My good friend Scott Katzenmeyer wrote this piece; it’s a pretty powerful look behind the curtain. We all have our struggles, and we never know what someone else is dealing with. Our minds can take us to dark places. How we deal with that is a critical piece in our journey.
Is Batting .800 a failure?
I failed. I’m not good enough. Why bother. Does it really matter if I am healthy? I can’t burden anyone with my problems. I deserve a week off. I’m tired. When will I love myself? F&^@ life. F*^%@ everyone. Screw this job. Screw everything.
The above sentences are actual thoughts that have literally been screaming in my head for the past month, and to be honest probably go through my head in a matter of seconds. For a month or so, these thoughts have won and continued to build a snowball of negativity and self-hatred that I couldn’t stop.
To give background, I have started on this weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey a year ago. I was 290 lbs. and struggling with everything for most of my life. In my early 20’s, I was bulimic (hell I’m putting that secret out there) and have never really been healthy. I still played softball til I was like 35 and continued to play golf, but that was more riding in the cart hanging with the bros and tossing a few adult beverages down. My life long struggle has always been loving myself. I’ve been to a therapist off and on for years, but haven’t seen her in like 5 years.
Then I saw a very dear friend of mine who lives 600 miles away posting pictures on Facebook and holy crap – he’s lost like 90 pounds and looks great. It was the kick I needed to see how he did it, and I got introduced to an amazing group of people called 1DOS. It’s a group where we all are trying to achieve healthy lifestyles and helping each other, connected by 1 Degree of Separation (thus 1DOS).
I joined the group, joined a challenge and kicked butt for 6 months, dropped nearly 40 pounds, felt totally confident that I got this. Then winter came and my job as a tax manager at a CPA firm blew up because it always does, and 20 lbs. came back on. During the 6 months of success I had read a book SPARTAN UP! by Joe DeSena (as recommended by the founder of the 1DOS group), and one of many things I took from it was set a challenge for yourself to do in 6 months and just do it. Once you are signed up it kind of forces you to train.
So I of course sign up for a RAGNAR relay with some of the group late in April. This is a 12 person 200 mile relay over 36 hours. And then my dear friend that I spoke about before (who is also doing the Ragnar) texts me and says “how crazy do you feel?” Well I am empowered through my success and I’m a freaking madman, so we sign up for a Spartan sprint the day after the Ragnar. Now before signing up for these things the only race experiences I had was 2 5K’s that I walked.
All through tax season I say ok I will pick up tomorrow, I will pick up tomorrow. But I never did and let’s just say training stunk and I had HUGE anxiety a week before. I share this with my friend who says…we don’t give a crap whether you walk, crawl – you can do it. Guess what…I kicked butt and I will never forget the moment when I came down a hill on the 6 mile Spartan obstacle just before the finish line, see my 3 buddies waiting for me…look me in the eye and say “You badass, you realize you just did a Ragnar and Spartan all in less than 3 days???”. Had to turn away hide the tears but I had never felt so accomplished in my life.
After that amazing weekend and having 12 new friends (I had only met my buddy in person before), my training was going well and I continued to “firm up”. The changes on the scale were small but I felt way better. I had also signed up for the Spartan Super which is supposedly 6-8 miles with obstacles, like 3 miles longer than the sprint. There were going to be 6-10 new people who hadn’t done Spartan before including my half-brother. Well it rained 4 inches the day before the race and we encountered 9 miles of Muddy Hell, but ya know what we all kicked butt and did it.
At this point, our group is starting a 5 week running challenge where we are split into teams – and the members asked me to be one of the coaches. Ummm wait – I am going to inspire people and be a leader…are you crazy??? But guess what, I did and established some more amazing experiences, connected with people, and even brought 2 new people into the group, including the man who has always been on a pedestal for me – my dad. Our team didn’t win, but we all accomplished great things. I even completed 2 virtual 10K’s within 14 hours at the end of the challenge!
The Old Brain
CRASH! BOOM! BLAP! Everything came to a crashing halt for me. It started with an infected tooth that required root canal and surgery, and then it’s my birthday so I am entitled to a day of excess, and then I learn a family member needs surgery, and then a buddy has a medical issue and then, and then, and then….THE OLD BRAIN TOOK OVER!!! I couldn’t stop it for whatever reason – AND IT’S A DARK PLACE!! We all have the issues that come up for us that throw us, but I just couldn’t stop mine. In a month, I literally only did 3 days of walking 2-4 miles, that only because I was visiting my dad and had to put up the good front. I was eating poorly and couldn’t stop the factory of sadness.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of Spartan Up, I had signed for a Spartan Beast which is 14+ miles and another Ragnar 2 weeks later. It’s been a month and I have walked a total of 8 miles intentionally before it. All throughout the month I had the thoughts above running through my head. And to be honest, I’m a single dude without any family living in the same city as me….there were suicidal tendencies popping up. But I can’t let anyone know, can I? I’m strong, I’ve inspired people, I’ve accomplished a lot. None of those thoughts were able to come out. All the negatives were winning.
Cut to the Sunday before the next Spartan and I have not done anything; I’m supposed to be a coach again and I just can’t handle it. To the bottle after golf I go. I will get it straightened out tomorrow. NOPE!!
It’s now Tuesday morning and I own up to the reality of the pain I’m in, and stop trying to cover it up. I reach out to the 2 heads of 1DOS who I am supposed to race with on Saturday. “Nope I can’t do it.” I apologize profusely. I’m embarrassed and ashamed. Guess what, they have nothing but love for me and only want what’s best for me and send me hugs. “A race is a race; helping you through the tough stuff matters a hell of a lot more!” I immediately break down in tears, people see me closing my door at office and guess what…I HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE TO HELP ME!!
I called my old therapist and have an appointment for a “tune up” next week. I walked a mile tonight in 94 degree heat. Small little steps to get me back on track, but the empowerment is inching back.
What It Means
So what have I learned with this struggle??
- I will struggle again
- When I start to…don’t hide it – I have support
- Continue to sign up for crazy stuff
- Try and sense the alarm signs of what just happened so the struggle isn’t as long
- Put it out there when I get quiet – it’s OK to harass me to see if I’m OK
- I CAN’T DO THIS ALONE AND THAT’S OK!!
I am going to kick butt at the RAGNAR in 3 weeks. If I have to crawl and slow up the team, well then I am. I actually do know from my prior experience that I may amaze myself.
At the beginning of the year, I signed up for 5 crazy goals. I will complete 4 of them. I’m batting .800 and I’m not a failure.