I imagine the collection of people reading this blog is pretty varied. My only real means of publication and marketing is through Facebook posts. Based on the sample of people who tell me they have read it, I would imagine that it hits a pretty wide array of people I associate with. People at bars, the gym, work, and restaurants have all commented to me in person about it. When I first started, I am sure it may have seemed like a desperate cry of some sort. I imagine a good many people may have been reading it out of some grotesque fascination, like driving by a wreck on the highway, anticipating the decapitated body, but unable to look away because it might actually be there. Well, sorry folks I am not gonna snap; no nervous breakdown for MattyX this year. I am only getting stronger.
I will be at the Grand Canyon in less than a month.
Triathlon training is in full effect. I went swimming this morning. I am getting faster; I swam a 400 in seven minutes last week.
I have not gotten my bike yet, but it sure looks nice in the store. I had to order some cycling shoes because the bike shop does not carry man-sized shoes. So I am waiting on the shoes, then they can fit me to the bike.
I have been running. Sprints and race distance at this point. I am planning on adding a third day of “distance” training, which is about four or five miles for me.
I read the book “Born To Run” over the past week. It is a worthwhile read, but a little over the top in some areas. It is a nonfiction book about ultrarunning written by Christopher McDougall, a writer for Runner’s World, . The hypotheses can be summed up very generally as: “Humans evolved to be the big brained bipedal hominoids we are today because of distance running and all modern problems would disappear if people ran more.”
One of the main people discussed in the book is Caballo Blanco, who is a gringo hanging out with the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico. Caballo ran off to Mexico after helping pace some Tarahumara runners at the Leadville 100 ultramarathon. Its not till the end of the book that we discover who Caballo really is and that he has been trying to run away from his problems for 20 or so years. Running is great and I think it is beneficial, but just like every rose has its thorn, every yin has its yang. And too much of anything is not a good thing. Caballo ran away from his problems. I don’t want to run away from anything.
The book also has an interesting portion on dealing with the pain and agony that one might imagine accompanies running 100 miles in a single go. The general consensus among the folks that engage in ultras is the best way to cope with the pain, exhaustion, and utter agony is to just accept it. Don’t fight it. Let it wash over you. This is very yogic/buddhist approach. These athletes become the observer. They realize the pain is not theirs.
I quit smoking one month ago today. I stopped smoking for three years in the early 2000′s. My mindset during that attempt was of one trying to swim a great distance underwater.
Imagine you are standing on the side of a 25 meter pool. You know that you can swim 25 meters underwater fairly easy. You dive in. You swim the first 25 meters, touch the wall and decide to keep going. Turning your body, you kick off the wall and begin swimming back to the end of the pool you started at. Your lungs begin to crave oxygen. You fight the autonomic brain’s desire to make you breathe. You must actively strain against it. You cannot breathe in without surfacing or, alternatively, asphyxiating on pool water. You decide to try another 25 meters and maybe another. Ultimately, you would likely pass out or come to your senses and just surface. Well, I surfaced that time. I started smoking again because I couldn’t hold my breath forever. This time is different.
There is no reason that quitting something or changing your behavior has to be a struggle. Even something addictive or uncomfortable. All you have to do is lean into it. Feel the pain. Look at it. Examine it. Embrace it. Breathe it in. Come to the realization that the pain/struggle is not yours, and it will fade away. The more you fight it though, the longer you hold your breath, the harder and harder it will become.