My twin girls were born in March 2009. I have never been happier in my life than being a husband and a father. I find myself wondering what they will be like when they’re older. My next thought usually involves a not-so-happy theme of “Where will I be when they’re older?” My Mother died of lung cancer when I was only 11 and heart disease runs in my family. I have known – indirectly – at least 2 people in their thirties who died of heart attacks. I have known several others who have lived through them. The question of where I will be when my kids grow up makes me VERY nervous.
Like a lot of guys, I didn’t pay attention to my health in my 20’s. I ate fast food almost daily. I exercised in spurts most notably completing the Seattle half marathon in 2006 (for which I only trained 8 weeks) and taking 6 months of cardio kickboxing in 2008. Don’t be fooled though, around and between these two periods I was as sedentary as they come. I could eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s within 15 minutes or finish an entire (large) bag of BBQ potato chips.
Oh sure, I had excuses. I was working full time and going to school full time. My wife and I were going through some traumatic events related to cancer and fertility. But I knew what I was doing. When I got stressed out with school I would get short of breath so bad that I had trouble falling asleep at night. This was partly due to stress and partly due to all the crap that had built up in my lungs from not exercising. I was not doing good. My body type wasn’t helping either. I’m a pretty skinny guy – “good” you say, but not so – when skinny guys add fat, the fat gets added not so much outward, but inward. Skinny guys can get fat build up between and around their organs making it harder for their body to do just about anything worth doing. This is what was happening to me.
So I did a small thing. There has been in our garage for a number of years this rather unique clothes rack with a digital display, an electric motor, and a power cord – our treadmill. It hadn’t been turned on in years. When I plugged it in and let it run for a few minutes, it tripped the CGFI outlet in our garage (an outlet with a breaker in it, required in garages). This was a problem because I knew nothing about wiring and outlets. It was also a problem because this stupid electrical outlet was standing in the way of me getting healthier. Alas, over a week with the help of a few friends I managed to troubleshoot my way through. The treadmill lives.
With twins I don’t get a lot of time to exercise, but I try to get in 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. When I was training for the half marathon before it was mostly an academic exercise to prove that I could actually do it with just 8 weeks of training. This time I feel like I’m running so that I can continue to be a father and a husband. I’m not feeling any improvements to my health yet. I still have trouble getting a breath sometimes during stressful situations and occasionally I’m still pretty lethargic.
But I’m finally doing something, for my whole family. As a former child who lost a parent I feel that parents should make it their goal to be healthier for the sake of their children. I am inspired by my family to continue being fitter and also set a good example for them. My girls don’t know it yet, but their Dad will be around to bug them for a long time.