When my INSANITY was IGNITED
Huffing and puffing up the three flights of stairs in the river valley, I was trying to prove to my older sister Caroline that I, Billy Isenor, was still in shape. We made it to the top of the stairs and I was ready to walk home. But no, my sister schooled my sorry slow, and out of shape body back to the friary. She, herself had lost a lot of weight, and by golly she was and is in tremendous running shape–I personally never had seen her like this. A fire was lite, and I was truly inspired by my sister’s effort to take care of herself. Our discussions of healthier foods and better lifestyle choices sounded great to me, and I wanted to change…I just had many doubts.
This weekend I am running a half-marathon in Vancouver. It is hard to believe that 12 weeks has flow by. I started my training in -37 weather in Edmonton, and it is +15 in Vancouver today–it is like summer for me.
At any rate, this will be my first race at this distance and it is a race I have alway wanted to conquer since I was a teenager. Life, however, prevented yours truly from running this race. Some of it due to bad life-style choices. For instance, I quit running and took up smoking and other things when I was 17 to impress the ladies. That is when I developed a nasty addiction to smoking, which took me years to kick. Other things, like my occupation as a Chef, prevented proper training.
I also developed terrible eating habits when I entered religious life, whereby, I tilted the scales, during my novitiate year, to 230lbs which creating all sorts of sleeping problems. The first time round I lost this weight and I reached a healthy weight of 182lbs. It went up again last December at 218 lbs. I am now at a reasonable 173 lbs to date-a total lose of 45lbs! Part of my weight gain the second time occurred when I was training for a marathon two years ago. After stupidly helping lift a 400lbs steel I-beam into our house, I found my way onto a operating table to repair a severe (and I mean severe) hernia operation which left me sidelined until last December, hence my weight gain. To tell you the truth, I had started losing confidence that I could get my weight down again and I used food as a depressent which created a horrible cycle–I had a bad self-image of my body because I gained all the weight I had lost and I would satisfy this negativety by eating which did not help the problem. I developed severe stomach problems and that was it. My doctor kicked me in the arse and said, Billy just loose the weight–thanks Dr. Farifield–and I did just that.
I changed my caloric intake, the foods I ate, and began to exercise with purpose. I refused to let the cold Canadian winters get to me–I went to MEC and bought the right thermal wear and I was cross-skiing just about everyday at Gold Bar and Gold Finger park. After skiing some massive runs 25km plus, I decided maybe, just maybe, I could run a half-marathon. Despite my hectic school schedule, ministry engagements and religious life schedule, I signed up for the half-marathon in Vancouver.
All these milestones-losing weight, running again, and quitting smoking-I should be proud of, and I am in someways. The real moment, what I have yearned for, and worked bloody hard for has arrived, to complete a half-marathon. To be honest, I have not felt this much pre-race anxiety since I was a competitive runner back in my high school days when I was clocking 5km between 15:45-17:01 minutes. Obviously, I can not run those 5:15 per mile splits anymore; but in some ways this race means more than any personal best or record I put up.
I love running and it was a natural fit for me in terms of developing a regiment for exercise. It has come with some costs in terms of getting used to the challenges of training–muscle fatigue, blisters, cramping, lack of motivation, and trying to get up to speed with all the new training techniques, gear and etc.
I decided that to keep my motivation up I needed to two things: a personal trainer to push my effort and races so that I have a goal for my exercise. Both have been rewarding and have helped me to achieve success in transforming my health to what it should be for a 34 year post-grad student. I am healthy again, but finishing this race, I know it is weird to say this, will be a milestone and reward for my work.
I am anxious and have doubts. Will I finish the race with the goals I have set? Hell, will I finish the damn thing? Will my nagging foot injury come back with vengeance or something new develop? There are so many things that can go wrong. When I was training the arches of my feet collapsed and I am awaiting for the arrival of my new orthodics to prevent the pre-arthritis from developing into arthritis in my feet.
This injury occurred only three weeks ago on my long run in Victoria–I thought to myself, great, just what I need another injury. I could not even walk a few hours after because my tendons were terribly inflamed on a whole new level. I became nervous, frustrated, angry and in denial. I tried to run the next day which was the worse ten feet I have ever run in my life. After visiting a doctor, she told me to rest my foot for a week and ice it. She assured me that I would recover in time for my race if I respected the healing process. Sure enough I got my last ten mile effort in two weeks ago with no pain.
This past week, people in my house had come down with either a head cold or the flu–I have been avoiding them like the plague. Cold-FX was being popped back as a preventative measure. I also made sure to place new hand sanitizers at all the sinks in our kitchen and encourage people to use them. Do you think I am obsessing too much? I am now in Vancouver and I am focusing on how I will run this race, remembering to go out to fast, hold a manageable pace while pushing my effort and to finish strong.
I know that with all this anxiety, I need to remain composed and stick to the game plan. I have been training hard with others, on my own and with experts like my trainer (thanks Jenny) who have been great support and good coaches for my lifestyle goals. Hopefully, it will all be worth it at the finish line.
Pax et Bonum!
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