Trading Pounds for Purpose

The First Step: Lacing Up My Shoes

12 months ago I weighed 243 pounds. I laced up some shoes I had laying around and hit the streets. My only goal was to run to this park and back without stopping; even if it was the slowest run anyone had ever seen. I didn’t think I’d even make it a mile, but that day I ran (probably jogged) a mile and a half without stopping.

The Turning Point: Pushing Through The Pain

It hurt like hell. I couldn’t breathe for shit. Everything felt terrible. But there was something else too. Pushing further than I thought was possible, opened up a part of me that had been shut off for a long time. Some sort of ancient enlightenment was lit aflame. So I kept running. I kept going farther and faster. I added push-ups and sit-ups to the mix. Through pain and endurance, I started to find relief and purpose.

As the summer months changed into fall and winter, I kept on hammering (shout-out to Cameron Haynes). The impossible started seeming less so. A tolerance started to build and the pain started to become more bearable. The other pains of life became more bearable as well.

I remember a run where it seemed like every car that passed by had a driver or passenger just staring me down. In my head, I was like, “Oh, they must think I’m crazy for being out here in the cold.” That thought brought on an overwhelming drive to push harder. I smashed that run. I was on a different level that day and turns out, those people weren’t thinking I was crazy for being out in the cold. They were probably wondering what the two streaks of blood running down the front of me were all about. I had run so much that my shirt rubbed both my nipples completely raw and bloody.

From Couch to Half-Marathons

Before this endeavor, I was trying various things to improve my general day-to-day feeling. I had noticed how bad I felt all the time. It’s hard to describe. I didn’t feel sick or anything like that. I just felt tired, unmotivated, and lacking in purpose. Depressed. This cycle fed itself over and over because the more I felt this way, the less I would do.

The truth is, life is extremely difficult, and there’s just no escaping that. You can avoid it, but eventually, you will have to endure. There is always a balance and we must work hard to keep it from getting too off-kilter or the inevitable buildup will be overwhelming. When I’m completely exhausted and sore, I can seemingly enjoy and appreciate things on new levels.

Here’s a quote that has resonated with me:

“May we ever choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.”

President Monson