This is a long one, but I invite you to come inside

eye-001Ok everybody.  Are you ready to just sit down in the run4change living room and talk for a while.  This is going to be a long one and I will probably lose all of your interest by about the third paragraph, but I am going to do it anyway.  I need to just talk it out.  I think I am just learning about myself a little more today.  I am going to share this with everyone.

Alright.  I tend to be a bit on the extreme side of things when I go after something.  I thank God for that because it makes sure that I get things done and that I do them well.  That is the plus side.  The down side, well, the down side is that the extreme side is not easily sustainable.  I know this is where my last post is coming from.  I accomplish a lot because of the hard work I put in, but a sprint doesn’t last.  Now I have improved in this area a lot, I mean I did stick with WW long enough to lose 130 lbs and keep it off for over a year.  But improving this is a big lifetime goal of mine.  Balance.

So looking back, I have accomplished much.  I got my masters degree in marriage and family, I wrote a thesis on the perception of alcohol use on a christian university campus, I have had great success in marriage, business and weight loss.  I have run longer distances in one pop than most people on earth and I did this only after one year of running.  I promise I am not bragging, I am just getting it out.  All of this is good and I am sure I will accomplish much in the future as we all will.  Sustainability, is it possible I wonder?  Does it need to be possible.  What is the big deal if I don’t run 10 marathons a year.  What I have accomplished is great already.  Would it be so bad to just stay fit and lean, spend more time with my wife, start a family, etc.

The biggest thing about this “balance” word is that in the past I have experienced first hand that extreme is not sustainable.  I have always given up on things.  Three months was my normal quit time.  I have done good on that so far but I want 30 years or more with this healthy journey you know.  I am going to get it too.  I am just thinking of how is the best way for me to go about it.  50 marathon finishes is worthless if I weight 300+ lbs in ten years.  I will just look back and think how stupid it all was until I get back on the wagon.  I am not going to let this happen.  I am in the search for extreme balance.

I am glad that you guys are here to listen.  I love to be able to write in the blog.  It is such a wonderful thing.  Take now for instance, I am really learning what I need to learn in order to keep the weight off and live happier for years to come.  At the same time, some reader will check this post out and say to themselves, “Dang, that dude just wrote some stuff that I have been thinking.  I think I need to consider balance more in my life too.”

I am considering letting go of the extremes to embrace the balanced just for my own protection.  I need to protect this gift that God has given me.  If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t just let someone or something take it from me.   How much more important the gift I was given is.  This is good.  I am now feeling much much better.  I have some ideas on how to establish more balance.  I am thinking I will take away all the races except for two.  The strolling Jim 40 miler and the Portland marathon.  The races are 4 to 5 months a part and if I did these two every year I would be able to have proper rest and healing between.  I will also try training the minimum amount to be able to finish the two races.  I am pretty positive that I could do that with two 30 miutes runs during the week and a long run every other weekend.  That is so much more balanced and sustainable.  I also want to begin doing more different activities.  I am thinking of buying a rowing machine and doing some yoga.  Those activities would balance things out a lot.  Also, as many of you have recommended, I would like to do some shorter races in the 5-10K distance.  That would also change things up a bit.

Ok, I think that I am done talking about this for now.  Thanks for sitting down and chatting with me.  Hopefully it wasn’t too boring for you but I got a lot out of it and I thank you for listening.  What a great learning experience this has been.

What do you guys think?  Is this a good thing I am going after?  Will it make me healthier and happier?  Let me know.

36 Responses to “This is a long one, but I invite you to come inside”

  1. January 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Balance is the key. Extremes never last, and they make you very tired.
    To some people, balance is boring – but not to me!
    I think you are very smart to be analyzing this.

  2. January 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    It is great that you have been thinking about practical things you can do to become more balanced, that is so important. The more things you try, the more you will learn. I don’t know about you but I love to learn about different activities and the cultures that surround them. Everything in moderation is overused, but true. This applies to running as well! 🙂

  3. 5 robfitness
    January 18, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    What your doing deserves to be commended my friend. I agree with a lot of what others have said, balance is the key to it all. I truthfully believe that you were really trying to do to much and it was taking it’s toll on you in a variety of ways. Mainly the stress that has to be involved with the training, the time and the pressures of having to get the runs in so you’d be prepared for all these m,marathons. It was a lot for one person to deal with.
    I think someone also mentioned that when a person loses a lot of weight like for example me an you, we tend to want to concur the world or at least do a lot more physical challenging stuff. I really hope I am making sense. Because I know with myself every since I have lost the 130 lbs I want to do this and do that and sometimes we just get carried away with our new lives as healthier, fit and active people.
    I also think it’s a good idea to try new things as well to expand your horizon and to can knowledge , insight and to challenge yourself in new area of your life. The yoga idea is something that I have been tossing around in my head for some time as well. I just want to do whatever I can to stay fit, active and to lead the best life possible and I believe variety is the way to go.
    Keep it, brother. I know you can do it.

    • 6 run4change
      January 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm

      THanks for the comment man. I am pretty sure that this is something that I need to do. THanks for checking the post out so fast. I always appreciate your opinion. Thanks

  4. January 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I agree with you about balance. That is why I love Weight Watchers. What they teach you is sustainable. There are so many examples of people who have lost fabulous amounts of weight – fast – only to eventually gain most, if not all, of it back. I never want to get back to where I was when I started, not only because I look better now, but because my health is so much better than were it was. I know someone whose goal is two sizes smaller in two months. While I applaud that goal, is it sustainable?

    As always, your topics are always so timely.

    • 8 run4change
      January 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks Miss. I do desire balace and with all of the wonderful encouragement I will attain it. I have a plan that I think will work. THanks a lot

  5. January 18, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I think that balance is important. I was amazed to find that you still follow the WW program so strictly even after you became and ultrarunner. mentally, following a strict dietary program is tougher for me than getting out and running everyday. I’d say to keep running and let the diet loosen a bit, but that’s just me.

    BTW, I’d love to hear your thoughts on alcohol perception on a Christian campus. Is there somewhere I can read your paper? What do you think of alcohol in regards to both fitness and spirituality?

    • 10 run4change
      January 18, 2009 at 1:48 pm

      I am not sure if you could find the thesis anywhere. I do know that it got published somewhere and I have a big old hard cover book of it at home. In my opinion, alcohol does nothing good for fitness or weight loss. Spirituallity is another thing. The bible does not ask people to never drink but it does say not to get drunk. The definition of drunk is strongly debated between people. I don’t drink anything at all, but that is me. I don’t work well with alcohol. I would be interested in seeing who makes great health and diet choices when they are drinking or “buzzed” or drunk.

    • 11 run4change
      January 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm

      OH yeah. Being ultrarunner is interesting when on WW. When you get 135+ extra points per week to eat, well, you have some liberty to say the least. That is about 20 points per day extra which would have put me at 54 points a day to lose weight at the time.

  6. January 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Balance is key I’ve found. Man was not made to subside on low calorie diets alone!

  7. January 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes. You know what you need for the long term and you know how to get it. Moderation with everything. Be proud of how far you have come and enjoy the ride!

  8. 15 CJ
    January 18, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I think its great that you have recognized this in yourself before you allowed it to derail your success. Sometimes, the extremes, exhaust your body, mind, soul and you tire too quickly and give in. I am not saying you would, what I am saying is its possible when always doing everything to the extreme. Balance is good. Balance is healthy. Good luck to you and congrats on realizing this now!

    • 16 run4change
      January 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm

      I am glad to. I mean, I have always know this; it is obvious. The difference is now I eye seeing the consequences of it in the past and don’t want to repeat those past mistakes. Right now I am good, no big problems, but keep going and then possibly the same consequences that happened in the past you know. I am happy about this.

  9. 17 gaiagirl
    January 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I hear you on the balance thing. When I do something new, it gets 100% of my attention. I’m consumed with it. And then I burn out or get bored after a couple of months. I think it’s just part of my personality, and I’ll just have to watch out for it and reign it in when I’m in danger of sabotaging my efforts to do some good in my life – like my weight loss or fitness or my PhD. I hear you, my friend!

    • 18 run4change
      January 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

      I agree with you. For me, in the beginning of WW I was not as extreme and I went a long time not being extreme. It was finishing that first marathon that sparked up the extreme. I trained modestly for the first one. AFter that I got extreme on it. Just like you are saying in your comment. Consumed by it. It does get us far but if we can harness it. It is great to have when you start something and if you can like you said, reign it in we are good.

  10. January 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Howdy ~ I loved reading what you wrote. Balance is sooo important ~ in every area of our life. I look at it like this: If one area of our life is out of balance, it is kind of like driving a car with a flat tire. 2009 can be our year of Balance! I know it can. Have a great night. SAM

    • 20 run4change
      January 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm

      Yes yes yes. 2009. Year of balance. It will be a wonderful year that will change all our lives for the better. Little by little, bit by bit, we will emerge stronger than ever. Thanks sam

  11. 21 Sarah
    January 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    As always another wonderful post, I haven’t been reading your blog that long but I believe your new plan will make you happier and healthier. I’ll just share this: I always worked out, 2 hrs 5-7 days a week, it was my hobby or addiction :). When I got married I reduced a little bit but not really and my husband was alright with it, not happy but let it go. When I had my first baby, I would go to the gym about 5 days a week, 1hr. When I had my second baby I decided that this was just all too much. I stopped exercising flat out when I was 3mths pregnant with her and didn’t go back till she was 6 weeks old. I had to put in my brain that I was only going to workout 3x a week. It works most of the time, and sometimes I do stress because I can’t get that long run in that I really wanted to. It was not easy, but I had to really get my mind into it. I have to look at how blessed I am to have a family and THAT makes me the happiest. A year into this new regime and I still struggle with the balance but its much better than before. Hope that wasn’t too long.

  12. January 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Your previous two posts have kind of built up to this one. It sounds like you are at a point where balance is the key. I don’t think there is anything in the world wrong with slowing down on the running a bit and even foregoing some of the runs you had planned. Your plan to just run the strolling Jim 40 miler and the Portland marathon, along with some shorter distances sounds like much, much more than even most dedicated people.

    Only you will know what will make you happier, but even the least of what you suggested will continue to make you healthier.

  13. 23 run4change
    January 18, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you Sarah for your comment. It is very practical and I think it will help in my search for balances. I am sure it will help others in theirs as well.

  14. 24 run4change
    January 18, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement Steve. I do realize that what I have done and will continue to do is a lot. Thanks for reinforcing the fact that it is ok to do a little less. appreciate it.

  15. January 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I like this post Jason. Earlier thismornign I read a post where someone mentioned the idea of doing one or two races instead of running all the races you had scheduled. I agreed with this person, but didn’t have time to comment. As I work on my own journey towards weight loss, the things I am reminded of most often by my accountability crew is 1. the need for balance 2. my goal is a wholly healthy me and 3. I am still learning my body. Jus tthis week I was struggling with feeling guilty because I took a scheduled day off from teh gym. LOgically I know that your body needs rest to recover and repair intself, but for whatever reason I was feeling guilty. THis does not lend me to being wholly healthy. If exercise becomes my God because I am afraid to not do it for fear of gaining back what I have lost, then how healthy is that? For me, I must continually check the motivations of my heart. Am I exercising out of fear or out of a desire to make my temple a better place for GOd to dwell? Somedays it is fear, but I hope that it will continually become more and more a desire to make a great home for Jesus and an example of His transforming power, physically, emotionally and spiritually!

    Blessings to you as you seek balance and moderation!


    • 26 run4change
      January 19, 2009 at 5:03 am

      Hi Kim. What a wonderful comment. For me, I do believe that my running and exercise has a healthy motivation behind. In fact, I am sure it does. It is the races that I am not sure do. For some reason, holding on to “quantity” of races some how validated all of my efforts as successful. As I learn from all of you and you learn from, I am seeing that I don’t need to go to those lengths anymore to prove to myself that I have done a good job. It is what I needed then and not what I need now. I will stick to the 1 or 2 races for fun and excitement, then I will interject new routines to spice it up . thanks

  16. January 19, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Hey Jason,

    I’m really proud of you. You are really looking at your life and seeing what you need to do. You realize you are extreme and need balance. You realize that is not going to last and you are realizing that you need to do something about it. You are realizing all this before you crash and burn, before your wife gets frustrated, before you have any major problems, before you have issues and gain some weight back. A lot of people with your extreme personality would realize this in their 20/20 hindsight. God has given you an incredible personality. I mean look at all you’ve accomplished already in your life and you don’t look that old, so imagine what is to come. When you start that family and you are an active family you are going to have so much fun at those 5k’s with the kids in tow. You are going to be so excited when your kids want to do a kids fun run. When your kids on their own order the apples at McD’s because they are healthier. I remember something from when I started triathlons in ’06. My kids came up to me one day and said, “Mom, we are going to scooter, rollerblade, and then bike. Could you please open the back of your minivan so we have a place to transition?” My daughter is 11 now and wants to do her first kid’s tri this summer. We did our first 5k together as a family this past thanksgiving. My son mentioned the other day that it is getting easier to hug me. These are all things that you have to look forward too. You will never have to huff and puff to keep up with your kids like I did. You will never have to sit on a bench at the park and watch instead of play with them. You have done the work now and now is the time to achieve that balance because my friend when you have kids you will need to have it cause extreme parenting doesn’t work either.

    You sound like you have a wonderful wife. Look at her, look at her deep into the eyes and I think you will have to look no further to your quest for balance.

    I am so proud of you. Really, really, proud of you.

    Your new buddy,

    • 28 run4change
      January 19, 2009 at 5:13 am

      Mommy, you are such an encouragement. This is a wonderful comment and it helps a lot to know that what I have accomplished will allow me to enjoy my life with children even more.

  17. 29 Angela
    January 19, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Well, I sure wish we were having this chat on the living room floor with some tea, instead of on the internet. But you’ve done a beautiful job, as usual, of hitting a hard topic home. As a person who binge eats, and with my recent lifestyle changes, I am learning that I have an addictive personality. When I was younger it was relationships, then food, then alcohol, then food, then crafting, then food….it’s like I have to be super extreme about something at all times. I am searching for balance as well. I strongly encourage the yoga. That has helped me both spiritually and physically. (Rodney Yee has a great AM yoga for starters) I am very interested to see what else you will have to say in the coming days, weeks, months about discovering balance.

    • 30 run4change
      January 19, 2009 at 5:15 am

      THanks Angela. Looks like we may have been cut from the some cloth (relationships, then food, then alcohol, then food, then crafting, then food….it’s like I have to be super extreme about something at all times.) It works great to start something but it does work very well to stick with something, I am going to stick with it.

  18. January 19, 2009 at 5:18 am

    I think moderation and balance is great, and you are wise to be thinking about applying it to your life long-term. If you do too much, you will probably get burned out. If you do too little, where’s the motivation and challenge? You just have to find a happy medium that keeps you focused without overextending yourself. Who knows? Maybe even one race per year could help you achieve that. I think you are doing great, and I enjoy reading your blog.

  19. 33 lissa10279
    January 19, 2009 at 6:19 am

    I really like this post a lot, Jason. It sounds like you’ve turned over the next leaf in your journey. I think in life, balance is the ultimate goal. Balance means an equal emphasis on love, friendship, family, career, fitness, health. If we put too much emphasis on one bucket, it becomes unhealthy and the others suffer. Yet finding that equilibrium takes work. I’m willing to make some sacrifices, and it sounds like you are too (giving up some of those races). Kudos!

  20. January 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    It’s wonderful that you’re striving for balance NOW, rather than waiting until you burn out on your routine!! I can really relate to this post. Balance is the holy grail.

    • 36 run4change
      January 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm

      THanks. You are so right, it is not easy because the extremism can be so useful, but the long run counts most

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