W8D1 ~ Walls of Light

I ran a little over 1 hour, 16 minutes and 15 seconds –
Something was constructed mentally during the run & something was learned after the run.
Also some different Pre & Post training routines like beer & TarBar that may be helping.

The first day of week 8 was very special.  For the first time in 20 years I was able to jog for over an hour nonstop.  I accidentally paused my Sports Tracker app for a bit but, My Nike Plus app which I started after my Sports Tracker showed a final time of 1 hour, 16 minutes and 15 seconds 🙂

I have had some thoughts which have revolved around the following flow theory graph.  In the graph, the challenge level of a particular task is shown along the vertical y-axis and the skill or ability level along the horizontal x-axis.

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If we were to consider a heart transplant operation, that would be an excessively challenging task and pretty much everybody in the world would not have sufficient ability to perform that task so the anxiety would be understandably very high.

Where this graph can get interesting is when we have task which are well within our ability level and yet sometimes our brain will twist and turn those activities and cause undo anxiety even though we have the skill to probably complete those task.  With me it was something as simple as jogging 20 minutes non-stop but, I even pre-loaded the anxiety for that even by fretting about it before I’d even had a single week of the marathon training program completed.  I was wrong in selling my abilities short before I’d even given myself a chance to try.

I suppose it’s easier to doubt than believe.  I think a benefit in doubting is that it helps a person to maintain their current life.  Getting or having or being better necessarily requires change and that change can be scary.  20 years ago I would have had a place in my brain that believed I could run for an hour non-stop because I had done it.  I almost think a series of apoptosis (programmed cell death) killed and destroyed the circuitry in my brain which helped to store the belief that I could run an hour because that circuitry would not have been used for so long.  I had the memory but not the belief.

Different things were happening in my head during this 1hr 16min run.  It’s as if maybe the neural groundwork for believing I could jog an hour was being built over the past couple months and that structure was finally in place and I could feel that circuit finally being plugged in, I could feel the resulting belief inherent with that neural circuitry.

I ran with that belief and starting constructing and developing a place in my brain where I could run for hours on end.  I was creating a very safe place for me to live while I was running.  A place where no harm could be done.  I decided to create it on a different celestial plane, a place where zero problems or concerns of mine existed.  At first, I envisioned a vast field with a home at the top of that field, I imagined a running path, I made that path in the shape of a heart with the home at the apex of the heart and each half of the heart path was 13.1 miles long.  I was untouchable in this area.  I realized wood would never do as a construction material and decided to use light as the material of choice.  I envisioned walls of light then windows of crystal prisms which could cast rainbows at will.

I was lighter in this place and could move effortlessly.  A couple times during the run I was able to superimpose this place under my feet while I was looking at the ground ahead of me and imagined I merely needed to lift my legs while the ground moved beneath my feet.

I imagined an overhead view of this place where I could see the outline of the heart path, I could fill that hear in with red but quickly changed the color to crystal white light and could see the heart beat and pump in time with every strong step I took.

I had fun with my imagination during that run and will probably continue to feed that fantasy so it is something useful I may use in future runs, like …maybe on November 1st while running my 3rd full marathon down in Wynne, Arkansas 🙂

That place was something I constructed during my run.

Shortly after my run, something else came to mind.  A realization and an understanding of something I’ve pondered for much of my life.

Many, many people in life seem to hold to the belief that bad times are necessary in order to have an awareness of the good times, the argument is that unless we’ve had the bad, how are we to know the good?

I’ve always had a nagging feeling about that philosophy and believed that I could know and be aware of the good even if I hadn’t had the bad and this Day 1 run of Week 8 struck a chord with me.

My thinking resembled a scale which ran from -5 to zero to +5.  At -5 (minus 5) we have shit.  A shitty life and shitty problems.  Zero is neutral, a neutral life free from the crap inherent with living at -5.

I wondered if a lot of people might not try to turn the minus 5 living or life into something “good” by stating that they wouldn’t know if or when things are better without having lived in that -5 life.  A kind of rationalization.  I know it’s a quite popular belief and even one of the songs on my playlist called Let Her Go basically embodies this philosophy in the lyrics.  One line “only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low”

Bullshit, I say.  Because, if I go from zero / neutral and push myself and achieve something worthwhile such as the ability to run over an hour non-stop then I put that activity at a +5 and the difference between zero and +5 is five, the same as if a person might go from -5 to zero but, that is simply going from say, shit (-5) to zero or a neutral life but, they still have the movement of magnitude 5.  However, what I’m saying is that with effort we may move that same magnitude, hence be able to appreciate something really good without first having to be living a shit life to begin with.

The big difference is that moving to a +5 requires work and effort while a life at zero may just be the life we are left to deal with as a result of our neglect.  And really …what person would want to think that a huge chunk of their life which has been shitty had no value?  That could be a hard pill to swallow so, instead, the masses try to find value in the crappy existence by making statements that they are who they are today via those hard times and they wouldn’t know the good if it wasn’t for all that bad…

There is kind of a rub in all of this which is something I got from when I saw Anthony Robbins live over in St Louis a number of years ago.  One of the things Tony said kind of stuck with me and made me ponder.

He was demonstrating and showing the results one may get in life and how those results correspond to various amounts of effort one puts into their life.  He put one hand down low by his knee to represent lousy, shitty effort and that corresponded to a lousy, shitty life.  But then he did something interesting and put one hand about shoulder height to represent a normal amount of effort by the average individual and he said that also corresponded to lousy results.  He then put a hand stretched out over his head and said that represents a lot of effort and that corresponded to the normal results in life.  So, the results at this point were always a level below the amount of effort put out by an individual.  Then he got up on his tip toes to demonstrate just a little above a lot of effort and, at that point, it was as if the results sling shotted way above the effort put into a life and the results were outstanding and far above the effort put in.

Low Effort = Low Results
Normal Effort = Low Results
High Effort = Normal Results
just a smidge more effort than High Effort = Outstanding Results

This paradigm of thinking probably helps explain why that particular Yin Yang type philosophy is so popular because low results would correspond to -5 and normal results would correspond to zero and it would take that smidge more effort to get the outstanding results (+5) so, the vast majority of people would be living in that -5 to zero range.

Anyway, I still like that song, I just don’t buy the philosophy hook, line and sinker like many others seem to do.

And, that leads to something else that has crossed my mind.

When I was into my weight lifting I once read that only 1% of the population can bench press 315 pounds.  This was kind of cool to read because I had benched 515lbs.

When I graduated from Logan and became a doctor of chiropractic, I remember hearing one of the teachers comment that less than 1% of the population has an advanced professional degree such as we were getting.

On one of the running sites I saw again that less than 1% of the population has ever completed a full marathon.

For karate, I’ve read that only 1-2% of the people who start karate ever make it to first degree black belt and only about 1 out of 1,000 or 0.1% ever go beyond that to 2nd degree black belt or above.

I suppose I agree with the differential providing a comparative basis for appreciation, I just don’t agree that the bottom number has to be negative and a similar differential can be had starting from zero and going upward as long as we are willing to put in the effort.

This is one post I should really probably read over to help make sure it makes sense but, I don’t usually do that – not sure I ever have.

Beer & TarBar
I once had an MD advise me to drink a couple beers each day to help raise my high density cholesterol levels and I also once read that alcohol neutralizes nicotine in the system.  Well, for my last three really great runs, I had at least two beers the night before each of those runs.  My water intake has been very good and I’ll usually kill a 16.9 oz (o.5 litre) bottle of water in two gulps with about 80% of the bottle consumed in the first gulp.  But, I can’t exactly say having a couple beers at the end of the day has hurt anything, quite the contrary based on the results I’ve had in the last week.  I’m not familiar with the mechanisms behind any positive benefits beer might have, just the little bit I shared at the beginning of this paragraph.

TarBar – this is an extra filter that goes on the existing filter of a cigarette.  I almost hesitate here because I’ve had people get really emotionally charged up against me when talking about cigarettes.  Usually a non-smoking pompous, arrogant individual with very limited knowledge and experience who likes to tell me there is no difference between an ultra light cigarette and a full flavored cigarette.   I can only figure this goes back to around 1998 when the government stopped testing cigarettes because they found the results to be flawed because smokers could compensate for measures used in the manufacture of cigarettes ….

anyway – I can tell you this, there is a world of difference between an ultra light cig and one that is full flavored.  The fact is, if I were to smoke a Marlboro Red (full flavored) cigarette first thing in the morning then I would become sick, nauseated and dizzy.  I know this for a fact.

I also know that cutting back from full flavored to light to ultra light isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do because each time I cut back there is a reduced level of nicotine obtained from the smoke.

The box said, “After one week you will feel the benefit of easier breathing”.  Well, it’s been about a week and I just ran for over an hour, I ran for 100% longer than my last best non-stop run but, who knows, I’m sure those extra filters didn’t hurt.

I have read a fair amount of material on quitting smoking on PubMed and, one not so surprising fact borne out in the research studies is the less a person smokes prior to trying to quit, the higher the probability of success.

I’m still banking a bit on Chantix in the last few months before the marathon to help kill this habit but, will continue to do what I can in the meantime.

That’s about it – 1 hour and 16 minutes of nonstop running.

I can tell you this, when I saw that I finally hit the 1 hour mark, I couldn’t think of anything I was willing to trade for what was in the process of being accomplished.  It was pretty awesome.

There was nary a pain anywhere.  My hips were good, knees were good, ankles were good and no pain or discomfort in either foot.  My lower back, guessing the multifidus muscles were letting me know they were being stressed and, around 1 hour 12 minutes I could start to feel some twinges of pain in the hips and lower legs and I knew I would need to end the run soon.  Since I’m finishing this blog entry up the day after that run, I can tell you that *everything* is pretty sore today.  thighs, calves, hips, butt …hmmm, but not my lower back 🙂

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