Let me give you a metaphor.
People are batteries. They come in all shapes and sizes from thin to large, weak to powerful, cheap and expensive, unique and hard to find, and most of the time they are giant pains in the ass because you either can’t find them, have the wrong one, or it’s already given out all it’s energy.
People are batteries because they are born, they provide energy, and eventually they all die. While the longevity of each battery is different, touch it inappropriately and it will zapp you. Batteries must be cared for and treated with respect. Even a cheap battery can find a long life by matching it to the right device. But, put treat it badly and more often than not the battery will corrode, die, never to work again.
If I was a battery, I’d be an Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA because it provides the longest life with the highest drain. But at the end of the day, this battery is still susceptible to it’s environment and if it is not treated with ideal conditions, it is going to die. http://www.batteryshowdown.com/results-hi.html
While reading Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive I came up with this metaphor because Brendan described how a non-whole foods diet, one based off of the western diet which is high in meat, saturated fat, processed food, and dairy, promote an acidic environment in our bodies. Parmesan Cheese is in fact the most acid forming food we consume, while a lemon is exceptional at making our bodies more Alkaline. Brendan is a vegan professional Ironman athlete. I have seen the same chart highlighting the acid impacts of our nutrition on our bodies from other endurance athletes such as Scott Jurek, one of the greatest ultra-marathoners out there today and also a vegan. So after reading that book, I focused on becoming more vegetarian and mostly vegan. According to Brendan, I would have removed most of the nutrition stress which contributes roughly 40% of the total stress our bodies endure. Other references I have read state that nutritional stress is just one form; that stress comes in many forms.
My job is flexible, I work with a small team whom I get along with, I work independently from my home team 12,000 miles away. Most of my family except my wife’s, inlaws who I get along with really well, are also 12,000 miles away. I have a wife whom I love very much and we don’t argue. We don’t have kids and when the Bitch, Sydney, our little furchild is acting up, we just spoil her with treats. The house I own and renting out in Massachusetts has been annoying at times but that will be paid off in 10 months. And even though I train 25 hours a week for Ironman, I get adequate recovery from my nutrition and the phasing of my workouts throughout the day and week. So, at the end of the day, I have very little stress in my life. I’m happy, very passionate and loving life.
However, since June there was a growing stress that has been building and building. It built up so much in fact that at 2 separate times over the last month my body was literally shaking. I could feel the blood pressure against the walls of my veins and arteries throughout my entire body. I headed to the medical clinic and sure enough my Blood Pressure was 131 where it’s typically around 115. Besides the emotional stress my situation was giving me, the signs were clear: High Blood Pressure. Interestingly enough my HR was still at the typical 43. No, a pill and a doctor consult was not the answer. In fact, as soon as I had my BP measured, I left.
During the weekend, the stress was at an all time high. While I was able to block it nearly completely out during a 3 hour treadmill run covering 24.07miles or 38.7KM, my 180KM ride the next day was the worst I’d ever had unable to even stick within Zone 2. And the whole 5hrs45min I thought of the same stress: clearly exercise is not a stress reliever for me.
At the end of the day, I find managing stress is such a ridiculous statement. Why would I want to Manage something that raises my blood pressure and give me a worthless 5hr45min ride? I believe that eliminating stress is the only way. Now, while that would be utopia it doesn’t mean you and I can’t do our best to eliminate stress as best we can. I removed the stress that I had by removing it completely and retaining the only thing about this situation that doesn’t give me stress with the idea of “Moving Forward”. I am an Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Battery and I’m going to keep going and going and going and going for as long as I friggen can!
I dedicate this blog to someone who is very close to me. Tired and burnt out after years and years of being in a very stressful situation, she was finally able to see how happy you can be without all the bullshit.