I recently saw a bumper sticker proclaiming that "running is cheaper than therapy." And therapy is something I could really use these days. This past year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs as I experience some major life changes.
In April of last year, I lost my dream job. Every little boy dreams of playing professional sports. My dream job was a little more unconventional. It still involved professional sports. But I had the privilege for three years to fulfill my dream and portray the team mascot. . When I would tell people what I did for a living, one of their first comments was usually, "You must lose a lot of weight with all that sweating." In the course of a game I would typically lose about 6-8 pounds, but it was all water weight. And it didn't take long for me to gain the weight back. I would often join my coworkers at the bar for a post-game celebration, or as was usually the case with my team, we would drown our disappointments in another frustrating loss and stare into the bottom of our frosty mugs. With that said, it was a great job and I had a lot of really great times because of it. But professional mascot jobs are few and far between. So I've been applying for jobs trying to transition into a more conventional career path in marketing. But there aren't a lot of companies out there that want to hire a guy who used to dress up in a furry costume and make a fool of himself to get people's attention for a living. So now that that dream job is over, I'll continue searching for a new job opportunity and meanwhile I've come up with a new dream that isn't necessarily career-minded.
And I'm going to fulfill this new dream with the support of my new bride. I got married to my incredible wife, Kristen, back in July. Marriage has been a wonderful experience thus far and she is an awesome support system for me. Back in December, we were overjoyed to learn that Kristen was pregnant. We had a great time over the holidays telling our closest family and friends about our news. As I began to think about my future as a father, I knew that I wanted to be an example for my child and not follow the "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. So I began to think about my fitness level. And visiting my sister was a "big" (pun intended) clue that something needed to change. As I stood next to my pregnant sister ( who is due in March) I noticed that my belly was farther along than her pregnant one.
While we were visiting my family, I came across an article that promoted a website where I could take an in-depth questionnaire to find out my life expectancy based on my current lifestyle. I took the quiz and found out that at the age of 30 (soon to be 31) I should be in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I thought I had another decade before that happened, but this quiz told me that I would live to the age of 66.3, if I continued to keep up this lifestyle. Ultimately, this led me to decide that a drastic change was needed. So I came up with this new dream.
That dream is to one day complete an ultramarathon. I realize that this might seem to be a lofty goal for a fat guy. But I don't do things on a small scale (see my belly for that proof!). When I say ultramarathon, I'm not talking in terms of Forrest Gump-like distances, but with my track record, that isn't something that is out of the question. As a kid, I was a scrawny little punk that could run up and down the soccer field all day. But a knee injury as a pre-teen slowed me down to the point where I would rather lounge in front of the TV then get out and run around with friends. So now that I've come to the realization that that wasn't the best decision, I chose running to get back into shape. I made this decision because I really enjoyed the freedom of running, I experienced as a kid.
Shortly into the new year, I ran into my first hurdle. Just as Kristen and I were planning for our new arrival, we experienced a miscarriage. After this unfortunate event, it was hard to think about running at all. But as time has passed, and with the idea that running is cheap therapy, I realized that chasing my dream and going for a run is much better than lounging on the couch and constantly asking "Why?". Besides, as slow as I am, it gives me a lot of time to think.
By being a part of this training program, it is my hope that I gain the knowledge and the necessary tools to help me as I begin the pursuit of my ultimate dream to complete an ultramarathon.