Yesterday I read Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ as I had an old copy and needed to read it. It was a really good read and a great story. One might think it is just a simple tale about a man who gets in his little boat and goes out to catch a big fish and try and bring it back to shore. I am no critic or writer but I enjoy reading books and see what I can make of them and how they relate to me.
Recently I have been in the dumps with my depression and anxiety issues and I think it is because I know Christmas will soon be upon us and a couple of family birthdays occurred recently which makes me feel worse. The non-stop hassle with my benefits is also crippling me with my finances and eating away at my stress levels.
However I am trying to hold it all together even though at the moment I feel a bit tearful and down, but who cares eh? Anyway stop the moaning and weeping and get back to the blog in hand.
I read the book and felt like the old man with my own set of woes and troubles and my on going fight with my mental health, my physical health and my need to find a bit of homeostasis in my life. The old man had strength and patience to deal with an ordeal that could break a man half his age. So I took from this that the fight is within, it is your own internal battle that you must first win before you can achieve the goals you want to do.
So i set out for my weekly long run which has been 7 miles in recent weeks and I wanted to do more than this. I did not measure the route I took but knew what it would be, thinking it to be about 9 miles. I went out at my usual plodder’s pace and kept focused and thought about the old man and what he would do. I recalled parts of the story in my head as I jogged and used this as a type of mantra to keep me going.
The first 4 or so miles were good and I felt alive, doing something that gives me so much pleasure. After this point my route took a new way as it was not my usual 7 mile route so I was plodding in uncharted territory. I pushed on and my legs did start to ache but i kept pushing thinking of the old man beating off the sharks that were eating his catch. I kept getting thoughts of ‘ you can walk if you want’, or, ‘take a shorter route as you have nothing to prove’. These demons are like the messages i get to eat shit food, even though I am not hungry and should be eating better.
I continued with reciting the themes of the story in my head, pretending I was the old man at sea fighting for survival and to hold onto something precious. As the jog went on my legs got more and more painful but more fatigue pain that soreness. I knew where I wanted to stop and when I eventually stopped i grabbed a drink and a packet of crisps. When I walked back home I measure my route online. I thought I had done close to 10 miles but when I checked, twice, it was 8.1 miles. So i completed my goal of dong more than the 7 miles which is great and now I can use that route for the next few weeks. Like the old man I went back home and had a coffee and rested.
The picture above is my 1984 London Marathon finishers medal which means so much to me. A lot of people do not understand what has to go into this type of achievement and just mock it due to their lack of ignorance. When I did the London in 1984 not one of my family members came to watch, my best friends at the time never watched or supported me. So maybe this is also why I am a bit upset today as I dug this medal out and it is a great thing but also has negative connotations attached to it. recently I have been binge eating on crisps, chips and shit food and it bothers me that I cannot still deal with all my emotions and let them undo all the good I am putting into my jogging and training. I am fitting into clothes that i grew to fat and obese to fit into and I want this trend to continue. It is difficult like the old man trying to keep the fish he fought hard to kill, i need to dig in deeper and keep this momentum up or I will lose my battle and become depressed, self loathing and hurting inside.
So old man, make it happen and dig in for the long haul.