JARED: I wrested in high school and after a 30-year athletic hiatus, I started running in 2017. I was at a doctor appointment in late 2016 when the nurse took my blood pressure, she froze, then asked if my regular doctor knew about my blood pressure. I like to answer questions with questions (usually to buy time), so I shot back with “what regular doctor”? My BP was 195/110…not good. The regular diet of TV, nachos, and cheeseburgers finally bit back. As a carpenter, I had a job that kept me active so dodged a bullet until my late 40s, but working hard is NOT the same as working out. I knew that once a person is officially diagnosed with high blood pressure, it shows up on medical records forever, so good luck with insurance. At home, I told Kelly I had to lose weight and quickly, before the doctor found out. I started doing pushups and “running,” meaning I tried to maintain a running pace until I died. It took a month to build up to one mile and that took 11:45. Success. I cut out cheese and bread at the same time. In the Spring of 2017, Brian Sweet gave Kelly and I the Crosstrainers Training Plan. We started training in June, and by the time we ran our first 5k in August, I had lost over 20lbs and the BP was in the greenish-yellow. Not only was I in better health, but my wife was now my running partner and we had a shared hobby.
Soon after, I was introduced to CrossFit and obstacle course racing (OCR), so I started putting together a home gym. While we continued running regularly, I began to put good weight back on through barbells and calisthenics. In the last few years, I have gotten stronger and more durable as well, and love trail running. I have unfortunately also dealt with plantar fasciitis, strained calves and a glute, and sore shoulders, mainly because I push my limits. However, I’ll trade some minor sports injuries over chronic pain, diabetes, and fibromyalgia any time. At least I know how they happen, how to fix them and work around them. At 45 years old, I couldn’t tie my boots in the morning. Now at 52, I can put my socks on while standing up. Through my wife’s encouragement, I’m learning to listen to my older body and walk during a run sometimes. I’m not the fastest or the strongest in the room but am moving forward.
As I continue the struggle with food discipline, the verse that consistently pops up is Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.” While the passage is addressing spiritual matters, godly principles and our pursuit of righteousness, there is significant overlap regarding the physical. For years, I was a glutton (which is a sin most don’t want to address) but foolishly expected sustained health. I’m slowly learning the health benefits of healthy eating and no second helpings. What you put in, you get out… regardless of the discipline: our marriages, occupations, our fitness, or our walk with God. The more we focus on the good stuff (whole food, hard work, prayer and reading), the tastier it is. Sadly, the same goes for the junk: sin, processed food, and a sedentary life all have their own draw. One draws me uphill to fullness of life, one leads downhill. There’s no plateau. It all leads somewhere. What’s your destination?
KELLY: I hesitatingly began running in 2017, although I did not at all expect to enjoy the process. I was only trying to support Jared as he began focusing on his fitness. I gritted my teeth and decided to try 1 mile. It was exhausting – at first. Once I noticed that I was breathing easier, becoming faster, and recovering quicker, I began to actually enjoy it. When Jared suggested signing up for the 4US 5k, I rolled my eyes, but agreed to sign up too. We followed Brian Sweet’s Crosstrainers Training Plan and found ourselves improving and feeling great! We usually do CrossFit-type exercises in our family, so don’t strictly keep up with our running. Consequently, we have frequently utilized this training program over the years. This August will be the fourth time we complete the program, and I’m looking forward to it! I have no desire to run long distances, but I have found that running a 5k is attainable and fun.