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.