Self-torture or self-improvement?

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My kids mentioned this to me once when I was getting ready to go outside and run for, well, for hours. See, I did the Niagara Marathon last year and it was hard. I was in pain for the last ten kilometers of it. My legs felt like there was crushed glass under the skin, shredding my muscles, making every step questionable. It was painful and I hated it. But, I also loved it too. Because I did finish it. I got the cool medallion at the end to prove it.

It seems as though I had forgotten about the pain because I went and signed up for an Ultra-Marathon. Yeah. It would appear that my idiocy has no limits. An Ultra-Marathon is any race or run, that is longer than the standard Marathon. A Marathon is 42.2km. This Ultra I’m running is 50km. So, not too much longer. But considering the torture I endured to complete the first Marathon, it is certainly long enough.

I did learn a lot from that first Marathon which is directly applicable to the Ultra I am running in June. I changed my diet and all those extra pounds I carried completely melted away. And strangely, even though I’m running a farther distance, I work out less than I did for my Marathon. It was from research that I learned how to finally eat in a way that worked for me. Because diet and health are two very personal ideas. What works for me, may not work for someone else.

What I’m doing though, really works for me. I’m just a smidgen over six feet. I haven’t weighed less than 190lbs for a long, long time. Not for lack of trying either. For the most part, and for years, I consistently worked out six days a week. I say for the most part because when I’m on vacation, I may get in only two or three days of activity. Changing how I eat, within a month and a half, my weight has dropped down to 170-173lbs (even when I was doing triathlons, I never could get down to this weight. Never). I even workout less. Like five days a week. That isn’t the only change, either. I feel great. I have more energy, I feel like I think better, and I don’t crave any of the foods I used to eat or even need as much as I used to.

Example: When I was training for the Marathon, I would wear a Camelback filled with two liters of water, have another drink in my hand with electrolytes in it, a granola bar (Cliff Bar) and some electrolyte chews. Prepared right? I thought so. Then I’d always wonder why, at the end of the run, that I felt so crappy. I brought everything I needed right? All those books, articles and videos I watched, they couldn’t be wrong, right?

They weren’t wrong. They were just wrong for me. Now, for a 30km run, I bring one bottle of water. That’s it. I get up, warm-up, don’t eat, grab my water and go. And I feel amazing.

Through the self-torture of Marathon running, I’m learning the practice of self-improvement. It’s amazing to me, having experienced life pre-internet, pre-Google and pre-YouTube. Before, if you wanted to know something, you’d have to go to the library or have a friend whose parents had purchased those fancy Encyclopedias. Remember those? With the cool picture inside? But if you didn’t write down what you wanted to learn, or look up, you’d forget. Nowadays, anything you want to know and want to spend the time to learn is right at your fingertips. Elon Musk said that with a cell phone, a person is essentially a cyborg. A sentient being that can access all the known knowledge of the world. I love it.

All I can say is, always read, always learn and question everything. And I mean everything. But use a balanced, logical approach. Here’s what I do and it seems to work very well for me.

When I want to learn about something, I look up the proponents of a topic and read what they have to say. I then read the detractors. I then try to find some material that hovers in the middle. This way I learn all the views and with my own judgment and experience, decide a conclusion that I believe is the most logical or pragmatic.

From doing that, I have stumbled onto a variety of interesting topics, new writers and even knew views on life and what they think gives meaning to it.

I don’t know why I wrote this blog. I just did. If you like this sort of thing, please let me know. I can go into more detail about what I did for my health. I even have progression photos. So if you would like more writing like this, leave a like or comment. Also, I’m always happy to answer any questions. Any-hoo, have a great day. Be kind to each other.


My horror books:

Doll House and The Tracker and Balance.

Our horror podcast:

Movies of the Damned!!

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