Why Not Me?: The Seahawks Edition

Last week--


I wrote this yesterday, on 5.14, just after writing the post I actually put up. But then I met with my doctor today and found out what's been going on with my stubborn body. And since that just all sorts of blows up mah life (it really does) I want to put this up because my next post, in which I will explain what's going on what what is coming, will just make more sense with this context. Changes are coming, but this was true when I wrote it so it stands.


--I started finally getting my thoughts to virtual page after two months of couch to 5k training, pursuing my dream of being a runner. I have spent dozens of hours thinking about this journey, how it's so much more to me than just getting healthier or dropping some pounds. It's been grueling, all kinds of junk in my heart that lay dormant rising up and forcing recognition. It's made me face down some deep fears. It's also made me think a lot about one of my favorite subjects: the Seahawks. Check out my Twitter and Facebook profiles and guess whether or not I like the Seahawks.

In fact, when I reached the benchmark of running for 10 minutes straight I was thinking about the Seahawks. I LOVE the Seahawks. When they won the Super Bowl in January it was in the top 5 best days of my life, only behind marrying my husband and finding out we were pregnant / the births of our children. But winning the Super Bowl? GAH. Just amazing to have loved them for so long and to finally experience the euphoria of ending the season as the best team in football. Picturing Russell Wilson lifting that Lombardi trophy lifts my heart on many a weary day, for real.

This was the "expert" opinion of our draft that eventually brought home
Seattle's first ever Lombardi trophy.
The Best Day

So, then, that magical team was made up of a bunch of people who, by conventional wisdom, shouldn't have been where they were. They were drafted in the late rounds, rounds that every expert considers borderline irrelevant. Some were actually irrelevant because they were undrafted free agents, guys that no team wanted to waste a draft pick on. Yet Malcolm Smith, the guy who caught Richard Sherman's "nope" deflection in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl XLVIII MVP, was a seventh round pick. My two favorite WRs, both with huge catches in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, were undrafted.

The team had a slogan: why not us? You can read the whole article, but here's a great quote that sums up the Seahawks team, their attitude, and ultimately, their entire Super Bowl winning season:

At just 5 feet 11 inches tall, Wilson often heard he was too short to play in the NFL. The memory of his father Harry, who died in 2010, has driven the young Wilson. He wrote “Dad” on his arm for [the (sic)] NFC championship game two weeks ago, and it was his father’s words that created the Seahawks’ theme ever since a players-only meeting before the season: “Why not us?”

“He used to always tell me, ‘Russ, why not you?’” Wilson explained after the game. “And what that kind of meant was, believe in yourself, believe in the talent God’s given you. You know, even though you’re 5-11, you can go a long ways.”

None of the experts thought Russell Wilson or Richard Sherman or Earl Thomas (ok, maaaaaaybe ET) or Malcolm Smith or Doug Baldwin or any of the rest were good enough to be premiere players, let alone to be the cornerstones of one of the best NFL teams in history. If your defense is in the same conversation as the '85 Bears then that alone is legendary status. But then this team won one of my favorite (and most stressful) NFL games ever in the NFC Championship (suck it, Niners!) and crushed the best offense in NFL history on both sides of the ball in the Super Bowl. They just blew every preconceived notion of what is required for success to bits, forcing the entire conversation about how to build NFL teams to change.

I relate so deeply to this. There are many things in my life that are gifts of grace beyond what makes sense in my life. I even wrote a post about this the first time I was C25K training, entitled Why Not Me?, before the Russell Wilson era began. A girl who has never been thin, who has always been the chubby one finishing everything last, who weighed almost 400 pounds and couldn't even walk around the block, shouldn't be able to call herself a runner let alone actually be one. She just shouldn't. I know that people I grew up with would never believe that could be me.

I know that I often believe that could never be me.

But why not? When I started running and wanted to die I would say to myself, "Tami, it's two minutes. Girl, you can do anything for two minutes."

Then it was five. Then 10.

And then 15, 20, 25, 28, 30, 35 minutes running without stopping.

And it. is. hard.

My lungs scream because I have exercise induced asthma; even with my inhaler, it's hard.

My heart rate averages 160 when running, sometimes getting up to 170 if I try to push my pace at all.

My hips and glutes burn because I'm carrying 270 pounds while running.

That's hard. For anyone, whatever level of health, that's hard.

In spite of making progress in my running endurance, plus mental victory when I want to quit, I'm not making progress in getting weight off that allows me to run less hindered. Talk about discouraging and frustrating.

It really needs to be its own post, but in spite of eating really well (like, specialty work with a nutritionist well, not 100 calorie snack packs and chemically laden Lean Cuisine "well') and running four times a week, I'm not losing weight. We've done all sorts of crazy stuff trying to figure out why. But finally I met with a naturopath and had 16 vials of blood taken last week to start to see if we can figure out what's going on with my body.

My favorite part of running: the special time alone with that darling girl.

My second favorite part of running: when I'm done

The thing is, to be 270 pounds in January, to eat better than I have ever eaten in my life, and then to start running in March and be able to run for closerthanthis to 3 miles without slowing down or stopping by May and to still weigh 270 pounds is discouraging. I feel like what's the point? My body hurts. Running is so. incredibly. hard. and it's just not getting easier. My head hurts with the mental exhaustion of the emotional journey. Sometimes I feel like if I could sit on the couch and eat "meh" well and weigh 270 pounds or endure the battle of constantly eating things I don't want to eat and not eating things I want to eat and running when my body kills and I just want to go home and escape from this stress ball known as my life and still weigh 270 pounds then why push on? Why?

Then I remember the dream. I don't think Jesus has some fitness standard that equates with holiness. But for me, I have that dream of being able to be a runner. And, maybe just maybe, eventually losing some weight and getting to a healthier size, whatever that is for me.

For me, I think it is Jesus' grace to me to press on, to go through all of the heart junk that tells me I'm too fat. That I deserve to be sick and die young because of how fat I used to be.

Jesus' grace to me is to face the truth that I find comfort in believing lies that lead to death instead of clinging to him in my weakness, to receive his strength that leads to believing his truth that leads to life.

Who cares if a girl that almost weighed 400 pounds *shouldn't* be able to be healthy and be a runner? This isn't about a theoretical someone. This is about me. And if 5'11" Russell Wilson, the laughingstock of the NFL upon being drafted (and even more so after being named the starting quarterback during his rookie training camp) can lead the Seahawks to one of the most impressive Super Bowl victories in NFL history then why can't I be a runner? Why can't I press into Jesus when it's hard and keep going until, by the grace of God, I one day realize I have achieved my dream? That running isn't super hard, and it's simply part of my lifestyle. I'm a runner.

I'm headed there. Why can't I keep pressing on to get there? Russell Wilson raised up that Lombardi Trophy. He wasn't supposed to, but he did.

Why not me?

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