Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whose the traveller?

My daughter at just over a year old, has traveled more in the last 5 months than I have. That ain't right. And I might be a bit offended relieved. Mistress has gone to Seattle for the week and taking our little baby Mae with her. 

I did offer to watch both Mae and Mighty Mo while she went there, but it wasn't even a consideration in her planning. Yeah, I have never claimed to be a stressless father figure.  It is enough for me to handle myself, Mighty Mo is pretty much self sufficient and then there is a crying, four back teeth coming in, fussy, doesn't like hearing 'No', daredevil of a Mae. Somehow, women like my wife have learned to cope with this behavior, while men like myself would rather face 300 Spartans.

I have significantly improved my parenting when it comes to Mighty Mo. I got him to practice in time Monday and we ate at his favorite restaurant, Chili's.  Tuesday morning he got himself dressed, made his own very nutritious lunch and did all his chores before I was even out of bed. So we went to ihop for breakfast. Grandma made him dinner and I got to have a new dehydrated Mountain House meal for my own. 4 Star cuisine for me.

Oh yeah, for those that don't recall. I don't can't cook. I can boil water like a sumbitch but lost on the subtleties of adding more than three ingredients.  Have no fear we are stocked up on yogurt and protein bars. We're solid. 

Along with half the family away, this is the busiest week of the month for me in my work responsibilities. Training is taking a hit this week which is okay, I often plan for this. I am still getting in daily training of some kind, just not very intense.

I am not going to just exist. I am going to live.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Shiny Thing: SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger (aka SPOT 2)

Why in the age of smart phones with navigation applications and precisely tuned dedicated GPS units that track your position to within a few feet, does one need what in essence is a satellite pager?  The same person who can't get cell phone coverage outside of city limits and owns a top of the line GPS that can only tell you exactly where your at when you need emergency assistance.  This is the territory that SPOT is trying to own. 

SPOT has received a bad name in its short life because it isn't a phone and it isn't a GPS and it isn't a personal locator beacon. But it does contact who you want, it does track where you are at (more on that in a minute) and it can notify people if you are in an emergency situation. So lets take a closer look.

First, why does SPOT have a bad name. Well SPOT is first and foremost marketed as a messenger tool with the ability to assist you in the event of an emergency. The company at first, and possible still try's to come off as an satellite emergency notifier but the provided manuals give this area equal space to the more mundane aspects of the unit. The vast majority of the market share SPOT is trying to navigate is controlled by companies selling units called PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). These dedicated units require no subscription after purchase like SPOT does thus the mud racking. Plus PLB's are the less is more item.. A one shot life saver. Press the emergency button and a distress signal is transmitted on a frequency dedicated to search and rescue teams in your area, which will come to your aid. While SPOT has more more communicative options.

After buying a SPOT unit, made and operated by GlobalStar, Inc,  the user must activate the unit with an annual subscription for basic service with additional payment options for improved benefits. PLB purist scoff at this notion claiming that a for profit company using its own satellites is not as effective as  using the internationally recognized rescue satellites used by all other land and marine based responders.  However, SPOT provides a lot more service than just a one use "Rescue Me, I'm here" button and to date SPOT has saved thousands of subscribers using its system. I have no problem with paying a for profit company for its business as long as it delivers.

The unit is the size and width of a hamburger patty with a solid face with  of mostly circular design with deep set buttons along the bottom third. When turned on the unit sips power off lithium battery's.  Unless told to perform a task it merely blinks green that the unit is on with a estimated standby time of three months. When tasked with a job the GPS light will blink green that it is attempting to find a satellite and then blink when it is sending the message. All errors show with a red blinking light. After it has completed its task it will continue to show the user that it did or did not send the message for up to an hour. This means the owner doesn't have to stare at the unit for twenty minutes waiting for a message to go out, but can look at it later to see the results.

I spend a lot of time in areas outside city limits like canyons, mountains, deserts and waterways, ergo I spend a lot of time outside of cell phone range. It's important to my wife that she knows I am okay. And it gives me piece of mind as well that she is not concerned about my welfare. SPOT allows you to press a button whenever you want and it transmits one way messages to anyone placed on a online contact list. This is set up using your account profile pages before you go off the grid and can be changed as often as you want depending on your needs. You can send what I call 'pings' to cell phones receiving text and anyone's email. When using the Check In button on the unit, it sends the name of your unit, your location in Latitude and Longitude and a preset message, "I'm Okay". 

If you use the Custom Message button, you can change the verbiage, again using your online profile, to suit the needs of the trip. One day it could say, "At the top of the mountain, heading back to trail head" the next, "Found the last geocache, heading home."  It also sends the name of the unit and location in lat/long. My wife is the primary recipient of my custom messages which say something like , "Finished with workout, coming home, will call when I get in range".

In today's age of instant email and lightening text, SPOT is hit and miss on connection. Granted your using satellites and not cell phone towers and T1 lines. Using a stopwatch and my cell phone as a contact, I would activated the Check In function and measured how long it would take from pressing the button till the message hit my phone. I did the same with the Custom Message. The best time has been 90 seconds. The longest 17 minutes. However, every time either button was activated the message was received. The unit will make 3 attempts over 20 minutes to send a message, (the person receiving only gets one 'ping') so even at the longest time, it is within the company time line.

SPOT units track your whereabouts but the user can not see the coordinates because there is no data screen.  However, as mentioned before using the basic communication buttons a trail of digital bread crumbs is created with outgoing messages. For an additional annual subscription fee a tracking program is provided on the unit that when activated by its button on the unit, will transmit your location every ten minutes for 24 hours or the unit is turned off. These are not sent to individual cell phones and emails but to either your online account or pre-created SPOT Adventure Shared page. If you create an Adventure page for your event, you are given the URL link for that specific event and you then send it to whomever you want or even social media websites. It will update the Shared page with your current position and update the previous two positions in case the 'ping' did not get out. The map is a Google Map model with the usual map viewing options. This is a very cool tool and well worth the investment. There is no need to download data from a GPS to your computer and then software the route to send to friends. You can also come back later and upload photos from your trip and if your digital cameras internal clock is accurate the program will automatically link photos to where you were on the trip. 

Coming from a dedicated GPS world it does take a few Adventures to adjust your viewing paradigm. With a dedicated GPS, it tracks your every foot and zigzag of movement. The SPOT only sends a 'ping' every ten minutes. When seeing this, you have to adjust to that fact even though you just did ten switchbacks, the tracking function will be a straight line from point to point. Its a as-the-crow-fly's mentality. The map will also show the location of any one way message you send. Those people will only get the messages and not a track every ten minutes. 

Your subscription saves all 'pings' and tracking for thirty days. If you do not set up an Adventure page before you head out,  you can do it when you get back. By selecting the dates you want to use for your adventure, the page will automatically export all your tracks that are in that range of dates to a map.

No one wants to be in a situation that demands rescue. The fear and panic is only elevated when you are in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization. SPOT is not a classic personal locator beacon, nor do I suggest you purchase one for such a need if that is your only concern.  SPOT has two covered buttons  on the unit, Help and SOS. These are set along the outside edge of the face at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. To activate you have to pry the cover off with your fingernail. This is also a point of contention with PLB purists as it's believed that a rescue unit should be able to be activated with one hand.  Its a fair point.

Help, on the left side, sends a message to your set up contacts, again with your unit name and location and a custom message. If you purchase additional services, there are options for road side service and marine assistance. SOS is on the right side of the unit. Pressing SOS will activate a 'ping' every 5 minutes for 24 hours. This message takes outgoing priority on GlobalStar satellites. The message is sent to their emergency center and they arrange communication with the nearest Search and Rescue or1st Responder  unit to your location. An additional service that can be purchased is GEOS Rescue Insurance which provides up to $100,000 for your rescue efforts.

Filling a niche that continues to become mainstream with each passing month, SPOT is a unit that first and foremost guarantees successful one way communication between user and contacts. This not only brings piece of mind but draws friends and family into your life using your Shared Adventures pages. There is a big difference between needing a rescue because your stuck along the freeway with no more inner tubes for your road bike and having a broken ankle ten miles from your car.  In the rare event that outside assistance is needed to effect your safe or timely return, Help and SOS are there for you to dictate your level of assistance.

Here at Endurance Pursuits, I guarantee I will be using SPOT weekly for my training that occurs in and around the Superstition Mountains. My training area a 30 minutes drive from cell service and my wife as soon as possible wants to know I am safe, in my car and heading down the mountain to come home. As an endurance athlete living in the desert, I feel I am doing my family and friends a service by taking steps to protect myself. 

I am not going to just exist. I am going to live.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Shiny Thing: RailRider's Eco-Mesh shirt.

I started following Adventure Races like Raid Gauloise and its more successful sequel Eco-Challenge when they began showing in the very early 1990s.  I still follow Adventure Races quite closely.  RailRider's Eco-Mesh shirt was born from the need to provide adequate clothing for these multi-discipline athletes. This shirt continues to have a strong niche with ultra  athletes at events like Badwater 135 and Marathon de Sable  as well as worn by thru hikers on American trails. 

I don't have Adventure Racing on my short list, but I do share a love for training like one.  I also appreciate gear and clothing that has multiple uses. My final impetus to finally buy one was my desire to have a shirt that better dissipated my body heat, thus staving off overheating, dehydration and heat injury. Hey anything that helps me in that department is good.

I bought the shirt in white and was shocked at how brilliant and blinding white the top is.  I have zero luck keeping white clothes stain free but I surmise my main problem will be trail grime and not pasta sauce. Though I think I could pull this shirt off in a lot of nice eateries.

I purchased the shirt from the manufactures website. The shipping and handling were more expensive than the few other sites that sold the garment, even at lower prices, but I chose a decade of drooling on their website as a reason to go to the source.  My loyalty did not disappoint, I received the shirt in two days with their cheapest shipping rate. Much earlier than anticipated. Which gave me an opportunity to try it on the next day for a seven mile recovery run in the Superstition Mountain range. 

Weighing about the same as a short sleeve cotton shirt, this long sleeve 2-ply nylon top dries infinitely faster. The material up the side and down to the cuff is two inch wide mesh that offers terrific ventilation. There is also a thick ribbon along the upper back covered by a yoke of material. The cut is quite generous, more like wearing a pajama top than a tee shirt. It is incredibly breathable. It also has a SPF 30 rating.

The Eco-Mesh shirt has elastic cuffs that are not so tight that you can't hike the sleeves up to the elbow and they stay there. The elastic will also keep out flies, mosquitoes and ticks if need be.  To keep weight down there is no collar and the v-neck can be closed by a Velcro tab. Inside the shirt is a fastener to keep the tab secure when the collar is left open.

I wore the shirt with sleeves up and sleeves down. Each was comfortable and the elastic kept the sleeve from sliding down my forearm. The cut and venting allows air to circulate very well and I don't believe I was sweating any more than I would with a sleeveless technical shirt. The benefit of the shirt here is that without having to apply sunscreen to my  bare skin, it breathes easier and evaporates sweat more efficiently.

I also wore a Camelbak MULE and when I was done the shirt back was quite sweaty. I was surprised that it dried so fast, just a few minutes after getting in my vehicle to drive home.  I was conscious of this fact mostly from the thousands of times I have finished a workout, got in my vehicle and my back has remained wet and clammy till I got home a half hour later.

This is not an item I will be wearing in regular rotation for running on the streets but I see a long future in casual summer wear and I hope it becomes my permanent trail top for hiking and desert runs.  I have had the same make/model hiking shirt for almost ten years and the only way it will be knocked from its pole position in my closet is by the Eco-Mesh continuing to impress me with its quick drying, ventilation ability. 

After ten years of reading fan mail from satisfied customers and my results after a hot, desert run, I predict a changing of the guard in the very near future.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Event Report #2: 2010 Pat's Run

I always arrive early to races. I would rather get a good parking spot and close my eyes in the car than sleep an extra 30-60 minutes in bed. I despise race day traffic. This tradition continued and as the sun rose and completed my visualizations and watched other runners park and walk to the start. I used the distance of just over a half mile to do some warm ups to get my legs ready for work right off the gun. No getting into the groove on the course. At only 4.2 miles I had to fly from the start and not let up if I was to make my  perfect race goal of sub-30 minutes. 

To hit my goal I needed to be in the 7 minute pace group. I wasn't sure if could maintain that pace for the whole race but it was a great place to start. I walked straight to my starting coral and avoided eye contact with people. I wanted to stay focused on my race. My only distraction was that I was surrounded by people half my age. An ASU co-ed stood by wearing an outfit more fitting a jog into a yoga studio than holding a 7 minute mile pace. Another wore a bulky backpack. My confidence was shaking that I was in the right spot. 

My HRM was showing my at over 110 bpm, just standing there waiting. The race was delayed for 20 minutes so more people could get to the course which meant more 20-somethings in my coral. So I closed myself off and meditated for several minutes, controlling my breathing. I looked down at my watch and my heart rate was back under 80. The waiting actually calmed me.

As soon as we our wave was released, it leaped from the enclosed pen and onto the road. After a few minutes of jostling around in the crowd I was able to look at the pace on my Polar 400 and it was 6:30 per mile. I felt good, relaxed in my breathing, but it was very soon the race and I was afraid I had set to harsh a pace. I found someone in front of me hitting 7 flat like a metronome and stayed there. The first rise in the flat terrain came crossing the Mill Avenue bridge and my pacer slide back. I maintained the pace and started reeling some runners in. I love running over this bridge and have done so for years.

It was at this point that realized a major step forward in my endurance pursuits. The crowd had thinned a bit.  People were no longer leaping left and right or surging between runners to find their spot on the road. Everyone sort of had their perfect line and pace and it was just the rhythmic sound of hundreds of shoes pounding the pavement.  I never thought I would hear that noise again. Be able to contribute to that cacophony of meditative bliss. For runners it a beautiful pitch and I revealed in it for the moment it lasted. 

Curry. It's not just a spice it the name of the road that presents the only real vertical challenge around Tempe Town Lake and another stretch of road I have been up and down hundreds of times if not more. I found that my pace dropped here to a low 8 and some very lean rabbits were jumping past me. I pumped my arms, tucked my chin and vowed to reel in at one person with a consistent pace. I knew with my eyes closed where the real top of this incline was and I used that to my advantage going up and heading down the back.

At the bottom of Curry I passed the 2 mile marker and my pace dropped dramatically. I pulled mid-6 for most of mile, not an easy feat for me but thankful for the extra time bank. I was starting to feel the effect in my lungs, my legs were still strong and I had no aches. However at this point I noticed my mouth was dry and I began spitting what I could not swallow.

The forth mile is flat and then the last .2 miles is a fast incline into Sun Devil stadium.  With a mile to go I was being passed by runners I had not seen so they must have come from the back. They had made a fatal mistake in their surge. The stadium is massive and appears much closer than it is so they started sprinting early hoping to make up time.  These people needed to wait at least another half mile before putting in the surge they were showing now. Here my experience prevailed over my ego and without a change in my race strategy I pulled ahead of all of them. How strange that I was using my mind for positive positioning instead of killing myself to compete with others.

It is estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 people ran this race. As I stated earlier, I was in a coral right up front and had no idea how many people were behind me. So it was a mild shock to turn the final corner  and see thousands of people still in their corals waiting to start a race I am moments away from finishing. It started my sprint at this point and of course the extra effort produced a gag reflux. Being used to this I held my pace but I just kept thinking, "Don't puke here, not here."  And I didn't.

The final climb into the stadium produced a bottle neck and runners started to slow to navigate some turns. Once out onto the football field and the finish line I was able to see the race clock read 30:21. I pushed hard and thought to myself as I crossed line at 30:57, "Well I can say I finished in thirty minutes. Good time."

I slowed to a walk and unconsciously pressed the stop button on my watch. What is this! Of course. The finish line clock starts when the first coral leaves. I was in the third coral. Each coral was sent off at :30 second intervals. I actually ran the course in UNDER 30 MINUTES. In fact the official results show 29:52. My God. Amazing. I ran my perfect race time.

I doubted myself for weeks. I didn't know if I could hold that pace. I didn't know if I was worthy of the positioning. But I kept visualizing it. I kept making the time my reality. No matter how much I doubted my ability I trusted what I was doing was working and I would see results. I feared the clock until the gun went off and then I didn't even look at my time until the finish line. I didn't even look at my heart rate, just pace. I ran hard but not over my ability. This day was a realization that I can still race in some capacity. Praise God.

I am not going to just exist. I am going to live.
Today I lived.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sometimes you just have to pig out

It has been a long week of stress, weird sleeping patterns, a race this weekend. This morning I felt fine and around mid morning I started getting a headache, my eyes hurt, the back of my neck hurt. Sort of that body ache feeling before a cold hits. 

I thought maybe it was from being hunched over a desk and wearing ez-readers to scan fine print on faxes. On the other hand i have been around a lot of sick people lately.  I figured if I'm sick, I won't be enjoying food for the next several days so load up. If I am just run down, the massive infusion of calories will turn me around. So I decided to walk over to the Mexican joint next door and pig out.

In either regard, it's a situation that alibi's my normal eating.and I walked away stuffed but not feeling guilty. I left food on my plate. Okay plates. And chips in the bowl. I am praying its what I need to turn this around.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I got a real race this weekend

I realized that today I am going to pick up my race packet /swag bag for the Pat Tillman run this weekend. I am doing an honest to God race. One that I am seriously going to race the clock on. Like, pulling the safety tabs off the hand grenade and throwing myself through this course. A red lining heart rate, dry spit rope hanging off my lip, jaw tightening attack of the course.

The course is a symbolic distance of 4.2 miles and finishes on the 42 yard line of ASU's SunDevil Stadium. The course is essentially a clockwise route around Tempe Town lake along path's I have run, without exaggeration, over a thousand miles on.  I  have trained for this race by running out of my office and turning left at the light. I am that close.  

Looking at last years results, my AG had 400 runners.  If I hit the time I think I am capable of with a great race I could finish in the top 40 of last years 400 people. Even with moderate training paces I am running in the top 100.

Mistress supports my strategy in this race because it is so short. I will be over the finish line before my liver even realizes my kidney might be in trouble. Don't worry, I am not going off the deep end and signing up for races left and right. In fact, I don't think I'm signed up for anything else this year. Yet.  However I am planning for some epic, and I mean mind blowing training sessions in May. 

I am not going to just exist. i am going to live. 

Pat Tillman played football for Arizona State University. His number was 42. He was drafted into the NFL and played his last season with the Arizona Cardinals. After September 11,  2001, he turned down a $3.6 million NFL contract and enlisted in the US Army with a fast track to Ranger school, which he completed. While deployed to Afghanistan he was tragically killed by friendly fire. The race is a fundraiser for a foundation in his name.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Endurance is sometimes doing nothing

Mighty Mo spent the last three days in the hospital. Its his colitis, something I have written about quite a bit before. This means that Mistress and I also spent the last three days in the hospital. Boy its a lot harder when we have two kids. 

It started Saturday morning with symptoms similar to a mild heat injury which was our first thoughts as he had played flag football that morning. Then the vomiting and painful BM's but then he started to really complain about abdominal pain. Mistress has been through enough of this heat injury stuff with me that she immediately packed him over to a kid only urgent care nearby. After some tests and high white blood cell counts he was sent to the full blown children's hospital that he normally goes to. 

Since Mo had already spent several hours at urgent care and been given an IV and morphine, when Mistress arrived at the children's ER to be admitted at the hospital Saturday night she was able to walk to the front of the line. A room had already been arranged between clinic and doctors. She told me she caught some of those, "You can't be seriously trying to cut the line" looks. But she was too tired to explain and whisked away so fast, she didn't need too. 

Have you caught on yet that I have been alone with my little girl. Good grief, I have never spent a night alone with Mae. I didn't drop her and she seemed to smile most of the time so good on me. On Sunday, grandma picked up Mae as soon as she could and I rushed to the hospital to be with the rest of my life. We stayed there together until it seemed he would be released before dinner and I went home. Then news came that he was not going to be released, the doctor was not happy with his progress.Well, Mistress came home Sunday night to be with Mae and I went back to stay overnight with Mo. A fairly uneventful night though we did have a couple of procedural moments that had to be addressed wide awake. He was eventually released mid day Monday. 

Some very interesting comments regarding the weekend. Mighty Mo on morphine is still a riot. Even more so that he can hold more interesting conversations. He is a chatterbox and always cracking jokes. Nurses love working with him as he is super polite, doesn't cry (much) and does pretty much everything he is told which is quite scary for a kid. He doesn't know if the syringe the nurse is holding is going to be poked in his body, put in a drip line or shoved in his mouth for an oral medicine.

We watched a bunch of movies and played War with cards. He played a lot with some new Star Wars figures I brought for him that were meant as birthday gifts later this month. It was worth it. He got a big kick playing with the bed. 

Things look good for now. Things seem back to normal. With our family, you never know.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Oh look a mirror

How many times have stood in front of a mirror before or after a shower and looked at yourself sideways?  Every day?  Often enough? Maybe pinched or pulled or sucked in or slapped a body part?  And, God's honest truth you think, "Ain't that bad", "Looks better than before".  

Now, think back to what you thought last time you saw someone whip out a camera. QUICK!DUCK, its a camera! Ever feel like that. Instead of running towards center frame, you grab a couch pillow to cover up or stand in the back of a crowd. Maybe even make a scene about not wanting to be in the picture.

What about when you see pictures of yourself. Are you shocked, SHOCKED, that your face is that round. Your arms look that big.  Your skin is that white. Your favorite shirt makes you look bulbous?

You are not alone. No, seriously. Our minds are so strange in that we can look at ourselves 'objectively' several times a day and think we are doing okay but we become super-hyper-critical at a 4x6 glossy. I'm no expert but I chalk it up to the same phenomenon as being surprised that hearing our voice played back to us outside our body sounds different than when we talk to ourselves in our head.

It seems like all mirrors are circus mirrors letting us see a form of reality that doesn't make us run scared out of the room. The type of reality we can marginalize. C'mon. We know if were out of shape. We know if we've been tilting the pints more than the barbells. Eating fast food over home cooked. We know. You know. But when we look in the mirror we convince ourselves that its a half truth. it's not that bad. We are humiliated and dismissive at the same time.

We can not however run from photographs. They're out there for everyone to see. Now everyone else sees you like they always see you. But its the God's honest truth stick being smacked up side your head.

So. The point. If your going to be serious about making a change in your life take a candid picture and put it on your bathroom mirror. Or the refrigerator. One someone sent you from a party. Or a self portrait in your skivvies if its weight loss. It might be a plate of food if its portion control or food types. It might be a credit card statement. Whatever it is, you must first look outside of yourself to know who you really are. Once you have the right frame of mind and can clearly see the course of action you can repair the damage.

I am not going to just exist. I am going to live.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

To lose weight, first you get mad, then you get consistent.

Yesterday I finally posted about my weight loss. Now some of you may beg the question, "Why not tell us sooner about this?"  Honestly, I was a bit embarrassed.  

I had always been right around a Clydesdale athlete (200 lbs).  I trained at  about that weight for Ironman triathlons for almost four years and contrary to normal thinking, it is damn hard to drop weight even with that much training on the schedule. After I got injured in April of 2008, I was told, "workout and die," so for the next 18 months I put on a little bit more weight through inactivity. At my worst day last fall I tipped the scale at 214 lbs. 

That was enough to finally pull back from what most people call 'normal eating habits' and regain some control of my body. Luckily I was finally able to start getting structured, consistent exercise back into my life and those extra calorie expenditures really helped to initially start losing weight. I know what my base metabolism is, so I started tracking all my food again so that everything that I eat goes on record based on calorie count. Every calorie I expend in exercise goes against it. At the end of the week, I should have seen a decrease in body weight. 

So no secret. Calories in are less than calories out. My first goal was to get back to 190 lbs, something I thought posed a challenge with Halloween through New Years looming. I hit it easily. So I set a new goal. Then another. And I seem to be hitting all of them. It has become so easy now to drop pounds and build my endurance foundation that I gave myself a thus undisclosed final goal weight that I should reach in a month or two.

Let me tell you that it is not easy to begin a program. Its damn hard to maintain it. Almost impossible to make it a complete lifestyle change. That is why so many people say they will start a program and never do. Those that do rarely stick with it. For the few that make it through to their goal, the vast majority cannot sustain the results long term. 

I can honestly say I have not denied myself much. I still have a couple slices of pizza every Friday for family night. I have a sweet tooth that often acts up around 9pm that I try to fight. I won't turn down a cold beer. You will see me weighing food at home. You will see calorie counts on the food I pack for work, written in black sharpie. I plan. Then I stick to the plan.

When it came down to it, I realized that socially you just don't see fat people living into their 50's, 60's, 70's and beyond without severe medical conditions that affect their health. Even as a training Ironman athlete I knew that if I dropped weight I would be happier, healthier and faster. I would have more self confidence and self esteem. And I do. Now.  Life is to be lived to its fullest and while that can certainly happen at any weight or age, I plan on doing it as physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy as possible.

I am not going to just exist. I am going to live.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cinched Tight

I think I am pretty normal when I say that, as a Dude, I don't buy new clothes very often. When I do, I buy my 'play clothes' at REI, my 'work clothes' at Sports Authority and my workout clothes through my club sponsors. Though its been mentioned here and there, I have lost 40 lbs. since last October. And I haven't bought any new clothes. Thus everything sort of hangs off me, from work shorts to running shirts. Heck I think I even went down half a shoe size.

This morning I walked into a store that I hadn't been too in several months, for a cup of coffee. The manager, a man I encouraged and mentored into triathlon a few years ago, warmly smiled at seeing my once familiar face. And then his gaze dropped to my waistline that has shrunk by five inches and my overall  much slimmer silhouette and his jaw dropped. He probably stared at me for five seconds, agog. 

When I walked up to pay, he gave me such high praise and adoration in front of customers that I was humbled and could only respond the truth, I got cleared for training from my injury (which he knew about) and been working hard. He asked if I had any races coming up and I mentioned Pat's Run and also my hopeful first of two Big Ass Idea Adventures. He laughed and said it was indeed a crazy plan. He then said he was channel surfing last week and saw a segment on  some insane event and he thought of me. What he named is incredibly enough what I hope to be my second Big Ass Idea Adventure. All I could do was laugh, that I am so transparent and have this aura of craziness about me.

I got kind of sheepish walking out, at such lavish praise and as I put my head down I realized I really do look thinner and definitely need some new work shorts. All my work pants, are two waist sizes big and cinched tight with a belt I've been notching my own holes in. The tail of the belt reaches well around my waist and sticks straight out past a belt loop. Due to the extra material, the fly button either hangs down under the belt or I pull it up over the belt. When I looked down, it was pulled over the belt but was also a good inch over it. 

I vowed to at least buy a new belt this week and then figure out a way to try on some new clothes this weekend. I know, poor baby. 

I am not going to exist. I am going to live.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dream Big...just make sure you fit into the pants.

Or to put it another way, You can want to do almost anything with your life but you have to have the capacity to do it. 

I finally spoke to someone today about my Big Ass Adventure Idea and the training that leads up to it. I confided in this person because this person has shown me to be far more solicitous of my health than I am.  And since it is pretty obvious that I can not listen to my own body when I get into that zone, I have appreciated the support.

I had to make sure the connection on my phone hadn't died, this person was still there just in shock taking it in.  The first response was, "You should totally get one of those GPS things so Mistress knows where your at." I laughed and related that I did indeed that very morning tell her I was going to buy a SPOT 2 gps satellite messenger this week with my substantial REI rebate. And that with the social networking aspect of the device I can set it up so everyone could get real time results of my efforts. 

Then like all my other crazy ideas I've have actually mentioned to people, this person volunteered to help me out with some of my training outline.  Lets face it, this person is doing 3 Ironman's this year and it's not easy to keep things fresh when you've already done six.  In fact, made some damn good recommendations to provide for my safety. Unfortunately most were races and none fit my time line or health boundary's. Somethings to consider however for future events. Everything I do today with my nutrition, my supplementation,  my training, my meditation, just brings me closer to my goal of being able to do endurance events at any time without having to build a foundation for it. The capacity will already be there. 

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Soft Opening

Greetings All, 

I have imported my first blog, Common Man Syndrome to a new blog with a new name ENDURANCE PURSUITS. Welcome and please bookmark for rss feeds. 

The original blog, which I will always love, described my meteoric rise in the sport of triathlon and some pretty spectacular failures as well. Over the last five years, I think I have proved my point. I am not a Common Man. I am most assuredly UNcommon.

But what to name this new blog, this new digital journal? Looking back at my life, life there is just too many identifiers I could use to describe myself.  So I decided on something most closely resembling where I see my life progressing.  So I chose the title ENDURANCE PURSUITS. It represents that I am  no longer  enamored with finish lines. I will still train and race and be competitive, its a camaraderie that is unlike any in life and I need it. But mentally races don't drive me anymore. I am in pursuit of something more than a medal or a Age Group placement. I am going push my physical boundary's in ways that interest me and reward me and and that requires me to think and do things that are internally driven and not necessarily centered around a specific race schedule.

How far can I go?
How long can I do it?
Who can I do it with?
What fun is there in it?

Lets find out. Because its not enough to exist. I am going to live. Welcome to my ENDURANCE PURSUITS

Saturday, April 3, 2010

No higher praise...

The more I obsess over races/events for the year, the more I realize I am purposely avoiding finish lines. I would rather do something that is significant rather do something that blows the tentative fuse in my head that keeps me on this side of normal on a race course rather than blowing myself up because I will ignore pain.

I have all these crazy ideas in my head and the moment I make them real by seeking advice or just affirmation that its doable, I end up with these same people all asking if they can join in. I suppose no higher praise can be given.

Mistress is so used to this side of me over the last 15 years that when I ask her , "How would you like to go to London in January?" She asks what race do I want to do there. If I ask to go camping, she responds by asking what river, trail or peak is nearby. Though for the last two years she has not so subtly been very fond of me 'having my wings clipped' and stuck at home recoverying from the Mother Of All Race Injuries. Which also means that Mistress has lost all trust in my ability to reel myself in from reckless behavior. Can't say I blame her. I don't trust myself sometimes.

Based on the training and physical feedback tests I have doing lately, I am at a tricky point in my fitness life. I think I could really do some great things, but I have to earn my wifes trust back. I do not do this by making my first real test back, a rim-river-rim hike of the grand canyon or my first race back a full marathon. But I have performed inside all the perimeters I have set for myself so I am not going off book on my intentions.

Once I can get a few more logistics nailed down on my next big deal, I will of course broadcast my goal. Until then, the training and the joy of physical ability will be my path.

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live.