My Journey to Sparta: The Chris Davis Project – Part 9: Milestones and Long Walks
by Chris Davis
Chris Davis is still going strong at Spartan HQ where he has been working on his personal journey of going from 696 lbs to doing the Spartan Ultra Beast. It is amazing to see him develop as an athlete and writer for this blog.
I had the pleasure of walking 10 miles with Chris Davis last weekend (you’ll read about it below). Not a 10 normal miles mind you, but some of the steepest roads Vermont has to offer. Even while passing around 40lbs, 50lbs, and a 75lbs sandbags with other walkers, we still were never close carrying the weight that Chris did each and every step. And he can’t put his down when he gets tired.
I know Chris is working twice as hard because of this. He surely must be hurting twice as much. I start to really comprehend how much guts it has taken him to get this far. I know that if anyone can do this, he can. – Jason J
I was going through and re-reading some of my blogs, and I realized that I have never taken the time to explain where I started out and how I came to be here at Spartan Race HQ. So I thought I would go back and do some research to build a list of milestones that helped me get to Spartan Race and beyond.
My Major Milestones:
• I started my weight loss program on June 29th 2009 @ 696 lbs.
• I had Sleeve Gastrectomy, a type of bariatric surgery, on July 12th 2010 @ 634 lbs.
• I started walking in the Lazy River at the Romulus Athletic Center on November 23, 2010 @ 499 lbs.
• I joined the Dunwoody Running Group on June 13th 2011 @ 448 lbs.
• I climbed Stone Mountain on July 9th 2011 @ 440 lbs.
• I completed my first 5k race on October 1st, 2011 @ 411 lbs.
• I completed my first Spartan Sprint on March 10th, 2012 @ 390 lbs.
• I arrived at Spartan Camp on April 11th, 2012 @ 388 lbs.
• I completed my first 10 mile hike on May 12th, 2012 @ 334 lbs.
When I started to do this research I did not expect that it would bring up so many great memories from my past. I started to think about Stacey, Farah, Tammy, and Sherrie from the weight loss program that I attended before having my bariatric surgery. How Keryl, stayed by my side and helped me finish my first 1.6 mile loop during my first meeting with the Dunwoody Running Group. I will never forget the day that Liz and Dorene walked with me when I completed my first 5k. These are just some of great memories that I have experienced while on this journey.
Yea, there have been some days that sucked, but it’s funny how fast you forget about them when you look back at what you have accomplished.
This weekend was another big weekend for me. On Saturday Joe, Andy, Jason and 2 other people joined me for a 10 mile walk. The kicker this time being that our walk started at 4 am.
I will be honest, I am not a big fan of waking up and walking at 4 am – but that is part of the Spartan Camp Experience, I guess. When you come to Spartan Camp you have to understand that the only thing you can count on is the unexpected.
After a little drive we got on some random dirt road that disappeared up a mountain, it was cold and very dark; there are no street lights outs here, so the only source of light is the moon and the stars. It takes your eyes a few minutes to adjust but you would be surprised at how little light you need to see once your eyes get used to the dark. As we climbed up the mountain the sun started to come up and it got even easier to see. The first 2 miles of our walk were straight up.
It took a while before we got to the top of the mountain and as we did, we came up to this over look right as the sun started to rise over the mountains.
Now I understood why Joe wanted us up at 4 am. I just wish would have taken some extra time and enjoyed watching the sun rise a little longer before we headed down the road.
Maybe after the race, I will head back up this road and sit back and enjoy the sunrise properly. Until then I have to learn to cherish every moment I get to see something beautiful on this journey. By the time the day was over, I had walked 11.1 miles with an evaluation climb of over 1850 feet.
On Sunday, I got to sleep in my till a normal, sane time. We started the day by walking the 5 miles from my apartment to the office, but instead of stopping, Joe talked me into doing a couple of laps around Lower and Upper Michigan Roads – two connected dirt roads that wind around the western mountain slopes of Pittsfield.
By the time I had finished my 2 loops in I had walked a total of 10.5 miles, and was ready to call it a day when Joe drove up to meet me at the Pittsfield General Store. He me asked how things were going and I told him I was done for the day – I had completed my goal of 10 miles and my feet were soar, and I was done…just done.
His reply, “Great! Let me get a hold of the camera crew and let’s go walk up to that Cabin up on top of the mountain.” I was crushed, but I said sure why not, I had made a comment earlier in the week that depending on how I was feeling I might try and go for 13.1 miles on Sunday.
So I sat down and had an apple and a green juice. After answering some questions for the film crew we walked to Spartan Camp. Once I got there I picked up Wilson (a sand bag) and Joe’s kids decided to come along as we headed up the mountain. We made it up just past where I normally turn around and I had to stop.
I was just out of steam… After a little break and some water, we continued up the mountain, and after a few more breaks. I made it to the T in the road, I was total spent. So I took a break and then buckled into peer pressure and moved on a little further up the hill. I had to stop my body was starting to fail, so we turned around and headed back down the mountain. I was so tired that I had to stop 3 additional times along the way down. By the time we made it to Joe’s house I was feeling light headed, and I knew I needed some water and food ASAP. So I had a glass of water at Spartan Camp, and then got a ride to the General Store and ate an omelet with some spinach in it.
After eating the spinning stopped, but I still felt bad, so I got a ride back to my apartment and took a nap. After a couple of hours, I felt a lot better. So when it was all over on Sunday I had walked 13.7 miles with an elevation climb of over 1750 feet. For a weekend total of 24.8 miles with an elevation climb of over 3600 feet.
This morning when I woke up I was still soar, and had a hard time walking, but the more I moved around my apartment the better I felt, when I asked Joe to send someone to get me, he kindly replied with “start walking to town and I will send someone”. This usually ends in one of two ways: a) I end up walking 10 miles into work, or b), someone will show up about in about 30 minutes.
I had no choice, but to start walking towards the office. About a mile down the road I am starting to get that sinking feeling that I’m in for the long haul when Chris pulls up next to me and lets me know the Joe has sent him to pick me up. I get into the car and head to the office.
Once I get to the office, Joe wanted me to weigh in before I got a chance to get settled in. All I could do was think about how much water I drank last night and how that was going to throw my weight off, but now it didn’t matter, so I stepped on the scale and it read 328.6. This put me down 7lbs since Friday, where I had gained a few pounds after trying to re-hydrate.
So I was happy with my weight loss, but Joe, well not so much…he was hoping that I would have lost over 10lbs to help me get me closer to reaching our goal of 308lbs by June 1st. I don’t know if we can make it happen, but I will do my best to get there.
On Monday we had 9 new interns join us here at Spartan HQ. It was great to meet so many people excited about starting their journey here at Spartan Race. As a team building exercise we started talking about this and that, and somehow they talked me into fasting for the entire day – and in return they would do 3,000 push-ups as a team by noon tomorrow. Reluctantly, I agreed, so after two big days of walking over the weekend, I fasted on Monday.
The last time I fasted was after another big workout and about 24 -48 hours after that fasting experience I got really depressed and almost quit. Well, it’s happening again. But don’t worry, I’m not thinking of quitting this time. But none the less, I am still very depressed.
There has to be something that goes on in my body when I fast that sets off a chemical imbalance, and that is why I get so incurably depressed. I started to notice this last night as I finished up with kung-fu. I started to get an overwhelming feeling of being alone. So I reached out to a few friends on the phone in the lodge lobby (since my cellphone doesn’t get service at the lodge) and I was able to get a hold of my good friend Lauri. You have no idea how good it was to hear her voice. I felt so bad that I called while she was eating dinner, but she didn’t mind. We sat and talked for at least 25 minutes and I felt so much better for a while. But then, it got bad again.
I ended up going to bed thinking of my other good friend and house mate Dra. It has been over a week since I had last heard anything from her. She had not returned any of my messages, from the last few days which is not like her at all.
When I woke up this morning I just wanted to hide under the covers and pretend that the world did not exist. But I had my doctor’s appointment, so I knew I had to get up and going. I forced myself out of bed and into the shower. Usually after a nice hot shower I feel alive and ready to take on the world – but not today. I had some time before my ride was supposed to pick me up, so I headed to the lobby of the lodge and turned on the TV to try and see what the rest of the world was up to. It is kind of crazy how fast the rest of the world can fade way when you’re doing something like this.
For those of you who don’t know me, if there is one thing that freaks me out more than anything, it is being late. So at 7:25 I am wondering when Steve was going to show up since he was my ride to the doctor’s office. I keep thinking is Steve going to forget about me like Chris Z did yesterday? 7:30 rolls around and still nobody. 7:35, still no one. 7:40, I finally start to freak out, and I go back to my apartment and grab my laptop, because of course, I do not have Steve’s number in my phone. I go online and get his number. When I called I find he thought the appointment was on Thursday, so he had not left yet. My appointment was scheduled for 8am, and now I was going to be late. I just started to freak out, but about 60 seconds later, I settled myself down. I said, “Oh well, there is nothing I can do about this. I am just going to have to deal with it”. By the time Steve arrived, I was back to my calm but depressed self.
We got to the doctor’s office about 15 minutes late, and I was expecting all kinds of problems because we were late, but they didn’t even raise an eye brow. I guess that is the difference with a small town doctor’s office, they understand that these things happen. When I talked to the doctor he was quite happy with the results of my blood work, and agreed that adding Eggs to my diet was a good choice, and that should help. Other than that, nothing else has him concerned at this time. I am scheduled to go back in 3 weeks do another set of blood work, and see how things are going then. I should have been ecstatic about this, but it just when in one ear and out the other.
After getting back to the office, I resume my funk – I couldn’t focus on anything, it’s like my whole world is foggy. I have even tried taking a walk down by the river, and that didn’t help. My mind keeps wondering back to Dra, and how I still have not heard from her. I sent her another text message, telling her that I was getting worried. This time I got a reply, she explained that things have not been going well for her back in Atlanta, and she told me some of the things that have happened to her over the last few weeks while we have been out of touch.
It was at this moment I was reminded me of just how far away from home I am, because I know there is nothing I can do to help her from here. I have a real hard time talking to her on the phone because she works two jobs, and is only available to talk after midnight. With me going to bed at 8pm, this kills our ability to talk on the phone. So what about text messages, and IM? Well there are some people where I need real-time feedback to understand the tone and intent of the message, and she is one of though people.
While I sit writing this blog, I can’t tell you how much I miss my friends in Atlanta. I know they are behind me 100% of the way, and I guess that is why I miss them so much. The only advise that helps right now is something I would say to my friends when they are having a rough day. “Tomorrow will be a better day, and if not tomorrow the day after that.”
I just need to hang in there, and hope that tomorrow I will feel better than I do today.
…click here to catch Chris’s story from the beginning.
We are happy to announce that The Chris Davis will be posted at noon on Tuesdays and Friday. The Friday blog will capture Chris’ experience during the week while the Tuesday blog will recap the excitement of his weekends.
Tags: Chris Davis Project