blood pressure was “slightly” elevated at ~220/125, I considered going to a doctor…
A year later, when I had a kidney stone that required not one or two but THREE trips back to the hospital for lithotripsy (ultra sound waves to break up kidney stones) because they couldn’t penetrate the fat surrounding my stomach to effectively break up the stone and literally breaking the skin in the process, the thought of going to a doctor for a full exam re-entered my mind.
But it remained there, as just a thought.
NOTE: There are some times that it’s best to NOT have a picture taken of yourself, and even more times that you should think twice about posting it on the interweb, but unfortunately for you, I ignored both suggestions. And if you thought the above picture was bad (and just to confirm, it was), then the next one is like 26.2 times worse, so I will apologize in advance. Sorry.
It IS extremely embarrassing, but it IS important to show just how unhealthy and overweight I was. I have never posted this picture anywhere (it’s really not one of those pictures you post on Facebook or Instagram with a #badday hashtag) but fortunately I don’t think there are very many people that visit this site or will read this so it’s all good…
BTW, I stuck a quarter there for size perspective. Seriously, who does that? We both know the answer at this point.
I warned you! The good news is it’s over and I promise that there’s nothing but happy and uplifting pictures from this point forward.
Sometime during my 45th year, I finally went to see a doctor as my heart, like the rest of my body, was starting to complain and act funny. Not in a “Ha ha, I can’t believe you ate an entire dozen of Krispy Kreme Donuts. That was so funny!” way, but in a “Hey moron, wake up and notice that I’m having a really tough time circulating the blood through your body and I’m about to give up on you!” kind of way.
As for my mind, it had started screaming “help me” since I was a kid but I just repeatedly ignored it until it eventually went away by medicating it with lots of bad, but very pleasing food.
Now, even more rare than pictures of the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, is a picture of me eating a salad, or really anything healthy. This rare event was captured and recorded in December of 2007. And while many may claim/insist that this HAD to have been photoshopped, I can confirm that it is in fact 100% authentic. That said, I feel I must add a qualifying statement as to the context of the situation.
As I recall, it was actually a challenge by my nephew Adam to see if my body would explode if I ate something healthy. It didn’t, but that was probably because I single-handedly attacked and devoured the entire desert tray to quickly counteract the “health” and taste of the salad.
Oh, back to the highly overdue doctor visit…
After taking my blood pressure (around 200/120), weight (318 lbs), height (5′6″), etc she announced her findings that (shockingly) I was not in good health! Who knew? With a calculated Body Mass Index (BMI) that was literally off the chart at 51.3 (see below), I had earned everything that goes with a lifetime of abusing my body, a lack of exercise and the resulting morbid obesity (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux/heartburn, sleep apnea, high blood sugar that eventually led to Type 2 diabetes, etc., etc., etc.).
Even though she was a holistic doctor, she suggested. While excited about the proverbial “fat loss magic pill” and not having to do anything but have surgery to get rid of my lifetime of poor eating and exercise habits, I was surprised that she would recommend it. Her response: To be honest, you are the first person I have EVER recommended it to. You’re THAT bad Roger!.
In order to have the procedure, you must first attend a 3 hour seminar about the surgery which I eagerly attended. I considered it just one of the pesky requisite hurdles that I had to jump over (or in my case, knock down and walk over or frankly just walk around) and then I would be allowed to happily hop and skip down the road to the surgery table.
But things didn’t go as planned…
While listening to the various doctor’s sugar coated sales pitches and miraculous results, I also picked up on the ones that they sort of glossed over such as “possible” complications including a quick mention of death (!). It was at that point that I walked out shaking my head NO and needed to find another way.
It took about two years, a number of failed diets, hypnosis, nutritionists, weight watchers (4th and 5th time), and another failed attempt to be cast onto name a few.
It was right after I found out that I didn’t make the cut for upcoming season of The Biggest Loser that I came up with my latest plan to lose weight. Ironically, I came up with this plan while cooking TWO racks of BBQ ribs in order to gain MORE weight and have a better chance of being cast on the following season of the show. Only those who are/have been morbidly obese would really understand that reasoning, but it’s true.
But I digress. Here was my plan:
Run the 2009 Boston Marathon, just like my father did when I was 7 years old. In the process I would lose weight and raise money for Cystic Fibrosis (a disease my niece Julia has). Simple but just a few questions I asked myself as I contemplated this plan:
Can I run? NO
Have I ever run a mile in my entire 47 years? NO
Do I have any comprehension of just how far 26.2 miles is? NO
Do I hate the thought of walking, let alone running? YES
Do any of the above questions matter? NO!
Here I am about a week after walking three miles. My body was complaining but my mind was celebrating. Fortunately, my mind told my body to get over it!
I could continue to ramble on, tell you about what I went through, my highs and my lows over the next 10 months, how I learned to actually embrace and enjoy exercise, figured out that food is meant to fuel the body and not to just please and placate the mind, that love is the most motivating and powerful force in the world, and many other bits of wisdom I gained over those 10 months, but this would require hundreds of paragraphs, more confusing and superfluous comments and some additional “Help me” pictures, so I will just post a single picture to get us there.
I’ll say Presto Chango and someone cue the…
Wow, right? Now, I know what most of you are thinking “Why didn’t he use a better polyurethane sealer for the front door?”. My wife asks the same question. SMH
But others may wonder “Did you really do this in 10 months?” and the answer is YES!
So to answer the original question of “Why do people run marathons if it’s bad for your body”, I will let the picture below with my niece Julia right after I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon be my answer.
Really? You’re still reading this answer? I did it, I lost the weight, I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon and I answered the question so what else do you want to know?
The front door maybe? Do you actually care about the front door? Sadly, it still looks about the same. Sorry to disappoint.
Me? Are you curious what happened to me? Ironically, that marathon was EXACTLY 10 years ago today (April 20, 2009) so what have I been up to? OK, as a reward for persevering and putting up with me, here are a few more pictures for you.
These were taken 5 days ago (April 15, 2019) and I had just finished running the 2019 Boston Marathon with the race director,and a fantastic group of people.
It was my 63rd full (26.2) marathon in 10 years. And my body (and mind) STILL does not think that running marathons is BAD for it.