Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

So yeah, it's Thanksgiving. Finally a day for me to rest and relax all by myself with nothing to do, and no place I NEED to be. Notice I said NEED. I did manage to swim this morning (albeit hung over really bad from drinking more than my fair share of wine last night). Other than that, the only plan for today is to chillax, read a bit, spend some time with Lucki Dog, and hopefully see Kristen later.

It's nice to take a rest and spend some time alone. Being an only child, I really value this time to myself. I often squander a lot of time, but this is a stress-free squandering zone. And speaking of squandering, what's up with the Lions game on T.V. today? Sorry if there are any Lions fans out in internet land, but this game sucks! It's not even halftime and the Tennesee has run up the score on these bums. What a waste of a good 'ratings day' game.

Anyway, I'm a bit scatterbrained as I write this, I'm still miserably hung over, and trying to recover for a swim workout today. Ah, that brings me to a point I wanted to make. Since starting in triathlon, it's been evident since day one that I'm not a good swimmer-or let me correct that, I WASN'T a good swimmer. Now though, through some good self-coaching (meaning reading and watching every bit of material out there on swimming-btw is awesome for swim instruction vids, and free too!), I'm proud to call myself a swimmer! Don't get me wrong, I'm no Michael Phelps, but I can definately hold my own at the local gym pool. I've literally gone from being one of the 'wet dog' swimmers in the pool, to a guy who looks like he's suppossed to be there. Very exciting! And it justifies my sweet little speedo! Don't ask me why I like to wear one when I swim, but for some reason it's just a lot more comfortable...also, it's not bad getting hit on by the older women checkin' me out! Hahaha, yeah right, they're probably laughing at me on the inside! Ok, so anyway, I really feel like I'm making some drastic improvements. Once I get a chance to meet with my coach and get some real coaching, I may actually be a fast tri swimmer! Good stuff!

Let's see, what else. Training is going very good right now. I'm still very motivated and can feel my improvement everyday. Having a coach and a scheduled program has really made a big difference. Taking away the stress of what to do everyday, and whether or not what I'm doing is correct, is well worth the money. This coming season should be a good one. I'm gonna be dangerous out there.

What else.....Not really much I can think of right now. Oh, I know. I met Kristen's cousins Mark and Allison for the first time last night. They have overcome a tremendous amount of obstacles in their lives, having been involved in a serious car crash about two years ago. They are truly some of the nicest and warmest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. After hearing their story, I feel inspired to live every day to it's fullest. I know people say that so much, and it's become a terrible cliche, but these folks are truly amazing. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet them!

So that's about it for now. I've got a couple of hours left of daylight to enjoy-not to mention a good book to sit down and read. Have a happy Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful and live life to it's fullest each day!

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Had to post this...I love Stella!!!

I feel like a fat, lazy, slob.....

Today was an extremely slow day. Training wise it's an off day (which like most ocd triathletes I hate!), so I knew I was gonna have some extra time on my hands. However, when I had about 50 calls from clients cancelling their appointments, it got really muddy-slow! In fairness to them however, they all had valid excuses, and I realize that we're getting into the time of year where people are thinking about other things than working out.

Typically, the holiday season is super slow in the world of personal training. I've contemplated taking the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas completely off, but I just don't have the balls to do it. Not only that, but there are some die-hards out there that want to work hard throughout the winter. As my clients will tell you, who am I to get in the way of their suffering ;).

So today....

I had my usual 415 am wake up, followed by my super, duper, strong coffee. Take the dog out. Hurry to get 10 things done in the time it should take 2, and then head out the door, surely forgetting something. Well today I had all of that, and 3 cancellations before 10am. Not my worst day, but definately not my best.

So after my now half day, I headed home to take a nap, hang out with Lucki Doggy, and get some work done. Well, there was the problem. I can't have unscheduled time in my just doesn't work for me. I'm the King of Time Wasting. I really don't know what it is, if I don't follow a plan for the day, I just sit and stare at the walls-LITERALLY! What the hell? I guess I'm just such a profound thinker I ponder and plot all day long without something to fill the hours. Either that or I've developed adult ADD and can't focus on any one thing for too long. Either way, it sucks to have time with nothing to do.

So this all brings me to now. I'm sitting here posting this, having done what feels like NOTHING all day, and I can't stand it! Wait....before I get all bent out of shape even more, let me step back into reality for a moment. I did have a very productive day by most standards. I worked from 5 am to noon, hopefully made people smile and feel good about themselves, took care of some business stuff, took a nice healthy nap, and cleared my head. Kinda feels good. But then there's that nagging overachiever in me (that comes out for nothing but what I want to do by the way) that makes me feel like I've been a failure all day. Wow, such a vicious cycle.

On a better note, I taught myself to ride my bike on rollers today! I ordered them about a week ago and nearly cracked my head on my coffee table the first time I had them out of the box. I had no idea how hard they'd be to ride. With a little perserverence though, I was able to get up and riding today in no time. I didn't do a workout on them, but talk about fun! Unlike a starionary trainer, the rollers force you to generate your own balance. A little tricky at first, but it really makes you such a better rider! I can't wait to do some workouts on these babies! Good stuff!

So that was today in a bit more than a nutshell. Not sure if any of what I wrote is coherent, but that's just about all I did today! Looking back, I guess it wasn't so bad. Simplicity, as I'm learning, is one of the greatest things in life.

The cup of coffee I just had is kickin' in, so I'll go on one more tiny rant. Simplicity is a wonderfully underrated thing. I've learned a lot about myself in this past year (thanks in enourmous part by Kristen-I love you sooooo much honey). I've never had simplicity in my life. I've always cluttered my life, both figuratively and literally with junk that's just got in the way of making things easy for me. So often I've wanted more more more. It just never ended. It was to the point that I couldn't just sit back and enjoy the things I was blessed enough to have. Now though, I'm learning to enjoy what's in front of me like never before. It's really liberating to feel so free. I'm a long way off from perfecting the simple life, but I'm on my way.

Ok. 'Nuff said.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Slowtwitch...and David Goggins type motivation (almost)

I haven't had much to write about lately. Just the normal fodder going on in my life. I think I've actually gotten a bit testy since not writing. This seems to be a great therapy for me, which I think subconsciously was the reason I started this blog in the first place. I really love the opportunity to share my thoughts, if with no one but myself. It provides me with a forum I would otherwise only have in my head. That said, it's nice to go back and read things I wrote, and understand a little bit more about myself through the feelings I may have had when I did.

So this brings me to today. It's about 8:30 in the morning, and I'm waiting at the gym for a client to show. So, like all other Americans with access to a computor at work, I start wasting time surfing the web. In my web travels, as I often do, I came upon I really love this site. I'd guess that on average, 25% of my web time is spent there. The articles, interview, and general info are great. Recently, though, I've started to get hooked on the forums. I haven't posted or responded there yet, but I have some kind of addiction when it comes to reading them. So, over the course of the last couple weeks, I've come to the conclusion that 99% of the crap posted there is complete B.S. The content is purely reflexive of what is dangerous about triathlon. It comes down to a bunch of people talking more about the things that don't matter vs. what does matter. Example: There was a debate I was reading about the Pose method of running and whether or not it was a good idea. From the posts I read, people were getting completely bent out of shape. Some were saying it's good, others said it was bad and so fourth-but the thing that got me was that people were personally attacking each other and the method's founder...What the hell? Who the heck cares if it's good or not? If it works for you, than use it! If not, then don't. This example is just the tip of the ice berg there. It seems every discussion boils down to personal attacks and other critical views about a sport that should bring us all fun and enjoyment. The fact is, most of us are not getting paid for this 'hobby'. Therefore, it should be a positive part of our lives. I'm worried that forums like these bring such a negative connotation to a sport I love. Now, with that said, I completely intend to continue reading the forums....what can I say, they're addicting :).

On to better things....

Today (yesterday actually-I started writing this post yesterday morning and am now finishing it 24 hrs later), I had a 2 hour ride to complete as part of my training schedule. For some reason or another, I had no motivation. I mean, come on, it's a measly little 2 hour ride, done at such a low intensity it's almost laughable. But did I want to get my fat ass out on the bike? Nope! Then I remembered an article I had read about Navy Seal and Ultra Running Psycho (said with the utmost affection) David Goggins. For those who don't know, Mr. Goggins is an absolute animal when it comes to endurance. He's run Badwater, Western States, come in 2nd at the Ultraman Tri, and a million other ultra distance events. He's so badass that he finished his first 100 miler while going into kidney failure and with broken feet-I'm never complaining about blisters again! So the man's done all this, admitting oddly, that he HATES running!!!! That's right, HATES running! How the hell does he do it then? He explains that in order to see what he's really made of, he gets out there and does what he does. Not to mention the fact that he raises money for deceased soldiors families. Either way, both are more than noble causes. I remembered this man and what he does, I felt more than a sense of shame as I came up with reasons in my head why I should not do the ride I had on my schedule. I mean, really!? What's wrong with me that I can't suffer in the cold for 2 little, tiny hours? With this on my mind, I got on the damn bike, and proceeded, at least in a small way, to find out what I was made of. Doing what you don't want to, even when it's something you like, in many ways tells you more about who you are than many other things. Even though the hardest part was getting out the door, I realized that I CAN do it, and that I SHOULD do it. If getting out the door is the hardest thing you do all day, you're one lucky S.O.B.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Runnin' down a mystery...

Been doing a lot of work lately. I just seems there's not enough time in the day to work, sleep, train, see Kristen, pay bills, run errands, clean, and do all the other stuff that we cram our lives with on a daily basis. I'm going nuts, but in a good way. I'm still suprised each and every day that I go to work that my business has remained so fruitful over the past few months. I would have sworn that with the economy being the way it is, people would batten down the hatches, fire me, and go about their business. Hopefully, my clients can see that I really have a passion for what I do. If this comes through, than I'm sure that this is the reason why I've been able to not only retain the people I work with, but pick up new clients quite frequently. I really have a special job and I've decided to truly make the most of it. I always thought I had to be great at what everyone else is, but I've discovered that if I can be the best at something I'm good at and have a passion for, I'll be more fulfilled than I could ever hope to be chasing empty dreams.

So on the training front, things have been super consistant. I'm working with a coach now and that has made one hell of a difference. In choosing a coach, I wanted someone that understood not only my passion for triathlon, but was someone that had worked hard and achieved success while doing other 'life' things as well (such as go to school and have a 'real' job). Also, I wanted someone that was easy to get in touch with, and close in location to where I am. So.....drumroll.....I hired pro triathlete John Hirsch to coach yours truly. We've talked many times through email and once on the phone, and I feel more than confident I've made a good choice.

So that's it for now. I'm super psyched with my job and working hard in training. I really think that many good things are going to come out of the hard work I'm putting in now, both in work and in triathlon. Hard work is the key to all of this and I can't forget that. Well hard work and consistency. That's where it's at!

On a side note: Kristen just left and I'm secretly watching Sex and the City! I don't quite know how this happened (sure I do but I'm not telling), but I just watched my first full episode and it's really not that bad! I mean, what show is really gonna be all that bad with a bunch of hot broads living in Manhatten and talking about sex all the time!? And with that, I've discovered that women talk about sex waaaaaay more than guys do. WAAAAAAAY more! Interesting right? I can go on a six hour bike ride with a bunch of guys and sex talk may never come up...put a couple girls together for 20 minutes and they know all about each other's relationships and everything else. Now I'm generalizing a bit here, but I'm honestly not that far off. I love these little differences between the sexes...very comical!


Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I got demons.

But then again, who the hell doesn't. There are many things I wish I'd done in my life so far. Many decisions I'd like to have back...yadda yadda. Sometimes I get really down because of this. Sometimes I get those voices of regret in the back of my head telling me that if I'd only done this, or said that, or changed something, I wouldn't be in the position I'm in now.

I never imagined myself being where I am at this point in my life. When I was 17, I imagined that in ten years time, I would have been married and most likely looking forward to my first child. Wow, couldn't have been more off! Neither of the two have yet to materialize, and that's probably a good thing.

I've learned a lot in my 27 years on this planet. Some good, and a lot bad. But more importantly, I've learned them all. Sure there are a lot of things I'd take back and change if I could. Those are my demons. I guess those are the things I really need to work out in my head. I'm the only one that hears them right?

I find that most often I get into these ruts on the end of having done something great. At this point, I'm guessing I'm in a bit of a personal rut because work and training are going great. I'm busier than I've ever been with work, and my client list continues to grow. Training is going great as well. I'm focused and motivated like never before. Having set out specific goals and going about completing them has really given me a valuable lesson that can cross over to other areas of my life.

So why are my demons getting in my way now? I don't know. I guess it comes with success. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to competition. I'm constantly comparing myself to others around me. In this case, it's the friends I have that are doing better than I am. I have friends that are professional athletes, stock brokers (don't want to be that right now:)), and lawyers. I have friends that own a home, have a wife, and are putting money towards retirement. All this by 30. Wow, what the hell happened to me?

I guess when you take things into perspective, I'm not doing bad. I have a girlfriend who I'm madly in love with, I love my work, I love my training, and I'm most importantly blessed to have a family that puts up with all my bullshit, no questions asked. So again, why the demons? Because I'm cursed with competitiveness. I'm determined never to be complacent. I guess this is a good thing, but where is it gonna end? A football coach once told me to never be content with anything-and I've tried to live that way since. But my question now is, where does it end? And does it end? Am I going to go to the grave yearning for more out of life? I don't know.

There are many things I've learned so far, and even more that I haven't. As I search for the answers, the one thing I do know is that I'm always going to strive to be the best, not MY best, but THE best. Will I always get there? Probably not. Am I going to have more failures in life than victories? Probably. But I don't know, I just can't help it. I'm not going to let my demons get me down. I can't say that they won't always be there, but my hope is that I can beat them down into the basement and tie them up. Control is the key here, and I'm workin' on it.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Elect Barack Obama

What an historic election. I can't say enough about how much it means to me, being a mixed raced American, to have someone that looks like me in office. While I certainly agree on the policies of President Elect Obama, as well as the direction he wants to take this country, I can't help but feel a tinge of pride as he gave his acceptance speech last night. It was amazing to see an African American Family take the stage as America's next first family. Tears came to my eyes as I read an interesting sign shown on the news. It read:

Rosa sat,

So Martin could stand,

And Barack Obama could lead.

I'm crying as I write this. Not because of the change it will bring. Not because of the story of one man. I'm crying because of the story of so many that endured so much. So many men and women that gave their lives, both literally and figuratively so that we can live in a country where EVERYONE is EQUAL. Less than a century ago this wasn't true. LESS THAN A CENTURY! Now we can say that we are all on equal footing. It happened, and whether you believe it or not, the world will be better for it. I've never been more proud to call myself an American. May God Bless America!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Got a new toy...

So today I bought a those out of the know (as I was 12 hours ago), that's a fixed gear bike. Now, I absolutely LOVE bikes. Since starting to race triathlons, I've found a true love for just getting out and riding. Looking back, it makes plenty of sense. Since I learned how to ride a two wheeler, I rode everywhere. There was literally not a time I can remember before I got my driver's license, that I was not going somewhere on my bike.

Growing up in the 80's and 90's, I was mostly subjected to skateboarding as a form of rebellion. This was way before Tony Hawk was a household name, and the X games were not even a passing thought. There was a real rebelious feel to riding a skateboard, and I definately embraced it. However, I still loved bikes.

I remeber all the bikes I've ever owned. I had an intimate relationship with each one I've ever had. From my first, white Mongoose BMX bike I got for Christmas, to the stealthy black department store mountain bike I begged my Dad to buy me. Through the years, I've always had a bike, even if I didn't ride.

So today, with my tricked out, carbon, aluminum, and spaced aged whatever triathlon and road bikes, I decided it was time to go old school. I found a Steel Fixed Gear bike on ebay (for a fraction of the price I've spent on my recent bikes), bid on it, and won. I'm so excited!

Thinking about this, I can't help but think of the beauty that comes with the simplicity of the new fixie. No gears, no brakes, nothing but steal and rubber. I can't wait to feel the road on this machine.

But don't get me wrong. I still LOOOOOVE my racing bikes. There's really nothing like speeding down a hill at 50 mph's, knowing you can still stop on a dime if you have to. Also, nothing sounds as delightful as the cranking of your chain as you make an impossibly steep climb. I love those things and will definately enjoythem for years to come.

What I'm getting at here is the romance of bicycling. There's something primitive about it...not quite so much as running the trails, but certainly moreso than turning the key to start the Ford in my driveway. There's a connection with the world, the road, and yourself that you get from cycling. It's something I can't quite describe, but at the same time don't ever want to. I want to ride because I like to. I want to ride not because I have to ride a certain time or milage, but because it soothes me. I really love this stuff and can't wait to get on that thing. I'll keep you posted.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Endurance events...Is it ok just to finish, or does everyone have to race?

After watching the New York City Marathon yesterday, I questioned the intentions of the 38,000 plus runners that took place. Sure, for many of them it was a race in every fashion of the word. They, like so many of us, had done the training-long runs, tempo runs, speed work, etc.-just to get ready to set a PR. Others, though, had decided that simply by finishing, they were winners. Now while I'm not disagreeing with either motivation, I do think it's important to quantify exactly what deserves to be called a race and what doesn't. I'm super confused myself on this issue, so I hope this makes some sense.

I believe that most of the confusion that not only myself, but that others have concerning the issue of whether or not someone is a success just for completing a marathon comes from the fact that in some areas of our lives we are intensely competitive. We all strive, in life, work, play, or whatever, to be the best. Will many of us realize the ultimate goal of actually being the best? Probably not. However, that's no reason to stop doing what we do.

I think that we all get into sports for some reason or another, but end up leaving with the same lesson learned. In the end, it's not about being the best, it's about performing to the best of your abilities. If you just happened to have the talent, determination, and discipline to become the best at your given sport, that's great. But, I truly believe that we all participate to make ourselves better, and maybe, just maybe, have that bright, shining day were we stand alone as the best. Wishful thinking I guess.

Ok, so back to the subject. I think that I get most upset when people, who have no idea what it is to run a marathon, much less run it in a specific time, lump me in with people like Oprah and P. Diddy (or whatever the hell he's calling himself these days). It angers me because these people, although insanely successful, will never come close to running the times that I have for a marathon. That's not to be cocky or egotistical (trust me, I have NO reason to be those with my modest times), but I would still like to be recognized for my accomplishment.

Ok, so here comes the problem with that: Who am I to belittle THEIR accomplishment?! Why SHOULD I be pissed that people lump me in with them? After all, we did complete the same distance-only I was drinking a beer and had eaten lunch by the time they finished.

Maybe it comes down to jealously, pride, or just being a baby. The major issue here is that I, and others like me, really just need to get over it. The truth is that the marathon, as well as other endurance events, are hard. Sure there are more people doing these things than ever before, but isn't that the point? At some point, we're all looking to push the limits of what the human body is capable of. Endurance sports, by their very nature, push us to the brink of quitting. They let us know just what we're made of. That's why I love running, biking and swimming.

Every day, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I can push it. I can get out there and see exactly what I'm made of. Sometimes it takes 100 miles to do that...Sometimes it just takes getting dressed and out the door. What I'm saying is that the rush of endorphins I get every time I get out there is more than just a chemical reaction in my brain. It's life. It's the stuff that flows through my veins. That feeling, and the knowledge that comes with getting out of yourself what you didn't think was possible, keeps me going. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. It lets me know I'm alive! It's a notch on my belt that no one can take away from me. Sure I like bragging about what I've done, but I've deserved it. I'm not a blowhard, but at some level, I love seeing the look on people's face when they ask me what I did this weekend.

So to get back to my original intention for this passage, I'll answer the question of whether or not it's ok to run a marathon just to finish it...Damn straight it is! At no point can we take away anyone's accomplishment. If I can do it in 3 hours, and you can do it in 6, I really don't care! You know what, you did it! You worked just as hard (if not harder) at getting done what you set out to do and you should feel amazing about that! I hope that everyone can feel that sense of accomplishment one day, because it is without a doubt, something that changes your life forever!

Keep pushin' till ya puke...Always!!!!!