Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Recommitting

Coach Frank has always taught me that through training, we will experience mountains and valleys. The longer you spend in the valley, the harder it is to get out. With so much on my mind lately and the holiday season at work being challenging, I've had a hard time focusing on what actually benefits my well being. Running is a priority in my life because it benefits my health. Ones health is important because I feel we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. The issue isn't that I don't want to run, the issue is I've spent way too much time in this valley and I'm struggling to pull myself out. There are some extremely life changing variables that are weighing heavily on my mind, and running, I truly believe, would help ease any doubt or something. And yes, I'm making excuses, I can see that. Rest. Working until midnight and then having your sleep patterns change almost daily, I really want sleep. Here's the thing, I've come a long way in whatever inner turmoil I've struggled with and I feel wonderful. The time with my kids has been spent creating memories and I feel as if my "dad" status has improved greatly. I feel like I've become an even better dad now than I was say a few months ago. I just need a solid nights sleep. So I feel selfish when I think "maybe I'll take a day off without the little ones." It's a struggle in sure many people endure. So here I am, typing out this post and I have learned time and time again that if you want something bad enough, you make it happen and go after it. These past few months, I've neglected committing myself to the run. Here I am, making a promise to myself that I'm not giving up.  I'm recommitting myself to running. I've been down, but never out. I'm nowhere near my potential. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Breaking Point

Never for a million years did I ever think I would feel the way I did a few days ago. 

For the past few months, I've become increasingly more reclusive, rarely venturing out into the world. Outside of going to work, I would sit in my room, consumed by my depression, staring at a blank white wall. The time spent hyper focusing on the negative aspects in my life grew and grew and grew. My appetite and desire to be around anyone fled my body. For a few days straight, I consumed little outside of coffee and or water. Not only did this add to my feelings of being stuck, it also made sleep near impossible. All I wanted was for everything to end, to stop feeling for just one single second. 

After 2 days straight of no eating and no sleeping at around 2am, I started getting extremely scared. I had been in tears for the good portion of the day for what felt like no reason at all. Maybe it was a panic attack or maybe it was the culmination of working odd hours and missing my kids. Truthfully, I don't know what set me off, but I finally had enough and I finally realized I had a problem. I was depressed. And I'm not talking "my team didn't win, I'm depressed," I knew then and there I was battling depression and I didn't know how to get out of it. I felt stuck, scared and vulnerable. This is when I decided to reach out and ask for help. 

The scary thing for me is actually allowing people to help me. That involves letting down my guard and letting people in, trusting them with everything. People caring about me isn't something in normally used to, but it's something that's real. I want to trust people, and I want people to care about me, it's just s so alien to me. 

I took a long hiatus from social media, I still try to limit myself from Facebook or anything in that realm. But I took to the social media and asked for help. And the amount of love and support I received was tremendous. It humbled me and brought me to my knees. I never thought I'd have to beg for my life, but I felt like I needed to because I was scared for how consuming the depression was. 

I've been given a ton of numbers from people and names of doctors. I've made a call, which is a huge step for me if you know me. I plan on making more calls and seeing doctors and counselors, talking to people who can help give me the tools to overcome this sickness. I don't want to few this way anymore. I don't want to live in a room, stuck in a bed, staring at the wall. I want to live, smile, appreciate life. And though this has lasted for for relatively a short period of time, it feels like forever. But I know that it won't rain forever. Holding onto faith is crucial here. So please, send me help, words of advice, tips and share your stories with me. Force me out of bed, I don't think I can do this alone. I need help. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

No Status

Running isn't a status, it's not about fame, sponsors or who's the fastest most durable athlete. At least not to me. It's about spiritual awakening, becoming one with myself, God and nature. Life is precious and running gives me the strength to push through all the shit thrown at me. When life kicks me down, I have running to help lift me up, to empower me to brush all the garbage off like it was nothing. The further I run, the stronger I feel as a person, father, friend and lover. Running humbles me, reminds me that life is short. I love to run and I love to live. 

Failure

Ultra running, in its simplest form, is a grueling test of staying sane while attempting an insane test of endurance and overcoming one's mental barriers. Throughout the run, expect the unexpected and be ready for facing your demons, which in my case is fear of failure and disappointment.

I can sit here and make excuses as to why I didn't finish the 50 mile test against the horses, but I have no one to blame aside from my own ignorance. One rule that I preach to people looking to get into ultra running is to stay on top of your nutrition. For some reason, I let my brain win this time around as my stomach felt queasy therefore I didn't want to eat anything whatsoever. My actions caused me to faint on the trail after climbing one of the most painful climbs I've ever done. Being low on electrolytes and calories, I collapsed, catching myself before I hit the ground. Made it to mile 40 and couldn't stand up once I sat down. They called a truck to take me off of the course and that was that.

The race wasn't a total waste. Though I did not finish, I can still learn from this. See, failure is scary, and yet it can help us grow in so many ways. Will I make the same mistake again? No. I'll learn from this.

I was able to break past my normal "boredom" zone. Normally, around 4 hours or so, I'm ready to get off of the trail and back home, but Man Against Horse, I was able to run for 10 hours without ever thinking about being anywhere other than on the trail. It was such a wonderful run, the trails were so nice to be on and the views were fantastic. Running next to horses was also something to cherish. Seriously, amazing experience all around. I'm not afraid of the JJ100 coming up in a few weeks, I just need to remember how important nutrition is no matter what. I believe salt tabs will have to accompany me during the 100, as well as being consistent with my caloric intake. Tim has always said, "it won't last forever," meaning the pain is temporary. I need to remember those words. Truthfully, if my nutrition is the only thing holding me back, I believe I'm doing rather good. It's a science and I'll figure out what works for me.

My biggest fear, I thought was heights. Yeah I know, running trails on top of mountains with cliffs on either side seems rather contradictory, to being afraid of heights, but for some reason I feel more alive on the trails, facing death so to speak. My biggest fears are failing those I love and disappointing them. I remember having to face my mom when I was around 7-9 years old after stealing from a toy store. She looked so disappointed in my actions. See, we didn't have much money to speak of, in fact, we were teased my whole life for being dirt poor. And yet my mom has always taught us to be honest, to never cheat lie or steal. But there I went and stole a silly toy. She was sad, and that image has stuck with me ever since. I don't want to ever disappoint my loved ones because I would never intentionally want to cause them pain or make them sad.

I don't know where I was going with that, but there you have it. My ADHD is in full effect and I'm having a hard time focusing. Time to hop on a plane and go somewhere.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Passed Over

I've made many choices in life that have caused unnecessary stress levels that seem to only fester and make decision making that much harder. Waking up with a positive attitude towards the day is increasingly getting more difficult. There's no one to blame, but myself. These choices I've made, every one of them, have a response. Some are positive and some are negative, but every single one of them affect how my day and journey through life is going to go. We are all in a pursuit of happiness, so why make the trip harder than it has to be? I have a hard time not shaking my head at the choices I've made. Looking back, there are situations that I can look at that I just don't understand why I fucked that up or how I fucked that up. I've hurt people without even knowing I have, passed up on opportunities because I was afraid of the outcome. The unknown is a scary thing to think about, but I feel as if disappointing my piers or loved ones is what scares me the most. There's a saying, "try your hardest and if you still fail, at least you gave it your all." Ok, I understand that, but what I read is "you're not good enough." This struggle is something that is brutally real. Yeah, sometimes you're best isn't good enough, but man, there has to be a way to forge through this shit and make it good enough. I don't know, evolve into something greater than before. Life is about situations, there are no regrets, there are only chances to learn. I want to learn how to be great, how to improve, how to live a happy life, but I seem to truly pretend most of the time. God, I'm so sick of pretending. Here's the truth.....My passion for running has helped me greatly. As depressed as I am, I still have more confidence than I did even a week ago. I still don't feel as if I'm worth much, but I feel better than I did before. I feel like a failure, but I still feel "good" sometimes. It's a love hate relationship that I have with running. It's something I do that forces me to go head to head with my "demons" so to speak. Imagine being out in the middle of nowhere with barely any water or nutrition with 10+ miles in either direction and you're miserable, you want to give up. You have a choice, either lie down and let yourself wither away and be forgotten or muster up and little bit of courage and forge on to your destination. And here's a kicker, GIVING UP IS ALWAYS AN OPTION! When someone says "giving up is not an option," I laugh. Somehow, being out in that situation gives me this feeling like "I don't want to die, right now. I'm not ready to give up." It scares me into survival mode and I'm forced to move. Running gives me strength that I didn't know I had. Without running, I don't think I'd be here today. I've fucked up many times over, but I'm not going to give up faith that it won't rain forever. I need to continue to lace up and give it my all. I need to find that courage, and confidence to push through and find my happiness. I know my time will come, just a few more miles and I'll be there. One foot in front of the other, head down and remember to smile in the face of depression. Here I sit, with a shirt that reads "Smile You're Alive" as a reminder that no matter how hard life can get, I'm alive and that's something to smile about.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Opening The Door To The Unknown

Coach Frank once told me a story of waking up in the morning which sticks out in my head. Ps I really miss him, and I really need to stay in contact with him. He told me of waking up and going out to grab coffee. He moans and says "today is going to be a long day," or something along those lines. His wife then basically says "try again." Meaning, go back to bed, get out and of bed and start your day over with a more positive attitude. Now my description is a little vague, but you can understand where I'm going with this. Anyone can wake up and assume the day is going to be hard, painful or miserable and sure enough, with that attitude it will likely be all of those things. Instead, we should be waking up and starting our days off with a positive outlook, manifesting a good day. There are situations in life that happen and are out of our control, so we need to do whatever we can to control the environment around us to some extent. There's nothing that bothers me more than negative attitudes so when I find myself in a funk, I allow myself to become even more miserable because I'm focusing on the negative. It's very easy to do. I believe we are wired to focus on negative, so t takes a certain amount of dedication and "Goonies Never Say Die" attitude when keeping our chins up during those hard times. Say you had a rough day. The following day is a new chance, an opportunity to start over so why don't we start it off in a positive light? "Today is going to be awesome," or something less cliche. Point is, we need to truly focus more on positive thoughts rather than dwelling on everything bad in our lives. There is a lot of horrible things that we witness on a daily basis, but the world is still a beautiful place and our lives are so important. We shouldn't be wasting our time on earth. We should be out there living with smiles on our faces. We can endure and overcome adversity, we will  succeed and truly live. Now that my rant is over, I plan on being outside, absorbing whatever it is life decides to throw my way. It's time we all submit to life's journey. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Storm Is Coming

Sleep? What is that?! I seriously have a hard time trying to remember the last time I had solid sleep. The lack of sleep I believe angers my thought process and has me focusing on everything I don't have. 

Re-reading posts from the past, I remember how important blogging was/is to help not only my memory, but my ADHD as well. It gets all of my thoughts out into a format that I can read and look over. It's a lot better than the alternative which is going back on my medication to combat my ever scattered brain. Funny thing is though, running helps big time, but the lack of sleep has me making up excuses why I don't or shouldn't run. It's sad. 

Here I sit, drinking liquid courage(coffee), trying to motivate myself to get off of my ass and go for a long run. Hopefully it helps. But I still sit, staring at this screen trying to move.... It's a vicious cycle. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

When It Hits Me, It Hits Hard

For some reason, depressed states hit me rather hard, often migraine inducing. Stress being my trigger for those rather hellish headaches, and I can tell you stress has been at its all time high as of late. First, being apart from my children doesn't help, add in financial instability and it's a melting pot of stress waiting to boil over. I slept upwards of 13 hours the other day, not ingesting anything substantial, not even water. My fluid intake for the past few days has been next to nothing and my energy levels have been next to nothing. My mood is on he decline and I know the one thing that'll be my magical cure to all of this "funk" is running. Yet, that's the last thing I want to do. I'm being humbled and for what? I'd rather sit in a dark room with a fan on, sleeping away the day than be outside, living. Why? For anyone who has ever experienced a fit of depression, you'll know what I'm talking about. No, I don't think it's a chemical imbalance so I don't think medication is the answer. It's like someone being addicted to a substance, you have to want to change. I don't know if I'm making much sense. If you think I want to feel this way, well then you're mistaken. This feeling is horrible, it's like nothing matters really. Lacing up my shoes and heading out to the trail is my medication, so why is it so damn hard to do? I've worked way to hard to give up now. I don't quit, I don't give up, Goonies never say die. I just want to smile, to feel something other than this numbing pai. I want to feel something other than being lost within my own mind. I'm tired of spending hours staring at the wall. I'm miserable and I know I'm the only one that's going to pick myself up and go fix it. It's so easy to sit there and dwell on what you don't have. There's so many good things in my life and plenty of people who genuinely care about me. I get to see my kids this weekend and that's going to help. A few weeks ago, my daughter says "don't worry, you'll always be my dad." I need to remember those words. That's going to help me remember why I keep going, constantly improving and evolving the person I am today. I want to be the best possible version of who I am for the sake of my children. They mean the world to me. And I need to remember, it won't rain forever. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Coming Clean

Last nights sky was something else. The mountains looked as if they were ablaze as the sun set, causing the clouds to turn into a fiery orange. Lightning was phenomenal giving us such a spectacular show. From the office at work, I was staring out, dreaming of running those trails and being up at the TV towers where a little bit of blue sky was peaking through. Then it dawned to me, this was mother natures gift to all of us. So I thanked life, God, Mother Nature and that in its own opened up a flood gate of emotions. It made me feel like I needed to come clean with myself.  And that's where this post begins.....

For the last few months, I've been struggling really hard with my convictions and committing myself 100% to my journey through life. I haven't been true to the lifestyle I've found works best for me. To say the least, I've been confused and depressed. I start experimenting with cheese and other forms of food I wouldn't normally consume. Now to most of you reading this, that doesn't seem like much but to me, it makes my depression even worse as I feel guilty and horrible with every bit I put in my mouth. It doesn't feel good and I can feel the pain sort of like a person with lung cancer who isn't able to stop smoking. Feels like needles and I just have he hardest time stopping. I've been distant, overwhelmed with stress, unhappy with my life as a whole. I hide it well, and I don't want people to worry about me so I put on a smile and pretend everything is ok, but it's not. About the only thing that keeps me afloat is the idea that I get to see my kids here and there, but the infrequent amount of time I get to see them is what I feel is likely a good chunk of what makes me feel so down. Now I'm not trying to make excuses for feeling down and lying to myself about how I eat, but I really am lost. I pray every day, I find spiritual solitude while I'm out in nature running, and yet I still feel tired and worn down and depressed most of the time. Thankfully I have insurance now and I plan on speaking with someone to possibly get me help. I'll be honest, I don't feel this needs any chemicals to help me, I feel talking to someone who can ask the right questions and give me tools to help overcome this feeling or these feelings. Running helps more than people may know, but most of the days I don't even want to go out running. I just want to sleep and eat crappy food. I'm gaining weight again, and I don't want to go back to how I looked before. This is why I've been so emotionally drained. I'm tired of feeling this way. I want to be happy with me with who I am. I want my kids to look at me and be proud of me. I want to be the best dad I could ever be. And yes, I will be these things, I will continue to run and remain positive. I'll give it my all. I don't ever want to stop running as its brought me so much joy and introduced me to so many people who've become extended family. I want everyone to low I love you and thank you again for believing me and helping me stand back up. I apologize for being so distant and or not being upfront with my feelings. I'm not used to people wanting to help and I am not used to needing to ask for help. I've been humbled and it's taking time to get used to. I won't let anyone down. Love you guys. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Inspiration, Motivation From Peers

Trip to the towers at 5:30am(it's Arizona and its summer) with about 1500' of elevation gain, which to the rest of the world isn't much, but it's what we got. Started out slow as the initial climb is gradual and can slowly steal your energy. The trail, Holbert at South Mountain, is more of a trail people use to hike and can be rocky and technical, but occasionally you get trail runners challenging themselves to head upwards towards the TV towers. The trail leads alongside the mountain with shade from the sun rising casting a nice shadow making the run less hot. Coming up to the road (Summit Road), you get a nice steady climb and a tree that's a home to bees. Careful there. Just last the guard rail, Holbert continues on what Carl calls "Holbert Island," as it shall be known from here on out. Once off of Holbert Island, you are to run on Summit Road to the top(about a mile, maybe less). Here is where my inspiration and motivation or the topic of this post comes from. 

My first experience with this run wast even a run. Tabitha (Carl's wife) and I took the trip to the towers on our bikes. At the top , we waited for Carl to get  on the final ascent to the towers. When we finally caught eye of him making his way up the road, Tabitha says "I absolutely love seeing him power up that final climb" as we start cheering him on. It was an awesome thing to witness. I get so much joy from watching my friends and peers tackle obstacles that I thought impossible or extremely difficult. It gives me motivation, inspiration and makes me say to myself "I want to be like that." Carl is a beast, a person who loves everything about running. He works hard, trains smart, and helps motivate those around him with a constant positive attitude towards the "sport," encouraging people to do great things. It's no surprise that a lot of my inspiration comes from Carl and Tabitha though I don't get to see them as much as I'd like, but they are huge important people in my lives. 

The point of this post is to share a story of where you get motivation from. I am inspired to push harder, to run with my heart, to do what I love no matter what because of the friends I have. I may not be the fastest or the best runner out there, but I am becoming the best possible version of myself. If it weren't for people like Carl, Mary, Coach Frank, people who push and encourage me and most importantly believe in me, I doubt I would believe in myself. Out there running, i get lonely, or alone with my thoughts. I get discouraged and want to quit. But I draw motivation from these people. I don't know if I'm making sense, but this is the only way I know how to express myself. Running truly is my expression of who I am and who I want to be. I'm so thankful for this gift, my friends and loved ones. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In The Way Of Greatness

There's no explanation of how I've come to learn what my purpose is in life. Seems as if my time to shine came out of nowhere and it couldn't have come at a better time, waking me up from such a negative rut and giving me a second chance if you will. At the same time, it's come at a very challenging moment in my journey through life. I've been good at many things, coffee, skateboarding, music, just to name a few, but never great at any one thing. Now I know people will understand when I say this, and some won't get it because they haven't experienced this as I have, but I know in my deepest regions of my heart that running was and is a gift from God and that this is me. This is what I'm supposed to be doing with my life to really evolve and grow spiritually all while inspiring others to be the greatest versions of themselves. The challenge for me is, I'm right on the cusp, staring over the edge, ready to take the leap, but financial stability is getting in the way. I work a ton and have children to support, bills to pay, so I need a source of income. With little to no schooling, I have a job that supplements my needs. It's a great opportunity to provide for my children and still live the lifestyle I've grown into. But the amount of time I am at work is taking away from that extra time I feel I need to propel myself into greatness. I know when you want something bad you need to go out and get it or make it happen. The issue isn't the drive that I have or the lack of motivation, the issue is I feel I need an extra day or more time to focus on harnessing my skills as a runner and I feel the job I do is hindering that growth. And so it truly is discouraging, but it hasn't stopped me from trying. What I've done to deal with this is understand that this time is temporary and my time will come. I am impatient at times and this is a learning experience, but understand greatness doesn't happen over night. It's like cabin fever, the desire to hit the floor running(pun not intended). I know what I'm able to do now, but I'm scared and excited to see what I'm capable of. So the battle within my own cluttered mind is causing me to over think situations regarding my future. But every action has a reaction and they will affect the lives of those around me. What's worth it? Am I supposed to endure this "stress?" Is what I'm going through now, mentally, preparing me for what's to come? We often wish we knew the answers and want to know the future, but that takes away the fun of discovery. For now, I'll keep going down the road paved in front of me, or the trail designated for my use. My head is held high, and my heart is open to the experience. I'm here for the long haul. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Even in Pain

Reflecting while sipping a delicious protein based espresso drink from a local all natural restaurant...

If I've posted about this, please let me know. I have a horrible memory and I'm to lazy to go through my posts to read them. Though I should.  I recently was fortunate enough to embark on an epic 25 mile portion of the Zanegrey 50 course up in Pine, AZ with a crew of people. And on this adventure, our band of runners became family as we bonded, shared experiences with one another. There's something to be said about sharing the trails with like yourself, love the experience of the trails and being out in nature. Not only are we all experience the same physical trail, but we are also all  going through different spiritual situations that we deal with in our way. 

Here's where I get into the bulk of my story. 

First off, I was not prepared for the higher altitude. Sure, the first 12 miles were doable, but those constant elevation changes started to take its toll on my endurance and eventually, my lungs couldn't keep up. But through the pain, I learned something that I haven't been able to stop thinking about and I believe will help me in reaching the next level of my ever evolving life. Running/walking with Tim, he says "it won't last long." There other words that were traded helping me through the dark times, but "it won't last long" stuck out. 

Completing an ultra takes tenacity and a never say die attitude because truth be told, you're battling your mind a good chunk of the way. Now I know what you're thinking, it won't last long likely pertains to the bad moment I was having, but it also has to do with the good times. See, I'm very green at this ultra running so being able to run with people like Tim, Brett, Angela, and Kristina, I was able to observe and learn from these crafty vets who've been through the really tough times and are able to share their experiences with me. Tim explained his experience like you'll fee great for a good portion but that won't last and then you'll feel horrible and that won't last long either. I forgot one key factor in what has helped me in the past, and this is what he was trying to convey. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Though I was not in the happiest of places physically, I was in such an awesome spot. I learned so much from that experience. I'm the type of person that never takes a situation for granted. I want to learn from any given opportunity and take in as much as I can from those that have been there before. And I did, and in fortunate to have gone through that with those wonderful people who I love dearly. 

It's amazing the amount of support that I've experienced within the endurance community. When I've been down, the wonderful friends and family members have helped give me the power to overcome. They've lifted me up when I needed it. I'm so thankful for everyone in my life for helping me become the best version of me possible. 


Monday, April 6, 2015

Being Able to Endure

First off, I'm not sure where this post is going or how I'm going to formulate my thoughts into words as my brain is full of ideas and ramblings, but one thing is for sure... This topic has been at the forefront of my mind for some time now. So I'll just dive in.....

Being a stay at home dad was one of the hardest things I've ever done. The daily chores and never ending list of things to do wore on me. When my son was at school, I had my daughter with me. Laundry would be done and dishes would hopefully be put away. We would take trips to the park and read books and hopefully I'd get a 10 minute break with my daughter on my lap. Then their mom would come home and the kids would be ready for dinner and she would need a break from working all day. So I would make dinner and feed the family which would often be going out for pizza or something easy like pasta. Basically constantly on the clock with little to no appreciation from anyone. 

So I craved a break from the chaos. I'd offer for their mom to take them to Disneyland without me so I'd have a break from everyone. Right when the kids were out of the house, I'd immediately miss the chaos and almost need them back. It was truly strange because here I was wishing I was in a quiet room with no one around feeling like quiet and low key was what I needed. I was wrong. And I didn't know at the time that's what was going to be my life on a daily basis in the near future. 

Going from a stay at home dad to living as a single dad was and is a horrible experience. There isn't a moment that goes by that I'm not missing my son and daughter. I talk to them on a daily basis and can see them whenever I want which is very nice. 

My free time, when I have any, is spent running, practically every day. I love this activity as it helps me sort through my thoughts and feelings. I've never been one to medicate my issues so I've felt something constructive like endurance sports would be the best way. However, I've learned that it's a very selfish sport. Stay with me here.....

The free time I have, I could be spending with my kids. I wake up for a run and I think, I could go see them(on my days off) but I choose to go for a long run or explore the trails and mountains. Or maybe I registered for a race. Where do I draw the line? I feel as if any of my free time I should be spending with my kids.

The point is, as endurance athletes, we tend to put a lot of time, energy, emotion into what we do that we often wonder if it's all worth it. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I question my commitment to my kids all the time. Hey look I have a day off but I want to go run instead of seeing my kids. 

Outside of work, I have very little social interaction with people. I don't go to bars or hang out at the mall. My days of going to shows is behind me, though I'd go support my friends bands if they ever travel through, so where and when do I have "me" time?! I'm so conflicted when it comes to being away from Eaben and Shea, but I want to work on me so badly so I can be the best dad they could ever have. 

The time I put in, training for ultras, is a lot. I could be out for 7+ hours, running. And I feel selfish and guilty that I'm not spending that time with Eaben and Shea. Why?! Are they proud of me? Do they see why I'm running? Do they love me? These are all the things I think about, daily. So conflicted and confused. At what point do we as parents sacrifice what makes us happy in order to spend more time with our children? 

I want them to see me run. I would absolutely love for them to come running with me. I want them to see me happy, smiling, doing what I love to do. I would love for them to be at the finish line one day cheering me on, or holding up a sign in support for me. 

The other day, I was able to run part of the Zanegrey 50 miler course with a group. The higher altitude got to me and broke me down. I was in good spirits and get fine other than tired and lacking energy. My nutrition was good and I felt hydrated. However, all I wanted to do was take a nap, fall asleep. But I thought to myself, "if I quit, what example would I be settling for my kids?" I've always made it clear to them, that as long as you try your hardest, that's all anyone can ever ask of you. If you try your hardest and fail, at least you have it your all. So I continued on and pushed through some tough miles and climbs and finished the 25 miles. 

Being a single parent is not easy. Being away from your children is brutal, but we must find a healthy balance of spending time with our kids and working on ourselves, evolving who we are into greater versions of ourselves. You aren't able to take care of anyone unless you learn to take care of yourself first. I know it sounds easier than it actually is, but it's imperative that we focus on ourselves, too. It may come off as a selfish act, but in the long run, it's benefiting our children. No child deserves an unhappy parent. So I run. Running helps me smile and feel good about myself. At times I see it as a selfish act, but I see the bigger picture and I know deep down that this is what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. My kids are proud of me, they love me and think I'm a great dad. When I get into a dark place, their faces pop into my head and I smile. I give it my all and even at times when I feel like quitting, I push on. They mean so much to me, they are my motivation, my inspiration, my fuel, my family. I'm fortunate to have 2 wonderful, loving respectful children like Eaben and Shea. Thank you so much you two, dad loves you more than you'll ever know. 

I hope I can reach other parents out there and help them in any way I can. You are not alone. We need the support from our families in order to achieve the greatness we strive for. I am here with open arms and I'll do what I can to help you see the greatness within. Let's do this together and support one another. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Done Being Quiet: Don't Hold Your Tongue

Depression has been something I've dealt with for as long as I remember. And I've been struggling with depression again. When I get depressed, I start eating like crap and feeling sorry for myself, knowing that a healthy nutrition plan would help improve my mood and help level out my mood patterns. Everyday is a constant battle with temptations everywhere and all I want is convenience to help alleviate any bit of sadness that I feel. Again, I know that eating clean will help and let's be honest, nothing gets more convenient than fruit or veggies in their natural state. But I finally know what having an addiction feels like. Imagine knowing that what you're doing is slowly killing you, yet you are unable to stop this ticking time bomb from going off. It's like someone with lung cancer who smokes, but doesn't want to and every time they puff, they feel the physical pain. Whether it's alcohol, smoking, poor diet, it doesn't matter what it is, addictions are horrible vice grips on your life and it's near impossible (or so It feels) to release yourself from the impending doom. You know very well that it's not good but there you are, slowly killing yourself both mentally and physically. Running can be very humbling and empowering. The other day, a friend of mine and I set out on a DIY 50k, running National(south mountain arizona) from end to end to end, some 30+ miles with just about 6000' of elevation gain. The run was glorious, ranging from middle of nowhere desert to rocks and compacted sand. There were times our legs were practically yelling at us to stop and sit, but we were nowhere near anyone. It's not terribly hot yet here in Arizona, but the sun is out and can really sneak up on you, causing you to dehydrate quicker than you feel or think. Eventually walking instead of running made more sense, and quitting instead of moving forward was an option, but Lisa made a point, a great statement that sticks out, even after the grueling trek, "one foot in front of the other." We finally made it, thankfully so because I was in a bad spot mentally. Ran out of water at around mile 28 and only a few sips of my tailwind left in my bottle and that didn't taste good at all when all I wanted was all the water in the world! So of course my mind went into dark places, I was done. But it wasn't until the following day that I learned how beneficial that run truly was. Sitting on break at work, feeling sorry for myself for eating like crap and chatting with my friend in Colorado, I got all my "issues" out in the open. It was like everything that bothered me and I felt was the cause of my depression, I was able to see, short of being written down on paper. Being able to see my feelings, I was able to read them and sort of....seeing them helped me realize what I was doing. Then I started thinking about how badly I wanted to quit that run but I didn't. So I got up, brushed myself off and started over with my nutrition. I was motivated, inspired and truth be told, done feeling sorry for myself. It's hard to not grab for that bag of chips or pastry or whatever it was that I was consuming to feed my mental needs. I can still eat mental foods that make me feel good. Hard to explain what I'm talking about there, bare with me here. What I'm getting at is the past few weeks have been hard and I was on a downward spiral, out of control, but thanks to a run or as i Ike to call it, an adventure, I was able to overcome, lock myself up and change.  I was able to in a sense start over. Of course I have the cravings for these foods that I feel I shouldn't be eating, but I know what I need and that's important. Here's my theory, if I don't buy them and have them around, I won't eat them. And I've given myself a list of things I need to accomplish. One of those things is come up with a nutrition plan and plan out my meals for the week. I need to get back into food prep and have meals ready on the go. I need to research what I should be consuming to help me not only improve my performance as a runner, but help stabilize my mental focus. The old saying, let food be thy medicine. Running is something I feel is my chance at greatness and I want to do everything in my power to get to that point. I know this is what I was meant to do with my life, I just know. This is my spiritual journey, a chance to find myself which I feel I have. This is who I am, this is me. I really look forward to the next adventure. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Encounters

Javelina is one of my more traveled trails. Not only is the initial climb steady and challenging, but it also connects to a huge network of trails and the parking lot is rarely full. First bit of the trail is a bit rocky with lots of ankle rollers, but stay nimble on your feet and you'll do just fine.  The steady incline will test your cardio and really get you ready for the increase in elevation that's to come. The trail turns to hard compacted soil as you make it into the ravine as I like to call it. Or the valley, which ever you prefer. I get lost in thought here because you're running on this single track that is going between two mountain sides. It's almost like you're splitting the two in half. Any little noise you hear bounces off the walls of the mountain so it's near impossible to zero in on where the noises are coming from. Really cool effects of you ask me. A few climbs and then you come to the final climb on javelina before you can either head towards the Mormon loop or take a left onto the Ridgeline. This climb starts off steady and then gets a little steep. It's short and quick, but don't let that fool you, it's a gut buster. Personally I am a huge fan of taking a left up Ridgeline and down to Beverly canyon and back up to Pima canyon. I love running on the top of mountains. Makes you feel as if you're on top of the world and nothing else matters while you're up there. Just you and nature and a quiet breeze that cleanses your body and mind. Last night, around 7pm, I was descending javelina about a mile out from the trailhead when i heard the howl of what sounded like 2 separate packs of coyote. It was jumbled between a howl and chaotic barking. Where I was in the canyon, the sound bounced around off of the walls of the mountains causing a weird echo effect so I wasn't able to pin point the location(s). I had my headlamp on my head, but it was that in between day and night lighting so my headlamp didn't help with helping me see. The sound from the coyotes startled me, causing me to run faster and the faster I ran, the closer the sound seemed to get. It was almost like I was being hunted. Somehow I made it off of the trail without a scrape or twisted ankle or worse, someone's dinner. Now I know coyotes are generally more scared of you than you are of them, but being alone on a trail at nightfall can spook you into thinking the worst. That being said, it was an awesome scary experience. Enough of my ramblings. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Clearing Ahead

It's been a while since I've posted anything substantial. Funny because I've had a lot on my mind. However, the trails have helped me sort out everything. Well for the most part.

Imagine a bucket. And inside that bucket is a lot of firecrackers. You light the fuse and close the lid tight. That's my brain, my thought process and there really isn't an easy way to sort through everything so I take to the trails and run it all out. 

I've made an the comparison between running and a relationship. Running is the best most perfect relationship someone can ever have. It'll always be there, it will be extremely honest and humbling. If you don't respect the run, it'll bite back hard and make you pay for it. But it'll do it out of love and will always love you. Running gives you confidence, will never lie and will always give back what you put into it. 

I think my relationship with running is whyi have a hard time sticking to any type of training plan and don't understand why people have to do certain distances through the week or times runs. Seems like a job to me. I want to run until my heart is content. So if that means 3miles, then I'm running 3. If that means 30miles, then I'm running 30. Point is, I want to always love running and I don't want to complain about ever having to do it. I want to smile when I'm done not complain about how tired I am. Yeah, it hurts at times but so does any relationship right? 

Racing. I've signed up for and completed several ultras in the recent past and have many more ahead of me. I don't do them for the hardware or the sense of accomplishment, I do them because I get to spend that time out on the trail with people and bond with them. A lot of us have the same passion and it's nice to be able to unite with others. We are encouraging and motivational towards one another. I normally run alone during the week so running an ultra on the weekend is my way to socialize to a point and be around others like me. 

Anyways, excuse the poorly written post. A lot is on my mind. Take care everyone 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Earned

Originally I thought "wow, a 5k. How does one even train for that?!" Time passes and many miles later I thought "wow a 50k. How does one train for that?!" Funny how things work out. And of course once I got over that hump(literally....I'm sure I'll talk about it), I'm already looking the next big challenge straight in the eyes. 

Here's the thing, I've been running for just over 2 years, training for both triathlon and running to run. I changed the way I approached running ultras and it not only improved my overall performance, but gave me a fresh new look at life. Stay with me here...

I hear a lot of people talk about training runs and having to go out for an hour run or what have you. I've never been one to enjoy doing anything I have to do. It's not to say I don't need or appreciate structure. When it comes to things I love or things I'm passionate about, I don't want to be told I have to do it. Make sense?

So needless to say, I stopped calling my runs between races, training runs. I instead started calling them runs. "I'm going to to go out for a run." And I'll go for as long as I want to or for as short as I want to. I'll do as many hills as I want to and so on. Now keep in mind, that race I registered for is in the back of my head so I know the ultimate goal. But even that doesn't really factor into why I run. 

There was a moment during the San tan scramble 50k that I realized my potential when it comes to trail running that sticks out in my head. I was alone on the trail smiling, experiencing misery and joy at the same time. I was in pain, my legs hurt and my side was cramping but I kept smiling. I loved it. I knew just like I knew during Ragnar a while back that this is what I was meant to do. I knew finally that this is something I can actually be great at. I put in the hardwork and experience the pain and misery, shed the tears and sweat sweat sweat. Once I get to the top of that mountain I can look out over the valley and think "I did it and I never gave up." 

Getting to the top of that mountain and never giving up are things I can teach my kids. That's another thing I run for, my children. They're always with me. 

I don't know where I'm going with this story. I look back at everything that's happened that has lead me to this very moment and I think to myself that even through those horrible moments, I'm very thankful for them. I wouldn't be the person I am today without being shaped in that fire. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Vegan Empire

I'm pleased to announce that I am now a http://veganempire.bigcartel.com athlete. It's an honor to be representing a compassionate like minded company like Vegan Empire within the ultra running and triathlon community.