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BOOK REVIEW Can't Hurt Me: by David Goggins, Review and Discussion

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Fox

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Just look at TheMiracle Morning, the book you so highly rave about. You think he thought about quitting after his car crash? You think had the doctors told him to slow down he would’ve listened?

There is a difference between crashing your car once by mistake and doing it on purpose every second weekend.


By your standards no one should climb Mount Everest because it’s a “medical no-no” lol

That isn't what he is saying. One person does proper training and waits for the right weather window. Goggins decides to climb anyway when a storm is blowing in - YOLO.

It isn't necessarily what he is doing - it is that he does it in a reckless way that adds unnecessary risk.
 

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TonyStark

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There is a difference between crashing your car once by mistake and doing it on purpose every second weekend.
I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be doing it if he didn’t think he’d have a high rate of survival.

But again we’re going off topic. No one, not even David is advocating following his exact footsteps. The man is something else.

But to give his book 1 star out of five stars, is just insanity.

You can’t tell me there’s NOTHING of worth you can find from his story.

If that’s the case then I truly do PITY you.
 

ZF Lee

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By your standards no one should climb Mount Everest because it’s a “medical no-no” lol
Well, its a medical no-no for those who haven't trained enough or at least tried out climbing mountains on a more regular basis.

(in the case of non-Himalayan natives, climbers might work on conquering the highest mountains in their own countries or other mountains with a similar cold environment first)

For Goggins' case, I found it rather weird that he hopped into his first marathons thinking his SEAL training and physique would see him through, without adjusting his training (if any)...but marathons are a whole different horse to ride.

I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be doing it if he didn’t think he’d have a high rate of survival.

But again we’re going off topic. No one, not even David is advocating following his exact footsteps. The man is something else.

But to give his book 1 star out of five stars, is just insanity.

You can’t tell me there’s NOTHING of worth you can find from his story.

If that’s the case then I truly do PITY you.
I guess MJ prefers something more instructional.
Try reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. That's the book we studied after Goggins.
I still learn something from it every time I read it.
 

Black_Dragon43

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There’s millions of people that defy the odds against doctors orders. You’re telling me they should just sit back and ACCEPT their fate that they’ll never be able to walk again because a doctor said so?

Get real.
I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be doing it if he didn’t think he’d have a high rate of survival.
As I said in a previous post, it's not WHAT he does, so much as HOW he goes about doing it that is the problem. When faced with a choice between scenario A and scenario B, he always chooses the one that is more inconvenient or more dangerous, for no reason except that it is inconvenient and dangerous. Say you are climbing Mount Everest as @Fox said above. If he has the choice between waiting till the storm is over and then continuing his climb, or going through the storm, he will choose going through the storm. And not because it will get him to the top faster, but because it will be more painful.

If he has the choice between sitting in the bath tub when he is ill to enjoy the pain and contemplate his achievements, he will do that, rather than choose to go to the doctor and get treatment.

And unlike MJ somewhere above, I don't think I'd want to even be in a foxhole with him. The guy has shown a clear predilection for for gambling with his life just for the sake of it. Can you imagine... "shall we wait till nighttime for our raid on the enemy's base so that we're not seen?" - "No, let's go now, what are we, pussies?"

There‘s literally a book written about him called “Living With A Seal”! Someone admires him so much as a friend and someone to look up to that he WROTE A BOOK ABOUT HIM.
It's not because he is a friend or someone he looks up to that he wrote that book. He wrote that book to show how tough HE is, that he hangs around tough people, etc.

You can’t tell me there’s NOTHING of worth you can find from his story.
Nobody said that though - obviously the grit, determination, and perseverance are facets that everyone admires. But you don't need to be onboard for his lack of perspective to admire those qualities.
 

TonyStark

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As I said in a previous post, it's not WHAT he does, so much as HOW he goes about doing it that is the problem. When faced with a choice between scenario A and scenario B, he always chooses the one that is more inconvenient or more dangerous, for no reason except that it is inconvenient and dangerous. Say you are climbing Mount Everest as @Fox said above. If he has the choice between waiting till the storm is over and then continuing his climb, or going through the storm, he will choose going through the storm. And not because it will get him to the top faster, but because it will be more painful.

If he has the choice between sitting in the bath tub when he is ill to enjoy the pain and contemplate his achievements, he will do that, rather than choose to go to the doctor and get treatment.

And unlike MJ somewhere above, I don't think I'd want to even be in a foxhole with him. The guy has shown a clear predilection for for gambling with his life just for the sake of it. Can you imagine... "shall we wait till nighttime for our raid on the enemy's base so that we're not seen?" - "No, let's go now, what are we, pussies?"


It's not because he is a friend or someone he looks up to that he wrote that book. He wrote that book to show how tough HE is, that he hangs around tough people, etc.


Nobody said that though - obviously the grit, determination, and perseverance are facets that everyone admires. But you don't need to be onboard for his lack of perspective to admire those qualities.
Lmao dude you need to get out more

You honestly think a navy seal would rush out of stupidity? Go read the book then come back here and say whatever comes to your head lol
 

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This was my first book on audible this year. In the beginning I used to listen at night time and would fall asleep. I found the first few chapters really good but didn't absorb the actions to take. I really connected with his back story which is so valuable to share. I took a break for awhile and after listening to Unscripted for the 1st time, I went back to it. Then main things that helped me was the Cookie jar - evidence of past achievements and overall mindset. I think if you are stuck in a rutt or feeling down, his words and the views shared in the podcasts at the end of every chapter can be so beneficial if you take action shortly after and be consistent.

I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, it holds a special place in my heart as the beginning of my journey to unscription but it was Unscripted that spurred me on to revisit it after my first attempt.
 

StewartHemmings

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David Goggins has some seriously insane accomplishments:

Participated in 3 Navy SEALS BUD/S, and therefore completed 3 Hell Weeks (he failed the first two due to injuries)
Certified US Army Ranger
Completed an ultramarathon in 19 hours, despite not having completed a marathon before. (He has since gone on to compete in more ultramarathons)
Competed as an Ironman athlete, even though he had never cycled competitively.
Held the Guinness World Record for most number of pull-ups in 24 hours (He did a total of 4,030 in 17 hours)

I would have loved it even better if he had kept it as a memoir, instead of trying to add in some "takeaways" to try to create some kind of fake social sharing and promotion.
 

Martin.G

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I loved this book, I read it last year around this date and probably I read it again this year or in the next months. There are a lot of important things to learn from it, like how to achieve a lot without having been prepared. It's very inspirational to read about how he completed an ultra marathon without training or try 3 times the Navy SEALS BUD/S, among other things.
 

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Does anyone with low self-esteem and a tendency for vicious self-criticism follow David's philosophy of life? How does it affect your mental health if you constantly fight with your "inner bitch"?

Particularly in fitness, I so f***** much hate my performance and body despite exercising a lot. I'm wondering if I should be even less tolerant or if maybe doing this to myself actually hurts me even more (though I have no idea how to stop being so mean to myself).
 

Black_Dragon43

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Does anyone with low self-esteem and a tendency for vicious self-criticism follow David's philosophy of life? How does it affect your mental health if you constantly fight with your "inner bitch"?

Particularly in fitness, I so f***** much hate my performance and body despite exercising a lot. I'm wondering if I should be even less tolerant or if maybe doing this to myself actually hurts me even more (though I have no idea how to stop being so mean to myself).
Anger is a powerful emotion which can get you quite far. David’s whole life pretty much was about channeling anger to create achievement. When you come from a place of lack, or “low self esteem” / “self-criticism” as you call them, then in that state anger is pretty much the only option you perceive as having.

Anger can also drain itself out… think about how Goggins towards the end of the book had broken down his body so much that his doctors thought he was dying. The main weakness of anger is that you don’t control it - it controls you. But when you’re in the grip of lower emotions - shame, fear - anger will certainly temporarily get you out of there.

Fighting your inner bitch means you’ll have to push through a lot of pain to achievement. Imagine one guy running a marathon by grunting and suffering, and the other running it and going through the same pain, but joyfully with a smile on his face. You can do the same activity WILLINGLY, and ACCEPTINGLY or you can PUSH THROUGH the activity unwilingly. Regardless of which attitude you chose, if you’ve decided to do the activity, you’ll do it anyway. You just have to decide if you want the extra suffering.

Goggins became a master at turning negative emotions (shame, fear, etc) into anger and courage and using the latter to pursue his goals. You can’t go on running anymore, you feel frustrated because you’re a weak little bitch, instead of letting that frustration make you quit, turn it on its head and use it as fuel. That’s Goggins approach in a nutshell.

Personally I think you can just skip the whole suffering bit. What essentially happens when you tell yourself “I have low self esteem, I’m never satisfied, I can’t take this any longer, why isn’t anything working, I hate my performance etc” is that you make those things real for you, or at the very least you add fuel to their fire and intensify them and make them last longer. Why should the fact that you can’t run 10 miles and quit say anything about who you are as a person? It only does if you let it.

The whole Goggins approach thinks that outside achievement can cure inner problems. Ie, I’m a loser, but just you wait till I become the strongest man on the planet, then I won’t be a loser anymore. That’s the promise. But even if you do become that, you’re still the same old you inside.

So to answer your question @MTF Goggins would tell you that you can either use your hatred of your performance to fuel you on, or you can use it to burn yourself out.

I think neither options are the best but to each his own haha!
 

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Devilery

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And unlike MJ somewhere above, I don't think I'd want to even be in a foxhole with him. The guy has shown a clear predilection for for gambling with his life just for the sake of it. Can you imagine... "shall we wait till nighttime for our raid on the enemy's base so that we're not seen?" - "No, let's go now, what are we, pussies?"
David Goggins is as radical as a human being can be, so obviously, very few will resonate with him, but what the hell are you talking about. This man has served in combat as one of the most elite soldiers on earth. I don't think it's fair to assign any sign of stupidity to what he has done, does, or will do, especially when it comes to judging his military expertise.

I won't argue any further, but that level of nonsense must be called out.
 

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I'd give this book 4 out of 5.

I like how he turned his life around by being mentally tough. Although he is extreme and sometimes stupid. I can only imagine the artrithis he's going to have when he's in his 70s.
 

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Does anyone with low self-esteem and a tendency for vicious self-criticism follow David's philosophy of life? How does it affect your mental health if you constantly fight with your "inner bitch"?

Each person will take away their own lessons from DG and his story. To me it wasn't what you describe above. It was a story of a regular joe, a kid with nothing spectacular, no gift from god. A kid who had a low self esteem and kept failing. f*cked up more than succeeded. Until he discover a solution that worked for him. Pure f*cking GRIT.

During an endurance race, his book helped me tell my inner bitch to "shut the f*ck up, you got this". Why? Because in that moment I knew that I didn't even tap into my energy tank #2 of 5. I knew it was my brain f*cking with me and not real lack of energy. I just needed to get over the hump.

It did affect my mental health in the most wonderful ways. I qualified for UCI World Championships and was thrilled to learn - I can do more than I ever thought I could before.

So I give him a 5/5 on his book.

Particularly in fitness, I so f***** much hate my performance and body despite exercising a lot. I'm wondering if I should be even less tolerant or if maybe doing this to myself actually hurts me even more (though I have no idea how to stop being so mean to myself).

Many people think DG is telling them to get hurt. That's bullshit. Do you need to dig deep? Are you trying to get the Guinness world record for pull ups? Are you trying to qualify for an ultra marathon by showing you can run a 24 hour event? If not, then why are you even contemplating hurting yourself?

But it sounds like you are talking about not liking your own body, your results in spite of being fit, healthy and well to do person. You and I exchanged a few texts on the topic of feeling down etc. With that in mind, I think it's a discussion on how to fix a mindset and feel better. After each win. After each miss. After each night in the morning with a cup of coffee. Way bigger discussion...

Lastly, for anyone who has fitness goals, I strongly discourage the approach of DG. It was his personal path and not for everyone. Treat his book like a shoe store - go in, try a few pairs on, keep the ones that fit you.
 

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Thanks for that interesting write-up, @Black_Dragon43.

The whole Goggins approach thinks that outside achievement can cure inner problems. Ie, I’m a loser, but just you wait till I become the strongest man on the planet, then I won’t be a loser anymore. That’s the promise. But even if you do become that, you’re still the same old you inside.

But are you really? This assumes that the experience hasn't taught you anything.

I used to be completely pathetic with and afraid of beautiful women. Then I started approaching them and eventually became comfortable chatting up women with some really messed up opening lines lol. After that process, I wasn't the same old person inside (since then, I've never been afraid of women). I changed precisely because of an outside achievement, or rather, the process leading to it.

A kid who had a low self esteem and kept failing. f*cked up more than succeeded. Until he discover a solution that worked for him. Pure f*cking GRIT.

Yeah I guess that's my point. Perhaps instead of focusing so much on being annoyed with myself I should focus on telling my inner bitch to "shut the f*ck up, you got this".

For example, I'm doing a new workout program with new exercises. One of the exercises is straddle jump to handstand. My initial attempts are so ridiculous I can't help but feel like an idiot trying something way above his skill level. Perhaps instead of feeling this frustration and getting angry at myself for being so shitty I should redirect this toward that inner bitch who's instantly like "this is ridiculous, why are you even trying this?"
 

Black_Dragon43

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But are you really? This assumes that the experience hasn't taught you anything.
I think the experience does teach you things, however your underlying consciousness remains the same MOST of the time. I will explain what I mean below…

But first, here is a personal example

- When I was a teen, I was a hypochondriac. I frequently thought I was ill, and developed symptoms of that illness. For example, I thought I had appendicitis, and would develop continuous pain on that side of my tummy. I’d continue thinking I have it and experience symptoms till the doctor did a ultrasound and saw that the appendix wasn’t inflammed. Then I’d be relieved of symptoms and the fear instantly. Not long would pass, and I’d have some other minor symptom. A feeling like there’s something stuck in my throat for example. I would fear it is throat cancer. It would get worse and worse until I went to the doctor and did some investigation. At one point I couldn’t swallow, even though there was nothing physically wrong with me. And the cycle would repeat.

Did the experience teach me anything? Yes, about appendicitis, throat cancer etc. but as soon as the fear evaporated, a new one took its place! Why? Because the underlying consciousness was the same. It was only when that underlying consciousness changed, largely through an acceptance of uncertainty and mortality + questioning the ability to doctors to keep me safe, that ALL those fears evaporated.

I used to be completely pathetic with and afraid of beautiful women. Then I started approaching them and eventually became comfortable chatting up women with some really messed up opening lines lol. After that process, I wasn't the same old person inside (since then, I've never been afraid of women). I changed precisely because of an outside achievement, or rather, the process leading to it.
Exposure to a stimuli that causes fear will cause acclimation - you get used to it. But if there is no change done to the underlying consciousness, then that fear will move to a different object. For example, you’re no longer afraid to approach beautiful women, but do you spend the same time you were afraid before of women, being afraid of something else? Perhaps you spend more time fearing death, or whatever it is?

These issues are born out of a particular form of consciousness. So long as that consciousness remains unchanged, it will keep creating such issues based on external circumstances. Sometimes it cannot create fear of women, because you’re acclimated to it. A different fear will be created.
 

Black_Dragon43

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Yeah I guess that's my point. Perhaps instead of focusing so much on being annoyed with myself I should focus on telling my inner bitch to "shut the f*ck up, you got this".
But who is telling who to “shut the f*ck up, you got this”?

Your mind is effectively fighting against itself isn’t it? It’s divided into a inner bitch, and the “real you”, or “Goggins” (as he calls that part of him in the book). And the two are fighting. Sometimes Goggins wins and you keep going, other times the inner bitch wins and you quit.

But let’s zoom out for a moment… this “inner fight” it gotta consume energy right? Energy that could go into actually running the race, but is currently being drained by an internal fight inside your mind.

How can you free up this energy? How can you channel it into running, rather than internal fighting? That question imo is the key to even greater results.
 

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But who is telling who to “shut the f*ck up, you got this”?

Your mind is effectively fighting against itself isn’t it? It’s divided into a inner bitch, and the “real you”, or “Goggins” (as he calls that part of him in the book). And the two are fighting. Sometimes Goggins wins and you keep going, other times the inner bitch wins and you quit.

But let’s zoom out for a moment… this “inner fight” it gotta consume energy right? Energy that could go into actually running the race, but is currently being drained by an internal fight inside your mind.

How can you free up this energy? How can you channel it into running, rather than internal fighting? That question imo is the key to even greater results.

You are turning this into a very “academic” and “theoretical” discussion. From experience I can tell you that that inner fight doesn’t take up as much energy as you think. When you are about to bonk, think your tank is empty and you remember Goggins, it’s like a little boost needed to cross over to the other world where you once again have energy. Works more often than doesn’t.

In short, you are overthinking the above. It’s primal.
 

Black_Dragon43

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You are turning this into a very “academic” and “theoretical” discussion. From experience I can tell you that that inner fight doesn’t take up as much energy as you think. When you are about to bonk, think your tank is empty and you remember Goggins, it’s like a little boost needed to cross over to the other world where you once again have energy. Works more often than doesn’t.

In short, you are overthinking the above. It’s primal.
Perhaps, I have not been able to reproduce this though. However, I did observe that the “bitch voice”, if I don’t find a way to turn it off without fighting it, will get me to engage fighting it or trying to reason/argue with it which typically causes me to give up. If not immediately, then over time!
 

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Perhaps, I have not been able to reproduce this though. However, I did observe that the “bitch voice”, if I don’t find a way to turn it off without fighting it, will get me to engage fighting it or trying to reason/argue with it which typically causes me to give up. If not immediately, then over time!

For me it’s quite different. It’s not a logical debate that one part wins. It’s more of inner awareness. For example, during a race I struggle with lack of energy to keep up with a group that looks stronger than me. Before Goggins I’d think “this sucks, I wish I trained more”. After Goggins “I know I can do this a hell of a lot longer, is this the right time to burn those matches?” Or “shit, this is going to hurt… time to dig deeper, this will cost me! Let’s do this thing”.

Just like Roger Bannister broke 4 min mile and then dozens followed within 12 months, knowing that a regular Joe - DG, passed buds with broken legs, I am aware that I can. The only debate I have in my head is “is this the right time to do this savage thing?”

How else can I describe this? I do think of it like 3 match boxes. Keep burning one match after another. Sprint, burn 3x so be careful. But with DG, I know I have two more match boxes. :)
 

dollars

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My Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
:star::star::star::star::star:

Format: Audible

My thoughts/review:
This is definitely one of my favorite books ever and I would highly recommend that everyone checks it out. I've listened to it two or three times on Audible. I've similarly listened to the Joe Rogan episodes with him around twice each as well. Regardless of any technical review aspects, I just feel GOOD when listening to this. I work harder in every aspect of my life during the few days that I decide to listen through this book again. He also gives actionable no-BS advice. This is the story of how he tore down his lazy, obese, always-making-excuses self to become an ultramarathon running, pull up world record holding, best selling author, Navy SEAL (and a bunch of other military accolades from different special forces branches he joined). And he gives the exact techniques that he used to accomplish this, from his accountability mirror technique, to his cookie jar technique, to taking souls.

Favorite (or least favorite) chapter:
It's hard to pick just one. I'm a huge fan of the accountability mirror. It's just so practical and honest. And story wise, if I recall correctly, it was the first technique he used that changed his life. So obviously it works wonders on some people.

Main takeaway:
You can accomplish anything. I think that the best summary is in his 40% rule- whenever you think that you're pushing yourself to the limit, you're likely only at 40%. He thought that his life would just be that of an obese exterminator haunted by memories of an abusive past, but he pushed through everything through sheer force of will. From losing 100 lbs in 3 months. Undergoing SEAL training while being a poor swimmer. Undergoing more SEAL training attempts than anyone else ever because he wouldn't give up even in the face of setbacks. Working through injuries (waking up early to wrap up his feet). A lot more too. Just an amazing and motivational story. 5 stars.
 

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Black_Dragon43

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For me it’s quite different. It’s not a logical debate that one part wins. It’s more of inner awareness. For example, during a race I struggle with lack of energy to keep up with a group that looks stronger than me. Before Goggins I’d think “this sucks, I wish I trained more”. After Goggins “I know I can do this a hell of a lot longer, is this the right time to burn those matches?” Or “shit, this is going to hurt… time to dig deeper, this will cost me! Let’s do this thing”.
Interesting. I will practice it. Any tips for learning to trigger this? Normally what happens is that my mind goes haywire on me and tries to make me quit. Then my least effective strategy is to try to convince it that I can keep going. Most effective so far is trying to ignore it. Because really it’s like a feeling of “I can’t go on” more than a thought.
 

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Interesting. I will practice it. Any tips for learning to trigger this? Normally what happens is that my mind goes haywire on me and tries to make me quit. Then my least effective strategy is to try to convince it that I can keep going. Most effective so far is trying to ignore it. Because really it’s like a feeling of “I can’t go on” more than a thought.

It was a sunny Saturday morning a few years ago. August is usually hot and beautiful here and perfect for training. I left my home earlier than usual for a training ride. My wife was still asleep and it was before kids, so my absence would be expected. I had time and an idea. DG did crazy things, how can I trigger the same kind of thinking? I wanted more but knew that logic is the breakfast food for emotions. In my heart I didn't yet know if DG was telling the truth or if he was a super human. I decided to ride out along Sea to Sky highway (with a great cycling shoulder) as far as I could before turning back. 70km rides were great training, so this time I decided it would be closer to 150km. When I got to my turning point I knew, I was tired but there was only one way home - pedal back.

The sun was now in full strength, my legs were tired but I was good. At around km 80 I was in trouble. My body was tired, I pushed too hard on the way there, I didn't eat enough and the sun was just cooking me. I knew I could get more water soon, so I took one of my water-bottles and squirted water onto my helmet getting the liquid on my head and on my neck and back. The cooling effect felt great. Then I smelled orange.

Being tired I picked the wrong bottle, one with electrolytes and sugar. It tastes great but is sugary, salty and sticky when dry. I have a long way back home, hot, tired and now frustrated.

20km later I thought I was done. There wasn't much in the tank and every hill climb felt like a grind. I was angry. I was mad at myself for doing this stupid thing. Goggins or not, I was done. But one problem - I need to get home.

In frustration and tears in my eyes, I just kept pedalling. Alone. With my chatter in the head. Then suddenly, it was OK. No, better than ok. I felt the pain in my legs but I also felt energy for the first time in a while. Lots of energy. Pain didn't bother me as much as it used to and mood lifted. I increased my speed, I felt the wind and absorbed the scenery. I even managed to catch up to another cyclist and pass him.

WTF? Where did it come from? Was DG right all along? Who cares, I'll take it - I am almost home and feel great.


That was my very first time pushing past and getting match box #2 energy. Since then I've pushed farther and even had minor hallucinations while relieving myself after an endurance event. And slowly the voice that used to stop me, I don't talk with "him" as much. I know deep down, I can do a lot more. The only question - is this the right time?


I ended with the "is this the right time" because for a non-runner to bang out 15 miles in a deep forest is a dumb idea. Yes, you can do it. Doesn't make it any less dumb. You will get hurt. But for a runner who can't get to a marathon distance but has been running daily for months - pushing past may be a liberating experience.
 

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