**No photos in this one, just writing. (Except one photo of Travis!)
I don't think I have really written anything about all those duathlons I was diving into, so I thought I'd just touch on how that's been going.
Everything started out really well. I had good underlying inspiration leading me to thinking up this new little challenge for myself. That made things pretty easy as far as they could be.
Sure, it was a long grind each day, but I don't mind that. I actually really like it. Each time I get out givin' 'er when my body is in somewhat stable condition I get thrust back into that lifelong love affair...the love affair that is wholesome and enriching that never lets me down: Pounding on my body!
I love everything there is about beating my cardio to a pulp...making my lungs wanna jump out of my chest and punch me in the face for the pain I put them through. When the shin splints set in and my muscles burn in ripped and torn torture I get taken to a place in heaven. Feeling my eyes constantly sting from sweat dripping into them in a steady stream is my comfort zone. The place where I get settled into bliss is when I feel crusty salt on my forehead when I go to uselessly wipe the sweat from my brow. That little bit of crustiness is right damned fuckin' fantastic!
In the early days of my duathlons I was brought to this place, and it was really great...really, really great! The pounding and exhaustion doesn't matter at that point, because it's the place I love so much to live.
The strange thing is that even though I am in that bliss state, with every painful stride on the road, or every turn of the pedal, I can't help but to think about what I would have really been able to do...what could have been!
I miss 'really running' so bad. So. Fuckin'. Bad! It puzzles me why the majority of people hate it so much. It is the easiest thing in the world to do and it does amazing things for your body. I desperately wish I could trade places with any regular person who hates running so I could use the legs they don't appreciate. I think about that every day...especially when I am out doing my gibbled form of running that I have been forced into.
A few years ago, Travis had said to me,
"There's no coasting when you're running!"
**Travis being awesome!
Travis is a local mountain biking legend, and I always found it a bit odd when he would get out running, because you never really think of him without a bike glued to his ass! Those were such simple and profound words though...words that inevitably roll through my mind when the real grind sinks in during my runs. "Yup...yer fuckin' right Trav!" Then it's one foot in front of the other from there.
Taking pause in thought as I write that, I'm starting to feel a bit sad as reality to where I am at now is sinking in like an anchor to my fleeting thought of my functional body.
For the past couple months now, my body has been breaking down a bit again. I'm back into that pain that is impossible to explain. Sitting has been hurting me so much. My tailbone is in agony, but that is the easy thing to explain about sitting. Words are elusive for everything surrounding connective tissues. (All through my legs!) The tops of my hamstrings make me constantly want to scream from how bad they hurt. Sitting on them makes it even worse.
Trying to get in and out of a chair is a very challenging thing. My hamstrings don't want to support me to lift me up or set me down. I have to struggle to get up using my arms to push me, and I lower myself to a point where I finally just drop into a chair. I grimace in pain that's written all over my face. It isn't something that can be hidden...not that I really need to or try to.
The thing is that all the pain of sitting gets washed away though because it isn't where the real pain resides. As much as I hate it, sitting is the easy part, it's standing that is the hard part! All the chaotic pain in my hamstrings and connective tissues doesn't want to allow me to hold myself upright. I'm so weak and unstable when I stand because of the mutiny my hamstrings have thrown against me. It drives me nuts, but even still, they are not my real weak point!
The connective tissues in my lower quads feel like they are on fire. The nerve endings feel like zillions of tiny little poison dipped daggers are constantly stabbing me. It is excruciating! It all starts at my knees and travels most of the way up my quads. I can barely keep it together because it hurts so bad. As I eluded to above, the good thing about it is that it takes my mind off of my hamstrings, tailbone, and other issues.
(The big tendons in my groin are totally fucked too, and my chest has been having one of my months long fake heart-attacks again! My shoulders are killing me as well.)
When I have been on a big collapse for a long time (years) and then my body kinda loosens its grip, it's kind of amazing how fast complacency will set in with feeling kinda OK. As fast as I can get used to it, I still am not unaware of it and not appreciative of being able to function somewhat the way I like to.
I never know when my body is gonna start being an over the top piece of shit, so I try to go for it as much as I can whenever I get the chance, hence my little challenges I put together for myself, which brings me back to where I started yet.
Now that I have filled in a bit as to what my body is doing I think it can lend some context to what it is I have been dragging myself through to knock off these duathlons.
The combination of my hamstrings and quads, and the connective tissue problems all over the place has made it near impossible at times to even move my legs. Those fuckers do not want to work. I don't have any real lift or push from them. If stairs are my enemy, try to think what it is to push down on pedals constantly.
I am too unstable to stand up and ride, so I have to sit; but sitting hurts so bad in a comfort-y chair that you need to unlock the depths of your imagination to draw a picture of how grueling it is to sit on a hard-ass little bike seat. Add to that all the bumps in the road while combining the motion of having to push down on pedals with legs that don't want to work.
I feel every little bump rivet through my entire body making my spine catch on fire while it travels up to find its rest in my skull. Then the head aches sink in. That old shitty nemesis of the metallic taste that can appear in my mouth from the pain in my spine loves to drop in from outta nowhere to really piss me off.
All of that, I can't do anything about...it's my gnarly-ass hernia that I have to pay attention to and hold in with one of my hands. I'm too unstable on my bike to ride with one hand though, so I just gotta suck it up and toughen up...grind it out!
There is nothing fun about my bike right now. I actually hate. It's tearing me to shreds and driving me insane! I desperately just want to dig in, but my body won't let me. I hate it!
It is the run where I have had to try to find some kind of solace, but I can barely move my legs, especially when they have had an eternal flame of gas and matches put to them so they are shrouded in firey flames non-stop. I can't even stretch my legs out straight in bed again, because of the way my hamstrings are contracting again. It can take all my concentration to walk, so running, or my version of pretending to run is near impossible.
As I deal with my legs, spine, and head aches, etc, I still have to hold one hand on my stomach to try to combat my bulging hernia. It hurts my arm to hold it like that, and for my free arm that has the natural swinging motion, well, my chewed up shoulders took care of anything good within that.
Layered on top of all the pain in every part in every way in my body is the exhaustion. There truly are no words for that. It's just something else all together!
I'm such a fuckin' mess, that there is no way I should be doing any of this, but I'm still trying. Needless to say, there have been a lotta missed days of these duathlons, but I am trying. I am still looking ahead, but with the snow coming soon, and the way my bike is treating me, I will have some decisions to make.
I don't have the stability to ride in the snow this year, so if I have to bail on my bike, it will mean one of two things...
1: I set my bike up on my winter trainer and push it as far as I can
2: I bail on bike all together and do half marathons on the road instead
It doesn't matter what choice I make. Either way I am fucked, but I still gotta try. Not trying isn't good enough. Not trying is when I feel like a failure. I'd rather try with everything in me and have a complete collapse than sit on my ass like a piece of shit and not do anything. I just can't live with that failure inside me because it is worse than anything my body can throw at me. Fuck that shit!
So...despite several lost days, and the thought of layered depths of torture that I go through, I'm still gonna drag myself out there to keep pluggin' away as much as I can.
I define failure not as a lack of success, but rather a lack of trying, so I am gonna do everything I can to come out on top of the blood war fight I have to contend with to transcend what that all means!
After a series of some very unexpected messaging with an unexpected person over four days I got inspired to throw myself into another challenge...my steepest one yet.
I can easily say that getting to this point was initially born from my 31 day challenge I spontaneously did at the beginning of summer. That, of course, led to those three weekends of triathlons I did in the Okanagan. I still have yet to really write about those, although I wrote a couple things during that time that moved a lot of people.
I went through a series of very mixed emotions with those races. I still don't know what to make of it all. Competitive triathloning just didn't feel like it once did. I felt like an outcast different than I usually do within that world. I just didn't feel like I belong in any respect. I wasn't sure if it was even fun either, so there didn't see too much point to it.
Coming down the finishing chute in Pavilion Lake to end my second race I was immediately jolted with questioning perspective because of the response I drew from the crowd who were all waiting for me. I didn't really know what to think, but they sure made me feel like a hero for a day again.
Still a bit weathered in mud from the Pavilion Triathlon west of Kamloops on Sept. 26, my boy is ready to roll regardless!
There was a lot of the Pavilion crew at the next weekend in Summerland and they made me feel like family. Really, really great people! They want me back at their race whenever I want to go. This was a conflicting notion as I was looking to walk away from competitive racing as I have mentioned.
Doing one race on a weekend has long been anything but a challenge for me, and they have become almost a redundant notion. I still think I am closing the door on that world, but at the same time I am not shutting out racing in Pavilion Lake again. If you saw what I experienced it might be easier to understand. Talking with Wayne (Little) in the dog park after racing in Summerland the following weekend definitely left me with something to think about, so although a single day race isn't really what I would see as a challenge, I might be back there again.
My thirst to challenge myself is unquenching though. I just can't escape it. I do these things that have left people inspired and in awe because of the intensity, but I have never felt like I have approached the brink of break for myself, even when in the midst of one of those journeys I have to dig in with everything I have just to pull myself through.
The depth of the human's true potential is so fascinating to me, and has at times been very addictive. I don't feel complete as a person, as a human, if I am not trying to do my part in living up to my own potential. It is something that really bothers me, and I haven't been shy about expressing that. Despite the thought of what others have said about these things I have put myself through, I have only ever felt like I have fallen short of finding that in myself.
I picked up some new high-performance racing flip-flops. (I purposely placed them at a less than square angle to the deck planks to dig a bit at my OCD friends...yes, I am a bastid - Tony had it right today at the bakery! I fuckin' love Tony. What a good guy!)
It so often seems, that as people, we are so blessed with this extraordinary potential, but it is only a small, small percent of people who actually attempt to find that in themselves for what that really means. I guess I dream of a world where what would be perceived as greatness now, would only just be what normal is because everyone is taking their gift of what is possible to the absolute maximum as their regular daily life.
The main thought I live with is, "How can we really know what we have living in us if we never give it an honest run to tap into that with everything we have...where we test our mental fortitude, physical strength, endurance, creativity, tenacity, spirit, will, and everything all maxed out at the same time simultaneously...where we need to dig in deeper than we ever knew we had on every level to be able to find what isn't there to pull ourselves through?" (I know that was a long-ass run-on sentence or question, but I don't care!)
It just seems like a rare thing where people really throw themselves in the meat grinder to bring out a level in themselves that they never knew they had. I believe with everything in me that we all have that sense of special in us, and as far as myself goes, I will never be satisfied until I feel like I have given it an honest run regardless of any of my barriers I might face in life. Besides, I like to look barriers straight in the eye, punch them in the mouth, and run over their ass!
My fancy racing toes I let Sarah have fun with the day before she went on maternity leave are still hanging in there nicely. Who needs fancy racing shoes when you can have fancy racing toes?!
So, my new challenge that I have thought up for myself that was inspired by this unexpected messaging is that starting tomorrow (Thursday) I will be doing a duathlon (run-bike-run) every day for 74 straight days. It will take me to December 2nd, the day before my birthday, and will mean a lot of suffering through some real nasty weather...freezing cold rain, ice, snow...
The toll it will take on my body will be immense. The toll it will take on my mind will be even more immense. When I did those 50 straight days of duathlons three years ago, although beat, battered and exhausted, it was the mental aspect of things where the real challenge lived.
What it looks like from my yard today in the beginning.
I can kind of prepare myself a bit better having had that experience under my belt, but then there is always the unexpected...especially considering the bad hernia I have. My hernia was supposed to be operated on in late September/early October, but because our medical system in this area can often lick balls, I have to put it off another 6 months. Instead of having to be sidelined to heal during the fall, my postponed surgery frees up the time to dive into this challenge. The only thing that will change is that if it is deemed an emergency when I see the surgeon for an assessment on October 10 and get shuttled right in to go under the knife I will do that. I just have to be sliced and diced with enough time to heal before I have to shovel snow. As it is now, that just can't happen, so I have to wait til after the snow is gone.
Doing 74 consecutive days of duathlons with this hernia will make things more challenging for sure, but I have had it for so long now that I can navigate through it pretty well...it just gets to be a pain in the ass.
I feel like I really need this intense challenge though. Something feels incomplete with me and maybe I might find some peace despite everything this challenge is going to mean.
The last of my sunflowers. Time to say good bye to summer and launch myself into the gnarly seasons in style!
I definitely wouldn't be embarking on this if it was for Ali, Leo, and Kaila inspiring me to throw myself into that month long challenge at the beginning of summer...that led into the triathlons. (I haven't really thought of them too much since I began that. I have started writing something about the truth of inspiration because of them though that will shed some light on that...I'll finish it eventually)
Then there is this recent bit of events that made all of this come up over the past handful of days and that person from worlds away who got in my head as well.
Looking at those people, what I can say, is that you can never underestimate the impact you might have on another. Whether you realize it or not, it does pay to be good person, with a good heart walking in balance for where your journey might take you. You just never know who is paying attention and what it might mean to them.
Thanks for making me a better me in this moment!
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.