The Chris Davis Project:  Week 12

7/7/2012

After a week of walking up and down Joe’s mountain, I packed for my trip back home to Atlanta.  Joe had set a goal of getting down to 295 before I left, and had threatened to cancel the trip if I did not meet this goal, so I was relieved on Saturday when I weighed myself and I had made it to 294.4.  So I knew I was good.  It only took me walking 50+ miles in 6 days to get me there-  but I made it.

Knowing that I had made my weight allowed me to relax and enjoy my Sunday morning walk up and down the mountain.  I was so exhausted from the  previous days, but I knew this was the last time I would have to climb up this mountain for at least the next week.   After completing the 3rd lap I headed up the driveway and tossed Wilson on the patio and said, “Well buddy, take the next week off and relax.”  And I just started to laugh.  After realizing, that yes, I was talking to my sand bag.  I shook my head and headed inside.

It had taken me several hours to do my walking and it was already mid afternoon. I thought to myself that my fight was scheduled to leave at 5:45 am Monday morning, so that meant that I would need to be picked up around 2 am, because it takes over an hour and a half to get to the airport. So I confirmed with my ride that he would pick me up at 2am, and that meant I could take my time to pack, and once I was done packing I could take a nap. Well that was my plan and it sounded great.  Unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way.  By the time I was with everything and had my bags packed, it was a little after 10pm.  No problem, that still gave me 4 hours to nap.  As I started to lay down, I got a text message from my ride.  He wanted to pick me up at 12 midnight because he could not sleep. I laughed a little, and said no problem, that would just give us some extra time in case something went wrong on the trip.   So I got back up and put the finishing touches on my bags, and set them by the door, and then the waiting game started.   I could not believe how excited I was to get to go back home.   It was going to be great because only a couple of key people even knew I was going to be coming back home.  So it was going to be a surprise for everyone when I just showed up at events.   I could not wait to see their reactions.   But for now all I could do was pace around the basement waiting for my ride.  These were some of the longest hours I have experienced in awhile.

Just when I was about to lose my mind, I saw some headlights coming up the driveway.  It was my ride to the airport.   I grabbed my bags and almost ran to the car tripping down the stairs.  All that I could think was relax, do not hurt yourself this close go home, that is the last thing I need right now.  So I took a deep breath and continued to the car.  Around 2 am we arrived at the airport, and its funny arriving at the airport that time of morning.  It is like a ghost town outside, but the funny thing is there were still several taxi cab drivers waiting for people.   I don’t know why, but I felt that was a little creepy.  I mean, I could understand one or two, but there was over a dozen just waiting.  It’s not like there was any additional fights still waiting to arrive.

I headed inside, and everything was closed, and I mean everything, even the automated ticket booths, so I decided to walk around for a bit and found a really cool observation lounge that looked over the runways.  I just wished it had been daytime, so I could have sat back and watched the planes, but not tonight.  It was just me and the runway lights.  Well, that only lasted about 5 minutes, and then they turned off the lights too, so it was just me.  So I took this as a sign that I should try and fall asleep.  But there was no way I was going to fall asleep.  I tried but I was just too excited.  So I pulled my laptop out of my bag, and started up Netflix to watch a few episodes of Firefly. This is just what I need to relax, and started to fall asleep.

Before I knew it my alarm clock went off, and I woke up, grabbed my laptop, and headed back down to the ticket counter.   Still everything was shut down, but at least this time there were some people waiting and you could feel that the building was starting to come back alive.  It was only a few minutes that went by before a ticket agent walked in and turned on the automated ticket terminals.  After getting my ticket I headed up to go to the gate but the TSA had not yet arrived yet, so more waiting.  All I could think was all of the suggestions to get to the airport 2 hours before my flight, and here I was an hour and a half before my flight, and TSA was not open yet.  Isn’t that ironic.   Once they did open, they were already in a bad mood.  It was at that moment I realized it was a bad idea to wear the same pants that I had worn down here.  To me it made sense, the only problem is there about 14 sizes too big now.  I figured no big deal, I would just hold my pants up when I went through the metal detector.  Well, that is not the way this airport was set up.  They were using one of the newer scanners that you stand in put your arms above your head and it scans you.   So you can imagine how this went.  They felt bad for me so they gave me my belt back, and let me do the scan again.   But because it failed the test, I got a full pat down.  That is always fun.

Once it was time to board the plane, I started to get nervous.  Would I be able to get my seat belt to close without a seatbelt extender?  I had vowed that my flight up to Vermont was going to be the last time I ever have to ask for one, and I was determined to make it work.  And sure enough, I sat down grabbed the seat belt, and click, it fit!  It was tight but it didn’t matter.   I was in a small computer plane with small seats and I did not have to get an extender.   I was so happy I could not stop smiling.

After a layover at Newark International Airport, I arrived in Atlanta about 20 minutes early.   I was so relieved to get back to town, I could feel the energy of the city as soon as the door on the plane opened.  I jumped out of my seat and wanted to run down the aisle but since I was in the back of the plane I had to sit back and wait.  It seemed to take forever, but finally it was my turn to get off the plane, and I headed down the jetway and into the airport.   I had a long walk to get to the tram to take me to the main terminal. Once I got there I realized how fast I was walking and how easy that walk was.   I thought about how just a few years ago, this kind of walk would have left me gasping for air and hurting for days.   Not so much anymore.  I was not even breathing hard.   How cool is that!   Once I got off the tram, I got a message from my housemate Dra.  She was outside waiting for me in her car.   I found myself almost running to get outside, and once I saw her car, I knew I was home.   She pulled over and jumped out of her car and met me halfway to her car.  It was one of those perfect moments in your life.   After a minute or two we put my bags in the car and headed back home.

My plans for the rest of the day were pretty basic: meet up with my fellow runners from the Dunwood Running group at Murphy Candler Park.  It was funny  because this was the same location that I met the group for the first time.   I was saddened when I found out that the group organizer Keryl was not going to make it due to a personal emergency.   She was one of the people I was so looking forward to seeing because she walked with me the first day and never gave up on me.   It took me 44 minutes to complete the 1.6 mile flat course with 1 little hill. I had to stop several times, but I made it, only because she never gave up on me.

I got to the site a little early and waited for people to show up.  It was funny the looks on people’s faces.  When they would walk up, you could tell when it was that they realized it was me.  It was always a look of confusion followed by a look of excitement and then awe.  It was an incredible feeling.  Here were my friends that have not seen me in months and they could not believe what they were seeing.   We broke up into different groups based on speed, so I took lead of a group of new runners and we headed out.   It was incredible how much easier  it was this time compared to just a few short months ago.   After the walk we headed out to dinner and it was my first real test.  We met up at a Mexican restaurant.   I ordered vegetarian fajitas, with lettuce instead of tortilla shells.   It was at that moment that I knew I was going to be able to keep on my diet while I was here.   A few minutes later, I was shocked when I saw Keryl walk into the room.   She found out that I was in town and had to stop by.   She was shocked when I stood up to give her a hug.   We sat down and started to talk.  It was great to get the chance talk to Keryl, especially with everything that was going on in her life at that moment.

After we left dinner I decided to head to work and say hello to my co-workers that were working the night shift.   When I got to the office I walked in and went looking to see who was in.   The office is currently going through some construction, so no one was where I remembered, so I walked around for a bit.   I finally found my friend Ray’s desk and I sat down near it and waited for him to show up to work.  He walked in and started to walk to his desk.  It wasn’t until he was about 15 feet from me when he noticed that I was there.    The look on his face was priceless.   We talked about Spartan Camp and my diet, and then he filled me in on what had been going on with his life.   It really is scary how much you miss when away for this amount of time.   We had to break things up because he need to get ready for the night’s maintenance and I need to get some sleep.

Tuesday morning rolled around way too early.  When I got up I headed out to CrossFit Grinder in Sandy Springs for my morning workout. I worked with Tom, one of their Level 1 CrossFit trainers.   The goal for that morning’s workout was to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses, and to loosen me up for the Peachtree Road 10K Race on Wednesday.   The workout was completely different than anything I had experienced with Joe.  Tom was very encouraging and kept me focused on getting one step closer to my final goal.   By the time the workout was over I was pumped and ready to take on the rest of my day.

I headed out to meet back up with Ray for breakfast.  I was able to avoid almost everyone in the office but a couple managers saw me and I stepped into their offices to talk for a few.   They could not believe I was in town, and how much different I looked.  Once Ray was free we headed out and we finished catching after about an hour or so we headed back to the office and that is where the fun started.   I walked up to my fellow programmers and just said hello.  They looked up from their screens and almost fell out of their chairs backwards.  We talked for a bit, and we decided to head to lunch a little early.  We wanted to catch up on what has been going on and we wanted to keep the number of people that saw me down to a few at a time so that we did not disturb the main floor.  After lunch we headed back to the office and I continued to walk around the office, and it was crazy how everyone’s reaction was about the same, Surprised, shocked and awe.   It was great to see so many of my friends and co-workers.  It is funny how much you really do miss your co-workers.  They really do become an extended family.

After a while I had to head out because I still needed to go downtown and get my race packet for the race and they closed the doors at 7pm.   By the time I got to the location it was almost 6pm and I had to get back to town to see another one of my friend who as in the hospital.  I could not miss seeing her while I was in town.    So I parked my car, and as soon as I started to walk to the conference center the skies opened up and started to pour.   Everyone started to look for shelter or an umbrella.  I just kept walking – it’s only rain, I have gotten so used to walking in the rain in Vermont, it doesn’t even phase me anymore.   By the time I got to the convention center, I headed straight to the registration section and headed back out.  When I got back to the doors of the convention center there were several hundred people waiting just inside the doors for the rain to stop.  I could not stop smiling and walked out the door and back into the rain.   Really, are people that afraid of a little rain?  That is too funny.

By the time I got to the hospital it was almost 7pm and I was so worried that I was going to miss visiting hours, but it was in time.  I headed in and met up with my good friend.  She was having a rough time after surgery but she still kept smiling.   We talked for a while about how things were going for both of us.   I was so happy to get to see her and to see her in good spirits considering what she had been thought in the last few days.  After a few hours of talking she started to get tired, so I excused myself and let her get some sleep.

Wednesday morning was finally here.  I was in Wave P of the Peachtree Road Race and our scheduled start time was about 8:25am.  From the advice of my fellow runners, we wanted to get there at least an hour and a half before the start time.   So we left the house at 5:30 so we could get on MARTA and take the train to downtown.    The MARTA station was about a mile from the location where wave P was meeting.  I could not believe how many people were there.   There were almost 60,000 runners and about 300,000 spectators there.   It was something I was not prepared for.  I could not believe the energy in the air.   It was an incredible feeling.  Around 7:45 our wave started moving towards the start line.  We were almost a half mile away, and it took awhile for us to the start line.  Tt was incredible.  We started to walk because there was just too many people to really run, but that doesn’t matter to me.   I was just happy to be there.

The advantage of walking gave me a great chance to talk to people and this helped the time go by.  Before I knew it, we saw the skyscrapers of Buckhead on our way to Cardiac Hill – the big climb on the course just before Piedmont Hospital.  It has a history of actually causing at least one heart attack every year.    By the time I got to the hill I was just started to get warmed up.  My knees and hips were just loosen up by the time I arrived and Cardiac Hill.  I started talking to someone next to me and before I knew it I was at the top.  I just started laughing because the hill to my house here in Vermont is worse than Cardiac Hill. It was as easy from there.  We headed down towards downtown, over I85 and into the downtown area, and just before the entrance to Piedmont Park was the finish line!   I had made it.   My official time was 2:01:13, but that doesn’t matter.  The important thing is that I went from sitting on my couch and watching the race on TV to crossing the finish line in just 1 year.

After the race we walked around downtown for a bit before heading home on MARTA.  The only problem is the station we went to was about 1.5 half miles away.  So you can imagine how tired my housemates were, by the time we got back home, but we need to run some errand before heading out for the 4th of July firework show in Centennial Olympic Park.  Once again we decided the best way to get there was back on MARTA.   This time the station was only about a mile from the park, so off we went.   I was feeling fine, but both Dra and Mike were starting to wear down. It was kind offunny because once we got to the park we found a spot and we really didn’t move from there.   They were both just happy to be sitting in the grass relaxing.

The firework show was great.  We were in the perfect spot.  There were fireworks going off of building on 3 sides of us.   This was the closest I have ever been to a firework show, and no matter what they say, TV just does not do fireworks justice. The colors are brighter and the sounds are deeper.  It was a great experience and I will remember for a very long time. After the show was over we headed to midtown to continue enjoying the warm summer night.   After another 1.5 mile walk we found this cool little restaurant where we sat back and reflected on the night.   We chilled out and talked till after midnight before calling it a night.  I have forgotten how nice it is to just sit back and talk with friend late into the night.

Thursday morning came very early.  I headed back to CrossFit Grinder Gym for my morning workout. It was a very solid workout.  It was a circuit routine where each loop we decrease the number of reps.   The first part was to pickup to dumbbells and then stepping up on a box.   The next station was to lift a 20 lbs medicine ball and then rotated it to my shoulders, then lift it over my head.  After that they had me move over to the rowing machine, and finally some time on the air bike.   Once we completed the workout I felt great.   The workout had pulled out the kinks from all the walking last night.

After the workout I headed back to my house to meet up with Dra.  Our plans were to spend the day together, but when I arrived she was still asleep.   She has been running non-stop for the last couple of day, only getting a couple of hours of sleep.   She has been running her own Personal Death Race and had finally hit the wall.   So I used these couple of hours to start to unpack some of the boxes from my quick move to the house before heading to Vermont.  She finally woke up around 2pm.  Shortly after that we headed out to have some fun.   As we drove around town I could not help but think how much I missed chilling out talk with her- talking about work, life, family, and even the songs on the radio.  After several hours of running around town we met up with my other housemate Mike and headed over to Cafe Istanbul for dinner and to meet up with a few of our other friends.   It was great to be back.  Our friends had beat us there, so we joined the at the table and started talking about what has been going on in the last few months.  When the owner stopped by it took him a few seconds to recognize me, and once he did he could not believe it..   It was shocked because he was not expecting to see me until October and wondered what had happened.   Once I explained that I was there for the Peachtree Road Race, he was relieved. After a couple of hours we decided to call it a night and head back home.

It was finally here, the day I had been dreading all week.  Time to head back to Vermont.  So I got up and headed off to my last workout at CrossFit Grinder.  When I arrived I found another circuit workout set up for me again.   But this time there was an interesting sled with a 15 lbs weight on it waiting for me.  As we talked about the circuit everything was good expect the weight on the sled.   It was too light, so we swapped it out with a 35 lbs weight, and that was still too light.  So we put the additional 15 back on and that felt good.  This circuit workout was more focused on my legs.  It included the rowing machine, climbing stairs with a 20 lbs and bag wrapped it in duct tape, the wind bike, and the sled pull.    It was a great workout and once it was over I was feeling great, but I had just one nagging question.   Just how much weight could I pull on the sled.  So I ask if we could add another 35 lbs to the sled, and he was happy to add the weight.  It was thought to do the pull, but I made it through it.  After getting back to the start line I asked if they had another 35 lbs.  This brought the weight up to 120 bs.   This was a real challenge, but I got it moving once I did I just powered through it and completed the loop.  I was incredibly sore at the point but I had made it.

After the workout I headed back home and met up with Dra.  We headed out for lunch and this is where I broke.  We headed up to a local sushi house, and yes for the first time since coming to Vermont, I ate meat.  I got a sushi and sashimi lunch platter.   But to be honest, I am ok with this.  It was one meal.   I knew that I will be back to raw fruits and vegetables in less than 24 hours.  So there, I’m not perfect.  I will fall off the wagon from time to time.  The important thing is that when you do fall off you get back on!

After lunch we headed back to the house, and just watched TV.  For the first time since coming back to Atlanta, I just relaxed and just enjoyed chilling out with my good friend.   After a bit, I packed my bags, and go ready to go. I gave my keys back to Dra and we headed out.   The ride to the airport as very quiet and you could feel the sadness of knowing I was leaving again.  When we arrived at the airport it was so hard to get out the car.  I knew that I all I had to do was tell Dra to take me back home and she would have, but I knew I need to come back to Vermont.   So I got out and got my bags, I said good bye, and gave her one more hug as I headed to the door.   I made it about half when some guy said. “It is really hard to say goodbye isn’t it.”   I replied you have no idea, but looking back on it, I’m sure he did or else he would not have said anything.  It was much harder to say goodbye this time compared to the first time, because this time I knew what I have to look forward to.  I looked back towards Dra, and I could see she was feeling the same thing as well.  For a second I thought its not too late, I still can go home.   I took a deep breath and headed on in.

Once I arrived back in Vermont there was a strange feeling.  It felt like coming home from a great vacation.   I was so happy to see my good friend and housemate Tara at the airport.   It was just wanted.  I needed to this after this very emotional day.   We talked most of the way back to the house,  We finally arrived around 2:30 am.   It was a very long day, and I was glad to be home and I headed off to sleep.   Or so I thought.   Joe had other plans for me…   I will tell you more about though plans in the next blog!

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5 Responses

  1. avatar

    Chris, you are awesome and reading your story continues to be excellent motivation. We’ve got very different challenges but seeing you conquer so much and stay with it is awesome. I’m probably a year (or so) out from being able to tackle one of these events but I surely intend to follow the trail you are blazing – if only a bit less spectacularly ;)

    Keep it goin’!

    Cheers!

    Aron

  2. avatar

    Glad to hear you made it through your week in Atlanta! Glad to hear your progress too!

    One Sushi/Sashimi meal? That is one of my meals I eat the week before one of my bigger challenges. I prefer Sashimi…which is very weird since I only started eating cooked fish a little over a year ago!

    You can do this! You can complete the Beast! Keep it up and don’t beat up Joe too much in the process!

    If you’re still working with the Spartan Race program in October, I would love to meet you in Chicago.

  3. avatar

    Chris I am so proud of how you are doing. It is awesome how you continued to add weight to the sled until you had to push yourself. I know your trainers will be happy. I also know that you will be able to continue to reach your goals because it is already a lifestyle change for you. Keep it up and remember you friends will be there when your done.

  4. avatar

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dli35wZEdEY

    Please share – good for training for any event if from San Fran

  5. avatar

    Sushi and especially sashimi are a long way from donuts. Lean protein is a good thing :-}
    Of course my favorite, hamachi sashimi is a little fatty but chock full of omega 3.
    I loved hearing how things that were challenges just a few short months ago are now easy for you. You are a true athlete.

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