Let us catch up (#lettuceketchup) – Dealing with Disappointment

This past weekend was my first OCR race of the season. My goal was to qualify for the OCRWC (Obstacle Course Racing World Championships) at the Ohio Spartan Race. The course was muddy, but otherwise a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I did not qualify despite having a pretty good overall race (I failed four obstacles because my grip strength needs improvement and I fell on mostly grip-intensive obstacles).

So after realizing that my time wasn’t good enough for OCRWC, I got a little down on myself. I keep going over what I could have done differently with my training — had I spent more time working on my grip strength would I have completed those obstacles? Could I have run harder in some spots and improved my time? The answer is probably “yes” to both of those things if I am honest.

Dealing with disappointment is a difficult thing. Sometimes you do your best and are told that it’s still not good enough. I want to be angry at OCRWC for making it more difficult to qualify this year. I want to blame the rain or my starting time and use those as excuses for why my time suffered. Part of me wants to blame Spartan Race for not policing their obstacles because someone could have cheated and that cost me a place in my goal race.

I think that times like this it’s important to look inward and not outward, and instead of assigning blame to why you didn’t accomplish your goal, come to terms with it and decide how you will find a new path. Instead of me looking at everything that went wrong, I should instead look at everything I gained from not qualifying this past weekend.

  • This was the first race of the year — I’ll have more races to qualify
  • I understand my weaknesses better, and know what I need to work on for upcoming races
  • My nutrition plan worked really well and I had plenty of energy throughout the whole race, so that is one less thing to worry about for future events.
  • I didn’t get injured and I had a ton of fun racing!

There are really more things that could have gone wrong that didn’t, and I am happy that I was able to compete and see how hard everyone worked out there when the weather was “less than ideal.” Kelly raced along with me and she did really well too and felt great.

In the end, dealing with disappointment is all a matter of perspective. Especially in OCR, sometimes you run a good race and still come out on the short side of where you want to be. I might not have accomplished my goal this past weekend, but I still had a lot of fun and learned a lot about how I can improve. And, I get another chance in two weeks to put what I learned to the test.

 

5,000 feet, 48 ounces, 9.5 minutes and the destiny that awaits on the other side

Close your eyes. No wait, that isn’t going to work…

Imagine looking out over the ocean at sunrise. You’re the only person on the beach, and in front of you, the darkness begins to shift from black to grey, slowly morphing into deep shades of purple and orange. The waves roll slowly toward you, but are as quiet as the absence of sea gulls that are still sleeping off last night’s storm. The air is cool but comfortable, and you squint your eyes ever so slightly as the first hint of sun peaks above the horizon and bleeds out over the sky.

Are you there?

I am standing 5,000 feet away from that moment and a year’s worth of sweat and grit say that I will have it again…soon.

#BeerMile2017

Of course, I am talking about running a mile, drinking four beers, and doing it in less than nine minutes and twenty-six seconds. #BeerMile2017

Completing the beer mile is one of those moments in life that take your breath away and remind you what it is to feel. It is to be both everywhere and nowhere and I can only imagine it being equaled by climbing Everest or stepping foot on the moon.

Last year, in Destin, FL, I successfully ran my first beer mile (#BeerMile2016). But, like most dreams realized, my desire for bigger, better, faster consumed me and I could hardly eat that next year, my mind racing at the thought of chasing that dragon again.

As it was then will be again. I did not discover this dream alone. My cousin, Chris, also ran the inaugural beer mile with me, and my brother Tyler was there to document the action. Expect the documentary to debut at Sundance in the next year or two.

To recap — to successfully complete the beer mile, you begin by drinking one 12 oz. beer, and then run a 1/4 mile. You repeat this activity three more times. The goal is to complete all required “activity” in the least amount of time possible, all the while doing your best to keep all that goes in you…in you (if you catch my drift).

On a crisp Spring morning, we found ourselves on the battlefield that was the jogging path that ran past Pompano Joe’s, parallel to the Gulf. It was a field fit for kings. Nine and a half minutes is what I posted last year. Chris, despite a few “reversals of fortune” along the way, finished somewhere in the 20+ minute range.

I do believe that Chris and I both will be more ready for this year’s quest, which will take place in Siesta Key, FL, in just over a week. I can close my eyes and picture the sun rising, but until I am staring down that mile, I can’t feel the stillness or hear the vacuum of that moment.

Tyler will again be there and will again document the activity. Due to the overwhelming curiosity and commotion around last year’s beer mile, I do expect a 200-400% increase in spectators this year.

OK, pretend to close your eyes again…

Find that beach again. Now the sun has risen and people are beginning to crowd around you on the beach. The seagulls are prattling above and the waves cascade and recoil back from the busy beach.

Deep breath.

As the memory of the ocean settles into the sands of your mind, remember how it felt to own a moment all to yourself before the world stepped in. That is where I’ll be, running the wake of a dream, 5,000 feet and 9.5 minutes from eternity.

#BeerMile2017

 

One Month Fitness Challenge: Day 22

Sorry to those of you who are hoping for anything different than last week’s progress report (progrep for short….not really I just made that up). Let’s just get into it, shall we?

It’s been three weeks and to recap, these were my goals for September:

  1. Run 75 miles in month of September
  2. Do 30 burpees each day (or do 900 in month in case of missed day or two)
  3. Attend no less than 2 Crossfit classes each week (exception Ireland week)
  4. Lose 5-7 pounds (though, I’d be OK if I didn’t reach this goal until race day 10/15)

So, progress check.

Running:

So I’m not exactly jumping over the moon about my progress, but I’m not super down on myself either. I’ve logged 15.5 miles since last Thursday. I’m finding it’s difficult to get in two days of crossfit and really get a lot of miles in without exercising every day of the week. I did run a 9.5 mile this past Sunday (pace around 8:00 or 8:15 per mile, which is about where I want to be for longer runs). My biggest challenge is getting up in the mornings to run. I wish I had better will power to just force myself to get up and get out there, but I am really good about waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and deciding THEN that I am going to sleep in, so I change my alarm to my normal wake up time. Wuddaya gonna do, ya’know?

I’ll say this: I don’t think I will achieve 75 by the end of this month, but I think it’s possible to get 75 miles before Canada on 10/15.

Burpees

Hey look over there! See that thing? Focus on that and let’s move on to the next section!

Crossfit

Crossfit going well.Have been solid about going twice per week and I’ve noticed some gains in my overall strength. I’m nowhere near where I want to be strength-wise, but I believe I’m getting there. There are little things thought that excite me for my two races next month.

My grip strength has improved. I’ve probably mentioned my biggest takeaway from my first Spartan Race was that I needed to work on my grip strength. I feel much more confident now than I did a month ago thanks to crossfit and some at home exercises Kelly and I do that my grip strength is close to where I’d like it to be.

I also like to play around and climb on the rig after we do crossfit. I feel when my energy is low, I like to get a sense of how well I am pull myself up and around, and I feel very confident that I’ll be able to pass the monkey bar obstacles that I might face. It’s kind of funny, but when Kelly and I were in Cork, Ireland a few weeks ago, we were sitting outside of this bar, and I was looking at this wall and thinking how, if I needed to (b/c you know, sooner or later I might need to), I could scale the wall by hanging from and pulling myself up and over by using pipes, AC units, signage, and whatever else was between me and the roof. Just saying, might need to do that one day…

Lose 5-7 lbs.

So, I am down 2.5 pounds as of this morning from where I was three weeks ago. I’ll make a bigger push the week before the OCRWC to really cut weight, so I think I am on a good path. My focus as far as losing weight has been upping my cardio and just eating a little cleaner (little less drinking, little more discipline when it comes to diet). No major changes planned until race week, where I’ll probably cut way back on bread and cut out alcohol and focus 75% of my diet on vegetables, fruit, and protein.

Current Weight: 170.0 lbs.

Self-Assessed Fitness Level: 8/10

Days run this month: 8 (out of 21)

Miles run this month: 36

Crossfit classes attended past week: 2

Biggest Challenge Past Week: Motivation to get my ass out of bed and run!

One Month Fitness Challenge: Day Fifteen

So I didn’t update the blog last week because I was in Ireland and I decided that the blog wasn’t the most important thing to do that week (I did write most of a blog for Sweat Local, though, so kudos to me…kidding, my wife worked way more than I did on SL and deserves way more kudos for getting our first Sweat Sesh going last this month…) ANYWAY…

It’s been two weeks and to recap, these were my goals for September:

  1. Run 75 miles in month of September
  2. Do 30 burpees each day (or do 900 in month in case of missed day or two)
  3. Attend no less than 2 Crossfit classes each week (exception Ireland week)
  4. Lose 5-7 pounds (though, I’d be OK if I didn’t reach this goal until race day 10/15)

So, progress check.

Running:

I’ve logged just over 20 miles, so obviously I’m not hitting my goal (should be at 37.5 by now). I made a excel sheet that allows me to track where I am at and what my daily average needs to be in order to complete the 75 miles by 9/30. Basically, I need to run 3.4 miles every day in order to get there. Not saying won’t happen, but I’m worried. I do plan to run a lot this weekend (10-15 miles) so hopefully I can start chipping away at that 75.

I did have a nice 5 mile run in Ireland, which is something I always like to do once when I travel. Great way to explore a city and get a feel for the culture.

Burpees

For the most part, I (and Kelly who is doing 30 a day with me) am doing pretty good with this. I’ll admit, there were a few days in Ireland that we missed, then tried to make up on the back end, but if I’m honest, I’m probably short of my (15 x 30) burpee target arc.

Crossfit

This is something I’ve kept up on. Kelly and I went to Crossfit Perpetua in Dublin twice on our vacation (mixed review btw — people were great, but front desk girl (accent unknown) couldn’t make left or right of us dropping in AND wanting to buy a t-shirt…I mean how many curve balls can you throw at someone at one time?!?). I’ve already gone once this week and plan to go again on Saturday.

I do feel like my strength has greatly improved, which is what I needed after my last OCRs. My worry is that my endurance won’t be as good as it was when I was doing Orange Theory, but it’s kind of a “pick your poison” kind of scenario, right? I do think that, between endurance and strength, I’d rather be strong enough for the obstacles and fight through fatigue than have energy at each obstacle, but not enough upper body and grip strength to complete obstacles.

Lose 5-7 lbs.

Not too concerned with this one. I was up a bit of weight after Ireland, but am back down (as of this morning) to 171.8, which is just a fraction less than what I was when this month began. I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble dropping another 5 pounds or so to get to around 165 by race day.

Current Weight: 171.8 lbs.

Self-Assessed Fitness Level: 7/10

Days run this month: 4

Miles run this month: 20.5

Crossfit classes attended past week: 2

Biggest Challenge Past Week: logging miles!

One Month Fitness Challenge: Day One

To those of you who read my last blog post, this is the beginning of my one month challenge to ready myself for the OCR World Championships. My goals for this challenge are:

  1. Run 75 miles in month of September
  2. Do 30 burpees each day (or do 900 in month in case of missed day or two)
  3. Attend no less than 2 Crossfit classes each week (exception Ireland week)
  4. Lose 5-7 pounds (though, I’d be OK if I didn’t reach this goal until race day 10/15)

So, I’m not one to chalk it up as a loss if I don’t get 30 burpees in on a single day, so long as I make up for it the next day or two. Kelly and I also plan on going to crossfit once while we’re in Ireland, so it might be possible to get two in that week, but I doubt it since we’re be gone Sunday-Sunday and if we just do it once, well, basically I am not going to worry about it while I am on a bucket list vacation with my wife.

Some things I am going to have to monitor this month to help me reach my goals

  1. Alcohol intake
  2. Carbs during weekday lunches
  3. Portion sizes at night
  4. Sleep (I am figuring to have to run a lot of mornings, so I want to be good about going to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep and have energy to get up early and run…. Kelly won’t mind this one I don’t think)
  5. Stretching (I know….I know…)

Challenges I foresee having to overcome in order to meet goals

  1. Running boredom (I enjoy running, but I haven’t gotten too creative with my running route, and have a 3.8 mile out and back and a 6.5 mile loop. If I am going to log some miles, I’ll need to mix it up so I don’t get bored)
  2. Football Saturdays/Sundays (drinking, lack of drive to push myself when Lions/Buckeyes play)
  3. Weather (easy to plan to run less miles today than tomorrow, but need to make sure I don’t pile too many miles toward the back end of the month where I might run into some wet days and not want to run)
  4. Injury (being new to Crossfit, there is always the potential for injury, especially if I am trying to run more and do burpees everyday. This is where that stretching thing will help out)

That’s pretty much it. I’m not going to post progress pics or anything, but I’ll keep you updated on some numbers to track in case you were interested in following me along…

Current Weight: 172.4 lbs.

Self-Assessed Fitness Level: 7/10

Days run this month: 0

Miles run this month: 0

Crossfit classes attended past week: 2

 

OCR World Championships Training

I’ve stated on here before that I’ll be running in the OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) World Championships in Ontario, Canada in exactly 50 days. Well, I’ve stated I’ll be running it, but not necessarily that it would be in 50 days. In fact, being that this is the first, and only post I’ve done today, had I stated before that I’d be running the OCRWC in 50 days, I’d have been lying and that’s something I’m not all about.

An-y-way… I saw an Instagram post of a guy who will also be competing in the same race, same age division as me, and who didn’t look like he was one of those “elite, all-world” athletes that I know will be there and whom I don’t anticipate seeing beyond the starting line. Anway, this guy I follow looks, in a lot of ways, like I do, which is encouraging since I really don’t know what to expect. What isn’t encouraging is that in the picture, he and a buddy were flashing their medals from some super-beast 13 hour marathon they’d just completed, and in the caption he talked about how he was planning on running 200 km (125 miles) in September and doing 30 burpees every day in preparation for the World Championships.

OCR-World-Championships-2016
OCRWC in Northern Ontario at Blue Mountains

 

I’ve done two races, and I know when my wife reads this, she’ll remind me that this race is more of a learning experience than it is a race I go in to with the expectation of finishing in a certain time or in a certain place. While I agree with her, reading how some guys who look like me are preparing for this kind of race has me thinking it’s time to amp up my training a little bit.

Come with me, won’t you, while I talk through what I think I’ll need to do between now and 50 days from now.

Spartan Run Woods

The good thing I have going for me is I have solid, not great, but pretty good endurance. I’m probably 5-7 pounds heavier than I’d like to be for when race day gets here, but I think if I just amp up my running a bit and be mindful of my diet, it shouldn’t be hard to get down to where I want to be. I just think that over the course of 15 km, I’ll be glad I took off those 5-7 pounds and I think that will allow me to get past some obstacles that might otherwise be more difficult.

RaR

Kelly and I are currently going to Crossfit two or three times per week (I’ve only been once in a week and a half due to travel and a Warrior Dash I ran/prepped for, so I have to make sure I keep up on that between now and, you guessed it, 50 days from now). After running my first Spartan Race, I learned that my biggest weakness was upper body strength and grip strength, so I’m really trying to get stronger leading up to this race.

While I don’t think 125 miles of running is realistic for my lifestyle, especially given my work schedule, some other personal endeavors my wife and I have (Sweat Local Columbus Sweat Sesh!), and my training schedule for Crossfit, not to mention a week-long trip we have planned to Ireland at the beginning of the month, I do think that I can set a goal of 75 miles and try to hit that between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. I’ll try to keep myself accountable by posting weekly updates on this blog with how far I’ve gone and what all I have left to run.

Hopefully these last 50 days will get me ready for one of the most exciting races I’ll probably ever get to do. I’m the kind of person that trains best when there is an end goal in sight and I’m not just running or working out to “lose weight” or “build muscle.”  I’m both excited and nervous for the race, but I’m confident that if I can keep some positive momentum heading into the race, I’ll be fine.

Death_to_stock_photography_wild_1

Cheers to the next 50 days!

Writing Prompt #09: Safe Spaces

So I’ve been bad about keeping up with my D2S Writing Prompts, so I made a point to get back on board this week with the following piece about defining your safe space and describing what it means to you. ENJOY!

I think a lot of people think of a safe space as their own little quiet corner of the world, but for me, my safe space is anything but quiet. When I need to think — really be alone with my thoughts — I put my headphones in and get outside to run.

We all have our routines, whether it’s work or family or our schedules. Those things are fine, but to be able to think about things creatively, we have to do things a bit off-kilter. For me, I need to run. I start out by finding a good station on Spotify. I will usually lock in to the music for the first part of the run just to ease comfortably into my space.

After a few miles when I start to get tired, that’s when I do my best thinking. I start to forget about the music and my heavy breathing, and I can just put my legs on autopilot and coast. I think about things I want to write about or ways to handle certain problems I might have at the time. I’ll think about my plans for the weekend or which PGA player will win the tournament this weekend. I’ll replay hands from poker games I played years ago and try to figure out what I could have done differently or how I might do that again the next time I play. I think this time more so than any other is like a hard reset for my brain. I purge out every thought I’ve had over the past few days and and just able to exist in the moment.

I can honestly say that I am at my best when I run. I’m not the fastest runner, nor do I have dreams of bigger races or PR’s. I run because it allows me to be myself. I run because it allows me to feel free, and freedom is the safest place in the world to me.