Life clearly makes no sense

WhatWouldHulkDo

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The sensei of our dojo suffered a stroke about a year ago. Guys is in his early 60s, great teacher, made out of solid steel and faster than lightning before it happened. These days, he still can't walk or talk quite right.

This weekend, a black belt from the dojo died of a heart issue while running an ironman. Cool guy, fellow volleyball player, great counter-puncher.

WTF, universe. Makes you just want to curl up with a good cheeseburger.

Should you train for longevity? Or use it as long as you've got it, since you never know when it might be snatched away.
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
A really good friend of mine (and I only have a few) was just diagnosed with Lymphoma a couple days ago... So yeah, WTF universe? He's one of the best humans on the planet, with all the sh*tbags running around .. Why him? It makes no sense
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
Bad planning is not the same as bad luck but they can look the same. To live to a ripe old age you should exercise, control your weight, eat your vegetables, don't smoke, drink alcohol moderately and wear a seat belt. That's called good planning and is as close to the fountain of youth as you can get, improving your chances of living to a ripe old age by something like 70%. Of course if you're unlucky none of that will do you any good
 
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North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
Luck, fate, inevitability. This is a one-way ride with no guarantees but one, it will end, or depending on your beliefs, at the least this only world you know will end. Along the way there is no upper limit to the indignities we might have to bear, or as I like to think of them more dramatically as "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune!" (sounds way better than 's#!t luck'). In the Pali canon the three divine messengers are sickness, old age, and death.

When I got into breath meditation I used to begin with relaxing, clearing the mind a bit, and I'd tell myself "This might be the last time you sit down on this cushion, might already have been the last time you'll ever get out of your bed in the morning unassisted, you might die today. Now pay attention."

Have lost many people in my life, a surprising number by their own hand. Enjoy the day, whatever there is of it, we take nothing with us. I do train for longevity sake, but really I train because it just plain feels good.

So easy to get caught up in mundane BS and then when something "real" lands on us it sort of jolts us awake. I try to be awake more often than that, with only some success. Meditiation being very much like exercise, it has lasting benefit even after you stop, but is so much more effective with regular practice.
 

H. Mac

Double-Digit Post Count
Regardless of whether life does or does not make sense, the “trick” is to feel genuine gratitude with every breath we take.
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
When I was living in Santa Barbara for a few years one night I went to the top of a hill overlooking the city, I was really stressed out and wanted some cool down time. From there I could see where I lived, followed that to where I worked and then to where I trained.

Then I thought of the stressful runs to do this , get that done, go here, go there, get done by such and such time and....and...and...blah...blah
Then I started to laugh at what a silly little critter I was.. running, stressing, worrying etc. and how funny this little ant I call me must look from above.
After that night I had a different take on everything, as I stopped stressing and worrying. When I felt the stress and worry start to creep in I thought about the little ant running around and again laughed. Talk about the indignity of the human condition. ROFL
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I like to think that I train to live well, rather than live long...
The way I think about it, this isn't just a matter of making a choice in priorities, but a matter of recognizing what you realistically have control over.

Training for fitness (whatever your definition of fitness) is something we have pretty good control over. There's pretty clear cause and effect between various types of training and the resulting adaptations.

Training for health, and especially longevity, is a lot fuzzier. It's comforting to think we have some control over these things, but to a great extent we don't, or the links between our behavior and the result are not clear, so we are mostly guessing about what we "should" do (and what we do may make a difference anyway).

My brother-in-law is an active lifelong endurance athlete who ran a 2:59 marathon at age 51 and does a road race or triathalon a few times a month. At recent local race, he collapsed while warming up, having suffered a massive heart attack. According to the doctors, he definitely would have died, except: a) it happened near the starting area where there were people around to respond, b) the race director of the small local running club invested in an AED a few years ago and makes sure to bring it to every race, c) there happened to be an ER nurse nearby to help respond, and d) he was just lucky. So thankfully my brother-in-law survived and seems to be recovering well after bypass surgery and having a defibrillator implanted.

Bad luck, good luck, whatever. There's just a lot you can't train for or to prevent.
 
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Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
My brother-in-law is an active lifelong endurance athlete who ran a 2:59 marathon at age 51 and does a road race or triathalon a few times a month. At recent local race, he collapsed while warming up, having suffered a massive heart attack.
How many runners collapse with heart attacks? This is always in the back of my mind when thinking of distance runners, triathletes and the like. Is it possible they've over-trained the heart muscle? Or is it more of a question of nature, as in life expectancy vs heart 'shelf life'? Maybe because we live twice as long as we did not long ago, 3000 years ago we lived maybe 40 years if lucky and during that time we were using distance to hunt and run down prey. There were no 'old men' running 20 or 30 miles back then..?.. Is this the reason seemingly high level fitness people just keel over? Or is it an age thing? I would be interested in seeing some data on this..
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
The way I think about it, this isn't just a matter of making a choice in priorities, but a matter of recognizing what you realistically have control over.

Training for fitness (whatever your definition of fitness) is something we have pretty good control over. There's pretty clear cause and effect between various types of training and the resulting adaptations.

Training for health, and especially longevity, is a lot fuzzier. It's comforting to think we have some control over these things, but to a great extent we don't, or the links between our behavior and the result are not clear, so we are mostly guessing about what we "should" do.

My brother-in-law is an active lifelong endurance athlete who ran a 2:59 marathon at age 51 and does a road race or triathalon a few times a month. At recent local race, he collapsed while warming up, having suffered a massive heart attack. According to the doctors, he definitely would have died, except: a) it happened near the starting area where there were people around to respond, b) the race director of the small local running club invested in an AED a few years ago and makes sure to bring it to every race, c) there happened to be an ER nurse nearby to help respond, and d) he was just lucky. So thankfully my brother-in-law survived and seems to be recovering well after bypass surgery and having a defibrillator implanted.

Bad luck, good luck, whatever. There's just a lot you can't train for or to prevent.
Agreed 100%. That's why I don't really train for longevity (or health for that matter I guess). I train to support the stuff I like doing. When its time to check out, its time to check out.

That's quite the ordeal your brother-in-law went through. It goes to show you, that we never really know what lies in store. We try to do all the right stuff, and then something like that happens...
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
How many runners collapse with heart attacks?
I don't know the answer.

But heart attacks are pretty common, as are organized road races (using that as a marker for "runners"). Let's say that the risk of suffering a heart attack is 90% less among people who participate in organized road races vs. people who don't (keep in mind I pulled that number out of my butt, but the point holds true for even a large reduction in risk). That still means a lot people who run are going to suffer heart attacks, even if running is generally protective against heart attacks.

The fact that some runners, even a large total number or significant percentage, have heart attacks does not necessarily indicate that running contributes to heart attacks in any way.
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
"The wise man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can." - Seneca

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle, some things are in your control and some things are not." -Epictetus

"Man is affected, not by events, but by the view he takes on them." - Epictetus
 

crazycanuck

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Agreed 100%. That's why I don't really train for longevity (or health for that matter I guess). I train to support the stuff I like doing. When its time to check out, its time to check out.

That's quite the ordeal your brother-in-law went through. It goes to show you, that we never really know what lies in store. We try to do all the right stuff, and then something like that happens...
Agreed.

Why can someone who drinks and smokes and eats all the wrong things live to 99, and a young healthy looking person drop dead in a marathon? Genetics? Bad luck/fate/the universe? Who knows?

As you indicate there is "doing all the right stuff". And then who knows what would happen? You could die in a car crash going to the gym that you feel you "should go to" out a sense of obligation and not real enjoyment. And then where did being physically fit get you? But, there's not throwing the baby out with the bathwater though and not training at all and curling up with that cheeseburger and is the mentailty that some people unfortunately adopt (like "live fast, die young, leave a good corpse")

I like what you say about training to support the stuff you enjoy. The moment we are presently in, is the moment we have. Like others mention above, meditation has taught me that as well. For some, and I am presuming most of us who post here on the forums, those moments of meditative flow can not only be sitting inward with one's self as a practice, but include movement of some capacity whether weights or endurance activities, or bodyweight, done for our own personal reasons. With the nice side effect of making us functional as long as possible in other aspects of our daily lives.

Really in a way that makes all the pettiness and arguing we sometimes see online in the world of fitness seem ridiculous... makes regarding what program gives you the most gains, what helps you shred fat, the agonizing over "what to do next" all seem sort of moot.

I have never cared for a dying person yet who said they wished they could bench heavier. But some who were frustrated with their lack of mobility and function (unfortunately nowadays seen in an increasingly younger population).... but, also have wished they could spend more time with family, or told people more often they loved them....
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
I have never cared for a dying person yet who said they wished they could bench heavier. But some who were frustrated with their lack of mobility and function (unfortunately nowadays seen in an increasingly younger population).... but, also have wished they could spend more time with family, or told people more often they loved them....
I read an article once on deathbed interviews, to a person they all said the same thing, loved ones, regrets and wishes.. Not one mentioned money or stuff.

I think heartbreak gives you a sense of clarity like no other. I was heartbroken over my divorce and the loss of our family unit (3 kids). Now my eldest daughter is in college locally but my ex moved 2 hrs away with my son 16 and younger daughter 15. I see my daughter locally once a week or so, the other kids not so much, we had a very close family unit and the divorce has devastated us all.
Every spring now I'm saddened that I can't go coach little league and practice with my son.
This is a reminder to me, make it happen, spend time with the kids as much as possible. Things will never go back the way they were, take the lemons and make lemonade.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
The way I see it is that one of the most precious things each of us has is the time we have between now and our death. Spend it wisely. The kicker of course is no one knows how long this time is...
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
The fact that some runners, even a large total number or significant percentage, have heart attacks does not necessarily indicate that running contributes to heart attacks in any way.
Steve I just read this article posted by @krg , If you haven't read it yet it confirms my gut feeling that too much extreme endurance training must exact some kind of toll on the CVS. I've always been suspicious of that kind of training (for me) and have never been drawn to it.
MA training, which I've done my whole adult life is more HIIT and interval work which I'm very comfortable with. Again I'm speaking purely from my own 'gut feeling' on this. Also A+A is a big part of my CV health strategy too..
 
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