A Girl Who Didn’t Get on a Couch

Yesterday I ran 11 miles. Fast for me at 11:30 per mile. I plan to run a full marathon this coming Saturday. I hope I get it done in less than 6 hours. It is normal life for me to do two or three hours of exercise a day plus a short evening weight workout. Even when I had a career, I got ninety minutes of exercise done a day. I didn’t own a couch.

I might be unusual, but I don’t feel like I should amaze anyone. I am not very fast or very strong, but I do keep up the daily work.

I just got done reading two books which I’ll characterize as man books. They were both written by men in their thirties, who also happen to be extreme athletes. By extreme athlete, I mean pushing a sled across Antarctica. Rowing across the Drake Passage. Climbing Everest. Hunting in the Yukon for a month in a tent, and packing out hundreds of pounds of meat. Being cold for the month and not having enough to eat. The point of these books seems to be to somehow get people to put down their phones and do something physical.

One of these books had the nerve to use PhDs and cardiologists to point out the shortcomings of American life, including stating that running on a treadmill while watching netflicks isn’t all that good. You shouldn’t eat whatever diet you are eating. The only good thing seems to be that you should strap on a 50 lb rucksack and hike around in the cold for hours. I have to drive across town to find a trail of more than a mile. If a bike path isn’t good enough, then shove off. A bike path is what I have.

These man books have helped me to have compassion for the average American. That sedentary job pays the bills and has health insurance. We can’t just quit. Neither of these authors has children. Children change the game and provide just as much reward as dragging a sled across Antarctica. I wouldn’t insult the small percentage of adults who actually do get regular exercise. By making it seem impossible to do something for my health, I felt very discouraged about what I actually do accomplish. This feeling from someone in the upper one percent of health trajectory for a sixty-three-year-old. If you want to encourage someone, I wouldn’t write a whole book pointing out what’s wrong with their life, with a back story about some dangerous expedition that changed your life. The back story is interesting but not in my lifetime.

Calm down self. Appreciate the run you just did. Appreciate the work you are going to do with your mind on your computer this afternoon. Appreciate the piddling ass weight lifting session you’ll do this evening. Meditate and sleep well soul You have well-being without freezing to death.

In case you are interested, check out “12 Hour Walk” by Colin O’Brady, or “The Comfort Crisis” by Michael Easter.