Saturday, July 02, 2016

Another moment of enlightenment - become an "Athlete"

From time to time I have the good fortune to have these moments of enlightenment, almost literally like a lightbulb lighting up above my head, shining and lighting the way forward. Suddenly, everything becomes really clear. Or, more accurately, one particular thing or aspect of my life becomes really clear. It's like being able to see into the future - being able to visualize things that are going to happen. It used to happen sometimes when I was swimming, in the days when I swam five (very early) mornings a week. With no distractions, my mind was free to roam and explore.

Without that "vision", we have no way of imagining what success looks like. Without being able to picture things in our minds, life is just happening to us and we are just passive bystanders. When I see myself standing on top of a mountain, for example, that is one of the things that spurs me on and drives me towards success and ultimate victory. I want to be an ACTIVE participant in life. After this morning's revelation (imagine the Shaolin monk in the 1970s TV show Kung Fu, saying, "Ahh, Grasshopper..."), I am determined to be the athlete that I once was (when I was in my 20s), even if it takes me a couple of years to get there.

I had been listening to the Rich Roll podcast (, where Rich has conversations with leaders in the fields of health and welness, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship and spirituality. This week's guest was Colin O'Brady (, who completed the Explorers Grand Slam, scaling the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and treks to both the North and South Poles, in record time (139 days). At one point in the two hour podcast, Colin mentioned the word "Athlete", and it struck me like a bell. That's what I need to become (again).

In my youth, and even in early adulthood, I had been very active. I run (yes, for fun!) and swam and played field hockey and badminton and squash. Recently, the only squash was when I accidentally sat on something! After years (nae, decades) of gaining weight and losing some, and gaining more and losing a little, my life had become super sedentary. ... Anyway, I'm determined, now, to do something about that.

55:30 minutes for the 5K.
A good baseline.
At this point, I want to take a moment to say Thank You to my ex-wife, Lea. She invited me to take part in the Governor's Cup 5K in Helena three weeks ago. I didn't run, but I did walk at a average 3.3 mph pace for the 3.1 miles. Holy cow, it was tough, but she was encouraging me all the way. Afterwards, I figured my time of 55:30 minutes was a good base from which to measure future progress. I can imagine doing some more 5 Km runs in the future (with real, proper running). I can even foresee the day, maybe in a year of two, when I tackle a half marathon or a full 26.2 miles. When I was younger, and living in England, I had always dreamed that my first would be the Robin Hood marathon in Nottingham ( at the end of September. Or I could do the Reading Half Marathon ( in mid-March. It's been nearly nine years since I last visited England.

I also want to thank Lea for doing such a great job raising our daughter, Birdie, of whom I am incredibly proud. She has turned into such a thoughtful young woman with the wisdom and maturity of someone twice her age. I salute you both for the lifestyle changes you've made and the health benefits that have accrued to you. Amazing what a vegetarian/vegan diet can do! Even Murphy, the dog (good old boy) has seen improvements.

I was reminded of a book which I've had for ten years on my bookshelf, but never actually read; "Fit for Life: Reach Your Personal Best", by British explorer and holder of several endurance records, Ranulph Fiennes ( He has been described by the Guinness Book of Records as "the world's greatest living explorer", and he has done a lot of his best 'work' at an age when many of us are contemplating retirement!

Which leads me to another thought. If I actually manage to pull this off, if I actually manage to get down to 200 lbs, or (better yet) 178 lbs; or if I manage to pull off a finish in a half- or full marathon, of post some decent times for a 5 Km race, then I want to use this forum and my website to promote two thing: Exercise and activity for young people (kids and teens) so that they can avoid the damage of diabetes, and exercise and activity among adults who want to do the same, or who want to overcome the limitations of arthritis, or to reduce their high blood sugar or cholesterol levels, regardless of their age. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can! If you feel you need encouragement, call me. If you're serious about getting active, I'll help and support you in any way I can.

OMG, there's a lot to talk about. I guess that's one of the consequences of not having an Internet connection at home any more (he says, as he's sitting in the public library, connected to their Wi-Fi).

Encouraged by the health improvements demonstrated by my daughter, I've been trying to switch away from eating so much meat and dairy products (even though I LOVE cheese). Another time, I'll share my thoughts on the merits or otherwise of drinking cow's milk. I haven't bought any myself for several weeks and I really don't miss it. I still have to read more on the effects of casein (one of the two milk proteins) on the body. It's a popular supplement among bodybuilders.

292.4 lbs (132.6 kg)
Finally, the news that my downward weight loss trend continues. This morning I hit a new low - 292.4 lbs.

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