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I Really Wanted to Give Up, I Have Before

As the London Marathon draws closer, it has become a bit of a stress. I broke my leg in October and missed 9 weeks of training during prime running weather. I gained 12 pounds. By the time I got running again, it seemed that we have had snow storm after snow storm. I never liked the treadmill, and being forced to use it has changed me.

Not for the better.

The good news is that I get to run. Running is a gift. I condensed my training. usually when you train for a marathon, you ramp up slowly. When you start marathon training you would normally be up to a half marathon (13.1 miles or 21-something KM). Then you add the other half marathon over the next 18 weeks. Actually, you just run 20 miles as your long run. There are a few cutback weeks, and you really end up adding about 7 miles over those 18 weeks.

I missed nine weeks. Nine long runs never happened. 

My training was basically starting nine weeks late from zero miles. I ran lots of short runs to build up my stamina, but the long runs were knocking at the door. I went from 8 miles, to 11 miles, and then I jumped up to 17 miles. That was two weeks ago. Sunday, I ran 20 miles in 4 hours. Six of that i did with Ruth. <3 I basically skipped my 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18 and 19 mile long runs.

Not my best move, but I pulled it off. 20 miles if about 76% of the total 26.2 miles.

In fact, overall it was a good run. I didn't fall down and bang up anything. The sun was out. I didn't poop my running shorts. I didn't even choke on my Gatorade. I was a minute faster per mile than I was on my 17-miler a few weeks prior.

It's like it wasn't me.

All the time I was out there in sub-freezing weather (in my shorts and Boston Marathon finishers shirt), my pathetic runner friends raised about $1,000 for my charity. I can't tell you how grateful I am for that. I am over $4,000 of the $6,000 I agreed to raise. That's about 66% of my goal.

I am also grateful for those of you who have contributed!

Here I am about to run my 9th full marathon, which is my 5th world major. The 20-miler is a is the pinnacle of training. It is sort of a slide to the starting line from here. I am sore, but satisfied. I know I can do it despite the odds against it.

It may not be my best race, but I will finish.

For me - the old fat guy who almost died from heart failure seven years ago - finishing is a win. Raising money for charity makes me feel good about what I am doing. Your prayers, thoughts and comments are the wind in my sails.

Having the support of my wife is also precious commodity.

Marathoning is a strange blend of support, faith, hard work, and for me, a lot of grace. I didn't just wake up one day and decide to run a marathon. The desire to try, to work hard, and find a way to finish what I started, was the miracle.

When I began running, it was going to be a miracle that I could complete a 5K. I finished my first on March 25, 2011.

I remember crying at the end of the first race. Me in my dorky red basketball shorts. I did it. I also remember the day I hit the 20 mile mark in my first marathon in 2013. I cried then, too. That was back when I was feeling great. The last few years have been rough, but marathoning taught me that by putting one foot in front of the other, I could get to the finish line.

I will be doing that on April 22nd. Thanks for your support and encouragement. It means a lot.

I Almost Didn't Make It

I still can't believe it was me. I look back on some family photos from 00s. Wow, I was nearly 300 pounds! (pics in profile) I didn't mean to get there. I was a skinny kid and I was a skinny adult until I was 43. Then it began. It happened when I wasn't looking. 

Over time, the pounds added up!

I graduated HS at 165. I was 185 as an adult. I can't even imagine how you gain 115 pounds. One bite at a time, I guess. And so it happened to me. At 230 pounds I started a diet. I was back down to 190. Then up to 265, and back down to 199. It was just too much work. I tried the gym and had an injury, so I had to quit. It seemed like every time I tried to get active, something went wrong so I would give up. That was my story.

I kept giving up.

Then one day in 2011, I had congestive heart failure. Yes, I had started on the journey, again. Working hard for nearly three months, I was down nearly 50 pounds. When I weighed in at the hospital after seven days in ICU, I was 244, depressed, and certain my life was over. It was now just a matter of sitting in a chair and taking meds until I died.

I had no dreams left.

Not long after I got home, I had my daughter drop me off to see the running of the 2012 Boston Marathon. I can't tell you what happened that day, but something changed. Maybe God spoke to me. I'd like to believe that. I walked home the mile to my house in 55 minutes; stopping to rest on a park bench.

I took a three-hour nap.

When I awoke, I started logging on MFP and walking every day. I got back to the gym and worked with a trainer. She thought I was crazy to even try after CHF. I thought I might be too. I kept going, kept trying, kept logging, and started dreaming again.

Maybe I could run a 5K.

Maybe I could turn this around. I prayed that I would. I had a little setback, I had my knee repaired in December of 2011. I kept going to the gym. Five weeks later I was back to running. My walks became jogging from one telephone pole to next, followed by a recovery walk and another run. I began using the treadmill at work. I got up to two miles by the end of February.

I signed up for a 5K that would take place on March 25, 2012. One year after CHF. [That story here
I kept pushing on the treadmill at work. I ran on the street each weekend. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, but it felt good! Finally, the day came, I ran my first 5K, Run with Heart. I didn't walk a single step. I can hear John Mellencamp's Rain On the Scarecrow as my family stood in the drizzle to cheer me on.

I did it!

From there, I fell in love with running. I ran my first 10K in late August. I hit the road for my first half marathon in February of 2013. It was the same year I ran my first marathon. [That story here

Just 938 days after I was in C-ICU!

I have run 90 races, and nine of those were full marathons. It has not been without challenges. 2015 was my best year, running four marathons, and setting personal records in every distance. It was also the year in which IBD reared its ugly head. [That story here
It destroyed my 2016 running season. My longest run was just nine miles.

I have had some good care, but there is no cure for IBD. Despite the setbacks with cancer, I trained for and ran the Berlin Marathon in September 2017. I joined the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, Team Challenge for the London Marathon next month. 

Despite a broken leg in October, a fall on my 11-miler, and worsening IBD, I am training for and will be running London. Just you wait and see.

2460 Days of MFP

What do you do when you have been here this long? Keep on logging in and being vigilant about your fitness journey. Why haven't I been logging my food the last week or so? Well, I wasn't feeling that great and had some under 1200 calorie days.

It made me mad that MFP wouldn't accept my diary submissions.

I have learned a lot from logging food. I have made the lifestyle change and I can pretty quickly size up a meal within 100 calories. It's just like the guys at the fish counter in the store. They can drop a filet of salmon on the scale and it's within tenths of an ounce.

There are no excuses for not logging.

I don't need kudos for logging my food. I just know that I am better when I manage my food choices by making a weekly meal plans, dividing up portions on a meal prep day, and putting my exercise in my Google calendar. When my life changes, I start logging to stay on track.

Planning = success.

So what has it been like since I first came to MFP?
- We used to have to comment "WTG" (way to go) because there wasn't a like button.
- The forums were filled with craziness, fad diets, and people selling shake replacement meals.
- A lot of folks have come and gone, but Dan E. and Bobby D. are still here. We've met each other, run marathons together, and speak on the phone regularly.
- José keeps in touch on Facebook as do some of you others.
- Some of the folks I met on here have died. #cancersucks Miss you Jill and Rocky
- John White still leads me in days logged in. Dan E. is right on my tail.
- I survived congestive heart failure, ran my first 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, the Boston Marathon, and ran across the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
- I survived 2 melanoma surgeries, 2 colon tumor surgeries, and I have been battling prostate cancer for 4 years.
- I fell down running and broke a collar bone, a leg (2 times), and busted up my ribs.
- I went back to playing hockey, had my knee repaired, and a rotator cuff surgery.
- I met the love of my life and look forward to every day with her.
- With your help I wrote my first book, ICU to Marathon. I am working on my second one, the Pathetic Runner.
- I lost nearly 100 pounds (pics in my profile), gained back 10, lost it, gained back 20, and now I am on the way back down. I have lost 8 pounds in the last few months.

And I feel better than I ever have.

My tips for success? Make a few friends, log it all, get a food scale, get portion control tubs, move your ass, and last of all, don't die, it will ruin your life.

Thanks for the votes and comments - it all means a lot to me. And thanks for 2460 days of fitness changing encouragement.
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