I got the MRI results of my Cervical Spine and now know the reason for my latest round of aches and pains. This one happens to be a literal pain in the neck! I have three bulging disks and two more disks that have bone pressing against the nerve root. Doctor reviews regarding the impact of this on my running are mixed. I’ve heard everything from, “no more running”, “try cycling instead” and “no running for 6 to 8 weeks”, to “maybe after another week you can run a little”. So, the co-pays continue to mount and it seems I go from appointment to appointment. It’s a daily struggle against the disappointment that would try to bring me down.
If you think you’re getting weary of hearing my about my woe’s, I think I’ve got you beat. I would much rather be writing about exciting events and joyous occasions! I was greatly anticipating being able to put my first full marathon experience on paper. That was supposed to have been next weekend, but I guess that’s on hold, once again.
Until this week, I had never watched a whole episode of “The Biggest Loser”. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the show when the contestants weigh in, but I’ve never seen all the work that was involved to achieve these dramatic and impressive weight losses. This particular episode happened to be the start of the new season. As contestants were chosen and placed on teams, those who were on Jillian Michael’s team, seemed to express more emotion, both positive and negative. I soon found out why!
These poor contestants weren’t given the opportunity to “ease” into their training. They knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but they had no clue as to how difficult it would be until they were passing out and rolling off the tread mill into a heap on the floor. Most of them were throwing up in buckets that were readily at hand, as if the need for the buckets had been anticipated. On top of the complete misery and high level of emotion that the contestants felt, there was Jillian Michaels, screaming in their faces. And I mean screaming!
I can think back to some of the workouts my coach assigned that I thought were tough. I only remember once when I thought I might throw up. It was on mile 16 of my farthest run yet, just before the stress fracture in my hip. I think the heat just got the best of me that day. One other time I was doing a hard speed workout and as the pavement ran out on a dead end road leading into the dessert, I was afraid I might pass out. I wondered how long it would take for someone to find me out there, but those experiences seem like nothing compared to what these show contestants were facing.
I have to say that I’m thankful for a coach who doesn’t scream in my face, telling me that I’m wasting his time! I’m not sure that I would respond so well to that. However, a couple phrases that Jillian said, or rather screamed on the show, did make me think. The phrases, “How bad do you want it?” and “Dig deep”, have been rolling over in my mind all week.
Of course, I can apply these phrases to running. I really do want to run a marathon, at least one at some point. I’ve been working pretty hard to try to accomplish that, in spite of the string of injuries, but certainly not as hard as these contestants.
But more importantly, I’ve got bigger goals in mind than running a marathon. More than half of my life is probably already over. Those years are gone and I can’t get them back. My biggest goal is that my life would count for something.
The problem of obesity is at epidemic proportions in our country and the producers and coaches on “The Biggest Loser” want to bring change and make a difference. Obesity isn’t the only thing that is rampant in our society. There are plenty of other social issues that need to be addressed. It’s going to take many people who want to make a difference and bring change. I think the reality is that it will take every single one of us! And I believe that every single one of us would say that we want to make our life count for something. But how bad do we want it?
I’m not here on this swirling planet, just to exist, please myself and have a good time. I want to make a contribution somehow. I’ve got ideas that I’ve thought about, but haven’t done much with. Years ago, I put some things on paper, but that’s about as far as I went. They aren’t things that I can achieve on my own. On my own, I don’t have what it takes to make it happen. It’s bigger than me. As a result, these things are left undone, unaccomplished and myself, unfulfilled.
I can hear Jillian screaming at me now. “What are you afraid of?” I think my answer is much the same as the contestants on the show. “I’m scared of failing”, “afraid of the pain of the workouts” and “not being able to eat bear claws again”. Yes, you heard that right. A contestant seriously said she didn’t want to give up bear claws. In case you don’t know, “bear claws” are a sweet, flakey and delicately, delicious pastry! I’m afraid I am not quite ready to give up sweets either; however eating sweets isn’t what’s holding me back from my goal in this case.
How bad do I really want it? Am I willing to dig deep and probably endure pain, as the contestants on the show had to? Am I willing to do whatever it takes? I mean really do WHATEVER it takes? Inconvenience myself, make sacrifices, take criticism, overcome obstacles, throw up and expose my ugliness in public? Do I REALLY want it??? Or will I just keep on existing, pleasing and taking care of myself, sitting on the couch all day eating bonbons or bear claws?
It’s true! Change starts with a choice. It’s got to be more than a resolution we make for the New Year. It has to be a thought out, purposeful decision to take action if you want to bring change. As Jillian Michaels described the exercise that one contestant was supposed to be doing, she said, “It’s as simple as hand, foot, hand, foot”. The exercise was called the “bear crawl”. Jillian broke it down into tiny movements, one after another. You just have to move one hand, then one foot, then one hand and one foot.
Jillian’s instruction to do one movement at a time was simple, just like I try to live my life, one day at a time. If I look at the whole big picture all at once, I can be overwhelmed and terrified. Well if that’s the way I live, what am I missing? Why haven’t I achieved my goal to make my life count for something and to make a difference in this world already? I mean, I’ve already lived half my life. I’ve wasted my own time!
Jillian told me what I was lacking. She said, “I want attack dogs, pit bulls, fire breathing dragons, on my team. “ I’ve lacked the “attack dog” spirit. I’ve been more like a tiny, playful, furry, cuddle up, lap dog. I’ve liked my creature comforts, but I’ve lounged around long enough. It’s time to dig deep! It’s time to do whatever it takes! Who’s with me?