Back in October I started growing out my beard and letting my hair grow out.  Everyone thought maybe I was getting a head start on no shave November.  I’m guessing that the fact that I didn’t immediately shave it all off December 1 was a clue that this wasn’t the case.  But along the way, I picked up some read sweats, found some white fluffy material and a Santa cap, and even started scouring hair care products looking for stuff to color my beard white.  

Any ideas what I was doing with all that?

I’d planned on going for one of the Christmas runs, that a Santa type jogging outfit would be kinda fun.  That didn’t happen.  I want to blame it on Christmas.  We’ve made the decision that we aren’t going to be paying for Christmas still in July, so it’s a matter of whatever cash is available.  And there probably is some legitimacy to not really feeling right plunking $40 down for a race entry when I would much rather use it for Christmas season.  To that extent, I should have plunked it down when I was thinking about it in October.  Lesson learned.

But the truth is that, as you can guess by the fact I haven’t posted here in forever, I’ve also cut back quite a bit on running.  There are a number of reasons I suppose, toenails, time, weather.  None which couldn’t be remedied and none of which weren’t possible barriers even a few months ago.  Translation:  Excuses.

Now I did dive into my latest class like I don’t think I’ve ever done.  Because my undergrad GPA was less than stellar, my acceptace into grad school was provisional, meaning that I have 3 classes where I have to sort of prove myself academically.  So there is this piece where I was hunkering down with texts and working on papers and such rather than getting out for that early morning run.  And let’s be honest here, the fact that 5 degrees isn’t ideal running weather made that time decision a bit easier.  

But I think too that part of my engagement in this class is more than just proving myself.  The class is focused on health issues for the elderly.  Maybe it’s that I’m in an area of study that is striking up interest like nothing has before, maybe it’s because I’m closer to the elderly side of the age spectrum than I am to the baby side.  

But here is the fascinating thing about this class, or at least what I’ve taken away from it.  We associate so many things with age, so many diseases we think are just a part of getting old.  They’re not.  It seems to me that most of these things are instead just the end result of a lifetime accumulation of consequences of lifestyle, environment, etc.  The one thing that makes these so common in aging has to do with the one thing about aging:  That our bodies do become weaker and less efficient as we age.  Ultimately, I think it’s that we become less able to compensate for all the crap that is part of life and part of how we treat our bodies.  I could eat horribly and be terribly overweight but not have blood pressure or cholesterol levels when I’m younger.  I think I’ve been lucky there that my body is able to make up for it.  After too many years of that though, those things will catch up, my body can’t keep compensating for it, and that’s why so many of those old age issues become issues at old age.  

Does that make sense?

My term paper was on Alzheimer’s as a form of diabetes.  Holy cow, talk about sobering stuff.  There is a lot of research out there that Alzheimer’s disease may actually be related to problems with insulin and insulin resistance in the brain.  

Those of us who know the implications of being really overweight for a lot of years can understand why that can be really eye opening. 

For me, papers have always been things to be done right before they were due.  Man, I was super-student on this one.  I was putting my research together way ahead of time.  I had to have a minimum of 5 sources.  I had 30.  I found more than that, 30 was all I used.  I had rough drafts and drafts of rough drafts.  If you know me, you’d be asking who are you and what have you done with Ron?  But I think it was because this was really hitting home.  

It’s sobering stuff when you start to realize that even if the results of your lifestyle aren’t bringing you down now, they can.

And it’s good to know there is still time.  Maybe, hopefully, that creates a sense of urgency.  

Here’s a link to the presentation I put together for the class as a followup to my paper.  

There is some irony maybe in all this.  This weekend, I shaved off the beard, cut the hair.  Never did put together the Santa running getup.  I don’t know if it was a bit of a surrender?  I know I figured okay, I’m not going to be in the christmas runs, and this beard really is getting to be a pain.  It’s not quite duck dynasty level, but still a pain.  Is it giving up?

Or maybe realizing that it’s not just a fun little thing.  Something about doing this research has made a big difference in one way.  I have really cut back big time on bread and sugar since starting all this.  And it’s got me looking ahead and being more serious about overall health.  Up to now I’ve brushed off some of it thinking I’ve been doing this training for a half marathon, I had weight loss surgery, I’ve done what I need to do.

I’m realizing it takes more than that.  



About Ron Walter

I'm just a guy who was so out of shape he couldn't run to get out of the rain. I'm taking my life back. It's not always perfect, not always successful. The victories though are greater than the defeats. I plan to keep it that way.
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2 Responses to De-Santafied

  1. Ernest Lewis says:

    Nice post…you should change your tag line. Running a half marathon or a full marathon is definitely your business. 🙂

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