Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 202 A Book of Interest, A 10K Conquered, and My Love of Hot Rolls

Day 202

A Book of Interest, A 10K Conquered, and My Love of Hot Rolls

I'm ashamed to say that I've never really been a book reader. I'm a TV watcher, radio listener, magazine reader, newspaper glancer, but not really what you would classify as a book reader. If I do read a book it's something of particular interest to me, like when I was heavy in the world of stand-up, I read Jay Leno's and Paul Reiser's books cover to cover. When Irene and I started writing a screenplay and developing screenplay ideas I read “The Complete Idiots Guide To Screen writing.” And I've never in my life before today read a book cover to cover in one day. If a book didn't capture me or interest me too much, it would end up in the bathroom only to be thumbed through and read in 5 to 15 minute chunks over the course of several months. I've never read a book of fiction, never, not even in high school. Oh sure, we were assigned to read certain books, but the closest I came was buying the Cliffs Notes versions. Again, not proud of that, just being honest. And I have to say I'm so proud that my daughters have taken after their mom in the reading department. They read, in fact Courtney is reading “The Catcher In The Rye” right now. Thank goodness they read. Since my interest now is so big in losing weight and writing this blog, it's not surprising that I did what I did today, just unusual. I spent my afternoon reading. Totally not like me, I know! I read a book cover to cover in one sitting! OK, I did run to the restroom, fix a turkey sandwich, and refill my Splenda sweetened ice tea a few times. I just couldn't put down Todd Starnes new book “They Popped My Hood And Found Gravy On The Dipstick.” Todd Starnes is a Fox News Radio anchor living and working in New York City. He spent his formative years in the South and was raised on his mom's presidential worthy southern cooking. By the time his 30's rolled around, he found himself at 300 pounds, and in not long heart problems followed. He had to undergo open heart surgery and after surviving the surgery he had a choice: Lose the weight or die young. Sound familiar? His story is humorous, spiritual, sad, and triumphant all rolled into one very nice paperback. It's a story that follows his broadcasting career straight to New York, but it's not a story about broadcasting. It follows his open heart surgery, but it's not a book about bad hearts. It follows the wonderful relationships he had with his parents, but it's not all about them either. He proudly gives praise to God throughout the book, and even quotes scripture along his journey, but it's not all about his faith. It is a book all about choosing life. Todd Starnes chose to live life, and with that decision came many changes, not only in his habits but in his mind. It's a fabulous story of triumph told with humor and down to earth honesty. It really tripped my trigger, and I just couldn't stop reading. Todd has lost 150 pounds and even ran in the 2007 New York City Marathon. What an inspiration! I highly recommend this book to you! You can find it in numerous bookstores around the country, I personally ordered my copy through Brace Books and More.

With Courtney away at the SWOSU “Little Sisters” weekend with Amber, it was just Irene and me around the house. So I decided to take my lady out to dinner. We decided on J.W. Cobb's, a local family style restaurant with down home country cooking. It would be real easy to eat a bunch of calories at Cobb's, in fact I have many times in the past, but remember it's all in the choices we make. I had the juiciest most flavorful chicken breast in the world, and Irene went for the chopped steak. We split a baked potato and Irene had green beans while I enjoyed tomato slices with salt and pepper. The waitress brought out two hot dinner rolls, even though we didn't request them, and after one bite Irene questioned “why do they have to be so good!” I've dramatically cut down on my bread intake and I haven't really missed it that much. However, I can and do eat bread, I can eat whatever I want right? I just don't invest that many calories in bread these days. You must remember, I'm a hot roll lover from way back. When we would have hot rolls at school everybody at the table would hear me ask “do you want your roll?” Because I did! I couldn't get enough hot rolls as a kid, and as an adult I became kind of a hot roll snob. I know a good hot roll when I taste it. Irene's grandma Bertha made the most incredible hot rolls, and to this day, Irene and I compare every hot roll that crosses our lips to her grandmothers masterpiece of yeast! Lucille's in the tiny town of Mulhull, Oklahoma is the closest to Bertha's perfection, but J.W. Cobb's comes real close too. So there we were face to face with an old friend, the hot dinner roll. I had one question I had to ask myself. Could I afford some calories for this wonderful looking and smelling creation? The answer was yes! But I only had half of it, and without butter, because I wanted to have enough calories for a nice snack later. That's control my friend. We use to ask for at least a half dozen of those things pre-journey.

Since I spent the afternoon reading, I didn't get into the YMCA, but that was OK because with the weather as beautiful as it was today, I'd already decided my workout would be outside. Irene had to leave for work at 7:30pm, and I left for the walking trail shortly after. The temperature was somewhere in the 70's with a nice breeze and the sunset was emitting some of the most beautiful colors in the western sky. It was a perfect night to walk. I decided that tonight's walk would be special. I'd planned on doing a 10K last night, but quickly scrapped that plan when it became way too late. I had also planned to do a 10K for the first time today anyway, remember me mentioning an organized YMCA 10K not too long ago? Well, that official 10K was canceled a week ago, so if I was going to stick with my plan to do a 10K on April 4th it had to be a solo effort. I made a special 10K playlist on my iPod and hit the trail with a confident stride. I love walking outside in the fresh air on a perfect evening. I decided that I would pace myself for distance rather than pushing myself in well timed burst like I've been doing. Nope, no jogging for me tonight. I did adjust my pace up and down some, and when I felt the need to use the bathroom about halfway, I stopped to do it. Only one problem, the bathroom door was locked! I thought maybe someone was in there, so I waited a few minutes before knocking and asking, “is anybody in there?” No answer. I should have done that three minutes before then. By this time I really had to go, I was in trouble here! I'll stop my little restroom emergency story right there, because I don't want to incriminate myself, but let me put it this way...The rest of my 10K was in comfort, well, as comfortable as walking 6.2 miles can be. The first 3.1 miles were easy, in fact it wasn't really until the last mile that I started wondering if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. That last mile was brutal. After reading about Todd Starnes NYC Marathon experience, I had to do this. Todd survived that Marathon with strength and determination directly from God. He had several legitimate excuses to give up, but he didn't, he couldn't. You'll have to read his account to see what I mean. With my legs burning and the sweat dripping, I powered through that last 1.2 miles like a champion. At the end there wasn't a tape to burst through, I didn't see a crowd, or an official time clock, and I wasn't wearing a number or an official t-shirt. But I felt like a bona fide champion. I won tonight's endurance walking challenge! I walked a 10K, that's 6.2 miles around the very trail I couldn't even walk a quarter of a mile on 202 days ago at 505 pounds. I know I've said it many times before, and I really wouldn't need to say it at all, because my actions say it for me, but it really does get easier and easier. If you're just getting started and it feels almost impossible to move, just do what you can, no matter how small it seems, and with consistent effort it will get progressively easier, I promise!

My dear mother is finding out that it does get easier to exercise. She's had a hard time getting started, but now she's progressing just fine, and it makes me so happy! I called her shortly after I left the trail to tell her of my triumph, and before I could tell her she told me her great news. She finished walking two thirds of a mile tonight. I'm so happy for her. I love my momma like Elvis loved his, I'm a proud mommas boy and always will be. I've prayed for her to find the strength and will to break free from obesity, much like she use to pray every night for me to lose weight. We both worry about each other constantly, but now she doesn't worry about me as much as I do her. I want her to choose to live the best life she can live for the next however many years God will allow. Mom and I have had some very good conversations about this before and we'll have many more. I want to see her happy. I want to sit back and watch as she discovers the happiness within her. I want to see her smile in the purest most content way. Nothing would make me happier. You're doing fantastic mom! I know I told you earlier, but I can't help but to repeat it here: I'm so proud of you and I love you!

Tomorrow we're heading to Weatherford to pick up Courtney and deliver Amber's Gazelle. Amber requested we bring her Gazelle before, but we never could figure out how to transport such a large wild animal. I'm kidding, it's not a Gazelle from the African plains, it's that Tony Little endorsed exercise machine. Amber bought it years ago with her own money and now she plans to keep it at her boyfriends parents house in Thomas so she can use it when she's over there on the weekends. I'm headed to bed for some pre-drive rest. Thank you for reading everyday. Good night and...

Good Choices,

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