...my sisters will not be in town for the holiday, making our gathering on Christmas morning a small affair, which means my old man might actually let all the dogs into the hour and bask in the delight of a warm house. I'm a little saddened by the occurrence, but that is the downside of change, You have to adjust quickly and often times at a difficult point in your life, but how one handles the change is always key. Being stuck and bitter and in a constant loop of anger and despair is not a good life trajectory, and I am thankful I no longer consider myself to be trapped in such a vortex. When I eventually look back at 2014, I will view it as a year of great change, almost as much so for the physical but for the personal.
My year really started off quite difficult, for I had the unenviable task of prepping for Ragnar Del Sol, for this time I was actually going to run the full race as opposed to "illegally" filling in for one leg (in my defense, on the last few legs of the race, many a people were breaking down and doing half legs to numb the pain!). I remember the difficulty of training for the race, running 14 or 15 miles in the span of 18 hours, trying to recreate the conditions of the Phoenix sidewalks by running on hard surfaces in addition to not showering and only eating food that might be available to me on the road (which meant lots of Chipotle!). I did okay when I really think about it, for my average time over the course of the race was a pretty solid 10:13-per mile after logging some 17.67 miles over the course of 32 hours. I was pretty proud of myself, especially when I conquered the second leg of my three-leg race. It was the toughest piece of running I had done up to that point, for the entire 6.86-mile excursion was pretty much at an incline and I was met with a mountain so steep that my rate of running climbed from 10:30-per minute miles to roughly 13 or 14 minute per miles. And it was also the first time I really met failure in my running career, for I started suffering cramps during that race and barely crossed the finish line for my final leg. My calves were pulsating so much that I could barely walk for the next couple hours. I kind of blew off the whole cramping thing, even though it came back to haunt me several times during the summer and ultimately during my first half marathon in Page. I've heard from more experienced runners that you're first half marathon shouldn't be one with a lot of rolling hills, but man, I did not get the memo. While the Page Half Marathon was quite flat for the most part, the near two-mile trek up a mountain near the end of the race kind of killed me, making me stop several times to stop the cramping in my legs. While I blamed it on a lot of factors like hydration and such, it really came down to my poor running style and just my lack of strength. And here was the ultimate irony in regards to the race: of all the Vacation Series races, Page is probably the most friendly for first timers! Who would have thunk?
Initially, I was content with the finish and content with everything. But I started wanting more. I started thinking more about the aesthetic and less about the effort. For the most part, I had been stuck in a loop, not just personally but also from a workout perspective. I think the last couple months have been a weird period of growth for me, for I feel I have finally shed the last of my bitter, introverted, anti-social self that liked staying at home all the time and stuffing his face with food. That person was quite a tough one to kill, but everything seems to take a while with me in regards to who I am. I stopped feeding the beast so much, but it came merely from the fact I was unemployed and the Department of Economic Security seemed to take joy in making me suffer and deny me benefits. But amidst the aggravation and the lack of money, I came to a conclusion about a couple of things. I need to work harder in the gym, and I really don't need overpriced television all that much anymore. I claimed I gave it up, but in reality, it got shut off. While I still owe them a little bit of money, I realized that giving up television will not only aid me in my battle with better health, but it will aid me in the pocket book a little as well. Let's face it, many night I sat alone, watching reruns on Adult swim or checking to see which Big Bang Theory episodes were being played ad nauseum on one of the channels. No more. I don't even want the digital antenna that people keep saying I should get. Yes, I know they have a few channels, but on the other hand, these channels are chalked full of Spanish language networks and all of the Public Broadcasting alternates. I like Austin City Limits and American Experience and Frontline, but having them all on all the time is kind of overkill. And I can barely speak spanish, so having to listen to programming comprised of the language doesn’t intrigue me.
This new part of my life is already having unusual effects, mainly from a standpoint of my running. When I get home in the afternoon, I can't rely on the various early afternoon sports talk shows that seem to be more about Tom Brady's cussing than actual sports (though Jim Rome is good, just as long as one of his lackeys isn't hosting the show like Roger Lodge or the numbskull that calls himself "The Sixer"). The last couple times I have gone running, in spite of the cold weather, was because I had nothing to do. On Sunday, after recovering from a night of partying for my birthday, I took a six-mile jaunt around Reid Park because I really had nothing else to do on Sunday night. Even though my legs became heavy as sand bags and my time was just south of 11-minutes per mile, the alternative was really not worth it (as in, sitting down and watching episodes of some of my favorite TV shows that I have on DVD). It was even funnier when I got home from my workout on Monday evening and realized I had nothing to do after opting not to do any running (but who can blame me, I had just done 45 deadlifts at 205 pounds and then pounded out five reps at 275). So you can understand how exhilarating it was to go running on Tuesday. In spite of the cold, in spite of the loneliness and in spite of my own fatigue, I still cranked out a good run of over six miles while averaging 10:07 per mile. My body was so sweaty and the cold was so still that steam was coming off my arms. I kind of laughed about the situation. I always used to joke in my horrible wannabe pick-up artist days (i.e. I was drunk and fat and trying to overcompensate, hehe) that I was "En Fuego," or on fire in Spanish. How time changes things with age.
I've already fully accepted another new norm in my life, one where I use nothing but the 50-pound barbells to do just about any exercise, but now I am getting used to the idea of working longer and harder to achieve my goals. I understand now that I need to work harder, for I not only have myself to improve but I also feel a desire to actually change the perception of the plant based eater. I want to continue my journey of strength and fitness, and I need to ultimately ramp up the effort. One thing that has been a godsend for me has been the running, but my lack of alcohol and my scattered attempts at portion control are doing a much better job. Heck, when I went to Food For Ascension Café for my birthday last week, I only ate half the pizza I got a quarter of the birthday tart I got (and it took me a couple more days to finish off the tart afterward). The previous times I had been to Food For Ascension, I had gone all out on the experience, getting appetizers, drinks and even desserts. Sure, the true test will really be in regards to the next time I go, but I will try my best to hold back!
I want to be better in just about every facet of my life, especially the fitness side. I guess I will just have to keep working and pushing along, because this stubborn belly fat isn't going to get rid of itself!
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.