So, by now we’ve all paid for that new gym membership, researched the latest diets and sworn off junk food. Welcome to a new year. Slow your roll there, people. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Wish I would’ve taken my own advice years ago. I got the great idea one time to stop drinking pop, dipping tobacco, and run my first 5k without any training all on the same day, cold turkey. Crazy right!! That was years ago and boy, have things changed. I still don’t drink any pop, have recently started dipping snuff again after four years without and take my running a little more serious now.
** Side note on dipping snuff** I stopped for four years but after being diagnosed with cancer this past year, my nerves were killing me. I was a wreck. I know for my health and well-being of my family, I will stop again. I’m in a much better place now both mentally and physically and will put the can down again later this year. I will update you when that happens but can tell you it will be sooner rather than later.
Now back to the running. For those of you wanting to rack up the miles in 2020, let me give you a few insights on what I’ve learned as a simple country boy about running. First, runners like to run…all the time. Rain, snow, blistering cold, extreme heat, high winds, storms…it doesn’t matter, they run. Second, they have tons of running wardrobes and gear. Picture yourself in those cool running shorts and all that stuff. “Wear these pants when it’s cold, wear this type when it’s even colder, wear these pants in the summer,” and the same goes for shirts. My thought was always how about shorts, wind pants, and wind pants with tights when it’s cold, boom, problem solved. Same with your shirt selection. How about a t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, long john shirt, and hoodie? That’s all you need to know right now on clothing. Third, they’re always happy. Happy before the run, happy during the run, and happy after the run. Heck, they even run warm up miles before they actually go run. You just want to punch them and say no, that wasn’t great. My knee hurts, I have snot and sweat in places that I’m not supposed to, and it feels like the devil has jabbed me in the side with his pitch fork. I still feel this way every time I run.
Some of you might have heard the term “hitting the wall”. It’s common in the running community. Some of you might have hit the wall already after a few short weeks of working out. It’s the point where you just can’t go any further, you just can’t do it. I urge you, don’t give in!! This is when it truly becomes mind over matter. I hit the wall for the first time this year while running the Tulsa Half Marathon. As you know, I was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and this kind of put my training and running on the back burner for a bit. The problem is, I promised a very good friend that I would run that half marathon with him if he signed up to do it. Who knew he would sign up on January 1, 2019? Those dang New Year’s resolutions.
So, on November 24, 2019, I kept a promise I made many months ago. I showed up to run 13.1 miles. I hadn’t run 13.1 miles all of 2019. Heck, I probably hadn’t run 10 miles non-stop all of 2019 but the gun went off and away we went. It actually felt good and refreshing to be back on the pavement again. That was until I hit mile number 9. My body was weak and was trying to shut down while my thoughts began to wander. I began to think I couldn’t finish it. The word “can’t” started to fill my mind. If you’re ever around me for an extended period of time, you’ll probably hear me say that can’t is not a word. I hate that word but it started to fill my thoughts.
Then it happened, I came around a corner and there was Gus and the family cheering me on. Gus ran out to come run with me like he always does. McKenzie was holding a sign and cheering me on and my wonderful wife Erica was standing there with a smile. I stopped to give her a hug and told her that I was done. I told her I can’t do this anymore; I’m not going to make it. She stopped me and placed both her hands on my head. She simply smiled at me and said, “I love you and know you can do this. Look how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished today and every day before this one. We’re here for you! Take it one step at a time, honey.” This was exactly what I needed to hear. Somebody who believed in me, supported me, and loved me. The next four miles darn sure weren’t easy but I did it! I crossed the finish line.
You can do it as well! Get the negative out of your head. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and rest when you must, but don’t quit. I’m back on the road to picking up the miles in 2020. It’s definitely been a slow process but steady. Currently, at the time of posting, I’m at 25 miles for the month of January. None of those are fast and most are walking but at least I’m putting the miles in again. Heck, the longest run has only been about two miles but I’m doing it. What are doing?
The wall will come again for me. Maybe not at mile 9, maybe not even at mile 13, maybe not even while I’m running, but it will come again. Maybe it was at mile 1 or 2 for you. Maybe it was when you were given that huge project at work. That’s okay. Just don’t give up. You don’t need the fancy watches, shorts, or cool water bottles to better yourself. You just have to believe. So, here’s to you smashing the wall in 2020.
What do you want to smash in 2020? Whatever you do, I hope you tell someone I love you today. Hope you’ll come back next week and learn a little about what it’s like to be a rancher and a teacher. Two full time jobs. We’re not called #thecircus for no reason. See you next week!!
-by Matt Boyer
Tell Someone You Love Them Today