Should I start running?

It’s easy to say that a book changed your life. It’s much harder to prove it.

But my life has changed since I read, or rather listened to this book last year in October.

I can prove it, but first the man and the book.

David Goggins is a beast of a man. He is a couple of years younger than me and is:

  • An ultramarathon runner, ultra distance cyclist and triathlete.
  • A retired US Navy SEAL.
  • Former US Air Force Tactical Air Control Party member serving in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
  • Graduate of the US Army Ranger School is distinction.
  • Former record holder for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours.
  • The founder of a charity called Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

He’s also a failure, having failed:

  • The US Airforce Pararescue training twice before completing it successfully third time around.
  • US Navy BUD/S training – that’s what you have to do to become a Navy Seal – twice before completing is successfully on the third try.

He also has had to face a number of health issues including:

  • Asthma.
  • Obesity.
  • A congenital heart defect.

The heart problem – a birth defect known as an atrial septal defect means that for most of his life including military and sports career he had a hole between the atrial chambers which means that it was only able to function at 75% capacity.

If you have this condition things like scuba diving or skydiving would probably kill you.

The book is his story which includes all of the above and a whole lot more. Like running 100 miles, without training, on broken shins to complete his first ultramarathon in order to qualify for an invitation to the Badwater-135.

The Badwater 135, in case you didn’t know (I didn’t know), is the world’s toughest foot race.

It covers 135 miles (that’s 217 km) non-stop from Death Valley to My Whitney in California, starting below sea level and finishing at the highest point in the contiguous United States (8,300 feet or 2530m).

Even if you’re not interested in running, it’s a compelling story.

And I wasn’t interested in running.

But after finishing the audiobook, I started running. That was in October last year.

First, I hobbled round the neighbourhood. I just aimed to do 1km without stopping.

After a couple of weeks, I upped this to 2 km.

My knee was giving me trouble by that point and I had to take a lesson from my daughter who told me, “Dad, you don’t know how to run!”

I adjusted by posture and hit 3 km.

Then I upped the distance again to 5km and added a cold water plunge in the middle.

This weekend I’ve chalked up two 10 km runs for the first time ever. First time to do a 10 km run and first time to do this on two consecutive days.

I’m not fast mind you. But 218 runs adds up and I’ve now logged 1025 km run since I started logging my runs .

Goggin’s story gave me the motivation.

Now, I run every morning that I can.

It’s not every single day, but it’s most days. And this from a guy who used to skip school rather than do physical education, especially cross country.

Your milage may vary, but if you have personal goals that include getting fitter, stronger and harder to kill, then read the damn book.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

Leave a Reply