There’s quite a few things I feel the need to share with you so that you can fully grasp the magnitude of the race that was The Flying Pig 1/2 Marathon. If you recall, I signed up for this race for the sole purpose of seeing my brother run it.
I never, ever, ever, ever thought my brother would run a half marathon. It requires a lot of discipline, self-motivation, and commitment–all words I never associated with him.
My brother growing up was always in trouble. He was in trouble in school, at home, in his life and for as long as I can remember, he was always in some kind of mess.
It was difficult seeing my brother live his life this way but it was something we kinda just accepted. That was how he was.
He’d always been overweight, using food and alcohol as a means of comfort when there really wasn’t anything positive in his life. Eating and drinking made him happy. There were many times when I became concerned about his health; at 6’2, 300+ pounds, I knew there was no way he was healthy.
And then a few years ago, on his own, he began to change. He left behind old habits and found a good, steady job and was finally doing well. It was what we had all been waiting for. But it seemed maybe to cope and maybe even compensate for no longer having his previous vices, he turned to eating–even more. He visited me last Christmas and he was the heaviest I had ever seen him. He was happy–but it was difficult for him to move around, to get up off the couch, to walk short distances. I was worried when I saw him but it was another one of those things where I felt like even if I said something, it needed to come from him. He wouldn’t change if he didn’t want to change.
I”m not sure if it was a combination of New Year’s, his birthday (it’s in early January), or something else all together, but he decided 2015 would be the year of change. It was finally coming from him. He signed up for a gym membership and began with walking on the treadmill and spending a few minutes on the elliptical. He’d send me a picture every few days of his workouts, “2 miles on the treadmill!” “30 minutes on the elliptical!” “I finally ran outside today!” and each text would make my day.
He ran a 5k on St. Patrick’s day and was excited to gauge his progress (he’d run one last year–his first race–without any training). He blew us away killing his previous time and finishing with a 27:58!! Yes, you read that right. At that point, he had lost about 35 pounds and was proud of himself for how far he’d come. But he said he wasn’t finished.
Having done so well and maybe even perhaps still on his race high, he decided to sign up for the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I was so excited for him and knew having this goal would only help motivate him further.
But what he did next took me by complete surprise.
He got a training plan and committed himself to it entirely, sometimes even doing double workouts on days he was feeling good. He’d send me pictures of his mileage, “My first run over 5 miles!” “I did this all with the treadmill inclined!” He would send me post workout pics and on each one he’d have a huge smile, a proud workout done. He began sharing his journey on Facebook and his friends applauded his change–(that seemed to motivate him too, his friends seeing him do something positive for himself).
I remember showing my husband one of my brother’s pics and telling him how proud I was of my brother and how I wished I could be there to join him on his first half marathon. I rarely make it to Ohio as traveling with 2 small children isn’t exactly ideal both financially and mentally lol!
But my husband said, “You should be there!” and purchased a ticket for only me to go. He’d stay behind with our kids.
I was so grateful and so ridiculously excited that I would be able to witness firsthand and share that special day with my brother. At first, I wanted it to be a surprise and told my sister such as we planned out logistics. But as usual with surprises, they’re tough to keep and my brother soon knew that I would be there that day. He was so thankful and said that that would help him to train even harder knowing that I’d be there.
The day he ran his 10 miler, his first double digit run, I cried. I just couldn’t believe it. Who was this man who had transformed himself in such a short period of time? He was a dedicated, disciplined, motivated, definitely NOT lazy man who was working very hard to reach a goal. And doing it all on his own.
He was ready. The day of the race he was 60 pounds lighter. Sixty. This was a different person toeing the start line. A completely different person.
And man, I couldn’t wait to see him cross the finish !!!
Part II of my brother’s weightless journey to his first half marathon will be up soon. Let me just say, he crushed that race–I can’t wait to share it with you!!
❤ , helly