Hey, remember when I was a blogger? Yeah, I hardly recall it myself. Once my brother from another mother, the Fat Slow Triathlete, and I teamed up to produce the Ironman Year One Podcast, I have focused my time and words on the show. I like to write, but I LOVE to talk. So, I have written very infrequently.

I don’t have some major insight today, some huge dramatic announcement, or some nugget of wisdom that I am sure the world can’t live without. I do have some joy, and I like sharing joy.

The joy comes after a big slump. And we have to talk about the slump.

I was hospitalized this summer with a severe sudden onset of diverticulitis. To be specific, micro-perforated sygmoid diverticulitis. I spent five nights in the hospital, and had surgery for good measure. A couple weeks later, I squeezed out a mile walking in 29:56. Clearly, I had a long road ahead to get back to “normal.” Of course, normal changes, and I was after my “new normal.”

The truth is, the setback came well before the hospital stay. Unsurprisingly, once I began to make some changes in my life through running and triathlon, real, deeper changes began to materialize. That’s kind of the point, the hope, when adult-onset athletes do new things. It’s supposed to be a trigger, or an indicator, of bigger life changes. Well, my mid-life crisis has lasted four years now, and after considering some career directions, I finally matched up with a really ideal call for me and my family. The move was this summer, and while I miss many of the people of my last parish tremendously, this is where I am supposed to be now. It’s a good thing. Still, the transition was not easy. It wasn’t easy physically or emotionally.

In the months leading up to the move, with the process taking longer than most job interviews, I did not prioritize my physical health. At all. By July, I couldn’t remember the last time I had run. I had a great time at the beach helping with the Challenge Atlantic City race, but there wasn’t a single leg of that event I could have done that day. I just let it slip away.

I had my reasons. I needed to focus on the move. Now I understand why a move is rated as one of the top stressors in life. I feel guilt over this, as a genuine first world problem. I’m stressed by moving all my stuff from one house that is bigger than most of the world’s population’s living quarters, to another house which is even a bit bigger than that. I shouldn’t be stressed. But I was. “Should” had nothing to do with it. In any case, I told myself, “worry about the eating and the running once you move. July is plenty of time to begin getting ready for Disney.”

Well, with the delayed move, the hospitalization, and the aftermath, I lost all of July and pretty much August.  So as of early September, I was pretty scared. I got especially scared last week when I went out to run, and couldn’t manage more than two miles without feeling like my respiratory system was going to leave me. This wasn’t good. How far back was I? In worse condition than even before my first step in 2010? It seemed to be that way.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. By 2014 I was going to be under 190 pounds, lean and mean, with an inspirational book about beating obesity and becoming an Ironman (TM). I mean, look at all the people who just one day made a big decision, and a year later, they are a different person.

Well, in my life, nothing happens in a perfect linear progression. So here I am, no book, no ironman, still big. And right now, I am actually able to accept that reality as something other than a giant failure. This is my “today.” It’s all we ever have. Today, I am OK with what I am, and what I am not.



This week, I went out running a couple times, and while I’m not bragging about any times, I am very happy to say I felt strong. I felt like a runner again. I did 3 miles yesterday and 5 today. I needed nearly 90 minutes today, which is even slower than Disney running requires. But I’ve only had a couple good runs. It will come. I will keep running down by the water where I feel very good about running, I will keep running CONSISTENTLY each week, and ultimately, I WILL finish the Dopey Challenge in January.

How do I know this?

For the first time in months, I just know it.


One thought on “How the Doughboy Got His Groove Back

  1. Slow progress is better than no progress. We are far more than the shape and size of our bodies.
    My own fitness journey is at least as erratic as yours. Many days there isn’t time for anything more than a few minutes of very slow running while I toss the kitty litter. I’ve decided I will celebrate my ability to do that wobbly jog rather than to be sad about what I can’t/don’t do- I’m still on the top side of the grass! 🙂
    Lovely to see a “print” article from you- I miss your regular posts.
    Wishing you health and happiness!

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