I write this blog for Brooks. Recently, they asked me to make it more public to increase my readership from my current several hundred hits per post. I'm not sure yet, how I feel about that. As such, this may be my last blog. I'll have to run on it.
However, I am comfortable with this entry, as it is not about running....mountain climbing...travels...rafting..kayaking....camping....yoga...building stuff....or any of the other "crazy" things that I do. This post is about Mark and the amazing transformation he has completed.
We have always wanted to go to Chicago. I pushed the envelope again. I told him I signed up for a race and had already booked my airfare. I then told him that there is a body building competition that has a "transformation" division that same weekend. I planted the seed and relentlessly harvested it. From the first week I met him, he has wanted to enter such a contest, but there was always an excuse. (more on that later). Mark doesn't make decisions like I do. He's a planner, a projector, a "let's be sure this is the right thing to do" kind of guy. I drive him crazy.
He eventually bought in. It took him so long, that we wont even be sitting next to each other on the flight home.
As part of the contest, he had to write a 100 word bio explaining his transformation. 100 words? Mark? Ha! He takes 100 words to say hello. During one of our dates, he asked for help. I stared at him for two minutes. That is a really long and uncomfortable amount of time to stare at someone who has no idea what you are doing. I grabbed a pen, and this is what came out:
Boom! Who's this guy? The Mark Basehart of just three years ago had severe depression, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, syncope and early diabetes. Maladies that made his doctor shake his head. To add insult to injury, he was born with Poland's Syndrome, a congenital anomaly that effects 1:100,000 people. Look closely, you'll see he is missing his left pectorals major muscle and one half of his left bicep. Can you say low self-esteem? Life was about setbacks and defeats and he had become disinterested.
Things got rocky in all areas of his life. Things had to change. He found WBFF Fitness-Pro Vince Delmonte's programs on-line and hasn't looked back since. He's lost the 75+ pounds (and gained muscle), completed two marathons, a 50-mile road race, a Spartan Race, began Cross-Fit, and continued serious weight training. Hang gliding, para-sailing and mountain climbing are all on the bucket list, and he's just getting started. Life is now about possibilities and busting through comfort zones.
Wow. He had tears in his eyes when he read it.
He committed right then and there to add the "fitness" category to his competition. He was all in. It may take him a while to make a decision, but when he does, he commits with a vengeance.
Before school ended, he pulled me into his classroom (literally). He was so excited to show me a picture. It was a picture of his muscular back. "This is it, Tiggs!" he was almost giddy. "THIS is finally changing the voices in my head from, NO, I can't, to YES, I CAN!". Now, it was my turn for my eyes to sting.
We laugh at the silliness of this "contest" that in some ways amounts to a beauty pageant. It is entirely superficial at face value. It is supposed to exemplify health and fitness, but the nutritionist in me crawls into the fetal position when I see what he is doing during "Peak Week" and the Personal Trainer in me can't wait to help him implement a more balanced lifestyle plan. I cringe when I think of the extent some of the competitors (mostly women) will go through to get lean. Ugh.
He calls me his 'Director of Artistic Development'. As such, I've had to learn and help implement information pertaining to spray-on tans, teeth whitening, posing trunks, facial hair orientation and coloring, smile practice, brooding practice, choreography, and endless posing. He wakes me up at night, slowly stroking his hand down my spine, whispering such things as, "should I increase my protein?" or "tell me about Potassium". It's a lot.
He also got a bear claw tattoo. A BEAR CLAW! OMG!
But, we know it is about a lot more than the contest. It is about Mark facing his fears and moving forward. It is about Mark finally accepting who he is, and letting the whole world know it
So, next weekend, we will fly off to Chicago. Mark will take to the stage and I'll run with Meb. Then we will partake in all of the deliciousness that Chicago has to offer (Mark calls it the food porn capital). I can't wait to cheer him on, and spend a fabulous weekend together, even if we don't sit together.
Transformation complete. I'm so very proud of you Froggie.
Thank you St. Jude