Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mountains and Valleys

Wake up in the morning and run, bike or swim. Go home, shower, eat, recover. Most of us will head to work and then back home, sleep and repeat. How do you avoid a repetitive training schedule?

I'm not quite sure how to answer that really. Coach Frank explained to me that it's not uncommon for athletes to experience mountains and valleys. Basically, you feel a high when you're out there training, don't have to force anything. Training becomes second nature or something you actually look forward to, but occasionally it becomes stagnant.

Waking up and getting out of bed has been a chore this past week. Often I'm talking myself into sleeping in the night before by not setting my alarm. And when I'm doing these runs alone, I have nothing to account for but my self. When people agree to meet up, I force myself into going which feels great and I'm glad.

I'm wondering if I have hit a point in my regiment that I'm looking for the next step in evolution in my performance. Now I'm aware that it comes with time and hard work, but I'm right there, I can see it. I'm looking for the next challenge and with the JJ100K looming overhead, I have little time to spend in this valley, this low. And by no means am I depressed, just bored I guess.

How do you get out of the valley and continue on with your training?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why Do I Run?

I'm just going to start writing (tapping the keyboard on my phone) and see what I come up with. I'm sorry ahead of time if this post appears to be a bit more nonsense and rambling.

Why do I run? The real question is why hadn't I started sooner? The way my brain works is like placing a truck load of firecrackers into a closed bucket and lighting them. They are contained within the bucket, fighting to get out. My brain is similar in that my thoughts are like firecrackers firing off with no where to go.
Running allows me to sift through my thoughts and focus on ones that are important and could possibly benefit my life and those around me. Sitting still and thinking doesn't do it for me because for some reason I focus solely on negative thoughts when I'm quiet, sitting still. I don't know, it's just the way I work. So moving forward, running really helps put me into a meditative state and my thoughts are organized. I become more collected the further I go and my mind is at ease.

Living with adult ADHD can be rough at times. People often don't understand me or the way my brain works. Running helps level me out, calms me down and gives me more sustainable energy. Nothing wakes me up more than an early morning run, whether it be 3 miles or 15+, I need my morning run like a caffeine addict needs their morning cup of Joe.

I'm a different, more confident person since I've been introduced to running. I'm evolving, improving, and becoming stronger as a person, a father, and a friend. If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that I look at running as a tool, a metaphor for self improvement. You can use the strength it took you to get up and over that hill in any part of your life.  The struggle in the run is no different than struggling at work, at least that's my take. It makes sense to me.

There's a reason I run, I run to be the best me I could possibly be.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My First Ultra

My goal was to do something I've never done before, do something great. Greatness doesn't necessarily mean run however far, but to me it many pushing myself further than I've ever been before. I was aiming for 36 miles to celebrate 36 years on this earth and to essentially rid myself of anything negative from the previous year. I knew I could do 36 miles, I just knew it.

I made it 30.2 miles and called it quits. And I'm proud of myself. I didn't quite reach the 36 miles and I realize how close I was, but I wasn't as prepared as I'd like to be. However, I still achieved something great, did something I've never done before. My previous longest distance was 16 miles, so on this run I almost doubled my longest run.

I gave it my all and that's all anyone could ever ask. The Arizona heat was brutal. Between 11am and noon, it jumped in temperature so fast and so quick that it was starting to get hard to breath. I was going through water faster and faster and popping salt tabs left and right, trying to maintain my electrolytes and hydration. At mile 28, my left foot started getting very uncomfortable. Felt like I had stepped on a rock and there was a bruise on the bottom. So I turned around and walked back to the car, trying to jog through the pain, but it started getting hard to even walk.

I used this as a learning experience. Things I can learn from this: remember a few pairs of socks. Seriously, something as simple as socks would have made that run even more enjoyable than it already was. I would also like to learn how to improve my caloric intake because food and sustenance was getting harder to stomach as time went on. Also pacing. I went hard at points during my run when I should have focused on maintaining a steady pace.

Looking back now, I still can't believe that I did 30+ miles. I've been running for just over a year and I've done this. I'm so happy with my accomplishments. And the funny thing about turning 36 is that I'll be 36 for a whole year, so I can have another go whenever I want. It makes me excited for the JJ100K in November.

Thank you to everyone who came out and ran with me. You all made my birthday the best ever, seriously. It meant a lot to me. Erick, thanks for pushing me and pacing me during that last stretch. You are a beast and can't wait to run with you again buddy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback: A Year Later

Looking at my "before" photo, I start to get emotional. My unhappiness is apparent in my face, my skin color and my overall appearance. This was taken about a few weeks after I started making changes, so this wasn't even at my "unhappiest."

There was a point in my life where I just had enough and wanted to change the way I thought and the way I felt. I stopped my vegan diet for a while there when I was married. Though the cheese sand everything I consumed tasted great, I felt like a hypocrite and I felt horrible eating all of that. It just wasn't for me, but again convenience is a bitch.

I remember thinking to myself, "I want to run a marathon." So I picked one of the hardest ones in the country which was in the town I lived in. Eventually I'd decide to train instead for a sprint tri forgoing the marathon. That was my chance to start eating clean and educating myself on sports nutrition and my overall health.

My mood started changing, almost overnight. I felt like I was about to do something great, and I was. The pounds started dropping off and I started noticing my overall endurance increasing. That person I looked at in the mirror started to smile more. It was apparent I found my church so to speak.

My journey isn't over. I'm constantly learning, constantly improving as a person, as a Dad, and as an athlete. I don't do this to win races, I do this both to stay sane and to inspire others. Depression is a bitch, and it's even harder to ask for help, especially if you're proud or whatever. But please know that there are people you've never met out there that can help pick you up. There are people out there that are willing to listen, to be there for you. There are people who actually care.

My mind is all over the place, so excuse the randomness. I'm still broken up over how I used to look. I'm in a happier place now and I think you can see it in my newer photo.... if you ever ever ever need help, please reach out.....