This is a another short story in the Fat Geek series that I've been thinking about and I'm posting it unedited. So in the same vein as terriblethom, and to partially quote: Enjoy without complaining. Any grammar and other screw-ups are mine and I don't need to be reminded that I can't spel rigth (sic).
Fat geek in the corner, that's me. Middle-aged, severely overweight, I believe obese is the correct term, and as timid as a mouse. Yes, that describes me alright.
I wasn't always this way, don't laugh but I used to be a cross country and marathon runner. Then I took up programming and spend most of my waking hours behind a computer. Very energetic I can tell you and over the years, the weight has gone on.
Being fat and sweaty has made me the butt of many jokes and much ridicule. The blokes are the worst. Not all of them just a few of the neanderthals that work in the same office as I do. I'm not the only one either, there are many people that work here that are fat, just not as fat as I am although the MD does come close.
Really, the MD is where my story starts. six months ago he suffered a massive coronary in the board room. Luckily one of the other directors volunteers as a life guard at the local swimming pool and knew what to do. We were told that this prompt action saved the MD's life. Since then he's been in and out of surgery a few times and then away at some hospice to recover. He's called a meeting of all staff for 10am today, all appointments have been rescheduled, all other meetings postponed and everyone is required to attend. So at the appointed time I heave myself out of my chair, walk to the door of my office and join the rest of the staff heading for the canteen, the only place in the building big enough to hold us all.
We wait for a few moments before the MD arrives and when he does there are gasps of amazement. He is slim, tanned, radiating good health and looking much younger than his 60 years.
"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are all well, this fine day. Firstly I want to thank all those of you who sent cards, gifts or best wishes after my heart attack, it was a salutary lesson to me to realise just how many of you were thinking about me."
He paused a moment and looked out over the silent faces.
"As you can see I've changed a little from when you last saw me" there was a murmur of agreement at this "and my wife will tell you that it extends to other areas as well."
His wife, standing beside him as he said this smacked him hard on the arm, which then caused laughter in the canteen from the rest of us.
The MD waited until the laughter died down and there was silence again. "It's a very painful thing, a heart attack and the aftermath is just as bad both physically and mentally. The worst part is when I realised that it was all my fault, it was, if you will, self inflicted. My doctor and my family had been telling me for years that being so fat was going to kill me if I didn't do something about it, but I, like many other people shrugged it off. After all, heart attacks happen to other people not me. Well, I'm hear to tell you that I was wrong and so are you. It did happen to me and it will happen to you if you don't do something about it."
The silence was absolute.
"But you, like I was, won't do anything about it unless something external to you provides the reason to do it and that is what this meeting is all about. I want to provide you with concrete encouragement to loose that excess weight before it kills you."
He looked around at his captive audience.
"Most of you are probably aware that I'm not a poor man, even without the salary I get as MD for this fine company and I'm going to use my personal money to try and provide the reason for you to slim down. My first thought was to give each of you a gift on money if you slimmed down to your ideal weight, but my lovely wife here pointed out that this penalises those of you how are already slim and she then mentioned that it was also underweight people that have a problem. So we talked it over and came up with another idea. The gist of it is this. I will give each one of you right now ten thousand pounds from my own pocket which you can collect in a year's time." There was an extended murmur at tis as people realised just how much money he was willing to give away.
"It has one major condition. Those of you who are overweight must slim down to your ideal weight in that year. Those of you who are underweight must put on weight to reach your ideal weigh in the same time and those of you who are already at their ideal weight must stay there. Now to make this fair, I've paid for the services of external consultants to measure you to determine accurately what you weight now and to set your target weight. They are also trained and accredited councillors that will be available to you throughout this year to help you to reach your target weight. There are other conditions such as what happens if you leave before then and what if you don't quite reach your target in time. Of course, you don't have to do this, in fact all those who wish to take part need to come and see me personally to sign on. I'll be available for the next few days and Jenny has already made appointments for each of you. If you don't want to join in, just cancel the appointment. However I will be very disappointed in anyone that does cancel."
He stopped and looked around again.
"That's all, thank you for your time and I look forward to handing you your money in a year's time. Thank you."
With that he turned and walked off the podium.
"So, Luke, how would you rate your physical condition" The question came from one of the councillors after I had undergone a whole heap of measurements. Calipers, scales, electrical resistance measurement, even my volume by breathing out and submerging myself in a small tank of water having breathed out totally. Then there were blood tests for cholesterol, diabetes and a number of other things as well.
"Well, not to put too fine a point on it the words 'shocking' and 'appaling' immediately spring to mind." I was amused to notice that her face showed shock at my words only momentarily, then she schooled herself into a pleasant non-committal face.
"Oh, and why would you say that?"
"Look lady, you're not dealing with some delicate flower here, I know what I am so you don't need to be all PC with me. I am fat. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. I am probably the fattest person in the company. I don't know if there is a category above obese, but if there is, I'm in it. I can tell you that normal scales, even the special electronic body-fat-ratio measuring kind for over weight people can't take my weight, so please cut the condescending bull shit and deal with me straight."
In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not a fan of psychologists, councilors or whatever you want to call them, if you want to deal with me, call a spade a spade.
She looked at me for a moment, a look that I returned and I waited for her to continue.
"Very well. Here are your vital stats." She started to read them out one by one explaining each one as she did so.
"Oh for heaven's sake!" I exclaimed and grabbed the sheaf of papers out of her hands. While she spluttered for a moment at my effrontery I read the figures for myself. I'm not stupid I know what the test were for, I know how they are measured and calculated and I know what the normal ranges are. I cheated and looked them up on the internet after the battery of test were completed.
When I finished reading them I handed the papers back to her.
"So, in a nutshell, well out of the normal range for all of the except the cholesterol which appears to be normal and the glucose likewise indicating that I don't have diabetes."
I looked at her and then continued "Medically speaking I'm a prime candidate for a heart attack, although not from clogged arteries, and in the very high risk of one or more strokes in the next five years. Insurance-wise I wouldn't be able to get any form of health insurance based on these figures. Otherwise I note that I have no STDs nor are there any early indications of AIDS which is not surprising since the only sex I've had in the last 15 years is with my right hand. Fat people don't get laid."
That last statement did get a smile out of her. Now I waited for her to speak. she looked at me for a while and I could see her reconsidering her strategy in the light of me not being your average kind of guy.
"So, what is your plan to fix all this?"
Now we're getting somewhere.
"Good Basically, I used to be a long-distance runner and that's what I will be again. I'm going to find a plan to go from nothing to marathon standard in 10 months and use the constant heart rate method of training. I'll target a 75% MHR until I can run at that rate for 30 minutes and then up it to 80%. At that point I'll also start fartlek training. After the ten month program I'll tone down the training to a less intense level."
"You've obviously thought this through and come prepared. Is there a reason for all of this?"
I almost decided not to tell her but then decided, what the hell.
"One of the pitfalls of being fat is the ridicule. Well I heard some of my tormentors challenge two ladies in the office to a race. In eleven months time there is a half-marathon and they are going to enter it. The ladies in question are thought to be lesbians and the challenge is that the losers become the sex slaves of the winners for a week. When I overheard that my blood boiled and I decided right there and then that I was going to win that race, not because I want any of them as slaves but because I want to run those egotistical, arrogant, Neanderthal bastards in to the ground. Revenge, pure and simple."
"And what do these two ladies think of that?"
"I don't know and I don't care. My beef is not with them but with the five ass holes in Production that issued that challenge and made it pretty much impossible for the ladies to refuse."
"Don't you think they deserve to know?"
"They do not. In fact, I'm going to go out of my way to ensure that no-one else knows of my training until the day of the run."
"How do you plan to achieve that?"
"Simple, my training will be done where I live and I know that no-one from the company lives within 10 miles of my place. Secondly, you and your colleagues are bound to keep this confidential and seeing as you are the only person I'm telling, if it gets out I will know exactly where the leak is and finally, I'm going to disguise my progress by staying fat, or at least appearing to. One of my neighbours woks in the theatre."
"Well, professionally speaking I'm not sure about your chosen course of action and I would recommend that you tel the ladies in question." She paused for a moment before continuing. "However, personally speaking and having a fairly good idea just who the ladies are and being pretty certain who the men are, I've interviewed all of them. Personally I can't wait to hear how well you have run them in to the ground as you say."
We smiled at each other and that was the end of the first session.
My training was deliberately brutal. Every morning I paid a masseur to come out and ease my aching muscles. One of the local colleges ran Sport and Fitness courses and part of that was massage and I paid the students to come out and massage me. I needed it. You see, every evening I trained and by the morning I ached. Initially I just walked for just 30 minutes but at a heart rate of 75%. I ate good foods like you wouldn't believe. I researched all the latest findings on metabolism, I even looked at traditional herbal remedies to see if anything there could help me. And every night I went to sleep savouring the thought of running five ass holes into the ground.
The first lot of weight is easy to lose and it wasn't long before walking wasn't enough to keep a 75% MHR and I ad to start jogging. Oh my aching knees. Only the thought of my revenge got me outside the following evening to jog again. But like all things, it got easier. I was able to dispense with the morning massages, instead I went to the swimming pool early in the morning and swam for an hour. Then into the whirlpool until I had recovered, back home for breakfast and off to work.
I enjoyed the whirlpool so much that I had one installed at home. I had a large conservatory already and it was put in there. I could sit in the pool whatever the weather, listen to music or just listen to the silence.
And every time one of the ass holes ragged me about not losing any weight I smirked inside and vowed to do better that evening.
I met with the councilor and her team of masochists every four weeks to be prodded and measured and to have a short chat about my progress. It didn't take long. She would hand me the results of each session which I would peruse and then we would talk about any of the readings that didn't appear to be changing as expected, suggesting ways to bring that into line.
Then I started the fartlek and a more painful regime I have never found. Look it up and try it. It's agony. However, it does get results and by the half way mark, time wise, I was more than halfway to my running goal. It was painful and hard and I pushed my limits to the max. More than once Gill, my councillor advised caution but that's not my way. I wanted these bastards bad.
Once I had passed the 13 mile mark in my long runs, I started running the course for the half marathon. I would run that route once a week, sometimes twice depending on the program for that week and I learnt every inch of the way. To make sure that no-one spotted me I ran it in the mornings instead of swimming and then swam in the evening. The route is what cyclist would call undulating. Which, being translated means hills that go up more than they go down. To start with I hated that route especially one hill which was a total pig. But like the cyclists well know, hills are all mental. If you don't think you'll make it, you won't. You have to be convinced that you are going to be fine, and you will win, not the hill.
Well to start with that damn hill won and I ended up walking to the top, each time getting further and further up the slope before having to walk until finally, I could run to the top. I cannot describe the feeling of elation when I first beat that hill. It is beyond anything I have felt up to that point and there are no words to convey the feeling. After that, it wasn't if I could run to the top, but how fast.
The Hill was about 5 mile into the run and it's where I planned to destroy the Production boys. I planned to stay just in front of them all the way to that hill and them I was going to whip them up that hill until they collapsed.
The second hardest part of the course was the other side of the hill, it was nearly as steep going down and that really stresses the muscles and joints. Still, I practised the down side as religiously as the up side. When I finally go to marathon distance, I used that course twice over. I never got anywhere near my old marathon times, but the last time I ran a marathon race I was 25. Then I could run a time of around 2 hours 15 minutes, a respectable time, but now, in my middle forties, 2 Hours 30 was the best I could do.