I am a very lucky man – I’ve got an amazing wife and am the father to three wonderful kids. Lylli was born on Halloween in 2008, Gracie was born November 2010 and although she only lived for 17 months, she will remain as much a part of this family as the rest of us, and Mickey Gray, our first son, was born in June of 2012. I’m not going to say that life has gone exactly as I would have wanted, but it is a good life and I am determined to make the best of it.

This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St Patty's Day Run

Friday night as I prepared for the Get Lucky 7K, I’ll admit, I was scared and moping around.  As I was unlacing my running shoe to attach the time chip, my wife heard me mumble – “I don’t know why I’m even bothering to put on this stupid thing, it’s not like I want anyone to know my time anyway”.  It’s at that moment that she reminded me of all of the things that Gracie will do in her life where she may be the one that is out of place.  Being the fat guy in a crowd of runners is hardly a comparison to having Down syndrome, but she really gave me something to think about.  When I start to feel bad about where I’m at, I need to get better at not kicking myself for getting there, but instead be proud of what I’m trying to do – I’m out there for the experience and to better myself - I need to enjoy it, and do my best.
I woke up early Saturday to prepare for my day, I followed my shower up with a couple pieces of whole grain toast with peanut butter and bananas and a couple glasses of water – fuel for the run.  After getting on all of my stuff, and a few nervous bathroom breaks, I sat on the edge of the couch anxiously awaiting my ride – we got downtown, parked in a ramp near the event and followed the sea of green towards the starting line.  I wore my new daddythefatty.com shirt in an attempt to draw some attention to this site and hopefully more specifically to the link to my Boston Children’s hospital fundraising page.  I am so out of my element at these things, but was determined to try to enjoy the event.  I really have to say, I kind of failed in that department – I was pretty much a whiny baby most of the run –I truly believed that my shins, calves, and arch supports were the reasons I had to walk so often, but in hindsight, I am still questioning my mental toughness – I know darn well there have been many times in my past that I pushed past extreme discomfort and pain to accomplish a lot harder tasks than moving forward at a pace just barely quicker than a walk.  My peers used to brag to others about my toughness.  I’ll admit, I kind of liked being known as the tough guy and it kills me to mentally struggle the whole time to want to give up and walk – maybe that’s one of the reasons this thing is so emotional to me -- I find that when I get moving, I am consumed by huge rush of emotions thinking about the journey we’ve taken with Gracie.  I want so bad for these girls to be a dad that they can be proud of and I get so angry at myself when so much of me is telling me to stop – I’m at the back of the pack and feel like there’s nothing I can do about that.  I need to remember that there is something I am doing about it just by being there – putting myself through the embarrassment to hopefully and eventually get to a place physically where I need to be.  Even though I’ll never be at the front of any organized run, I will continue this journey and I will work to be proud of where I’m going rather than being upset of where I’m at.   I think one of my friend’s said it best when hearing that I was still behind him at the finish line (I’m paraphrasing) – Oh well, there’s no grade in this test, it’s a pass/fail – Meaning, I either did it or I didn’t – and I’m happy to say that I did.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy

What a beautiful day yesterday!!  73 degrees in MN on March 14th – Even I can’t complain about that.  It was almost a little warm.   It made me think a bit about what I’ll be up against in the dog days of summer.  Last night I joined my buddy Dave for our scheduled Wednesday night run.  This is going to be very much a mental game for me – I’m still over 300 lbs and with that comes the additional aches and pains when trying to turn someone my size into a runner.  I was talking about how I realistically need to lose at least 80 lbs before the marathon and that even if I lose 25 lbs, I’ll still be 280.  Dave made a good point - he said every pound counts and when I think about how 25 is just a drop in the bucket, to consider carrying a 25 lb bag of dog food with me as I ran.  That said,  all of you guys annoyed by my presence at the organized 7k run this weekend, imagine throwing your mother-in-law on your back and trying to run a 7K – that’s where I’m at - so I’ll try to stay out of your way, but please think of me being out there as something positive as opposed to something in your way.  Anyway, I was starting to say that the hardest part about this training will be the mental aspect.  I’m not able to run the whole distance that I’m tasked with in the plan yet, so I’ve decided that I will only count towards my assigned distance when I’m actually running – last night, including a half mile warm-up walk and a small cool down walk, it took us 4.6 miles (and over an hour) to accomplish running 3 miles.  At one point, I was whining so much that Dave yelled over to me “knock it off”.  This is tough on the ego for a guy like me – If this was pushing through one more shoulder press, dead-life, or squat I could do it – that is something I am used to (or used to be used to).  But pushing through the mental great wall of China that I have in my head as soon as I get out of my comfort zone when running is going to be the hardest part.  I don’t know if this is a weakness that I’ve always had or I’ve slowly evolved to this point, but I don’t like it and plan to face it head on until I am no longer the guy that gives up.  Pushing on while being tired from a run is nothing compared to what my daughter Gracie has done - she has shown us how to not give up and I need to remember that when I'm feeling sorry for myself midrun.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t much of a workout for Dave (and I need to start learning to not apologize for that fact so often), but for where I’m at, it was a pretty good workout and I promised him that I’ll be a little better every time we meet– I’m even a little sore today – the good kind of sore.  I’ve been so good at having huge ideas and not following through with them – so much so that it makes me embarrassed and ashamed.  I was proud of myself when I drove away from his house – I’m going to do this 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 1 Run is in the Books

Yesterday, I arrived home from work, to a 3 year old bouncing off the walls.  Carrie was trying one of her new recipes from Pinterest (which should probably be a whole blog post in itself – Because of the things she finds on that site, we’ve never had more delicious meals) – This particular recipe, being a newly found treasure, and first attempt, it caused her initial estimate of a 5:30 mealtime to look like it would be closer to sometime after 6.  Since my scheduled run was a short one (1.5 miles), I saw it as an opportunity to get it checked off my “to do” list before dinner.  Because the 3 year old was in such an energetic mood and so happy to see her daddy, I didn’t feel right leaving her there while Carrie cooked (one handed, I might add, with Gracie on her hip) – I saw it as a good opportunity for some one on one time , so I asked Lylli if she wanted to come with me.  It made me very happy to see how excited she got when I asked, but in the scheme of things it may not have been the best idea to get the most out of my workout.  After finally getting her out the door, and air in the tires of the jogging stroller,  I strapped her in and we headed out – she very much wanted to run too, so I had to promise her that she could get out near the end and run alongside me for the rest of the run – I am still VERY out of shape, I struggled the whole time trying to run and answer the barrage of never ending questions coming from the seat below me – the one most frequently asked being “daddy when can I run too?”  I covered about a mile and a half total (admittedly only running about a mile of it – maybe 1.25 if you count the quarter mile that I ran with Lylli in our final stretch).  We ate dinner and hung out, but eventually my conscience got to me (and probably a little bit of the fact that the contestants on the Biggest Loser are now at that point I dread – all weighing less than I do).  I couldn’t let that run after work be the one to set the tone for this program, so around 9:15, I headed out for another short run (just over a mile).  I’d like to say it was a quick one, but I’m struggling – at least I covered the mileage that I was supposed to.  I’m very much looking forward to heading over to my buddy Dave’s place after work for a 3 miler.  I know I slow him down with my walking, but I’m getting a little better every time we meet – I’m very thankful that he is so willing to help do this with me.  This year, I will not let him run that race alone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

30 Week Marathon Training 1st run tonight

Today will be my first official run of the Hal Higdon’s Supreme Novice 30 week marathon program.  According to this plan, there will be 148 running workouts between now and October 7th when I accomplish my goal of completing the Twin Cities Marathon.  When I put it that way, it scares me a lot - it kind of seems impossible that this number of workouts will be enough to get me ready, but I am going to give this my best effort and hopefully I can finally follow through with something.  I plan to use this blog to record this attempt as I go.  Above you will see a pic from the “run” that I did on New Year’s Day – You’ll notice the “playoff” beard that I started somewhere around the time we went to Boston for Gracie’s last surgery -  I’m keeping the beard for awhile – I use it as a daily reminder of what I’m working to accomplish this year.  It’s gotten much bushier since then, and frankly, it really helps keep people from sitting next to me on the bus to and from work.  I should only resemble the guy in this photo when I cross the finish line on Oct 7th.  Please wish me luck – I’ll really need it.