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A Better World Starts with a Better You: 2012

I have been into self-improvement for a long time now. For almost five years now I have religiously followed a number of authors who speak to becoming a bigger, badder you.

However, the pursuit has always felt a little hollow to me. Becoming a better you has always felt to me to necessitate an overly inward eye. Many years ago I took a pledge around a campfire to live my life for others. While I was just a kid at the time, the pledge is still something that I take seriously, something that has been fed by my activities since.

This campfire experience is one that came back to me several years later when I sought to learn more about Buddhism. My interest was academic rather than spiritual, but I was struck by something on a deeper level nonetheless. I was watching a video series with basic information about what it was to be a Buddhist, and I was struck by a statement the monks said ad the beginning of each installment. "... to achieve enlightenment for the betterment of all beings..."

That is how self improvement reconciles with altruistic, charitable living.

That is how I want to live my life.

So You Had a Bad Race

On WellMentor

This post is for all the weekend warriors out there – anyone who participates in running, cycling, triathlons or other “race” events.

Whether you participate in these events competitively or not, we each want to do our best every time we go out. Chasing a PR (personal record) is what these events are all about for most of us, even if we tell ourselves that we only signed up so we’d be motivated to train regularly. If that were the case, we’d just lace up our shoes and go run, bike or swim against the watch on our wrist, right? There is something about that “official” time and the environment of competing with hundreds or thousands of other people that ups the ante. That’s why, when a race goes badly, the disappointment is so much greater than when you just have a bad workout on your own. This happened to me this past Saturday.

I ran the Fargo marathon on Saturday with the hopes of breaking 4:30:00 (yes, that’s four hours and 30 minutes – I don’ run so much as plod). I told myself beforehand that if the race were going badly, then I’d settle for just a PR – my previous best time was 4:38:40. My brother and I were running this race together and had been training at similar speeds, and we both thought that 10:00 to 10:05 miles were possible. Unfortunately, that didn’t prove to be the case.

For the first 18 miles, we were nailing it, but at mile 19 my left leg started hurting badly, aching all the way from my heel to my hip. Shortly after mile 21, I walked slowly through a water station, and when I started jogging again, serious pain shot through my left knee. For the next five miles, I walked and jogged at or below 14 minutes per mile, limping the whole time. Much to my chagrin, my brother waited for me. I told him to leave me and try to get his PR (4:42:00) but he wouldn’t. We crossed the finish line together, step for step, at 4:47:28 – my slowest marathon time ever.

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