Shifting a Paradigm on a Dime Pt 3: This time it’s personal
In our last adventure, we learned a couple of things.
- I’m not a morning person.
- Disney is all about ‘the experience’.
- I promised an epiphany.
Let’s get to this ‘morning thing’.
We were told to be up bright and early for a sample ‘Fun Run’ done in a runDisney style. Here’s a few things to know about me. I don’t find running to be fun at all. The one thing I find less fun than running, is getting up at 6:00 AM to do it. But, they had been doing ‘the experience’ so well, I had no choice but to get up and give it a shot. So, I asked if it could be a ‘Fun Stumble and Whine’ and I was graciously told, “Yes, yes it can.”
We walked outside to the boardwalk and were greeted with this:
The boys were excited to see Minnie Mouse greet them at the starting line. I have to admit, it was pretty cool for the grown ups too.
We lined up for a group shot, and then we were off. Some took off quicker than others. My son kept asking me to go faster.
They’re getting away, daddy! Go faster! Go fast like them!
I was filming a video that called for some crazy running across a field. And I ran just crazy enough to blow my toe out. I remember when it popped out of joint and slid back in with a hollow pop, my first thought was, “Yep…that’s going to hurt later.” And, guess what? It did!
I didn’t let it stop me from getting some jogging in, though. I just didn’t get as much in as I had originally hoped. And I wasn’t terribly sad to be taking a stroll on this run, because we went into Epcot through the back way, and ran around all of the countries! Also, did I mention, the park wasn’t open yet? We had the place all to ourselves. It truly was magical. It was a rare view few people get to see very often, without actually working there.
And that isn’t some fancy photography filter I’ve got going on there, either. It’s called, the camera was sitting in the back of the stroller next to an ice cold bottle of water. And the lens fogged up. We said our hellos and goodbyes and made our way toward the main group when we stumbled across…
Rapunzel is totally asking my boys for kisses. And my oldest is absolutely taken by her. I can tell because he loses his swagger completely and starts to hide. Now, let me go on record here and say, it’s probably for the best Rapunzel didn’t ask ME for a kiss. It would have been hard to finish the Fun Run after getting booted from the park. (I kid! I kid!) Mostly.
When the group took off from the photo stop, my oldest began bugging me about going fast again. So…I obliged. For a little while. I did learn one thing, my son would have made a heckuva chariot driver!
Go faster, daddy! Go faster, more!
Not sure what speed he was hoping I’d get up to, but I think it might have involved a turbo boost button and a warp engine. After a brief jog, I just ‘happened’ to find a really great shot for a picture. And the most miraculous event happened. I got both boys to sit down for a real picture with minimal hollering at them to look at me for more than .2 seconds.
Oh, then my youngest decided to get in on this Fun Run action and refused to go back into his stroller. So, he ended up jogging and walking for over a quarter mile before we got to the final picture stop with Princess Minnie. The only reason he even let me pick him up was that I promised I’d carry him over the bridge so he could see Minnie Mouse up close.
He nodded and we carried on, in last place of course, but we were at Disney so we didn’t even care. My oldest was transfixed with sitting in his stroller and taking pictures. We recently gave him our old digital camera, and he felt it was his duty to record our run with images of his feet, the sky, his finger, the side of his stroller, some blurry trees…you get the idea.
We crossed the bridge, and my youngest saw Minnie in the distance and he wasn’t having anymore of this ‘holding him’ thing. So I put him down and he sprinted off. Cue the magic in 3…2…1…
Okay, so we’ve covered the morning thing. And ‘the experience’ is pretty much all I’ve talked about since the beginning here.
The epiphany is a little more ethereal, harder to grasp, and far more personal than I anticipated.
Here’s some background.
I used to love running. It was the one time in my life where I ruled my world. When I had my running shoes on, no one could bully me. No one could touch me. I was powerful on the level with Norse gods. I was Mercury, The Flash, Quicksilver, The Million Dollar Man, and those kids in Chariots of Fire all rolled up into one package of awesome. Am I saying I was the fastest out there? No. But when my shoes were laced up…I felt like a god among mortals. I was bullet-proof.
This was in my hay-day. I was 16. I had dreams of going to the Olympics. And as with most things, life got busy, and training fell by the wayside, and soon, I wasn’t in awesome shape any more. By the time I turned 20, I had begun to ‘fill in around the edges’ some. I wasn’t getting any younger, and could feel my ‘window for greatness’ closing.
In 1994-95, I decided to stop dreaming of going to the Olympics, and start training for it. I looked all over for a coach, but couldn’t find one. Undeterred, I did the next best thing; I went to the track and began running. Soon, my legs limbered up and the muscles remembered. Soon, I was tearing ass down the track and starting to feel the invulnerability coming back.
I could feel the power returning to my legs. I could feel my heart and lungs giving over to the forces and working in unison. My times were dropping and things were good. But then something happened. My right knee started to hurt when I ran. With each step, I could feel a needle stab in my knee joint. I did what I could, and kept pushing myself.
Then my left knee started hurting. Within a short time after that, I was sidelined. I could barely walk up steps without my upper lip sweating. My day job was working pest control. This meant I was getting up and down all day long. I was climbing ladders, walking up and down stairs. Each step became more and more grueling. I wasn’t getting any better.
The doctor told me “Scotty, you have to stop running.”
I remember staring at her. I knew the words that came out of her mouth were in English…but I couldn’t understand them. I remember gritting my teeth and swallowing a lump in my throat. “But…I’m training to be in the Olympics. I’m going to run the mile…”
She gave me a sad smile and shook her head slowly. “If you keep training, you’re going to tear things up in there. You’re body is telling you to stop. If you want, we can do surgery. I can put a gold screw in to hold the ligaments in place, but if you tear that, you’ll never walk the same way again.”
I walked out of the doctor’s office and got into my truck and cried. I felt hopeless, powerless, weak, and broken. My dream of racing for Olympic gold died that day. I did what my doctor asked. I stopped running. I stopped training. I stopped working out. I just stopped.
And after awhile, my knees began to feel better, even if I didn’t. Then, the 1996 Olympics arrived. And I watched in a depressed and drunken haze as a field of men took to the track and ran my race. MY RACE. It was supposed to be my time to shine. It was supposed to be my seminal moment to shrug off the years of self-doubt and show the world who I was.
Instead, I sat in the living room drinking too much and crying too hard and mourning the loss of my dream. I ran a few more times over the years, but nothing serious. A couple of 5Ks came and went. I let life sweep me along as I ‘grew up’. And as the years progressed, I put on weight. Then I put on more weight. And because that wasn’t enough, I put on even more weight.
And this weekend, I really noticed it. When the Fun Run started…I wanted to break loose and run with the pack. But I couldn’t. And my busted up toe wasn’t the main reason. It was because running hurts now. And not because of my bunged up knees. Nope, they have long since healed. It’s because my legs can’t handle the strain my body is putting on them.
You see, there were several other pictures of me taken over the weekend that I didn’t post…because the only thing I could see, was my fat. And this is part of that epiphany…so I share them here:
One thing to note: This is not me. Anyone who knows me, says, “Yes, that IS you, Scotty.” And I reply: “Well, it’s not the ‘me’ I see in the mirror every day. I see someone much smaller…healthier.”
The epiphany? This is the guy my kids see. This is not the guy I want them to see. I don’t want them to become familiar with the ‘me’ that can’t go faster. I don’t want them to equate my lifestyle as normal to them. I know I’m not healthy…but, dammit, I need to be.
I want to regain the power. I want to get excited when I tie on a pair of running shoes. I want to feel the familiar splash of acid when the starting pistol goes off. I want my kids to grow up with a love of exercise. I want my kids to know that once you turn 30…you go downhill and never go back up. Screw that.
So, here’s where I am. I’m fat. (It’s okay, I’ve come to grips with it.) I’m 40. And I need to get my groove back. So, I’m training for some long distance running. I got a spiffy new pair of running shoes from New Balance and I don’t intend to let them go to waist. (See what I did there?)
A marathon has been on my bucket list for decades. It’s time I knocked it off the list. And I don’t mean just crossing it off. I mean, I intend to run a marathon. Any dads want to join me?
We can be runDisneyDads! The last time I was bitten by the marathon bug, I looked into runDisney. It was cute. They had a few races throughout the year at various parks. But when this event came up, I checked back into runDisney and WOW…they’ve gotten huge! The next marathon is the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend. Currently, the races are mostly sold out, BUT, I’m petitioning Disney to see if they can spare a couple of extra entrances for some runDisneyDads.
My goal is this:
- Dad runs one race: 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon
- Dad’s kid runs one race: (Races range according to age)
Anyone interested? Hit me up at diaper(dot)daddies(at)gmail(dot)com
I need to know in the next week or so, to see if this is even going to be possible. But rest assured, I will be posting updates on my fitness challenge. And I’d love for others to come along for the ride.