I set a personal record this morning.
For several years now, I’ve been irregularly keeping track of my weight. When I think of it, I weigh myself. And when I think of it again, I jot down the number in a file in my gmail “drafts” folder. That file goes back more than four years, and the numbers tell a story of the changes in my fitness level over that time. Sort of like Santa’s list: it knows when I’ve been bad or good.
I won’t get into specifics here, but there’s a certain number that I would consider my “ideal” weight for running. If I’m at that number, I’m in either pretty darn good shape, or I’m very, very hungry. If we were to plot all of the numbers on a graph, maybe only 5 percent would be at my ideal number or lower. The vast majority would be within five or six pounds above it, however, and that’s certainly an acceptable range.
And then there’s this summer.
Earlier this year I suffered a one-two punch of viral bronchitis and then a herniated disc. Together, they conspired to keep me out of my running shoes for much of the spring, and this summer the disc problem is still giving me fits, despite regular visits to physical therapy. Plus, it’s been the hottest summer in St. Louis since 1980. I ran a grand total of one time in July. And in August, just once so far in the first nine days. And let’s just say I haven’t exactly been great about pushing away from the dinner table lately, either.
Last week my weight topped the previous range I’d been in for the last four years. But I can go even higher, I told myself. So, following the Olympic motto of “Softer, Rounder, Fatter” (or whatever it is), I geared myself up for one last shot at the record book, hopefully setting a standard that would never be broken.
I followed up a weekend of doing next-to-nothing with a trip last night to Weber’s Front Row, where on Monday nights they serve all-you-can-eat hot wings. Man, were they good. Man, did I waddle out of there. And this morning, I was rewarded with what will (hopefully) go down in the history books as the highest number to ever appear on a scale under my feet. Again, avoiding specifics, let’s just say it’s my ideal number, plus more than 11 percent added on. Success!
But sadly, the fun must come to an end. It’s definitely not going to be a good running year for me, but there are still a couple of races coming up this fall that I’d like to take part in, even if I won’t be competitive. And to be honest, it really feels awful to be this heavy and out of shape. So over the next few weeks—happily coinciding with the return to livable temperatures—I’ll be ramping up the exercise program, running when I can, walking when my sore back insists. Hopefully, by winter, those numbers will be down closer to where they’re supposed to be, and I will have returned to the pursuit of more traditional records.