As I get older I find myself starting to take stock of my life. I’m 53. How many more career days/years do I have left in me? How many more days of running and hiking? How many more….
I’ve started a number of blogs over the years. Gardening, hiking, cancer…none felt like, well, me.
It is time for me to throw everything in one place. Learn how to tag and categorize and stick with the one truth I know.
I am a lot of things. I love to garden, I love to run, I’m thinking about Xterra, I love my wife and the life we’ve built together. These are all me and continuing to try and keep up separate blogs just isn’t working anymore.
So here we are. Or at least here I am…and hopefully you’re here with me.
I’m now in the middle for training for my upcoming 25K trail run in April. Training has not gone as I had hoped. I had visions of running getting easier the more miles I ran. That the aches and pains would subside. I had visions of getting stronger, faster, better looking…okay….maybe not better looking but you get the idea.
Which leads us to two weeks ago when after a treadmill workout, I was ready to cry, yell, and say to hell with all of it. I don’t know what turned my mood sour. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I hadn’t been sleeping well. All I know is that my head was not in a good space.
I think with this 25K looming in front of me I felt like I should be faster. Why were all my times coming in at a 17’ minute pace? Why did I still feel like every mile, every kilometer, hell, every inch was a fucking struggle.
And then it dawned on me.
You see….I’ve been reading. A lot. Ultra running, marathoning, half marathoning, training, and on and on. I finally came across this nugget:
My only goal for this first 25K is to show up at the starting line, health. Uninjured. If I can make it to the starting line healthy, then I’ve won the battle.
So armed with this, I no longer worry about my time. I’m going to focus and trust the process.
This week I go from running 3 days a week to 4 days a week.
Last Saturday, I ran 6.9 miles. Was I pissed I missed out on the .1 mile that would have given me 7.0 miles? No…not really. I was happy with what what I laid down. I took what the trail gave me that day and that’s all I can ask of this body.
Next Saturday I’m going to shoot for 8 miles. I don’t care how long it takes me. Again, it’s trusting the process. I’m not worried about pace or time.
What epiphany’s have you had when you’ve hit a low point? For that matter, when you do hit a low point, what do you do to crawl your way out of it? Let me know in the comments below!
I’ve heard that folks who race always have a very set routine on race day. They leave nothing to chance and try to do everything the same way every time in order to not forget anything, leave anything to chance, and free their minds to run their best run.
While I don’t run races I find on the days I do run, there does seem to be a sort of “disorder” to get me out the door. Some runs are good, and I can’t remember what I may have done that morning. Other days are crap and I wonder what I could have done differently.
Another way of thinking about “dialing it in”, at least for me, is having a plan and executing against that plan. I have examples of each for this post.
Last week I was in Tampa for my company’s annual offsite. We’d meet all day and then in the evening we would go do something fun. Sunset cruise of Tampa Bay, Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s (Dirty Bitch!), etc. I knew going into the week, I didn’t want to slack off my training. I had to have a plan. That meant most nights I tried to be back at the hotel by 9:00PM in order to be up and working out at 5:00AM. It also meant making sure I had my protein powder, healthy snacks, and making better choices during lunch and dinner. For the most part I was successful. Had a bit of a late night on Tuesday so Wednesday wasn’t happening for my workout. Thursday was a rest day anyway, so I simply “switched” the two days. Wednesday became a rest day, and Thursday was a workout. That meant no compromise on Wednesday night….I had to leave the evening at 9:00PM in order to keep my commitment to myself. But notice, I “allowed” myself flexibility to switch out Wednesday and Thursday’s work outs.
Another example of dialing it in was my routine for getting ready for my training run yesterday. My mornings can be rather scattered, but in an effort to analyze my run yesterday, I wanted to use this space to document what I did. I want to see understand “what” I may have done to have such a good run. I’ll work on the timing of these things later.
- Alarm goes off at 4:15AM…hit the snooze button a couple of times. [Note: I really need to stop that]
- 4:45AM up and drinking my first cup of coffee. Check local news, email, Facebook.
- Remember I have a meditation app called Headspace. I’ve been working through the app this past week or so and I think it’s helping calm my mind…so today I decided to meditate for 3 minutes before I start getting ready for my run.
- Take my daily meds and vitamins. Brush my teeth.
- Pull a running pack of clothes. Put on the anti-chaff and get dressed. My running clothes are always the same…running socks (never cotton), BCG compression shorts (10″), workout shorts, bra (because well…lets just say the girls have to be strapped it else they would knock me out), performance t-shirt, Fitbit on left wrist, Solomon Speedcross 4.
- Grab my headband, running hat, workout gloves, running belt, and towel.
- Set aside wallet, cash, and phone.
- Fill running water bottles and add airpods to running belt.
- Fill another water bottle that stays in the car for “after” the run.
- Has a fruit pouch.
- Leave the house at 6:30AM, get to the part, at 6:45AM, start my run at 7:00AM
Today’s run was a 6:3. That means I ran for 6 minutes and then walked for three. I did start with a 5 minute warm up. In total I ran about 3.25 miles.
Surprisingly my run went really well and felt really good. I was able to turn off my head and not think. That tells me I need to make it a habit to incorporate meditation into my morning routine before I run.
Also, in looking at the list above, I could have less to think about if I would just put in the effort to fill water bottles the night before, maybe set the fruit pouch in a specific place in the fridge so a) I don’t have to think about what flavor I want and b) I won’t forget it.
The less I have to think about, the more I can incorporate a “routine” helps me dial in my running, my workout, and finally my race on race day.
What’s your routine? It doesn’t necessarily have to be for fitness…it could be anything….let me know what tips and tricks you’ve found that help you “dial it in”!
I’ve been following the Tough Mudder workout for 4 weeks now. This week begins week 5 and they are starting to kick it up. Here’s what I did this morning:
Do as many rounds in 12 minutes:
- 10 push ups
- 20 burpees (I fuckin’ hate burpees)
- 20 mountain climbers
That was this morning.
It being Tuesday, this afternoon was Orange Theory. Today at Orange Theory they tried to rip my already sore triceps out of my body. In other words, today was arm day.
So the question I have to ask myself is how do I feel? Before I answer that…let’s talk about last week.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were big workouts. By the time I got home Saturday, I was toast. I couldn’t think, I was restless, I kept asking myself why the hell I was doing all of this. Part of my struggle is trying to figure out food. I can’t figure out what to eat and how much to keep myself fueled properly.
Saturday night was dinner with friends and then I took two sleeping pills and slept for 12 hours. That right there did wonders for me.
Sunday was all about compression shorts as well as compression for my calves and doing as little as humanly possible.
By Sunday evening, I was starting to feel human again. Thank goodness!
So…back to the question…how do I feel. Honestly? I’m probably getting into the best shape of my life. I can tell improvements in my running ability, my lifting ability, and my energy. My fear now is what happens once Tough Mudder is over? How do I keep all of this going? I don’t want to lose what I’ve worked so hard to gain.
What do you do once you train and hit the “big race”? After recovery, then what? Do you pick back up? Start over with the training? Let me know in the comments.
Oh…and for the record, here were the workouts for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Thursday: 15 minute circuit: 8 Jump Lunges, 10 V Ups, 15 Bench Dips (I was able to do 5 rounds plus weights)
Friday: [Stupid 5AM workout…that’s yet another post] Run .25 miles; track the time. Use the time it took to run .25 miles do max reps of V Ups, Push Ups, Air Squats. I could run .25 in an average of 3 minutes, so I broke it down to be 1 minute for max reps of each exercises. This was for 5 rounds.
Saturday: Trail run. This was not my best run. I think I stopped at 1.9 miles. I just lost steam. See above regarding trying to start thinking and figuring out my nutrition.
I’m thinking about doing a post on motivation. Let me know if y’all would be interested in that and I’ll start putting something together.
I knew it would happen. I just didn’t know when. You’re working out, hitting your stride and you think “Hey! This ain’t too bad!” and then suddenly it happens.
A wall jumps out in front of you and you crash right into it.
I don’t want to run, I don’t want to work out. I’m tired of planning my meals. I’m tired of planning my workouts. I’m just plain tired.
That happen to me yesterday.
Yesterday was day 23 of my Tough Mudder workout. Now, I have been taking rest days, but even on rest days I still try to get in a run or a hike. Yeah…I know. I fully realize the irony of that statement.
Yesterday I dreaded getting on the treadmill for my run. I just didn’t want to do it. I wavered between “making myself” vs. just saying to hell with it and not do anything. I walked outside and realized that it’s August in Texas and the temperate was 89° F. In August. Unheard of! Granted the humidity was around 70% but I suddenly felt a bit of a lift realizing I could head out to do an outdoor run. Lucky for me, Laura is now running and training for her first 10K race so she was up for a run outside. I was also supposed to do a TM workout yesterday. Crud..okay I’ll move that workout to today.
So today rolls around and the usual routine is to hit the treadmill, run 2.25 miles and then do the TM workout. But I really just didn’t want to get on the dreadmill. Could I give myself permission NOT to run today, to take a break from the running and just do the TM workout? But, I have to run. Says who? Well, that’s been the plan. I know…but your feeling a little stressed and burned out at the moment…so why not give yourself permission to change the routine?
So, that’s what I did. I gave myself permission to break routine and not run, but I still got my TM workout in. It feet weird. I feel like I had cheated myself in some way, but I have to stop feeling guilty and be okay with this choice. I know tomorrow I have a big workout that I have to do, so probably not running today is going to pay off tomorrow. Also, I have a run on Saturday so if anything I’ll be stronger for that run.
These are the mind games you end up having with yourself.
What have you not given yourself permission to do or not do? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. On a side note…I got my new Solomon Speedcross 4! Aren’t they pretty! They are a great trail running shoe. Just to tell you how much I love them, this is actually my second pair. I’m trying to figure out what shoes I want to wear for the Tough Mudder and I’ve just about settled on these for the race!
When last we met, I announced I had signed up for the Dallas Tough Mudder Half. 5 miles, 13 obstacles. I have a crew who has decided to jump on this Crazy Train and we’re all supporting each other the best we can.
In between trying to run every day, and Orange Theory once a week, I’m also following the Tough Mudder workout. If you’re so inclined, go to the link below, fill it out and download the training guide. Heck…you could join me on this quest. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
I’m on Week 3 and it’s been just pure crap.
On Monday, my Mudder workout was supposed to be 4 rounds of:
- 20x Squat Jumps
- 15x Push Ups
- Run 100m
Remember…this is Texas and it’s currently so hot the Devil has asked us to turn on the air conditioning….so I did my run via the treadmill. Once the workout was done, I then completed my daily run on the treadmill. That run is typically running at 5mph for 2 minutes and then walking 3.5mph for 3 minutes all on a 2.0 incline.
It sucked! I was winded and didn’t feel good. The not feeling good may have come from the heat exhaustion I suffered on Sunday working out in the yard. Either way, I felt like a bag of rocks.
Yesterday I made my way to my favorite podiatrist about a nagging foot problem. Diagnosis was a pinched nerve. She froze my foot and gave me a cortisone shot. In my foot. Damn that hurts. Its like someone taking an ice pick and jabbing it into your foot. That shot felt exactly like that. Now my foot is all achy and to add insult to injury she attached some funky piece of padding to my orthotic that I have to wear. It’s supposed to add a bit of a bend in my foot to help take the pressure off the pinched nerve. Let me tell you, none of this is feeling good. So no workout. However, the chicken wings and beer did console my foot pain.
Now we’re on today. Not to get off schedule I was bound and determine to do something. So I eased off on my workout. I only did a mile and adjusted my speed to 3.0mph on walking and 4.0mph on running. I only did half of my running blocks. Today’s Mudder workout was 12 minutes of as many rounds of:
- 10x Jumping Jacks
- 10x Push Ups
- 10x Jump Lunges
The Jump Lunges weren’t happening so I did lunges. Those almost didn’t happen either…the foot held up until I asked for the lunge on that leg and then it cussed me out.
I finished off the workout doing Table Pull Ups. I have no strength in my arms or back to do pull ups and it’s something I want to get to by the end of August. So I’m starting by laying under my dining room table, stretching out, grabbing the edge and either just “hanging” for time or pulling myself up. I think I could hang for just about 20 seconds and get in about 3 reps of pulling myself up. Oh yeah, have I got work to do!
Anyway…onwards and upwards I know this post has nothing to do with Hiking but thought y’all might be interested in the workout I’m doing.
Wanna join me? Even if you’re not doing a Mudder, you could still do the workout. Not up to running? No worries…walking is just as good. As long as you’re doing something you’re ahead of everyone who’s still on the couch! Till next time!
It has been a year since I’ve written for this blog; because I suck. Okay, maybe I don’t “suck suck” but I suck.
So, let’s recap, shall we?
- 2014 – Started hiking again to get healthy.
- 2015 – Mom passed away.
- 2015 – Married my wife.
- 2015 – Diagnosed with Cervical Cancer.
- 2015 – Beat Cervical Cancer thanks to two back to back hysterectomies.
- 2016 – Backpack the South Rim of Big Bend National Park just 4 months after the last surgery
- 2016 – Remove appendix…three weeks later Frozen Shoulder
- 2017 – Backpack the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim
- 2017 – Sign up for the Dallas Tough Mudder
Okay…we’re caught up. Yes…there are a lot of details but that would make for a very, very, long post and ain’t nobody got time for that.
So…let’s start with the latest.
I now run just about 2 miles every day. Interspersed with running is working out at Orange Theory, hiking, working out with weights here at home, etc. All to keep myself in shape because I never know when a hiking buddy might ping me to say, “Let’s go do xxx”. [Hint hint…someone needs to ping me damn it!] On top of that I still have a dram of climbing Long’s Peak in Colorado; but that’s for another post.
In the middle of all of this, Laura, my wife, decided this year to set a goal for herself to do a half marathon. She’s been kicking ass and taking names and I am so freakin’ proud of her. Damn it…give me a minute…there’s something in my eye.
Anyway…Laura and I got addicted last year to Battle Frog. If you haven’t watched it you have got to check this out. College teams compete in a Navy Seal style obstacle course. We were hooked and amazed.
Then there is American Ninja Warrior. Got hooked on that. The Spartan Race. And then…well, you get the idea.
The thought of doing one of these “things” has crossed my mind, but I’ve never been serious about it…. until now.
I’m a HUGE fan of Merrell. Great company. Their hiking boots are the only boots that seem to it my feet…I mean I can buy a pair turn around and hike several miles, no problem. Anyway, they posted this video the other day.
Her name is Mirna Valerio…aka Fat Girl Running. Check out her blog is you’re so inclined: http://fatgirlrunning-fatrunner.blogspot.com/
Talk about inspiration and someone who is comfortable in their own body and kicking ass!
This was the incentive for me to “investigate” a Tough Mudder. Oh look…. what a coinkydink….there’s one in Dallas coming up at the end of September. Hmmmmm.
I mention my thought in in passing to Laura which leads to numerous discussions.
Then I post a “I’m thinking about…” post on Facebook. Now I’ve done it. All I can tell you is be careful what you commit to in writing…it’s liable to come true.
Next thing I know, a friend (actually Framily = Friend/Family) pinged me saying he’s thinking about doing it.
Then I head to my local Orange Theory to work out and run into folks I’ve known and ask someone if they want to do it…. next thing I know? BOOM!
So…long story short. I’m doing a Tough Mudder Half and I have a crew who is willing to join me on this Crazy Train!
Today I thought of a trainer at Orange Theory who always says, “You have to challenge yourself to change yourself”. Today, I now understand what that means.
I’m challenging and we’re changing. I can’t wait.
Stay tuned. More to come…Ups, downs, training plans, nutrition…. because you know what? If I can do it…so can you.
What is outside your comfort zone that you want to do? Let me know…. let me encourage you. Because we all have it in us to do what we set our minds to.
I completed another trip around the sun recently and my lovely wife thought it would be fun for us to do a 5K.
Actually, to be honest, I mentioned it to her in passing because the run was being held in a place I really liked. It was to be a trail run, there was no entry free, and it wasn’t an officially “timed” event. I thought it would be fun for HER to do it. However, she had other plans and to celebrate yet another milestone, signed us both up. Yay.
Keep in mind, I have not trained for a 5K, I hate running, and did I mention….I hate running? But after much whining I reluctantly agreed.
I ran the first 10 minutes…but had to stop. Exercise induced asthma got the better of me. I finished the race with a time of 50 minutes…but ended up walking most of the way trying to catch my breath.
We left to head home and go to dinner with the in-laws and still I felt like my lungs couldn’t catch up and I could here wheezing deep in my chest.
We came home and I pulled out my nebulizer and gave myself a breathing treatment. Just like that, I could breath again.
Tonight I decided I needed to start running stairs again for an upcoming trip. 10 minutes in my lungs were giving out. While I was able to do 22 floors in 10 minutes, my lung capacity was holding me back.
As I sat in the car frustrated, it suddenly dawned on me. I’ve had 2 major surgeries that took place within 45 days of each other. While I think my body is in one place, we’re really just starting over. I need to treat myself as if I’m starting to work out for the first time. Push myself just a bit, but don’t get distracted with frustration. Just like I’ve done in the past, I’ll build up my endurance and strength over time.
What do you do when you have a setback? What’s your go to pep talk? I think I’m going to have to go back to the YouTube motivational videos to get my head back in the game. But 10 minutes on the stairs beats sitting on the couch so I’ll take it!
Till next time!
On 2015 is coming to a close. I would say I’m sad, but I’m not. Too much has happened this past year. My mom passed away and I ended up with uncertaintity around being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
On the bright side, my girl introduced me to a rockin’ Texas State Park, Caprock Canyons State Park, we got married (officially) in June, we got to spend time in Las Vegas (work trip), wine in central coast CA, and a day or so in CA.
So…2016. What to do, what to do.
I’ve bought a new pair of hiking boots. Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX. $170.00 at REI. Men’s size 8 width Medium.
I hope to put them through their paces tomorrow and we’ll see if they can hold up or if they get returned. I have weird feet. The left foot is a size 9 and the right is a 9.5. I also have bunions so width is important. The boots I bought today at REI are Men’s. They feel okay, but I can tell there’s a few hot spots but I’m going to be hopeful. Luckily REI has a great return policy; so if tomorrow doesn’t work out, then I can at least return them and try again.
So, to kick off 2016, a friend posted this: 52 Hike Challenge. They actually have two challenges; one is the 52 (your choice) and the other is around adventrue (your hike has to meet certain adventures). Since my wife will probably divorce me if I started doing a ton of traveling without her, I think I may shoot for the 52 Hike Challenge.
Anyone else interested in joining me? Could be fun. We could start our own mini-group and share our stories; both good and bad (the bad one make great stories around the beers anyways!).
2015 hasn’t been as kind as I had hoped.
If you’ve been following along you’ll remember after my mom passed away, I was suffering from severe back pain. As part of my investigation into what was causing the pain, a “nagging” thought kept occurring to me. I should go back to my gynecologist and have my fibroid checked out.
Back in 2009 I was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid about the size of a small orange. We named it Orange and have joked about it over the years…particularly during “that time of the month”. Wow…the Orange is really angry this week! You get the idea.
Anyway….we’ve kept tabs on it through the years with no changes. However, after mom’s passing, and the severe back pain it was time to listen to that “nagging” voice. Off the my gyno for an updated pelvic sonogram. Results? The Orange now had two friends. A fibroid about the size of a kiwi, and one about the size of a tangelo.
That’s right…I had a fruit basket living in and on my uterus.
My doctor said it was time for the hysterectomy. We had been putting it off since nothing was causing me problems, but with the back pain and the new friends it was time. My doc wanted to schedule this in June; but the stipulation was I wouldn’t be able to swim for 6 to 8 weeks…in June…in Texas…uh no.
So I told her I had some business trips occurring at the beginning of September and we would schedule for after that. Like clockwork her folks called and we scheduled the surgery for October 1st. This wasn’t going to be robotic because of the size of the fibroids. This was going to have to be done the old fashioned way so I would be in the hospital for a few days.
The surgery went well. They removed my uterus and cervix. We left my ovaries in hopes of “easing” me into menopause.
11 days later everything changed. I went for my post opt checkup. The pathology report detected a cervical cancer. Further tests of the tissue was needed to confirm the diagnosis; and we wouldn’t have those results for another week or more.
The results were confirmed. Cervical cancer. My doctor urged me to see a gynecological oncologist she recommended and thought I would like. Another doctor appointment…another two weeks of waiting.
On the day we met with the oncologist I knew something was up when he walked in with a text book tucked under his arm and pages flag with sticky notes. Seems that the “type” of cervical cancer I was diagnosed with only occurs in 1% of those diagnosed with cervical cancer. His recommendation was not to even do any tests but to go straight back to surgery and take everything else out. That meant overaries, lymph nodes, tissue; what’s called a radical hysterectomy. This would do two things…determine if the cancer escaped or moved, and if it did, we’d know exact locations to target radiation.
I’m happy to report we did the surgery and everything came back clean. There is no cancer left and the surgery we did on Oct. 1st did it’s job. We found the cancer in it’s earliest stages…which is not typical. This cancer is so undetectable that by the time it’s found, it’s typically already Stage 3 or 4. Mine was at the upper end of Stage 1.
So…all this to say that I haven’t been on the trail…for too damn long. I’m ready to strap the pack on and pick up where I left off.
My promise to you is to start writing again so you too can follow the journey. Hopefully by telling my story it’ll give hope to others who are struggling to “start” or feel like they can’t.
You always can…all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.
Right now, my biggest walk is maybe 1/2 a mile at this point. That’s around the block; and that’s okay…I know I’ll get there with each passing day.
My hope is for a easier, gentler 2016. I’ve learned a lot of lessons this past year. Namely I can face it all and keep my sense of humor about me. That, and I have a ton of people who love me and are with me.
So…here’s to 2016. Let’s get this party started!
One year ago today I was determined to get back out and hike/walk my way back to full health. I had no idea what the year ahead of me would hold; but looking back, I’m proud of my accomplishments!
Today I officially hit the 400 mile mark. Actually 403 miles to be exact! To put this in perspective….I essentially have walked from Dallas to Oklahoma City and back. Granted I did the miles over a year; but it’s a start.
We’ve been under water here in North Texas as I mentioned in my previous post. So today I headed south to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve over in Plano. Absolutely loved it once I finally figured out how the hell to get off the cement and hit the trails. Lots of other hikers out there training along with trail runners.
Its funny; all the trail runners have their ear buds in. I don’t blame them. Running is monotonous. You really do need something to drive you. However, when I hike, I don’t listen to music. The only sound is the Runkeeper lady who annoyingly tells me every 5 minutes how much I’m sucking on my distance and pace. She’s sort of a bitch…but she’s a necessary evil.
I prefer the sound of nature. With enough practice you get “nature ears”. I can hear a large lizard rustling through the leaves. If I stop and stand still, eventually I’m rewarded by getting to see what made the noise. It’s pretty amazing.
Anyway…glad to find a place I can hike that’s currently not under water. Still jonesing for a multi-day hike. I’ll figure that one out eventually. My first choice is Long’s Peak in Colorado. But the latest I’ve seen is it’s still under snow and I don’t have much experience with “winter” hiking (using crampons and ice axes). Hopefully, they’ll warm up and I can shoot for something mid to late July. Keeping my fingers crossed!