Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 315: What A Difference A Year Makes

So Mammoths today was a big race and a big milestone for me. A little background. Before I left for South Carolina and Hilton Head Health I had been working out with the WoW Boot Camp guys. One of those guys, and a good friend of mine, is named Art. Now Art is a lawyer, insert joke here, and has been holding a 5k for Habitat for Humanity for twenty years. Its a great event for a great cause. Anyway, as I was preparing to leave I decided that this was going to be my last big event before leaving for the show. So I donned my sweat pant, tshirt, shoes, headsets and set off on the 5k. It took me 1 hour and 27 minutes to complete. Now Mammoths the first mile of this race is all downhill, the second mile is pretty flat, and the last mile (you guessed it) is pretty much straight up! When I hit mile 2 I was an hour into the race and my friend Art and his son Ward came and got me. Then Lee, Alonzo, and Manuel came back for me and helped push me up the hill, LITERALLY. When we got to the 3 mile marker a wonderful man named Will Chamberlin who was coming back from suffering a stroke saw me and the crew and started dancing around with the 3 mile sign and encouraging me. This scene will forever be burned into my brain as my friends cheered me on, strangers encouraged me, and Will was there to get me through. Sadly, a few days later Will passed away and it saddens me even more now, a year later because I think he would have been very proud of the work I have done this past year.

So Mammoths there was a lot riding on today's race and I was ready for it. The Mommoth fixed me an awesome Good Measure Meal breakfast of french toast sticks and sausage, it was great having the warm food in my stomach an hour before the race. This gave me plenty of time to digest it and use it as fuel for the race. I think I am going to ask GMM to make this breakfast for me on every race day. I also broke out my WoW! Boot Camp white New Balance shirt. Now this is a special shirt for me because it was given to me by Michael Williams right around the time I was leaving for South Carolina and I couldn't fit into it, well I fit into it great now. All the while I am getting ready I can hear Will saying, "Have a good race, Have a safe race." Something he said before each race right after he explained the course. I knew that this was going to be a special day.

The Mommoth, Baby Mammoth, and I get to the Classic Center to get our race packets. On the way to the table the Mommoth asked me what was my goal for the race. I told her to do it under 45 minutes. A time bench mark that I have not been able to break. She gave me a big kiss and told me that it was going to happen and no matter what run a strong race. So we got up to the start line and away we went. I knew I was  going to be doing well by the company I was keeping. A couple of Gazelles that last year blew me out of the water I began to keep pace with. Also I saw the Mommoth and the Baby Mammoth take off which kind of freed me up to run my race. If something happened to them I would come up on them and be able to help. If they were in back of me I wouldn't know if anything was wrong. So I could concentrate on my form, my breathing, and staying in my zones. At Mile 1 I was rocking it. Mile 2 I was on pace. Mile 3 the uphill portion of the race was all mine. At Mile 2.4 my friend Lee Patterson came back to get me and finished up the race with me. It was like last year all over again except I was in control of my body, my breath and I had some speed! As I got to the final 100 meters I saw the 3 mile sign and a little smile crept over my face because I could see the time. It was 43:10! I was going to bust my old record and cut my time in half! It was an amazing moment made even more amazing with my Mommoth and Baby Mammoth waiting for me to cross the finish line. Baby Mammoth was really excited to see her Daddy! I crossed the line at 43:36. A totally new Personal Record for me. I was so happy and so were my WoW Boot Camp friends and my coach and mentor Michael Williams, who through all of this has had my back. Even when others have scoffed at me about what I want to do Michael and April have said, this is going to be tough but you can do it--here are the baby steps to follow. A year later I am cutting my time in half, lost close to 200 more pounds and am training for a full marathon. All of this because I have found a core group of people who believe in me and what I can accomplish.

The best part of the race was the hanging out with my folks. Seeing Jennifer G., Julie T., and her husband Daniel who has been with me at Boot Camp since the beginning and just chatting was so awesome. After the race last year I had to come home and sleep for three hours to recuperate, this year I was ready to party or run some more! It was the best feeling ever today and I hope to do next years race sub-30. Lofty goal but totally doable, as long as I stick to the plan.

Well Mammoths that is my story about today. I hope you enjoyed it. I have some pictures I am going to add here at the bottom of me and Mommoth finishing and our friends. As always I hope to see you rambling out there on the range, stick close to a good watering hole, and mind what you are grazing on.


  1. Mark,
    I am SO proud of you and what you have accomplished. I wait for each of your blog post, so I can share them with my husband. Keep up the good stuff!!!!!!

    Mary Ann

    PS--You have helped me with knowing, with the 50lb I have gained since moving to WI, if you eat right AND get in to a good exercise routine you can take the weight off and keep it off.

  2. Mary Ann! I am so glad to hear from you! Keep up the pace my friend and you will get to your goals, you still inspire me as well. I remember seeing you at WW and you were always so supportive of Jackie and I.

    Take care and thanks for following the blog. Tell your friend to follow too :)