Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Thing About Excuses and Mowing The Lawn

The thing about excuses is they are so easy to make. You don't even have to know you are making them. I make them all the time, whether for good reason or just laziness. Too cold, too hot, too rainy, windy, boring, stupid, don't feel well, feel too good, this hurts, that hurts, everything hurts, nothing hurts, I'm hungry, someone else is hungry, not enough time, not enough sleep, too much stress, too many excuses... the list goes on and on. I'm sure I've already made two or three excuses today and it is only 11:45 AM.

So how do we stop making excuses? I have no idea. But I'm sure it starts with being mindful of the fact that you are making an excuse, and stop it. Whatever your excuse, just throw it away and do whatever it is you need to do. Easier said, not so easily done. There's another excuse.

I'm going to play a new game with myself, it is called find the excuses and extinguish them. I really just want to get things done. I'm not going to say I wont make any more excuses, because of course I will, but I will try my best not to. And when I do I will notice it and politely move it out of my way and do what needs to get done. February starts my focused training for Tri season, a good a time as ever to stop bitching and start working my butt off.

I wonder if quitting the excuse making will be like quitting smoking? Is it like an addiction? Well I quit smoking, so I'm not afraid to quit whining. I like this challenge.

The Adventurer is going to like my new challenge. For her it means I wont continuously give her excuses as to why I can't go backpacking with her even though I am dying to get back out in the mountains. Now I will just do it. And in trade she will hike the PCT with me in three years? Right?
For those of you unfamiliar with the PCT it is a longer less social version of the Appalachian Trail. If you are still confused and asking yourself "well okay, but what the heck is the Appalachian Trail and why do I care if it is like the PCT?" then click here.

Speaking of the PCT, I just finished reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.

I only added a picture of it because this post is severely lacking pictures, and I like pictures. Pictures makes it easier and more enjoyable for people with a short attention span like myself to read this post. 

I have to say, I loved this book. I wasn't sure I would it being a recommendation from the Oprah Book Club book. I was afraid that it would be sappy and romantic and everything I picture when I think of Oprah. I pictured Oprah making hiking the PCT a trendy thing to do while giving out water purifiers to her audience. 

"And you get a water purifier! And you get a water purifier!"

But it wasn't like that at all. It was honest and strange and most of all it was life. Her hike wasn't the main focus, which was just fine, even though I would have loved it if it had been entirely about her hike. It was about her life and the reasons that she was out there in the wilderness. Some people question if she exaggerated the parts about her hike since she wrote it some 17 years after, but a lot of it sounded familiar to me and so very real. When you hike a long distance trail like the AT or the PCT the main question everyone wants to know is why you are out there. And most of us can't give up a good reason, or are afraid to blurt out honest reasons to the people who ask these questions. Cheryl gives it up in a way I wish the rest of us could. It is a beautiful and fun adventure of a book, I recommend it to everyone and anyone. 

The reason I always gave when asked why I was walking from Georgia to Maine was a simple one. When I was young my father would never let me mow the lawn. His reason? He simply told me I would start it and not finish it. He assumed I would get bored of the lawn mowing process, and maybe I would have. After all there are times when I have the attention span of a Goldfish, but I loved watching people mow lawns. To me it was art. I love how a lawn looks so absolutely complete when you are done. In my heart I knew I would finish if he let me start, but I was too young to argue. So my Thru-hike was to prove to myself, and to everyone else that I could finish what I started. If I started to mow the lawn I would finish. If I started walking 2100 some odd miles to Maine, I would get there. End of story. And that's what I did. 

He still hasn't let me mow the lawn, simply because now he pays someone to do it. But nobody was more proud of my Thru-hike than him, so I know he gets that I'd be damn good at mowing lawns. I'm sure he wouldn't hesitate if I asked to do it now. What is the lesson here? Sometimes you have to go to great lengths to get your point across... take the challenge. 

Me and my Dad in Front Royal, VA on one of my parents many visits to us on our Thru-Hike.
You can see from this picture why I was given the trail name "Kurly"... I have some serious locks. We look like bad asses in this picture too, I love it. Love my Dad. 

On a side note if any of you ever need anything fixed this guy can do it... whether he knows what it is or not, he'll figure it out. You'll get no excuses from him and he'll finish what he starts. 

But if you need your lawn mowed come to me, I'll do it and it will look damn good when I finish. 

This was not an advertisement for me or my dad, I'm not going to mow your lawn and he isn't going to fix your stuff. So don't ask. I'm just letting you know we could, if we wanted to. 

Have an awesome day.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow, Ninja Ice and Suffering

Okay so I got the snow I asked for in my last post. It just wasn't enough. I know I'm never happy.

I don't think I am going to get the snow I want though, I'm looking for something like this:

But I live on the Jersey Shore, which is more like this:

Not too bad right? Anyway, it has been an easy week. A little running, a little indoor on the bike and a little bit of gym love. I'm trying to take it easy before things start to get crazy, but that just leads to me being lazy. At least I wear my Newtons when I'm being lazy, so I look as though I was active or intend to be, at any moment, active again.


Wednesday night brought a killer spin work out put together by Alison who has suddenly become our evil spin coach who delights in our suffering. It was pandemonium in the beginning but we all got pretty quiet by the end, the suffering was in full effect after 80 minutes.

Yesterday I made my own pain cave in the living room since it was 10 degrees outside and we were pretty positive that the Mountain Bike trails would be sheets of evil death ice. I was safe from the evil death ice in my living room, but not from the annoyed stares of a pit bull.
As you can tell by the picture the monster hates when I do this in her domain. She isn't a fan of things that make noise or anything that causes me to not pay attention to her. While I'm riding she makes sure to get every single toy out of her basket and spread them evenly throughout the room. She doesn't play with them, only distributes then takes a nap comforted by the fact that I will have to pick them all up after I'm done ignoring her. After suffering for an hour I threw together an awesome protein shake, picked up the dog toys and got on with the day.
So that is the update. I have been burning my brain out on the book which leaves very little fire for the blog updates, hence all the pictures and little words. But I'm still moving and I'm not entirely lazy with everyday, February is right around the corner, and Monday morning there will be more swimming and watching out for pool sharks.

Tonight I will also be suffering through a freezing cold run with Rich and mega ultra death ice will be plenty I'm sure. The ice is even worse when it's night and you can't see it. We are so smart running at night so that the ice has the advantage, I know.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Bit About Hydration

It's Monday and it's back to winter again. 

Not complaining mind you, I'm a big fan of the cold and I would love a good snowstorm. Hint Hint mother nature. Where's the snow? 

The topic of hydration has been on my mind a lot the last few days. Saturday I had raging calf cramps the entire day. I mean raging raging, like someone had their hands around my leg twisting with all their strength. I was cursing and mumbling under my breath like a little old man the whole day. It wasn't fun. On the run it felt fine, it actually made it feel better, like I was stretching it out. But before and after it was quite annoying. I knew, and my running partners confirmed, that it was probably an electrolyte imbalance. Too much coffee and beer, not enough H2O. 

I didn't consider myself in full training mode yet, so I wasn't giving my hydration much thought. After Saturday's misery it is all I'm thinking about. I'm back to my old ways. First you have the jug that comes with me all day long: 

This is the key to staying hydrated, as long as I finish one of these bad boys off a day I know I'm ok. But then you also have the coconut water, just because it is so good and so good for you:

Post work outs or during long bike rides I tend to hit the protein. If it is a hard lifting session there is a lot of protein involved, and maybe some fruit in there somewhere. After long rides or runs I take Accelerade and mix it with unflavored Protein powder and water for a quick recovery drink with all the right ingredients for a speedy return.

So I'm back on the hydration and recovery bus. Two more weeks until training becomes structured and awesome. 

Do you know what isn't awesome? 

This post, it's so boring. 

I blame it on the fact that I reheated my coffee from this morning and continued drinking it while writing. That is the same cup of coffee lasting from 10AM to 3PM. I blame said cup of coffee because usually I drink it cold once it has gone old, today I heated it up. I'll stick to cold old coffee...

It threw me off my game. Sorry folks. 

What is your hydrator of choice? Do you add Protein Powder after hard sessions?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance Armstrong! Just Kidding.

I have nothing to say about the whole Lance Armstrong ordeal, but if you would like to read about it I suggest you read Jordan Rapp's blog, or Lauren Fleshman's post. Two great Professional Athletes who have something to say about it. 

If you don't want to get too serious, and/or you are damn sick of this Lance nonsense then I suggest you watch this and put your mind at ease: 

There there, cat videos make everything better. 

Ok got that out of the way, now on to more pressing issues. I've been really lazy. Two days of no working out, it's really bad. Today I locked in my February, March and April training plan leading up to my first race in April. This should get my butt in gear. Cut down on the beer, build up the training and make sure to get enough sleep. It will be a tough few months. Train, work, write, eat, sleep... repeat. My favorite kind of days. 

I do have to mention that Wednesday night's spin gave me a good dose of ass whooping.

I blamed it when I was experiencing an extreme case of laziness Thursday and umm... Friday. My legs were trashed from running, leg work out and the spin class. I made sure to go out and get all the essentials for fighting off getting sick since I felt pretty destroyed. 

My personal home remedy: Eat the bananas, slice up the oranges and float them in the Blue Moon, but don't count on it to fight off any laziness. I didn't get sick, but I was still feeling pretty beat up well into Friday. Here it is Saturday and I'm finally feeling back to my old self hoping for an easy 4 mile run with a few friends tonight to get me back in the groove. 4 mile run done, feeling good.  

I believe that my exhaustion is some serious mental fatigue from my head spinning 24 hours a day with ideas for this silly book I'm working on. 

I may only give it an hour a day physically, but mentally it is draining me. I'm hoping the training plan beginning in February motivates me a bit and gives my mind a break. The more I have to focus on the more energy I have. If I'm focused on the same thing everyday all day it begins to zap me. I'm looking forward to February 4th and a set plan of action. Until then it is still playtime. If I want to run I run, if I want to beat myself up on the trails on the MTB I do it, if I want to swim (which I rarely do) I go swim (and really I don't ever just feel like swimming.) I'm a total land dweller. Give me mountains and forest over oceans and beaches. I'm still not totally convinced there can't be sharks in pools... I watch out for them just in case. But mountains, there are no sharks in the mountains. Just bears and mountain lions, pretty sure I can handle them. Sharks I can't handle. 

And of course, Cabin porn has it's time and place in my life and discovering awesome new people like this guy: 

Universal Klister

Looks like I'll be adding a new bike to the want list. 

Today's lesson: Forget about Lance Armstrong, watch funny cat videos and do awesome things like riding bikes over frozen rivers. Every day. 

Run is done, time to get back to work on the book. With this guy:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A, B, and C Races

I wanted to call this post "Cold Lattes and Cabin Porn" but well let's just say I thought better of it... But if you are ever bored and you are as obsessed with the mountain life as I am google "Cabin Porn." I thank my good friend the Adventurer for that nifty little secret. I spent a solid hour looking at peoples perfect little hideaways in the mountains, but only after I googled the word mountains in google images and spent a good 30 minutes staring longingly at the pictures that were offered to me. This is what I do with my free time, but I always claim there aren't enough hours in the day. I have a problem.

I promise I have been busy since I last wrote on Monday; I haven't just been wasting my days away staring at mountain and cabin porn. I have been training, and working, and writing in the last 48 hours as well, only stealing a few peaks at beautiful mountain landscapes like the one above when I need a little boost. 

Since it is Thursday and I'm talking mountains I'll throw out a "throwback" that I frequently find myself daydreaming about. The completion of the Appalachian Trail Thru-hike picture, one of my favorites. The Appalachian Trail is to blame for my constant daydreaming about mountains and new obsession with "cabin porn."

That's a PBR in my hand, special for the occasion, but I'm not a hipster. Not that there is anything wrong with being a hipster. 

Ok all the mountains are out of my system for now, I'll get to everything else since the few of you that read this are probably rolling your eyes and aiming for the back button right about now. 

Yesterday I kept the work out simple and ran a quick 5k in the morning before work. Monday had been my first day at the pool again and Monday night I hit the trainer and did an easy 12 miles on the bike while watching "Shameless." If you haven't seen that show yet I suggest you get on it, unless you are highly offended by sex, drugs, guns and more sex. This show is crazy, but very well written and absolutely addicting. 

Last night I finally talked myself into sitting down and writing out an entire outline for the book I'm working on. I actually enjoyed it way more than I thought and I can tell it is going to make the writing process much easier. I may even do an outline for each chapter. I may just go outline batty. I think I love outlines. Just sayin'. Too bad I didn't write an outline for this post, maybe it wouldn't be all over the place. 

This morning was another easy 3 miles on the treadmill because I wimped out after walking the monster in the icy rain. The nice warm gym called to me, but man do I hate treadmills. The run would have been longer had I gone outside. I also worked legs after the run. Nice little work out before tonight's spin class. But it did leave me thinking I needed to get my butt in gear and get a scheduled training plan together so I am not doing so many random work outs. I need some consistency so I can start seeing some results. 

I spent the rest of the morning before work preparing my training plans for the season. I read a short article in the last Triathlete on A,B, and C race plans so I used that and began to build my season and training plans. 

Needless to say I got a little too into it. Just like my outlines. I printed out a bunch of plans, downloaded a new calendar on my ipad, sinc'd it to Strava and my Garmin Connect, and loaded up all my work outs. This may mean the end of my dry erase board method. Before I knew it I had to start working and stop pretending I am a professional athlete who is paid to do nothing but eat, sleep, and train. 

This training plan building, outline making frenzy was fueled by pretzels and peanut butter. I cannot stop snacking on these two today. I'm tempted to put it out in the rain shut the door and force myself to stop thinking about them. 

And on a totally random note, some small person left this little treasure in the store the other day. I guess she heard I had a little bit to learn about the creatures of the sea, mainly the sea turtle. Thank you whoever you are, I promise I will look after it until you return for it. 

I also want to mention something that irked me a tiny bit last night. I'm wondering if I'm crazy or if this would bother some of you too. I went to the gas station on my way over to my brother's house last night, that damn gas light was on again... hate that. I handed the guy my card and told him to fill it up, please and thank you and all that nice stuff. It seemed to me that he did just that. But when I turned my car on and pulled back out onto the highway I noticed this:

I took it at a red light mom I promise! 

But look, it isn't all the way to the full line! Why did that bother me? Am I the only one? I asked for it to be full, and I wanted it full! It gives me great satisfaction to see that little orange pointer up at that full line, like a big weight is off my shoulders for the next few hundred miles. But no, this time for some reason it didn't quite make it all the way to the line. Why? A part of me wanted to go back and have it topped off, but that was stupid right? I just had to get over it. It would be there after tonight anyway so why worry. Well for that 10 minutes it really bugged me. Anal much? And I felt horrible that it bothered me, there are much MUCH worse things in the world and if that was the worst thing to happen to me that day then I was in a damn good position. But still... I just wanted a full tank. Ok, got that off my chest. Now you all think I am absolutely nuts and a little childish. 

This random blog that had absolutely no real subject was brought to you by my double shot of espresso this morning. This is why I only allow myself one of those once or twice a week. I'm still sipping on it, even though I bought it at 10AM and it is now almost 3. Hence the original title. 

Do you make in depth training plans or just wing it?

If you do do you break them down into A, B, C races?

I've never broken down my season like this and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of results I get. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Rip it, roll it, and punch it." -Squirt

Well, I did it. After 3 months of avoiding the pool that I used to visit so diligently every other morning at 5 am, I finally stopped making excuses and whining about darkness and cold and going to bed too late, and got my ass out of bed and went. Wow that was a long sentence, I think I'll keep it that way. The most impressive part of the whole experience was that my alarm didn't even have to go off. Like clockwork, my eyes shot open at 4:15 am and that was all she wrote. I was up, the dog peed and ate, and I was off to the pool. Freakin' incredible if you ask me. 

What wasn't incredible was my performance at the pool. I likened it to that of a sea turtle, only to do a little research online and find out that sea turtles are damn fast. Not only are they fast, they don't actually swim... what? Yeah, that's right, I was not aware of this. Did we learn this in biology? They actually float on underwater currents. When I read this it all made sense, I mean I guess I did learn this during the movie Finding Nemo. It just didn't register. Am I the only one? 

"Rip it. Roll it. And punch it." Remember, wise words by Squirt. 

So I can't compare myself to a sea turtle, they are a little too rad for me. Let's just say I was slow, and it felt awkward. I will never take that long of a break from swimming again, I've given my word to myself. Of course, I had to take a nap after too. I'm guessing sea turtles don't need naps... 

Last week was a good break for adventures and no Triathlon training, but I'm happy to be back at it this week. Tonight I'm going to spin it out on the trainer for an hour or so. I know I'm not supposed to write about what work out I'm going to do before I do it... but what the heck... rip it, roll it and punch it. 

Who doesn't love Finding Nemo? 

Seriously, if you hate it... well I just don't know what's wrong with you. Go buy a puppy, play with it for an hour, and then try watching it again. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How To Walk Your Dog In The Rain

So, I have this pit bull named Zoe. She's going to be 7 years old this spring. Those of you who know me know she is my life. We have been partners in crime since she was a little obnoxious puppy who drove everyone around her to madness with her overflowing energy. Some might say we are a little alike. Zoe is much more well behaved now, though she is still infused with the energy of a pup. If it wasn't for her little gray chin she would still be mistaken for a puppy. Some still believe she is a very young pup, I explain to her that this is because she is so immature. When I lecture her on the matter of her lack of maturity, this is the look she gives me while doing her best human sit:

The only problem with Zoe, if you can call it a problem, is that she poops a lot. If this dog doesn't go 4 times during the day she is unhappy, and sometimes it is 5 or 6 if you take her on a long enough walk. The dog's a pooper. 

So how do you deal with a pooper when it is raining? Put your hood up and your head down and mutter "go potty" under your breath until the dog takes the hint. At least when it's raining she walks around a bit faster, but she also tries to go in before pooping, like I'm stupid. She thinks I can't tell when she needs to go. I know her too well and I make her stay out until she has gone. She is a short haired dog, I can see when she needs to poop.  It isn't pleasant, but you can see the butt hole sticking out. You can't fool me Zoe Monster. So I inform her that I know the truth, the butt hole never lies. Sorry Zoe. 

Last night we walked in the rain together spotting out the perfect squatting terrain. Every once in awhile she'd shake the rain off and stare back at me like "Really?" 

I'd stare back "yes, really. I can see your butt!" She'd walk a bit further and stare at the weeds on the side of the walkway, she usually likes to go in some sort of plant life. She's modest. But today she looks at them, takes a hesitant step in then backs out and looks at me again. 

"It's wet and cold and kind of slimy." Her eyes say. "I swear I'm good, I pooped this morning." 

"Zoe go potty!" I say and I look up at the sky. The rain is cold and without mercy as if to say 'cats just use a litter box ya know...stupid dog lover' Yes I know this, but they don't play fetch or swim with you. I'm explaining this to the sky in my head, arguing with the weather.  "Zoe, potty potty potty potty, go potty." She sighs and tip toes into the brush. Finally a poop. I pray that is it for the night and we sprint back to the apartment. As we step inside both shaking the rain off I remember that was only her third poop for the day... "Crap." But it is warm and dry inside and I decide to just wait until the mood strikes her again. I swear she has a quota for herself to make each day. And yes I've tried other foods, she has a sensitive stomach and the food I have her on is the only one that works. So we just deal with it. I think this is why she has always stayed so thin. Now when I look at her and her lean muscled physique I wish I'd poop 5 times a day. OK enough about poop. 

Once we get inside she immediately goes to her water bowl and slurps down the entire thing. Did I mention she also goes through about 5 or 6 bowls of water a day too? So even if she didn't have to poop again, she will surely now have to pee again. She has also done this since she was young. The only difference is that when she was a puppy she didn't drink it as much as she stuck her entire head in and blew bubbles until the water was everywhere but in her stomach. She is a delicate flower that pit bull of mine. 


Sorry about the poop talk, I had to write about something, I haven't worked out since we got home from snowboarding. My body was done in by the mountain, and apparently so was my brain. Tomorrow, I promise some good old fashion Triathlon talk. I will stop getting my inspiration from my walks with the dog. Just be happy I didn't take a picture... of her poop.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snowboarding For Dummies

I have been absent, my apologies. I've been brushing up on my long lost love of snowboarding. I have also learned that I need to move to Vermont, like now. Life is amazing out there. Snowboarding in the winter, mountain biking in the summer, can't beat that life. Too bad that silly work thing gets in the way of all my fun adventures. I will write more tomorrow, but for today my trip, in pictures: 

Home now. I love Vermont, and snowboarding, and obviously beer. Until tomorrow...

What is your favorite state?