The trial of miles; miles of trials.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Farewell to BiM

I already posted this on the Bones in Motion website, but I wanted to post it in this blog as well. 

On November 29, 1999 I had what I believe was an epiphany. I was on a stair climbing machine at World Gym in Auburn Hills, MI chugging away when I became so disgusted with myself I made the decision to change. I had blown up to over 230 pounds and had the cardio capacity of a sloth. My pathetic physical condition was a byproduct of excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and lack of activity. My lack of self-control spawned rage inside of me. Right there in that dingy gym I promised myself I would break the cycle and get myself in better shape. I decided to quit food cold turkey and told myself that night’s dinner would be an apple. I made instant overnight changes to my diet and my workout routine. As I shed the weight and regained control of my body I felt empowered. By summer of 2000 I had lost nearly 40 pounds but without direction and accountability I slowly fell back into my old habits and so began the yo-yo gains and losses that would consume me for the better part of a decade.

In 2001, with the help of Bill Phillips’ book Body For Life, I started to learn more about proper nutrition and fitness. After my first 12-week program of Body For Life, I found myself a lean 186 pounds and in the best shape of my life; I was 25. Again, without direction and accountability I slowly lost control of myself and by late 2003 I was right back to where I had been so many times before.  With each attempt I gained valuable knowledge about fitness and nutrition but in the end I lacked the discipline to make the right choices. My choices were laden with sugar, fat, alcohol and sleeping in. I didn’t know it then, but I needed something to keep me focused and a way to hold myself accountable.

La Plata Peak, 2007
As the years passed I was up and down a half dozen times, getting myself in shape for a ski trip, a biking trip or a trip to the beach, but in between I was always badly slipping. Struggling, always struggling. In 2007 another trip was planned to Aspen, CO and again I pulled myself together. In the planning process I came across a website called 14’ The site is dedicated to the highest peaks in Colorado, all the peaks above 14,000 Ft.; The 14’ers. I started reading and the more I read the more I wanted to stand on the summit of a Colorado 14’er. So the trip went as planned with glorious hikes in the Colorado backcountry to places like Hagerman Lake, Hanging Lake and the Maroon Bells. On our last full day in Colorado and on our way back to Denver we made an assault on 14,336 Ft. La Plata Peak. On August 6, 2007 around 9:30 AM I held a cheesy sign over my head announcing the date, mountain and elevation as I stood atop my first Colorado 14’er. The victory was bittersweet due to the fact that our whole party didn’t summit that day because of time constraints; sorry Jason. In the face of one man’s adversity, perhaps selfishly, my roots had been rattled and a dream fulfilled. I came off that mountain with a full heart, a renewed sense of adventure and a new hope. I think it would be going too far to say that mountain saved my life, but part of me feels that way. One thing I know for certain is that my life was forever changed that unassuming day in August, 2007. For the first time in a long time I had direction and focus. Shortly after returning home I decided I wanted to climb all the Colorado 14’ers, 58 total. A lofty goal that may take me the rest of my life to accomplish, regardless, a love affair was born.

With my newfound direction I was halfway to solving the riddle of my poor choices and my subsequent near decade of fitness ups and downs. At the end of the same year a friend directed me to a website called bimactive or Bones in Motion. This wonderful fitness site allowed me to compulsively chronicle and track my workouts. The best feature being a blog option that allows you to publish your workouts for the world to see. We kept taps on each other daily, offering encouragement when needed but mostly poking and prodding and picking each other apart like a lawyer cross examining a witness. I knew what my buddy was doing halfway around the world minutes after he did it and he knew the same of me. My accountability was completely held in check. The pieces fell together like a beautiful dance and the riddle was solved. The mountain gave me direction and through BiM, my friends gave me accountability.

I would like to thank my friends for following my plights over the past several years. Jack, Jason, Glen, Upton, Tony, Marty, Heath and everyone else, thanks guys. With a special thanks to Jack White for leading me to Body For Life, BiM, adventure racing, the marathon and triathlon. You have been a big source of inspiration to me over the past few years, actually the past decade…and for that I thank you. I would also like to thank Bob Cooper. Bob is a book on perseverance and determination. Bob lead me to my first half marathon and he believed in me long before I believed in myself. One of Bob’s greatest qualities is his “never say die” attitude and for that I will forever hold Bob in high regard. Stay the course! Thanks Bob.

Obviously things have changed for me, after nine 14’ers checked off my list they have taken a backseat, but because of my friends and BiM I’ve managed to keep the fire burning. I still struggle at times, the past month being a perfect example, but I’ll be back again to fight another day. Farewell BiM, thanks for incredible website, the memories and for helping capture the defining moments. As we say goodbye to 2010, may we wake to the dawn of a new tomorrow, a new era; an era in which we dare to chase our biggest dreams. Let’s do that ultra Jack!
New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale


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