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No, this isn’t a post about the TV show (although I do like that show), it’s a post about being thankful for how different my life has become since I lost weight and became an athlete. Not that I had a bad life before, I was a happily married working father, but I feel like a totally and entirely different person than I did 3+ years ago. To start with the obvious, I’m not obese anymore. I have energy to do what I want. I enjoy time with my family much more than I had the energy to before. My brain is so much clearer than it used to me. And I can attribute all of this to getting in shape (offroad endurance racing –vs- sedentary lifestyle) and eating differently (vegetarian –vs- red meat and beer).

But it goes beyond that. I was out on a pre-dawn, headlamped, muddy, icy, technical 15 mile trail run with a friend the other weekend… and we were talking about the fact that doing that at 5am on a Saturday in below-freezing temperatures? Had become totally normal. Since when is doing that normal? That’s not normal at all! But it’s become normal for me. Saturday morning? Well, why not get up at 4am, run steep, technical trails for 3 hours (alone) and then come home and enjoy Saturday morning cartoons and pancakes with the kids? That’s become normal at our household. We are active, and we’re healthy. And I wouldn’t trade this “new normal” for anything in the world!

I have to pinch myself sometimes to remember that I am truly, truly, truly privileged to get to do what I do. While I may not consider myself to be an elite athlete, what I get to do is considered elite by many people. 2 years ago I was training for a ½ marathon. Now I run them (and longer) as training runs, off road, several times a week. I am blessed. I can only hope that I live my life in a way that expresses gratitude for such a blessing.

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