What A Difference 30 Days Can Make

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30 days ago I hadn’t run 2 marathons in a 3 week period.

It seems that we have found our way to the end of May already. Okay, okay, I realize that tomorrow is still a full-fledged member of the group of lucky days that identify themselves as May-days, but really May is all but over.

Where does the time go?

Over the past month I’ve been taking part in something known as The May Health Challenge (or #MayHealth on The Twitter), a challenge put forth by my friends Dr. Julie Gill and Dr. Mark Kubert of ClearPath Chiropractic here in Guelph. The goal was to:

Do something every day for the first 30 days of May that serves to improve your overall health.

It could have been flossing regularly, opting for stairs over the escalator or elevator, going for a 10 minute stroll in the eve, or saying no to that deliciously awesome warm piece of freshly made strawberry and rhubarb pie covered in coconut milk ice cream and fresh berries. Mmmmm, fresh strawberry and rhubarb pie1.

May Health included Kangooing with Amanda (not pictured), Mel, and Dr. Mark.

Great. I just drooled on myself and have a sudden craving for fresh strawberry and rhubarb pie.

I digress.

Back to May Health. After careful consideration I decided that my personal challenges were going to be:

  1. Drink more water,
  2. Stretch more,
  3. Sleep more, and
  4. Run two marathons.

What’s interesting is that on review items 1 through 3 seemed like the easier of the tasks. I mean, drink more water versus run two marathons – that should be a no brainer. And yet, truth be told, it was far easier for me to do the latter than it was to do the prior.

How’d I do exactly?

Well, I definitely managed to drink more water. Some days were better than others, and some days were down-right terrible. On a few occasions I’m sure the only H2O that entered my body came in the form of coffee or beer2. Regardless, I still think this challenge was a success because I was absolutely more conscious about my water intake, and overall my hydration level has definitely improved3.

Water. Get it in you!

Challenge number two is a difficult one to measure, partly because I stretch a lot as it is, partly because I didn’t capture any values to gauge my progress, but mainly because I forgot that this was one of my goals.

Hmmm, perhaps I should have printed them off and put them up in my office as a reminder?

Anyway, given that I managed to run two marathons without falling apart – plus several other long runs between them – I’m going to assume that my stretching plan overall was adequate. Did I stretch more during the month of May? No idea. Did I stretch daily? You bet your ass I did.

And then there was the sleeping challenge. Oh sweet sleeping challenge – my archnemesis. Sleeping was by far the greatest challenge on my list – evidenced by my results. According to my Sleep Cycle app, my average nightly sleep remains at 5 hours 30 minutes (based on 559 nights of data). Reviewing the values for the month, I actually managed to sleep 5 hours 34 minutes on average per night. Technically this is a win, but it’s nothing to write home about. Why? Well, statistically speaking this isn’t significantly different from 5 hours 30 minutes (p-value=0.706)4. And I’m nothing if I’m not a man of statistics.

So there you have it. Another May has come and gone, but this time it was filled with challenges and successes inspired by Guelph’s dynamic duo of Mark and Julie. Thanks to both of you for challenging us to take another look at our health and the minor, and not so minor things we can do to make it better.

Do I feel healthier? You know it.

Will I keep striving for better? Absolutely.

Am I still thinking about strawberry and rhubarb pie? Sweet baby Jesus yes I am.


1 Hey mom, if you’re reading this and are wondering how you might fatten up your son whom you are always worried about – might I leave you with the following four words:

  1. Fresh
  2. Strawberry
  3. Rhubarb
  4. Pie

2 Note, I did not count these things as a source of water.

3 How do I know this? Pee doesn’t lie people.

4 You just knew I was going to calculate a p-value.


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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    I was just doing some post-run stretching when I checked my RSS feed* and saw that you had this new post. So I was stretching as I was reading about your stretching. True story.

    *because the only way I can spend enough time stretching is if I entertain myself with the Internet while doing said stretching because I have the attention span of a carrot.

    1. dangillis says:

      A sexy, sexy carrot.

      1. Rick says:

        Carrots have attention spans?

        1. Beth says:

          Indeed they do. But you only learn that when you do a PhD in nutrition!

  2. Julie says:

    Awesome post Dan! Thanks for being such an active participant of May Health. Your motivation is contagious!

    1. dangillis says:

      Thanks. Looking forward to my next challenge – whatever that might be.

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