My path to the marathon starts in a Shoppers Drug Mart. It was sometime before St. Patrick’s day in 2013. I dropped in after work. It was a Friday. I noticed the blood pressure machine in the corner, as I often notice it. And like all the other times I ignored it. I ignored it out of denial. After all I made the 2.75k trek to work and back at least three times a week. Unless it was raining. Unless it was too hot. Or if I had been awoken late at night from a page. And of course I had to take days off for a reward. But other than those exceptions I did my three times a week 20 minutes of cardio. Which according to experts is all you need.
But this time for reasons that aren’t even clear to me I headed toward the machine. Like a fly going toward an outdoor zapper. Mesmerized, hypnotized, inexplicably drawn to the machine. Maybe the cloud of denial was lifting. Deep down I knew I wasn’t in good a shape as I used to be. I sat my overweight self into the chair. I rolled up my sleeve, pushed my arm through the thingy and hit the button. It made the funny sssshhhh noise and started to squeeze my arm. Much like I imagine a boa constrictor would squeeze.
Then it stopped. Then it slowly released it’s grip. Then it quickly released its grip. And then the numbers flashed. Holy crap thought I. I had a worse case scenario in my mind. These numbers surpassed that. I rationalized it was probably because I didn’t rest enough. I just sat down and took it without resting. So I would just sit here for a while and my blood pressure would fall and fall. I willed it to fall. Man versus BP machine. So I tried again. Not enough rest. Rest. Try again. Then I tried again. The machine won. I sat dejected looking at the results. And poof, just like that the bubble of denial burst. It shattered and tattered all around me. 158/112.
It was more than the dangerous blood pressure. It was the ever expanding gut. The knowledge of the belly fat to diabetes link. The increased risk of cancers. The march toward certain heart disease. It went even deeper than that. It was the increased anxiety that comes along with a lazy, fat lifestyle. It was the lack of energy. But most important I broke a promise to my children. A promise I made before they were born. I promised to do everything in my power to live long enough to see them grow old, and do everything in my power to see they became happy adults. I broke my promise. I broke my heart. I cried that night.
And that was the life altering event that started me down the path to a marathon. Part promise and part dream. That was almost was about 16 months ago. I have completed three half marathon races. I’ve lost track of the 5 and 10k runs. I’ve logged 1756 running kilometers and hundreds of walking kilometres. I have lost 30 pounds. I’ve been welcomed into an incredible running family. But I have one more distance to go. A dream I gave up long ago. The marathon. I respect the distance. I fear it. It is my hope this blog will be part of my mental preparation. The keeper of my successes and failures. The place I can write when I get afraid. A place to keep focus. A place to keep me honest.