Unleashing the beast within
Xs and Arrows
January 22, 2022
Apologies for my absence from these pages over the last few issues. There has been plenty happening in my life and deadlines seem to come and go.
A few months ago, I mentioned this insane journey I was starting to attempt to complete the 2022 Los Angeles Marathon - bringing attention to two things: my quest to assist World Vision in bringing clean water to developing countries, and overcoming the undeniable fact that I do not enjoy running. I guess it is time for an update with the big event less than two months away.
Part of the reason for my absence has been the aforementioned training plan. It consumes every free moment outside of work, family and church and consists of early, dark mornings in order to log my miles and get to work on time. I have become one with the darkness, keeping a keen eye out for animals in my neighborhood that might want to snack on me in the meantime. Every weekend culminates with a long run to bring up my conditioning and stamina for the 26.2-mile journey that awaits me in March.
There are a couple of important updates to note. First, the training is going very well. Back in October when I started, I could barely finish one mile without difficulty. I am happy to report that I now run three miles just to warm up and this past weekend I completed a 15-mile run. If you are out and about early on a Saturday morning, you will catch me taking various routes through our fine city streets and recreation paths to log these ever-increasing distances. A few of you have even honked and waved and given the proverbial thumbs up. Believe me, when you are on the back end of a 15-miler, those little gestures go a long way.
I still do not enjoy running per se. I would much rather be sleeping at 4 a.m. than lacing up running shoes and putting in miles, but I cannot argue with the results. I have managed to lose 35 pounds due to the combination of diet and exercise and I feel great. I am not setting any records for time, that's for sure, but as every week passes, I am more convinced that I will not only be able to finish the marathon, but potentially be able to do so in a reasonable time frame without having to stop. When I started this, I was convinced I would need to walk most of it; this is no longer the case. I relish being the first person up every morning, running in less-than-ideal conditions. Occasionally I come across someone just starting their morning run while I am at the tale end of mine. While they are probably faster and a bit more athletic, I know I have won because I was the first beast at the trough that day. I made the choice to get up when it was a little earlier, hence a little harder and got it done first.
The health benefits have also been amazing. Five years ago, due to poor choices and a previous career that included lots of travel and terrible eating habits, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. While I made some minor changes that resulted in some weight loss and management of my condition, what is happening now is totally different. I dare to say the condition has corrected itself. My levels are back to normal, my body creates insulin and is no longer susceptible to blood sugar spikes or medication.
Along with the human element of all this (and by the way I would still appreciate your donations on my behalf to Team World Vision at my custom URL https://www.teamworldvision.org/participant/waterwarrior ), there is a personal element which is becoming more apparent with every step. I am making a major change and seeing results. I have rewired my brain and body to react differently and accept new challenges without worrying about results. I am now thinking about what to do after this is all over. My only answer will be to continue, to put another challenge on the calendar and start the training process. It is the only way to guarantee I will not fall back into comfortable habits again.
While this may be an unpopular opinion, changes like this are not the result of a magic pill, potion, supplement, diet fad or some trendy advertisement popping up in your social media feed. The only true formula is this: light meals and heavy workouts. It might not get someone rich via multilevel marketing, but it will show lasting results, unlike the unreliable nonsense that promises easy results.
I continue with this new mentality, and this renewed purpose to keep moving forward. Two months to go before the big day. I cannot wait to see what this early morning beast can do in the Los Angeles sunshine, and half a world away thanks to your donation to Team World Vision and their clean water initiatives for developing nations. That should be enough to get all of us moving.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. He advocates for the value of athletic competition and serves as the Vice President of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.