I'm Fired Up!!!

So I will not mention names, nor will I apologize for what I am going to say or who it offends (I’m in my “house”, front door is ALWAYS open to come in, or leave)…but as my alarm went off…ok I will stop lying, I was up ten minutes before it went off, a barrage of thoughts ran through my head like the montage part of every episode of “Phineas & Ferb”

I am weeks away from wrapping up my first year as a runner. What an amazing lunar cycle it has been for me. At first I started running because I wanted, no again being honest, NEEDED to lose weight and lower my blood pressure (go to any of the blog entries from a year ago, in case you don’t know, and you’ll see why). And there is no greater calorie burner than running (as long as you are willing to push yourself, compare an hour of any exercise, and running is most effective). Turns out, along the way, I discovered Me. Weight loss isn’t, and hasn’t been, on my radar in a while. I am not sure the last time I stepped on a scale. I just know clothes fit differently, my friends say things, people comment on pictures, etc. I did discover that, I have a great amount of determination, and dare I say, I MIGHT even be getting good at racing?

My Races Thus Far:
Healthcare Classic 5K-April, 2010; Time 45:06
Run, Run, Rudolph 5K- November, 2010; Time 40:10
Anthem 5K- February, 2011; Time 32:06
Rodes 10K- March, 2011; Time 1:08:06
Papa John’s 10 Miler- March, 2011; Time 1:52 (with a FRAKKIN fractured Ankle!)

My point is that as I close in on my second goal, The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, I feel nostalgic at this past year. How blessed I have been and am to have been giving this chance to run.

All of that feel good stuff having been said, let me get right down to my issue. When I was obviously more overweight than I am now (I am not calling myself skinny or in shape at all…I am a work in progress…and PROUD of that), NO ONE was vocal in saying that they were worried about the fatality rate of my morbid obesity (here to be honest, NOT comfortable). NO ONE said maybe I have an unhealthy relationship with food. NO ONE jumped in to say to me, that with every non-active day I was spending, I was taking a day away from my future with my family and my daughters. NO ONE stepped in to see if I was making myself accountable for the empty calories, wasted movement, and inconsistent actions.

As I have become more and more active and weight has come off, it has taken something I never knew I had. It has taken long term focus. It took setting a goal that 95% of me said was laughable at best, impossible on a good day. The Marathon. Second to being a Child of God, I am a Husband and Father. I didn’t want my training to take away from my time spent with them. I NEVER wanted Damary, Ayanna, or Annabelle to think that Running was more important to me than them, or I choose it over them. That meant getting up at, initially, 4AM. As my miles have increased, that went to 3:45, to now 3:30 to Run, to Cross Train, to get it all in, before the day starts. I will not sit here and say at first, it was easy, but that 5% of me that KNOWS I can accomplish it, NEVER SLEEPS. So when the alarm goes off, before I have a chance to even say I am tired, that 5% is saying, “LET’S MOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEE!” That 5% of me has a name, The Illuminati Runner. He knows every Marathon, starts with a step out of bed when NO ONE else is willing. You know that shirt/sign that says “Someone more busy than you, is running right now”? Yeah I DARE that to be true at 3:30AM. If I want to achieve what I have NEVER done before, I have to be willing to DO what I have never done before. Get Up. Simple as that, no fanfare, no pomp & circumstance, no ticker-tape parade.

Now, even on my rest days, I get up at that time, all on my own. It is a part of me, and I am glad for that. That was the level I wanted to get to, where the battle ISN’T getting out of bed, it’s to find the excuse to stay in it!

As I have reported, a week and a half ago, I set my alarm for 1:00AM, because I had an 18 mile run scheduled on my training plan…and this would be the best time of day to do it and not miss anytime with my family. I caught some uneven sidewalk and crashed and burned….BUT I CRASHED AND BURNED TRYING! I was still 5 miles from home, and ran the rest of the way back. I fractured my ankle. I still had the Papa John’s 10 Miler Race to do. Doc told me my Marathon would still be a go, but the 10 Miler was dependent on how much I rested during the week and how much pain I could take. Some of the people who have known/know me say I have a high threshold of pain. I don’t think I am special. I just think I have a greater connect between my body and brain….enough so to understand that that initial discomfort that most people stop what they are doing, isn’t REALLY your body in pain. It is your body adjusting to doing something it isn’t used to. I push through that, because, like climbing a steep wall, it will be SO MUCH more beautiful on the other side. If there is real pain, I am the first one to stop what ever it is and rest. But too many people confuse discomfort with pain. When you learn the difference you will achieve things you cannot even imagine.

My point in all of this? When running/training/racing/doing the marathon started become real to other people, then the criticisms/comments/”I just care about you” crap started. NO ONE cared that I wasn’t active, but WOW, I have had people call me crazy, stupid, insane, not thinking, going to injure myself (actual comments, fyi) for having the dedication to train. NO ONE cared I was slowly killing myself (well, except my Sleep Doc who told me I wouldn’t live another year at the rate I was going), but I have had people tell me that I am obsessed with running/marathon training (again, I can’t make this up); that it is taking over my life because I got up at 1AM to go running, or get up at 3:30 and run outside by myself. NO ONE asked how I gained so much weight, but I have fielded comments of people asking me what diet I am on that has helped me lose weight, and when I tell them none, that I run, they immediately say I must be doing something else too, running couldn’t do all of this…yet they don’t run (again, true comments). I EVEN had someone recently tell me that I may need an intervention (no sarcasm) because I have not only let it take over my life, I am “infecting” the girls with it, because of the races they’re doing (again, true, verbatim comment). Well, 3 words: NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY.

I smile when people text/tell/email/comment these things to me. Why? Because taking advice from someone leading a sedentary lifestyle about my active life is about as effective as chewing gum to stop a hurricane.

I am happy that Illuminati Runner is the 95% in my head now. And each day he gets smarter about running, training, nutrition, resting, and enjoying every moment I am in, because I can’t get it back.

When I crossed the Starting Line at the Anthem 5K, the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown, ONE thought ran through my head, “Well, no matter what happens, my life as a runner, is forever changed”. As I ran each mile in the Papa John’s 10 Miler, I kept thinking, “Wow, I am that much closer to finishing my first goal of being a Triple Crown Champion”. When I crossed the finish, I stretched out my arms and looked up and tried to embrace every single iota of that moment. No matter how many more races or Triple Crowns I run, it will NEVER be the first. It will never be this special. The girls will never be this age again, Adrianna won’t be in Damary’s womb again. This was a fixed point in time I soaked in and hoped my feeble brain could hang on to it.

I am four weeks out from my first marathon. I do not have a time goal. I have a F.I.N.I.S.H. goal. I have a “Make it back to my wife’s arms and Daughters’ hugs” goal. I have a “Collapse in the bed when I get back home, with a smile embedded in my face” goal. I have a “Wear that medal. Every. Freakin. Chance. I can” goal.

For those of you who have embraced me/my healthy lifestyle change. I am not forgetful of you, and whether you know or not, you have a mile dedicated to you on my Mile Dedication list for the Marathon. For the rest of you? Mile 13 belongs to you…yes most people hate the number 13, but it is also the halfway point of the marathon…meaning I leave you in my wake and embrace the second half/finish of a goal that at one time, was impossible.

Thank you for “listening” to me rant and rave. And if you are someone who is succeeding at what you are trying to accomplish, take time to celebrate those wins. If no one has told you today, let me be the first: You. Are. Phenomenal. You are daring to do something no one else around you is, and you are doing it with style and a smile. Keep doing you…because you look GREAT doing it!

-Until the Wheels Fall Off
-Corey, The Illuminati Runner

P.S. – Because I am a firm believer in celebrating wins, I want to point out someone’s blog I follow, and someone I am friends with on Daily Mile. Her name is Melissa. She defines Determination, Self-Discipline and Hard Work. She is a Mom of 3 and is a Fitness Pro…With mouth dropping awe, I read how WEEKS after she had her BEAUTIFUL baby, she was in the gym hitting it hard again. Think you’re too tired/busy to get a decent workout in?? Read ANY of her blog entries, and I’ll save you a spot at the gym. Her blog is here http://melissacunninghamifpapro.blogspot.com/ Her Daily Mile Page is here: http://www.dailymile.com/people/noony


  1. Dude!!! You totally inspire me!!! I love your attitude! I'm amazed that people think you are "pushing" running on your children when I saw with my own eyes the excitement of them doing their "own race" (The kids FUN RUN) .. & hello - what kid doesnt want to do something that has the word FUN in it? ;)

    I totally teared up & gave a fist pump YEAH! reading your attitude about running mile 13... leave all that negative in your wake. I LOVE IT! KEEP TREK'ING BUDDY!!!!! You give me a new sense of love of running EVERY DAY!!!!

  2. Your critics and detractors are jealous - you represent determination and focus, and have take steps to accomplish what they know they themselves should also be doing (and if not the same thing you're doing, at least *something*).

    I think it's awesome that your daughters are running. It's something you can share together, and gives them a good foundation for a healthy, active lifestyle; not to mention a connection with something that can help them get through those trying teen years when children without focus sometimes get into trouble.

    I think you're doing a great job, Corey, and you are a *huge* inspiration.

  3. I agree with jade...jealousy is such a sad thing...you my friend are amazing and I cheer you on all the time AND share all you have done with my Hubs, encouraging him to be more active...he is...thank you for sharing your journey!

  4. I recently read this on another blog and it's so true, "Remember that it’s far easier to stand back and criticize someone else than it is to put your own beliefs forward."

    You are are making your dreams come true, you are making things happen in your life, you are really LIVING and sometimes that scares other people because they don't know how to do it for themselves.

    You are setting such a great example for your children!

    You are remarkable!!

  5. What you write about is a very important issue and it happens to so many of us. No one ever said anything to me when I was overweight and inactive. Now I'm told I run too much, don't eat enough protein (since I'm veg), and all other sorts of things now that I am constantly striving for a healthier life. The real kicker was when I lost 70 lbs and then people started telling me I had lost "too much" and needed to stop. Again, no one ever told me I weighed too much before but now they felt the need to tell me I had gone too far? Which I hadn't, technically I am still about 10 lbs overweight but I don't worry about that since I'm healthy and working out regularly. People test our patience don't they? Great post.

  6. amazing post corey. i wouldn't be afraid to point out the lack of comments when you were overweight to your next nagging 'friend'. methinks they need a bit of a reality check.

  7. I think most people do not confront the morbidly obese out of some weird fear or misplaced respect. We may talk behind someone's back but never say something to one's face.

    I have an acquaintance I should say something to about this. Her husband died while running. Dead before the EMS found him and before he arrived at the hospital. Gone before his wife started dialing the police and eventually the hospital where he lay waiting to be identified. She is still obese. I believe in my heart it is for fear that any exercise would cause her to die and leave there 3 children parentless.

    I hope no one thinks your "obsession" is putting you on a road to ruin. You most certainly are doing things to put you on the road to a long and healthy life.

    Andria's longest running (pun intended) excuse to not exercise was because it took time away from the family. She does not sleep so getting up early in not a possibility. She had to realize that getting the schedule down is the struggle, exercise is the easy part.

    Sometimes my running takes me from family time. My race goals are a bit selfish, but my race training will give me years more to live as a husband and father.

    My only concern is for you safety. Beware of the sidewalks. They tend to jump from the shadows and get attack when your guard is down. Maybe after dealing with PF you know better than anyone how much "pain" you can bear.

    I do want to apologize here as well. I am one of the people that discounted you and your determination. You are so much more than even you realize to all the people that need inspiration to get started.

    Congratulations to you Corey and I wish you the best in future races, including the upcoming marathon.

    Finally, keep those girls running. As a father of a sixth grader, I am well aware that college is fast approaching and track/cross country money could be available. We'll need every penny.

  8. I got garbage from... people in my church. They (get this) think that I think they're fat and lazy if they don't run. I never said anything of the sort. Many people can't run, my lovely wife being one of those, and that's just the way it is. But I will continue to run for me and for my family.

  9. oh corey! this post is awesome!
    YOU are awesome,and i know this past year has been a life changing experience for you,at so many levels!!
    IMHO, you really are leading by example in your life,and are instilling such wonderful habits in your children!
    you are living your life for your family and for yourself.....
    and i love your attitude you have had with this whole process!
    obsession is just a term the lazy use to term the dedicated.....
    YOU just keep on keepin on...
    looking forward on reading a recap of your marathin!!
    OH and THANK YOU for the shout out!but YOU are the one that is the inspiring one.....im just the crazy head pyscho that thinks its normal to get up before dawn to get in a workout...

  10. Amazing blog - you said what so many have wanted to but never knew the words. I hope whoever these people are get the real you soon, because they are missing out!!

  11. Thank you for writing. I think all of us find out who are positive and negative in our lives when going through this process. And it can become a BIG mind block. My Father told me I would never be able to go past 14 miles, because as a runner he never made it past 14 miles. And what did I do to my self... I never ran past 14 miles until two days ago!!! Guess what I found out, on mile 15... it can be done. People treated me the same way after my inital weight loss of about 50lbs... They told me I was getting "too skinny" worried maybe I had taken it too far. I am smack in the middle of my BMI. My biggest goal was to have the energy to play with my kids and walk through walmart with out getting winded. Now I am proud that I inspire people to get into better shape then they are now. The negative comments have altogether stopped now and I have surrounded myself with positive people.

  12. We are all works in progress, its what makes us human!

    I am totally with you on the no one cared when I was FAT, but now that I am all super healthy they are 'worried' about me. The thing is they understand emotional eating and food addictions because they suffer from it too. Its when someone says, 'NO. I AM NOT going to be this way anymore' that it freaks them out. Why? Because previously they had thought it was hopeless and now they see someone breaking the mold and it scared them.

    Keep up the good work and keep taking care of yourself. Just be yourself to the best of your ability and even the 'haters' start to come around - I promise!


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