Okay, so you can’t transform into a lion at will, but within human-reason, nothing is impossible. Next week is my runniversary, and I cristened the season by doing an adventure military running course today with a few people from CrossFit. I was rather nervous about it (ends up being a little over 6 miles, plus fitness circuits), but it ended up being a really fun time, and not as physically tolling as I thought it would be. 

To put that in perspective, before two years ago, I could do a pushup, I couldn’t even run 1/2 a mile, I couldn’t do situps, even more than a few months ago, I couldn’t do a pullup, and today I did my 15 and a group members 10, for a total of 25. Although it is not all about numbers, numbers give us a way to review our progress, see where we came from and push further next time. That is why I love CrossFit in general, but even moreso than a number, the feeling is what outweighs the greatest tolls. 

I was looking back through all of my facebook photos, kind of taking myself on a journey of where I have come from. I was on my brother’s page a few days ago, and saw a photo I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, which made me think, “Damn, I have come a long way”. Losing 100 lbs. is byfar the greatest accomplishment of my life, but further than that, the way I feel today is unsurpassed towards any number or words on this page. The feeling I feel inside for accomplishing all that I have is physical, mental, visual, psychological, interpersonal, and so much more. To run for miles and miles, crawl through mud, and throw my body to the ground for random exercises is something I couldn’t even conceive of two years ago. 

So, that is what this is all about. I can’t sit here and say “you will make it, you will reach that point in your life where you surpass all of your own expectations and become something greater than you ever thought you would be”, because, I don’t know that you will. I tried, I failed, I tried, I failed, I tried, I succeeded. Journeys of this nature are not for the faint of heart, but I will say one thing with complete confidence; it is not impossible. I don’t know if you will make it, but you CAN make it. It all comes from within. You have to want something greater than the pain, the cravings, the self-defeat, the depression, the family, the friends, the negative self-image, the fatigue, the stress, the inconvenience; all of it. It doesn’t mean a damn thing at the end of the day because when you are running down that road, it is just you and what you will accomplish. The next step on the ground doesn’t care if you are poor, rich, healthy, unhealthy, fat, slim, 10, 20, 50, or 100. What matters is that you TAKE the next step. Running, for me, is what I replaced all of the stress and emotional eating with. It isn’t easy. Rewiring years of bad habits and engrained messages of “eat all of your dinner” as it is loaded with white pasta, alfredo, fatty meat, and soda – then you can have an ice cream. Our sense of ourselves and what we deserve is so warped. 

When I look around at the world, I try not to judge (still working on it!), but as I see people who are 3-4-500 lbs. I want to just talk with them and ask them how they got that way and help them. Not everyone wants help though, and that is why you have to do it for yourself. I can’t sit here and tell someone they have to lose weight because they are putting their life in danger. I can offer my story, tips I use, and support, but at the end of the day if you don’t have the drive, you aren’t going to get there. 

But, time and time again, even when failure creeps up on us, we can prevail. These feats are not impossible. Our minds have to be stronger than our bodies and our willpower has to be fueled hire than food consumption; for if we are to cross the finish line, we must earn it. I don’t want to go through life knowing that I coasted by, missing opportunities, sitting in the shade, the sidelines, inside. 

Nothing is impossible; an overused adage that has lost meaning over time, as many phrases do, but I promise you, I was sitting where you sat at one point. Going through the motions, waiting for change to happen to me. As I was looking through those old photos, sometimes I forget what it is like to have a body like that, but today, I remembered. I started to encumbered with the memory of shuffling my feet, pushing myself forward with force and not ease; the way walking shouldn’t happen. Feeling as my chin and my neck were almost a unit, and walking up 1 flight of stairs felt like a challenge. I remembered how kneeling used to hurt me, and how I used to have to pull down my shirt constantly over my stomach which protruded well past my pants. The “moobs” (man boob) that sat on my chest that I would joke about; “I could be an A cup”, which in retrospect is a sad joke, and a excellent example of diffusing the serious situation. Yes moobs are not what is wrong with the world today (per se), but it was a representation of unhappiness that I felt in my life, dissatisfaction with my physical form, which was only a representation of a lot of mental work that I had to do. 

And still do… I am still on that train to somewhere. Of course, I feel much better and look a lot better doing it. I think growing up with adversity in a variety of formats made me a very strong person; I don’t know that I would have ever been able to take this journey without the skills I learned from the difficult times I have had, but it also creates certain mindsets that are difficult to wash away over time. I feel like I have made unparalleled progress, and I am so happy to keep going on this journey because I know that the things in my head are possible. Weight lifting? Even 6 months ago if you told me I would be weight lifting, I would have thought you were crazy, but it just goes to show, you can’t trust your own brain sometimes; sometimes you just have to do what you think will be best for you in the long run. 

So, when the days feel tough, realize that we get one shot at this little thing called life. How do you want to live and relate to the world. I want to interact with it as much as possible, and I think fitness is the outlet to that because I have never felt more alive than when I am out there with others surpassing my own expectations of everything I never thought I could be. 

If you asked me 5 years ago who I would be in 5 years, I would have said: continuing my education, having a good time with my friends, working at a job I care about. All those things are still true, but I feel like all of them are enhanced by something unexplainable. If you asked me 5 years ago what I would look like I may say that I would have had a few more tattoos than I do, I would have said something like “I would like to lose some weight”, which is a big difference than “I will have lost weight” because I didn’t even know then it was possible because if you asked me what my diet would be like I would have been a bold face liar because I would not have said “chocolate, cake, pizza, pasta, chicken nuggets, mcdonalds, kfc, etc.” but that would have been the truth had I not taken the first step to changing my life. 

Okay, I have been babbling forever, and I didn’t even get to the good stuff today. 

So, nothing is impossible, right? One of our teammates today for the Zimmerman challenge had the goal of “finishing”. This is someone who has never even done a 5k, which is difficult if you haven’t done it before and are not a runner to begin with, so to do THIS :

3 mile team pack run (Each participant carries a 25 lb pack)
sprint style work out ~.6 of a mile long completed individually

Combat Fitness Course:
The combat course will consist of a 
three mile run with six exercise stations 
along the route. Stations are designed to 
punish the participants anaerobically, 
causing muscular fatigue while creating 
a situation where aerobic exercise 
(running) is extremely difficult.

Mud Pit/Low O-Course:
Participants will crawl under a series of wire obstacles and then have the choice of either running or low crawling through a mud pit.

Upper Body Station:
Each participant of the four person team 
will do 15 pull ups, 50 push-ups, 
and 75 sit ups each

Is pretty awesome. The amazing thing is that the rest of us were able to take some breaks here and there, and she trucked along the entire time, pushing through and FINISHING something she thought was “IMPOSSIBLE” the year before. I realize it is difficult to visualize yourself in a way that seems so far from where you are now. For example, I can’t imagine myself being president, but a big difference is; I don’t want to be president. Many people who want to be fit and healthy WANT IT, it just wanting it bad enough that everything else is not as important as snacking or that the overwhelming urges can be somehow subdued. 

So, the next time you think you just cannot do something, push the doubt and fear aside and just try. You may fail, and that doesn’t mean squat (unless you were trying to do squats) because you are out there, trying it and doing it, and that is more than the person still sitting on the couch is doing. We’re all fully capable of pushing ourselves past what we believe we can get to. Hell, I never imagined I would be 100 lbs. thinner, but here I am, so you have to look at it in small pieces. Take it day by day and moment by moment and be conscientious of your decisions. At the end of the day, it just you, and at the beginning of the day, it is just so. So, when you are at that starting place, realize that you can achieve what you believe is impossible, but step back from it just enough to see it, but that the step right in front of you is the only one you need to worry about. 

Okay, so now I am done talking! I will leave this post with an image I hadn’t seen in a bit from about a year and a half ago, with an image from today’s race. Sometimes I really am taken aback to think, “Wow, I was one of those people who did something pretty incredible”. 

(guess what, you can be too!)