Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's all in the shoes

I've lived my life on $40 shoes. Or cheaper. And yet I should know better.

I finally decided to invest in good walking shoes. In the process I even bought some socks at $12 per pair.

It's amazing the difference shoes can make.

This is nothing new. Years ago I stopped by a shoestore that someone I knew owned. It turned out his son was now running the place, and I figured I needed some new dress shoes and decided to try on a pair. It was comfortable, I said I'll take em... okay, not a wise thing to do when you haven't checked the price first. Total cost was $210. I think i had $215 in my wallet, not exactly planning to spend the full amount on shoes - but I was too proud or too foolish (or both) to back down and plucked down the money.

Best. Shoes. Ever. They were so amazingly comfortable. It turns out this guy's store specialized in orthopedic shoes and these shoes were very big in support. I was amazed how good I felt wearing these shoes. And they looked good too.

Since then I've at least focused on buying better shoes at least for work but have still skimped on the athletic shoes. So I don't know, maybe the whole thing of running last November or so and messing my knees up finally taught me a lesson.

All I know is, I did a total of 4 miles walking yesterday between walking to the bus station, doing some extra walking and such, and I'm amazed at how little stiffness I ended up having in my knee. My wife has commented in the past how I still pretty noticably favor my left leg when I walk even as the knee has been feeling better, but it seems like the first thing I noticed after getting these shoes is how much less it feels like I'm favoring it. But the biggest test is how I'm feeling the next day, and... waking up today I wasn't hobbling first thing in the morning like I have been... and that feels pretty good.

There are places to skimp.... shoes is not one of them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Unspoken

That is a word that's been a big part of my life.

I know, seems an odd thing to say about someone who's now sitting at his computer blathering on about this, that and the other thing and leaving it there for the world to see.

But when all is said and done, that word says a lot. It speaks of a life of not being willing to take a chance at my flaws and errors being seen. Unspoken is safe. Unspoken is protection.

Unspoken is exactly the opposite of all of that.

I don't know if unspoken is as big a part of life for everyone else. Maybe? Possibly more than I realize. All I can do right now though is speak for myself. I have those times in my life that I look at and think should be unspoken, never to be mentioned again. Times where I thought that I knew what I wanted, not thinking about how that which I wanted had to be unspoken. And if it could not be spoken, it it had to be guarded so much, what could it really be for me?

The amazing thing is, time and time again when I let go of the unspoken, when I release what I so stubbornly hang on to, when I quit being so focused on what it is I'm trying to protect or what I think is the be all and end all, when I finally surrender, when I quit living in fear of the unspoken... when I let myself be vulnerable, God always comes through and lets me have far beyond what I ever could have hoped for.

Sometimes, it's big things. Sometimes it's little things. But every time, when I can finally let go, he shows me there's so much more out there.

His timing is pretty amazing at times.

And this isn't really going where it seems it might be going, more that these are thoughts that come from events of the past few days, and it's just gone over and over through my head. And then that one word came up and it summed it all up, and this light went off, and here I go.

Unspoken.

It all comes from my physical that was this week.

There's always been a hesitance to going in for a physical. There were times where I would absolutely not let myself even consider it. In reality it hasn't been all that long since I've had one. But I always wanted to make sure it was at the right time, maybe at a time when I had some things under control. A time when I've been good at keeping diet under control and such.

See, when you get to my kind of weight, there's always the unspoken.

Here's the deal with me: So much of my life as an overweight person has been about denial. Not really denial about my size, I always knew and accepted, sometimes embraced, that I was big. I started gaining my weight in college and soon after. I never really stressed about it -- I didn't like it but I still knew I was healthy. My blood pressure was good. My cholesterol was good. I was fine. So fine that it wasn't until well into my 30's that I ever even thought about making any kind of real effort to lose weight. I was in denial about any concept that health and weight were related.

When I finally started thinking about and then attempting weight loss, and started reading up and learning things about what's involved with it all, I started to get some head knowledge about things -- things that were really tied to the real dangers of weight and to where I am.

And that began a journey with a big unspoken.

Deep down, I knew what the potential was for something major. But again, that D-word. Denial. If it remained unspoken, unthought about, then it wasn't there.

Stubbornly I hung on to this idea that I'm really okay.

I don't know what started the change. Maybe it was the beginning of this journey. Maybe the success for awhile, maybe even more the set back of gaining back some of what was lost.

That's been my journey really, hasn't it? Up and down. Enough down that I always knew I could tackle it. Enough successes to think I could always conquer it. Maybe part of the denial came from my first year of college -- I gained quite a few pounds my freshman year in college. I was actually underweight going in, but I would guess i was probably 20 pounds overweight by the end of the year. (Today I'd kill to be 20 pounds overweight) That summer, I worked a lot and lost the weight effortlessly. And I think I always thought I could do it again.

Several years ago, I lost 40-50 pounds pretty easily. And so what if I gained it back? I knew I could do it again. Then I lost 86. Incredible! And even when it came back on, I knew that with some dedication and hard work it would be gone again. And so the story goes. And even now, going back through all I've written, I see the same thing, this idea that no problem, it's all good, I just have to buckle down and focus and get back on track and all will be okay.

And that big unspoken hangs out there.

After the run attempt last year where my knee started acting up, I think I started just noticing little things. I'm sure a lot of it came from the realization that my knee is part of my body crying out ├źnough!" The way my doctor put it, that every step is asking that knee to hold nearly 400 pounds and it just can't keep doing it.

Anyway, getting back to avoiding physicals. The main reason of avoidance is that I knew the role that blood sugar plays with weight, especially with me. The signs are just there. And honestly, I didn't want to see a doctor because I didn't want that inevitable diagnosis. That D-word. And I don't just mean Denial.

The unspoken.

But I don't know, there's something different that has come of the past couple months. Maybe it's the limping around, or being tired of being tired. It was actually last year that the appointment was made for my physical, and I remember being a little perturbed that it had to be such a long time before I could get in.

But this is where God works. Little things here and there. An openness to getting serious about changing. And maybe finally accepting whatever it is.

And being able to speak the unspoken. This time... the unspoken being that D-word. No, that hasn't been a diagnosis, though I went in with, for the first time, an acceptance that I was in all likelihood pre-diabetic. And I know my blood work has come back "consistent with Diabetes." So maybe that IS a diagnosis... and maybe there is still a denial of sorts if I'm not ready to say it's a diagnosis.

But this gets me back to all the other unspokens of the past.

My kids recently had this big kick of watching Harry Potter movies, and I was reading while it was on when I heard people mention the villain as someone who's name is not spoken. I remember being caught by something that was said in response -- that not speaking the name only gives it more power.

Isn't that the truth of Unspoken?

I look at the unspokens of my life. And it's the unspoken nature of it all that gives it power. And yet we strangely hang on for dear life. And then we let go, and live.

And so I learn with this. Maybe if I can let go of my stubborness. Of my denial. Quit hanging on to what I think I need to do and quit avoiding those things, people, ideas, solutions (and work) that are out there.

Let go of the unspoken. Take the power back.

That's where the answer lies.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back on track with some help maybe?

I got a note from my son who noticed the mapmyrun settings on my facebook page. Of course, he's got to boast a bit about running 3 miles a day now and so I better be keeping up on my running or he's going to pass me pretty quick.

Of course there's been no running for me, at least not since my little attempt back in November which I'm still paying for. But... I sent him a note back that said well, no running, but I am starting to get back into walking again. In fact, to simplify things around here lately I've been utilizing public transportation to get out to my job, including walking to the bus stops and such, but now with the weather starting to warm up, I plan to start riding my bike to work on a regular basis.

One thing I love about Denver, they really are set up nicely for people getting around without using a car. The transportation system is good, the trail system is great. And the two go great together. Buses have bike racks, you can take your bike on to the light rail, so you can do a combination if you need. The other day I was able to drop the car off with my stepson so he could use it, ride my bike over to the light rail, take it on the light rail to get closer to work, ride my bike the rest of the way to work. That night it was too cold for riding (or that was my excuse) so I could just use the bike rack on the bus... it really makes a great combination and gives me a chance to start getting more active again.

My knee still stiffens up at times, something that seems to come and go. I have my annual physical today and I'm sure that will be addressed... it's been 3 months that it still stiffens up so it's time to find out if it's just a matter of time, if there's something else that needs to be done.

Okay, I know already the first answer is... lose weight.

Ahh, that brings me back to where I was starting out by talking with Josh, my son. I said okay, so I do need to start losing weight and ramping up the exercise again, and asked if he wanted to help keep me accountable.

I hope he does. It'd be fun to keep up on each other at different parts of the world. He in Korea, me here in Denver... maybe a good chance to get back on track here.