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Aaron's Crazy Race Diary - 2008 Day 40

Wednesday, May 31, 2008
359 Days Until Bolder Boulder 2009 (May 25, 2009)

It’s been almost a week since my humbling run in the 30th annual Bolder Boulder. Today I ran with Angela on “our trail” – the City of Boulder’s 6.7-mile White Rocks Trail. It was gorgeous out. The Sun already had passed the horizon and was beautifully lighting up the Front Range. Animals abounded and the air was fresh. It was about 45°F – perfect for Summer running.

We ran at a slow but decent pace. My goal was to run without stopping. Our problem was we were laughing too much as we talked about the Race and other silly things we had done. Angela had one story about how she had found a man passed out on the street in front of her place of work a year ago and how, not knowing what to do, she ran into the building, told her colleagues to call 911, and then tore down the giant First Aid poster in the employee room so she could bring it outside and determine what to do. The image of her outside, standing over a body, consulting this large poster made us both laugh.

I was still recuperating from the Race and said it was a message that I needed to get more rest, lose weight, and eat better food. Angela’s attitude was I simply needed to train harder. “Oh, great,” I said, “You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?”

She was already planning to enter us in a half-marathon. She had researched the possibilities last night and was suggesting a half-marathon either in Estes Park or Colorado Springs. She was focused on staying off pavement – which was a good idea – but didn’t understand a “trail race” usually meant a lot of elevation changes. I wasn’t thrilled about that. The only elevation change I wanted in a race was one which was both unidirectional and negative. Running up and down a bunch of hills definitely wasn’t what I wanted to do.

We playfully argued about her plan. I wanted to get some rest, eat better, and lose some weight. Running again at +/-200 pounds wasn’t for me. I thought I had run at about the same weight last year but Angela thought I was much lighter – possibly at 185. I didn’t think so but I could be wrong.

I needed to be in the 180 to 185 range to survive a half-marathon. I explained to her that, at 195 or 200, it would be suicidal to run. And I confessed that I could not get down to 185 in just a couple of weeks – which is when she wanted to run our first half-marathon.

We went back-and-forth on the topic for the entire run. She was determined to sign us up and I told her that was crazy. Ooooooh… bad choice of words! I proposed we run the Boulder Backwoods Half-Marathon Trail on our own to see how we could do. Angela said she didn’t like that idea because there would be no water stations. I countered by saying, “We can drive ahead of the run and place bottled water wherever you want it.”

Then she argued that there would be no snack bag afterwards. We both started laughing again as I told her I would re-pack my Bolder Boulder lunch-bag with even better goodies than what the Race provided.

I thought I had won the argument – silly me – when she noted there would be no toilet facilities when we ran the Boulder Backroads Half-Marathon course months before the actual event. That one was tougher for me. I rejoined, “You can go in the woods” although I didn’t know if there were any woods around that area. I guess I could have offered to rent a Port-A-Potty but that would have been too extreme. Nevertheless, I regretted not suggesting it. I’d save that one for our next “discussion.”

I really didn’t know how I would do in a half-marathon. Part of me wanted to do it and most of me said I was nuts to even be talking about it without engaging in a training program. And I knew it made no sense to do it without spending a few months getting back into shape with a plan for more rest, better nutrition, and targeted exercise.

As we ran, I was struggling to keep going but ended up never stopping during the entire 6.7-mile course. That was a good sign. It wasn’t a good sign afterwards, however, when a bird flew by and pooped on my head. We both cracked up again. Angela suggested I use my headband to clean up – which I already was doing as I laughed. There’s nothing like a bird bomb to quickly humble a person.

We had run the path in 82 minutes. It wasn’t a great time but it was better than the times we had been registering together. And we really didn’t push ourselves. We set a sub-80 run as our goal for next week. And I was determined to get down to 190 pounds by then, if I could.

As we walked about quarter of a mile for an easy cool-down, we talked more about the half-marathon. I could tell Angela was determined to get me onboard, even if it killed me. I told her I would do it if she got certified in CPR and she said she would if she could do it online the night before the race. I told her, “No deal – I want to see your Red Cross certification card.” We laughed as we imagined what she would do if I collapsed while running. I told her I was convinced she would do nothing and simply say, “I guess the Lord wanted you now, Aaron” or something to that effect.

After the run, thanks to a lot of water loss, I weighed in at 195 and was very pleased. It made 190 look quite feasible and even 185 more realistic than it had been in months. Perhaps my Bolder Boulder blowout would be the motivating force I wanted it to be. Only time will tell…

My old patterns reemerged, however, during the remainder of the day. Besides taking Holly to a birthday party for a school chum of hers (and driving roundtrip to Boulder twice – so much for my carbon footprint today), and shopping at the new Sunflower Market while in Boulder (I hoped the store thrived and also figured I could shop while I was in Boulder anyway, so there, Mr. Carbon Footprint!), we drove to Denver for the “Spring Fling.”

The Spring Fling was a fundraiser for Colorado Heritage Camps (www.HeritageCamps.org). The head of the organization, Pam Sweetser, did a great job as did the many volunteers who made the ten Heritage camps such a success. The Camps focused on families with children who were international adoptions. There was an African/Caribbean Heritage Camp, a Cambodian Heritage Camp, two Chinese Heritage Camps, a Filipino Heritage Camp, an Indian/Nepalese Heritage Camp, a Korean Heritage Camp, a Latin American Heritage Camp, a Russian/Eastern European/Central Asian Heritage Camp, and a Vietnamese Heritage Camp. We always attended the primary Chinese Heritage Camp.

We met the Lyman family there – Pat and Randy with their two girls, Zoe and Carly – and picked up the 250 tickets I had purchased in advance. For me, not having eaten any solid food today, the main attraction was the International Food Court.

The Food Court wasn’t very big but it was my downfall. I first dined on Korean dumplings and a tiny taste of beef. Then I moved on to four tamales – two with meat and two vegetarian (hey, I wanted to see how they tasted differently). I had two different chicken dishes, lo main noodles, and a massive plate of Ethiopian food which included seven different items which were too complex for me to memorize and recite.

I drank three cans of lemonade and then went back for more food. I ate for a family of ten. My caloric intake had to be almost 10,000, especially when I topped everything off with a large cherry-flavored snow cone.

Even Holly knew I was in trouble weight-wise. She said “You’ve gained back everything you said you lost.” I not only feared she was correct but knew I already had two large meals planned when I was going out tomorrow for breakfast and then for lunch. Heck, getting back to 195 not only would be tough but getting to 190 now seemed like an impossibility when it was looking highly likely only a mere 6 hours ago.

That was the battle I would face over the next few months. And it didn’t help that I used my 250 tickets (valued at $125) to purchase mass quantities of dumplings, fried rice, tamales, shrimp rolls, cupcakes, and even lemonade – all of which I took home and immediately refrigerated. The question now was “Could Aaron resist temptation?” My waist would soon reveal the answer.

Despite my fall from grace, I remained confident I could achieve my goals. I simply needed to be mindful of what I was doing. It really was that simple. The real challenge was whether or not I had the self-control, the discipline, and/or the willpower to do what I knew at all times I needed to do – stop stuffing my face and eat better with a focus on nutrition, stop getting only 3 to 5 hours of sleep each night and try to average 6 hours, and workout six days a week, whenever possible, with two days reserved for non-aerobic workouts such as an anerobic weight workout. See, it really was simple.