Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Cor 9:24-27
Tomorrow is the (Springfield, Mo.) Greater Missouri Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Here is the link if you would like to join and/or donate. If you are out of town, there are also options. 🙂 Either check alz.org/walk to see where the nearest Walk is or join my team and watch the virtual Walk while you and your family and friends walk in your town.
Thinking of this event reminded me today that I have been asked many times the impetus to lose 115+ pounds and start runnin’ til I’m purple. I have spent quite a bit of time pondering as much because, frankly, I am desperately scared of gaining the weight back. I want to do it for the right reason so that I remember the reason if I flounder. This ain’t my first weight loss rodeo, friends…but I hope and pray it sticks this time. So what encouraged me to lose the weight? Alzheimer’s, Mom, and the Sweet 17. When did I get serious about it? Not long after the 2019 Walk.
I write this piece as an encouragement to those, like me, that struggle with losing weight and keeping it off. When we walked as a family in the virtual Walk last year, I still wore out. I was pooped. Here are a few of the pictures from the 2020 event:
Just walking the mediocre distance we walked left me a sweaty mess. I had already lost some weight just floundering around trying…but I was still just a couple months removed from being over 300 pounds. Perhaps more importantly, I was sad and frustrated and didn’t know why, I suppose.
Then it kind of struck me:
Mom was one of the most (if not THE most) encouraging people in my life regarding my ability to set my mind to something and do it. That facet of the gem that is mom was gone…erased by the disease. I thought back at the encouragement she had always given me, surveyed the situation, and decided it would honor mom if I let her encourage me yet again by losing weight and advocating for those with dementia in unique ways and harder than before….and that is what I am trying to do.
I walked and I walked for a while after 2019 Walk. I walked during Weight Watchers meetings, then jogged a little, then a little more, then a lot more…then the idea of Runnin’ Til I’m Purple hit me as a way to really jump the shark and push myself…and advocate. Is it a one-of-a-kind story? Nope. It is my story though…
Losing my mom’s encouragement has really taken its toll on me, even now. It reminds me of when someone passes away or, perhaps less so, when a key employee leaves your team at work. You know you will miss them for the obvious reasons, but the less obvious ones show themselves gradually, perhaps over years. Things that used to get done cease. Niceties aren’t offered at just the right time like before, and you don’t even notice until they add up. Pieces show up periodically, mind you, at holidays and special events, but often in a subtle way. In a really weird way that likely only makes sense to me, it also reminds me of when I work a double like yesterday and can’t figure out why I am frustrated/flummoxed….then I realize I haven’t peed in 10 hours. In summary, it is like the great thinker/Hair Band Cinderella wrote in their song title: “You Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone“…and I am just finding more and more things that I have lost having mom in the end stage of dementia. This is a truly terrible disease. 🙁
Now back to the main premise. Want to eat a whole elephant? You do it one bite at a time. Want to run til your purple? Start by walking. Find a cause…and I commend Alzheimer’s as a worthy one…and walk/advocate in honor of it. Step outside of your comfort zone. Not only was I NOT a runner, I had never been on TV before advocating for mom and the Sweet 17. Now I have been on TV/radio probably 20 times. Am I good at it? I am better than I used to be and I have good intentions that I hope will show through. Am I a good runner? I have good intentions that I hope will show through there too. Walk a little…you’ll run eventually, and it might just help you have clarity on the whole situation in the process.
Off I go to finalize preparations. This is going to be a great Walk. 🙂 I look very forward to seeing 700-1000 of my friends there. 🙂
Update: Mom’s unit had another Covid outbreak…so back to 2 short OUTDOOR visits again. So much for some air conditioning in the two 15-20 minute sessions, I get to see her every week. She still encourages in her own special way as I think back at her wisdom and her love and makes an application, as best I can, to today.
Last thought- I still insist, you simply must focus on what is left and not on what is gone in your loved one’s circumstance. It is better for your visits and it is better for your own mental health. However, know this: you will struggle with what is gone at times and, like me, it will leave you in a funk. Recognize it and get help as the situation demands. Self-care is so important, you can’t let it slide.
Last thing: WE MADE AND EXCEEDED OUR $1000 TEAM GOAL AND CONTINUE TO BUILD. I really need to be more aggressive in goals. 😉