Don - Why I Need to Run a Ragnar
I am co-captain of my Ragnar relay team. For those that don’t know, Ragnar is a series of relay races held in various locations in the United States. Ragnars are 200 miles long (322km for us Canadians) and each team has 12 members in the relay. I first found out that this was a thing from this movie trailer here.
I asked a friend today if he wanted to join the team and he said, no… he has the money to do it, but would rather spend the money to do something else, perhaps he was thinking of a cruise or house renovations or a new car. I got to thinking about that tonight. If I won a million dollars in the lottery and could do absolutely anything, ANYTHING in the world…. It would be to run this race. I am just so incredibly excited and bouncing around happy to do be doing this. So while I was running around the track tonight, I was pondering to myself why is this so incredibly important to me.
Well, like in the movie I will be running it with other people who have turned their health around. I think it was seeing those 12 people; 12 people together, sharing their triumph over obesity and all the hell that goes with it… when they hugged each other at the end, it wasn’t because they finished a Ragnar race, it was because it was a joint triumph over obesity.
Weight maintenance is such a lonely task. It has been about 3.5 years since I reached goal (August 2010). The kudos have long since disappeared. There is no “Biggest Maintainer” show on television. If I put up a picture of me in August 2010 and a picture of me now, there would be no oo’s or ah’s. “You look the same. Big deal.” But damn it – it IS a big deal. It takes a SIGNIFICANT effort to keep the weight off. I spoke with Dr. Arya Sharma when I was in Calgary for last year’s annual TOPS conference and I bought his book. His book said that people that lose half of their body weight like I did would have to give 100% effort each day – to the point of being neurotic – to keep the weight off. I told him that that was pretty much how I felt every day – that I was giving 100% effort – and my question to him was – do I have to keep putting in this effort forever? He replied “No. Not forever. Just until you die. Which will likely be many years later than if you hadn’t lost the weight and continue to keep it off.” So I’m fighting the fight, day-in and day-out, with no fanfare, not nearly the encouragement that I got when I was losing the weight, and certainly nowhere near the recognition for a job well done. Now, we know this. I loved reading “Winning After Losing” by Stacey Halprin where she says that since it is natural for external encouragement to dry up, you have to reward YOURSELF. You have to be your biggest fan.
I think this is the ultimate way of recharging my batteries. This is MY reward to myself. To be at the finish line with 11 other people who are celebrating a triumph over their past health woes would just be, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” arms flailing around like Kermit Awesome. Seriously, I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Maintaining a significant weight loss REQUIRES a recharge of the batteries every once in a while. The medals from the half marathons, speaking to TOPS chapters, the little victories you run into along the way like when I found a box of old clothes in my storage room – those things can bump up the battery life… but all those smiling faces – the exhilaration and excitement – I think that’s what I need to get the battery back up to full.
It does amaze me though. I keep asking myself “Why am I doing this? Why am I keeping off the weight? Why am I investing the time to do this?” And apparently “Because you feel awesome” isn’t enough. I tell people that I wish to heck that some overweight person could take my body for a day to feel what kind of energy I have now compared to the past. Now Dr. Sharma said in his speech in Calgary – no wonder overweight people are exhausted all the time – they have to carry all this weight around with them when they are walking, climbing stairs, doing chores. It takes a lot of energy to move around all that extra weight. And I lived that. And I almost wish I had a day where I could trade places with someone overweight. I think it would do us both a lot of good. After 3 and a half years, I’m starting to forget what it was like to be overweight. Which in a way is good because it was a nightmare. But as the nightmare fades, so does my vigilance to keep the weight off. All I know is that I don’t want to go back there, but I’m starting to forget the physical reasons why. The emotional reasons why are still pretty darn fresh and I don’t think those scars are going anywhere. But the physical I am forgetting. So before my desire wanes any further I desperately need to do something life-affirming. That mountain climb I mentioned in the previous blog… that was gold. But this – this would be the mother lode.