Thursday, May 17, 2012


I am resting up this afternoon. I had a tough workout this morning (10 mile "warm up" at 7:50 average pace, followed by 4x800m repeats @ 6:00 pace on the track) which wrapped up an 85 mile week, and I have a 20 miler in the morning (with eight of those miles at 7:00-7:15 pace). On top of that, Josh is leaving at 4am and will be gone until some time on Sunday for high school state track, so I am resting up for being a single mom again for one more long weekend.

Recently Josh was talking to a friend. The friend is someone that is overweight, living a sedentary lifestyle, and starting to have some negative health consequences as a result of his lifestyle. Josh was saying how he thought that health insurance should work the same way that car insurance does - basically that we should be rewarded for "good behavior". (Lose weight, exercise more, be in good health, etc. would mean lower premiums or deductibles).

The friend's response was, "Yeah well, you live an extreme lifestyle."

That has had me thinking.

Do we live an extreme lifestyle?

I am aware that I am probably more invested in my running than many. I know that getting up at 4am everyday, running 80+ miles a week, racing multiple marathons a year, training at a high level, etc. probably seems "extreme" to a lot of people.

But the comment was made to Josh. Josh runs five days a week most weeks (when he is training), averaging around 35 miles a week. He does several running races and a tri or two a year. He has lost and kept off about 60lbs.  He eats fairly healthily but can and does eat pretty much whatever he wants. He is in great overall health.

Is that really an extreme lifestyle?

Then I realized that I was thinking "extreme lifestyle" was a bad thing. I looked up the definition of "extreme" and says, "Reaching a high or the highest degree; very great, intense".

Heck yeah then. Call me extreme. :) I think living our lives to the highest degree (in all areas), or at least striving to, is what we should be doing. (And I am currently reading and LOVING "Run the Edge" by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano which basically is all about this idea. I will post a more detailed review once I am finished reading the book, but this is my favorite read in quite a while).

I can't help but think that it is sad that a healthy lifestyle is seen by some as "extreme" though, and that it's perfectly acceptable for so many people to live life so passively. No one seems to think twice or have any problem with all the people who live their lives without any great passion... who settle for "good enough" with their jobs, their marriages, their parenting, their health... who forget about their goals and dreams... who give little thought to the care of their bodies...who let life happen "to" them instead of living life to the fullest. (And please, I am not saying you have to be a runner to live life to the fullest. I think there are countless, endless ways to live life to the fullest.)

I strive to live my life to "the highest degree" as much as possible. I want my marriage to be filled with fun, joy, happiness, laughter, passion, emotion, gratitude and LOVE. I want to be a mom who is involved, aware, playful, loving, attentive, connected, and treasures moments big and small - continually aware of how blessed I am to have these kids. I strive to be a loving, loyal, dedicated, sensitive, and fun relative/friend to my close family members and friends and to be there for people when they need me. I work hard at my job and truly try to make a positive impact in the lives of children in need. I try to find ways to serve friends and neighbors. I try to inspire others to find the kind of happiness I have. I am continually working on my faith and my relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior, and striving to be the person He made me to be. And I work hard to be the best runner I can be and to reach my goals. I certainly come up short sometimes in all areas, but I keep trying!

My life is full. My life is good. My life is so very blessed. Extremely blessed. :)

So what do you think? Is an "extreme lifestyle" a good thing or a bad thing in your eyes? Do you think runners are extreme? How do you live life to the fullest?


"There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them." -
Charles D. Gill

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky

"Above all, try something." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent."- Marilyn vos Savant

"What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" -  Dr. Robert H. Schuller
“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
“The sky has never been the limit. We are our own limits. It’s then about breaking our personal limits and outgrowing ourselves to live our best lives.”


Adrienne said...

I loved "Running the Edge"! Life is meant to be LIVED-using your strengths, not constantly trying to judge or adhere to some arbitrary notion of what's "normal"...

Ok off my soapbox now-He gives us these gifts, it is up to us to use them to the fullest!

Jen@runfortheboys said...

I am convinced that we all live in our own reality. Depending on our point of view, everyone can be seen as living an extreme life. You have 12 kids; some probably see that as extreme. I have none; some probably see that as extreme. You run 85 miles a week and are called extreme, but I submit that the sedentary person is living an extreme life too - complacency to the extreme. Some people drink alcohol to excess or smoke - that is certainly an extreme way to live - in complete denial of the damage being done.

If Josh lives an extreme lifestyle as his friend suggests, sign me up. I run about the same number of miles as Josh and eat what I want and I too am healthy. What's extreme about that?

To me, that person was using the word "extreme" in a negative way. In my opinion, "extreme living" is negative only if it takes away from your priorities. Anything can be done to excess, but for those of us who purposefully choose our priorities and keep a healthy balance, there is nothing negative at all.

My brother was joking with me recently because we were making plans for the weekend and I kept adding in things we could do. I told him I like to squeeze every drop of life I can out of every day. Sometimes that means enjoying quiet time, and sometimes that means going non-stop.

Living an extreme life? Yes, please. I don't want to settle for anything less.

P.S. You gonna let your BFF borrow that book when you're done? ;)

Christy MyDirtRoadAnthem said...

I think we should be rewarded for living extreme and taking care of our bodies, the people who don't are more of a burden on the overtaxed healthcare system not to mention increase the risk of nurses, etc getting injured while trying to help them.

I love living extreme, who would want to sit back and accept anything less?

Gracie said...

I agree with your husband's health insurance take 100% and I'm a healthcare worker. It just makes sense.

Kris @ said...

Loving your workout info! I love reading splits and getting ideas for future workouts. I've never heard of running 800's after a ten miler and I bet it's pretty effective! I'll have to try that. When is your goal race? Good Luck!

Cory Reese said...

This is so funny. Just yesterday I had a doctor at work tell me that I shouldn't run anymore because I'll have to get a knee replacement. I told him that I don't know any runners who have knee replacements but I know lots of overweight people who do.

I'm with you. If people want to call running extreme, then I guess I'm extreme.

(Great miles by the way!)

Yolanda said...

You inspire me so much. With your heart, grit and determination....your inner circle is EXTREMELY blessed.

I read Run The Edge and enjoyed it as well

Apey Lee's Homespun Designs said...

This year, my company actually took physical exams of all employees who wanted to qualify for premium discounts on our medical insurance. Those who scored high (were in shape and exercised) received a $500 discount annually off our our medical insurance. Being a runner and someone who might be seen as "extreme" by others, I was glad I was able to save $500 a year vs. the sedentary types who will spend $500 more a year sitting on the couch!!! Finally, A+ for good behavior!

Sean and Lisa said...

Count me in on the "extreme" living too! I'll admit our lifestyle is much different than many (adopting- and adopting 5 special needs kids to boot- extreme craziness! LOL!) but when I really examine the lives of those that call me extreme I realize they are right. We are extreme...extremely passionate about life and trying desperately to suck every morsel out of every day! :) AND we are extremely blessed and have bucketloads of love that many others never experience! So bring it on!! :)

Great workout and so glad you get to rest! Never heard of that book. Currently reading "Born to Run" and am learning so much. Will have to look for the book you mentioned too. Thanks!

Enjoy your day and thanks for the awesome quotes too! Love them!!

Valorie D said...

Its people who live an "extreme lifestyle" that are and should be examples of what is possible. I'm also the mother of a specials needs child and kept trying and failing at fitting in running/fitness into my life. It was another SN mom with a more "extreme" circumstance who taught me what was possible. Now there has been no stopping me and I no longer say anything is impossible if I choose that I want to do it. I thank her just about every day for that. And you have become a new inspiration to me. I am 41 yrs old and running my first marathon tomorrow. I'm not nervous, just excited because I KNOW it can be done. My precious little one will be waiting at the finish line for me.

I just want to add that I gained a ton of weight with my youngest. Then he was born with issues and I was tired and achey and getting horrible health habits. If people would realize how fantastic it feels to be fit, they wouldn't have any reason that would keep them from feeling this good!

Terzah said...

I love Run the Edge--so glad you are enjoying that book.

I do try to feel for people who haven't gotten there yet--I know where they are coming from. My hope for all of them is they can find their "good extreme" through examples like yours. Pressuring people to change doesn't work--but living well is not only the best revenge, it's the best way to get through to others.

Momto16 said...

Wonderful post. Thank you extremely!!!

SWMom said...

"I can't help but think that it is sad that a healthy lifestyle is seen by some as "extreme" though, and that it's perfectly acceptable for so many people to live life so passively." I couldn't agree more! Great post!

Elyse said...

I think that you're right about saying that your method of training is a bit "extreme" to most. That being said, you're also on your way to qualifying for the Olympic trials. I'd KILL to be extreme like that!!

I don't think it's a negative thing at all. I think that the comment was said in self-defense. Most of my family is overweight and relatively sedentary. They make comments about my eating and exercising in negative ways. It's a defense mechanism. If they downplay my efforts to be healthy, then they feel less guilty about their lack of effort. It's okay, I was at that point once as well.

Overall, I think you're doing an amazing job. Lead by example and, when ready, people will follow. Great post!!

robinbb said...

Sometimes, I feel like I have to defend myself when people say that I am different than them because I run so much and just have it easier. It is frustrating because while it seems extreme to them, it is progressive and it took me years and hard work to get here. Not luck. I wish people would realize how easy it is to improve on their health and not lead an extreme lifestyle as much as a happy one.

And I love how active you and Josh are together. It has been so nice lately with Eric training for Vermont with me. It is so nice to talk running with him.

Vicky Cook said...

I have been struggling with this for my 1st 12 months back into running. Why am I doing this, is it ok that I'm doing this? etc etc
I just recently put these thoughts to bed. I figure, yes this IS extreme behavior, it's hard to argue otherwise. But as long as it doesn't effect my kids in a negative way (I am a mum first) and my husband doesn't mind (I think that must make me a wife 2nd?! :D) then who cares.
I got a lift from a 70 year old man to a 5k recently. He has been running for years and told me, 'it's himself 1st, then his family and then work'. The person riding with us was a little shocked but I think I know what he means. I did zero for myself the 1st 4 years of becoming a mum, I mean NOTHING and I was going slowly insane! Then I took something for myself, I started to run again and I think by putting me 1st sometimes it benefits my kids, husband the universe! So extreme or not it works for this family, happy running!

Canuck Mom said...

I think it is a good thing. I live this lifestyle in the tasks I take on. I strive to be the best me I can be so that I set a strong example for my children. I am not near your 90 mile weeks, but I hope to be in the next year. I am inspired by you.