**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!
After the lawnmower shot whatever that was into my foot, and the effects of what it meant for my foot started sinking in, I got pretty upset right away. The way it hurt, and the way the rippling pain affected the movements of my foot, I saw all the racing I wanted to do disappear. Just like that it was gone!
To be able to walk I have to compensate my stride, and in so leaving a deep limp. That shoots my mind straight to that old familiar place of how detrimental compensating for injury can throw my whole body out of balance structurally. It is a chain reaction doesn’t seem so obvious.
Where the object shot through my flip flop and pierced my foot.
I can hardly stand on the inside of my foot, so I am focusing more of my weight onto the outside of my foot, which aren’t isn’t where the main structural bones are.
(I learned that when I cracked the 5th metatarsal in my right foot during the Vancouver marathon in 2008…I was landing my stride on the outside of my foot and rolling in, when the line of structural integrity is along the inside from your heel to big toe.)
Aside from that, walking on the outside with such a pronounced limp, it throws the proper alignment in stride out in my knee, and also my hip. To compensate for the improper weight distribution I’m then leaning a bit to the side as well as shifting my weight more rigorously as I move.
These movements, and change in patterns, can then put torque on the spine and shift the organs...even just slightly. This in turn fills the body with inefficiencies that have a building up effect as time goes on.
I know there is nothing efficient about my shitty body, but adding more mess to the pile is obviously not what I want to do. The problem is, I like to walk, and the only way I can right now is with this shift in structure, movement and weight, which introduces this whole chain reaction.
I won’t walk this way for too long, just the initial days while I let my body really digest the injury, then I will suck up the pain some more and walk properly, even if it hurts more because it is worth it in the long run.
That’s the initial physical aspect of things I am staring down right now, but my bigger problem is the mental one. The pain isn’t the problem. I can always handle that. The problem is what the injury limits. In this case it is riding my bike.
The worst movement for my foot is to go up on my tip toes, and putting pressure when in that position. This, of course, has detrimental effects on riding a bike as it’s the balls of the feet that are on the pedals driving all the force into the bike. That’s something I simply cannot do right now. I might be able to do it very gingerly on my winter trainer in the easiest gear, but out on the road there isn’t a chance.
Of course my work got in the way and took my last few days of my challenge away from me, but I was already looking to adjust what the fitness end of my challenge meant. This was because I had decided to get racing in again, and dive right in, in a very intense way for myself.
I was going to start shifting away from as much strength work, and move towards roadwork on my bike. I was also gonna cut back on the treading water (from 30+ minutes down to 15 minutes) and just use the treading water as a warm up to put more emphasis into swimming.
This weekend I was going to start doing sets of wind-sprints on my bike up the long hill in front of the Castlegar Airport…park at the bottom, charge up to the top, turn around and coast back down. Repeat!
I am not sure how that would affect my hernia, but I really want to start building some better strength in my biking legs out on the road now that I have the 30-40 minutes per day on my winter trainer under me.
Right now, I don’t even know what is what though. I am not sure if I can race at all. That depends on how my foot heals, and how fast. Obviously, in a triathlon, having a functioning foot is quite important for cycling and running. Being on the bike with my foot living in the worst position is not the ideal way to set up my run.
My feet already go numb and hurt real badly when I ride my bike. It is why I can’t clip into pedals as I have to move my feet around and shake them off while I ride. I am not a stranger to having my feet be so sore and numb when I get off my bike that I can barely stand on them when I start my run. I have collapsed getting off my bike many times in the past. It’s never that big of a deal too me, but it isn’t the aewsomest thing either. This is all when my feet are in top condition though, so what does that mean with my foot all chewed up?!
All of this is what has been playing in my mind, and it hasn’t been going over well. As soon as I committed to my mind that I was gonna race, I drew up the toughest schedule I could for the late season. It involves eight days of racing in just over three weeks. This is the schedule here:
August 17 - 19: Penticton
August 26: Kamloops
September 2: Summerland
September 3: Vancouver
September 8: Lake Stevens, WA (Outside of Seattle)
September 9: Grand Prairie, AB
As it is will cost a bunch of money, I was gonna do some fundraising and seek out some sponsorship. I have started drawing up a budget of costs to see everything I needed to pull off the season. I also wanted to incorporate some fundraising for Paige Purcell to give to the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
I ran into Gil at the grocery store, and through us talking I told him I was gonna get back into some heavy racing again. He didn't even hesitate to say he wants to be involved, so just like that, I picked up some sponsorship from Red Light Ramen and El Taco! (Gil and Justine are freakin' amazing! I love them!)
I messaged Andrea (Paige’s mama) about it. I told her I wanted to start a GoFundMe for to raise the money for my racing and then donate everything above my costs to Paige. Andrea thought it was a great idea.
My entry back into racing had now just taken on a whole new dimension…one with real purpose:
It felt good to want to do that. I love that family so much. They’re just so damned inspiring, and watching Paige grow, getting further away from her tumor with each passing day has been nothing short of incredible!
This is where the real battle in my mind has come into play with this stupid foot injury. Sadly, I have become used to having everything I love taken away from me, which is exactly what I am feeling now.
Rolling off the momentum from my 31 day challenge I just got it in my head to race again. Once it was in there I could see nothing else. All my thoughts were wrapped around it. Then, in one quick moment, it could be gone, and it feels like it stripped away the meaning from my mind. I have been through that far, far too many times in life to not know that I can pull myself through it. The real problem now is Paige. If I lose the racing I lose the chance to do a bit of fundraising for her, even if it’s only just a little bit.
I don’t even really know how I feel about it, but it sickens me in a sense. All I can see is that I am letting this little girl down, and I hate that feeling. I hate it! I hate it! I HATE IT!
Now I’m left here with this messed up foot trying to steal my racing away from me and all I can see is myself disappointing this little girl.
I think of what she has been through and I feel like a disgrace, and I disgust myself. I can’t give up on her though, so I am trying to figure my way through this.
Epsom Salt is the first thing with plastic I have bought in a month. The only other plastic were my two prescriptions for my foot...my feet seemed to have betrayed me for this no-plastic challenge!
Here I am sitting inside with my foot soaking in icy Epsom salt water when it is smokin’ hot outside. I’m purposely limping to take pressure off the wound, which isn’t great for my structure, but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t get Paige outta my head, and if I have to drag my body through a deeper sense of hell to get this racing done somehow, I guess that’s what I’m gonna have to do.
I can live with pain, but I just can’t live with the kind of pain failing this little girl will put on me. That shit doesn’t go away!
I’m gonna have to do some figuring to pull it off, and only time will tell what that means, but maybe this is just the way I am meant to roll. I was supposed to die the day I was born, so I came into this world as a fighter. Maybe I just do better against impossible odds. The worse things are, the harder I dig in to find what I am really made of!
Paige, I’m gonna step up and drag myself through pain and hell for you! I refuse to let you down!
July 27, 2018
I lost the past couple days of my challenge because of circumstance at work. I was at work for 15 hours, and then came home and had a broken up sleep for 2 hours, then went back and was there for 16 hours.
Although the time restricted eating thing wasn't really a problem, I didn't care that it was my last day of this challenge. After putting in this crazy little stretch of work I decided to say, "Fuck it" and got a Dairy Queen cone.
(Still no plastic! No new plastic was easy.)
The first thing I noticed when I pulled up to my home was a garden of dying sunflowers as it has been hot and I hadn't been able to water them because of my time at work. Damn!
I didn't get right at that though because first thing is first: Go get in the river!
When I came up from swimming I got right at watering my garden. The poor bastid has taken a beating. (Elk and deer have been eating several of my sunflowers.) I don't have a tap at my house, so I can't water with a hose. I have to fill water cans in my bathroom tub. For a garden that dry and dying, I had to soak it pretty well, which means a whack load of trips in and outta my home.
I was so exhausted when I was done that I decided to kick back in my reclining gravity lawn chair. (Or whatever you call it.) I was sinking into it nicely under the sun on my deck. It felt good to stretch out, mellow out, and take a load off. My plan was to pass out if that's what happened. I was hoping for that at least.
Right when I was hitting that stride of bliss I got bitten three times by hornets. Even while I was getting beat up by those lil' fuckers, I was realizing that they must have been building a nest inside the piping of the chair.
After the swarm mellowed out a bit, I flipped the chair over and sure enough, the army was alerted and a big-ass swarm of hornets followed. When I saw that I started thinking of the walk with the hornet-y chair down to the river to throw it in and sink it for enough time to sort that problem. I'll do that soon enough. The new topic for the moment was to cut my grass.
I gassed up my lawnmower and got right at it. Within the first minute of cutting my grass I ran over something I didn't see even though I was looking right down where I was cutting. It was right beside the wall of my home, and was nothing I hadn't cut over and over, so I was a tad baffled as to what it was.
I just heard the noise, but didn't see anything, so I kept on going. A few strides later I started feeling a sensation in my foot, so I looked down and saw a drop of blood. It was nothing...just tiny. I kept on going.
It was really windy, so I thought perhaps whatever it was blew into my path. I looked down at my foot again and was kinda impressed with how it happened as whatever it was launched up through the bottom of my foot through my sandal...perfect timing in my stride to be hit the way I was. Some rain started coming down sideways to accompany the wind, so I put my lawnmower away and came inside.
I promptly crawled into bed and passed out. When I woke up my foot was totally fucked. I didn't care about the walking part. I can deal with being all gibbled just fine. The only thing on my mind was not being able to ride my bike, because there is no way I can do it right now.
It feels like whatever it was that I ran over with the lawnmower pierced through and hit the big plantar fascia ligament in the bottom of my foot. It's like a perfect strike to a pressure point that has caused a rippling effect in my foot.
I'm limping and can't walk on it properly, but that is fine for me. I can't stand on ball of foot on tip toes, etc, which is exactly how riding is done. My already slow-ass running speed will be chopped down at least 50%, but probably more. I'm pretty choked right now at the thought of having racing disappear just like that. Gotta figure out how to see if I can heal it fast if I wanna chance to get out and give 'er.
I'm gonna write more about what this means for the racing I had shaping up, and also to sum up my 31 day challenge for myself.
My hernia has been hurting so badly that I have had to take a break from the fitness side of my challenge. Daniella actually caught me crunched over my desk at work wincing and groaning in pain because of it. It takes a lot for that to happen. She didn't really like seeing me like that.
I am not good at doing anything except lying down while putting pressure on the lump to hold it in. If I am upright it really fucks with me quite a bit.
The nature of the matter has slowed me down with my fitness challenge. I can handle the pain, that’s not the real issue. It’s not the same as something like arthritis. That shit’s no big deal for the most part. Yeah, it hurts like crazy, but it doesn’t really injure me so-to-say. I just gotta toughen up, and then keep going.
Of course my body has the ultimate veto on everything with my arthritis-y stuff…or anything for that matter. Having lost so many years worth of time, I know that as well as anyone. I can push through unimaginable depths of that pain and limited function though. It isn’t even that hard even though it takes everything in me to do. A hernia is different though. I know that with a hernia I can easily rupture or burst it, and if that happens I am in trouble. If it bursts I’ll have shit going all over the place inside that shouldn’t be there and it can cause all sorts of problems.
Having my hernia hurt bad enough to have me crunched over my desk at work wincing in pain told me I should slow it down a bit with my fitness stuff. I wasn’t happy about that at all. I have had really great momentum and it has been feeling good, not just in my body, but also in my mind.
I was on hold for several days. I was pretty upset about it at first, especially having lost a bit of time early on and having to work so hard to crawl outta the holes I put myself in.
I was psyched to get myself back level with everything, so falling back down even worse was not something that felt good. I’m so hard on myself too that I instinctively started beating myself up for failing myself. It ate at my mind and ate at my mind; and the more it did the more I got pissed off and let down.
Every time I would move around my pain would just elevate and elevate. It took over my conscious because of not just how it felt, but how it was sabotaging my challenge. I was pissed!
The fitness end of my challenge has been eating all of my time though. It has been the only thing I do at home when I am not at work. I have definitely neglected a few home life chores and such because of it. One thing I did do, even though it kicked my ass, was cut my grass. I had to do that with one hand on the lawnmower and the other holding my guts in. It was a tough one, but I got ‘er done.
The extra time that freed up though gave my mind a bit more freedom to think of other things. This inevitable caused me to go into a bit of reflecting upon the beginning of my challenge and the quick changes I experienced, as well as all the unforeseen little lessons…like how removing plastics can drastically reduce sugar from ones life.
I started to look at the time when my right hand and wrist were going through the changes to inevitably end up with permanent damage. When that was happening, I was desperately trying to do a single push-up against my kitchen counter while standing. Not a chance! I bought a 2lb dumbbell to try to do some curls, and I couldn’t even come close. The frame of my wrist was so bad I couldn’t handle two stinkin’ pounds!
It is in times like this that I can use the history of my body to show me where I am at and appreciate what I have in the simplest form.
Yeah, my busted up guts have slowed me down and hurt, but I’m still so much further along than so many times in my life. That should be worth something to be OK about.
Thinking about that I started to ease up a bit on myself rather than being so hard on myself. My concern then became whether I was using this as an excuse to justify taking a break because of the pain. I didn’t like that thought though because I felt it did have some merit to it and began to hold some weight in my mind; so now I was faced with how to proceed. How was I gonna make everything OK?
I wasn’t about to stop the fitness end of my challenge, but my belly was so sore it was hindering everything. The option I came up with is to mellow out in my mind a bit, and do the best I could for what I could do. After all, it is my challenge! Who said I have to stop anyway? I can just keep going past the 31 days. I can do whatever I want!
I decided to alter my perception within it all and just look at all of this as a kind of learning experience to begin the shift of a lifestyle change! Most of that came within the plastic realizations and the time restricted eating. The fitness end of things will never leave me. It has been at the root of who I am longer than anything else in my life. I will never let go of it, nor will I ever move on from it.
With this in mind I figured I’d just get back at it as soon as my body felt kind of OK, and do what I could. I mean, can I really ask any more of myself? I will pull what I can out from within. I’m pretty good at that, so that’s what I’ll do, and have to be good with that!
My hernia is obviously right front and center of my mind. I want to get it fixed at the end of September so I will have enough time for it to be fully healed by the time I have to start shoveling snow. I could get it done before then, but I don’t want to infringe on my swimming season. I wait for this every year. It is only a short two month window, and I don’t wanna lose any of it…not even for some shitty pain.
After my trip to the hospital and seeing that doctor about my foot on Saturday, I knew right away that he didn’t have a clue what he was talking, so I went in to see Dr. Link at the walk-in clinic yesterday. (Monday) I wanted to see what she had to say about my foot and get a move on my hernia.
Dr. Link is amazing! I have seen well over 200 healers in the 25 years my body has been all messed up. There is a reason she is the only medical doctor I trust. I have been with her for I think 16 years. The only time I consider anyone else is like the other day when I went to the emergency room on the weekend. Talking to that doctor reaffirmed me once again as to why I have long taken the stance I have in regards to Dr. Link.
We started talking about my hernia. She brought up my file as it has been a persistent thing from a botched operation by Dr. Schumacher in Trail in April 2016. She said the first time before my original operation it was as big as a grape. The last time we spoke about it last summer when it came back, it had grown and was as big as a plum. This time was different.
As soon as I lifted my shirt, Dr. Link’s eyes widened and she was half shocked at how large my hernia had become. She immediately grabbed a tape measure at first sight of my belly. The combination of her expression, grabbing the tape measure and what she was saying about the size of it gave me a greater glimpse into the situation. It was worse than I thought. It is 6 or 7 centimetres…enough to cause the reaction it did from her.
We got right into talking about it, and how I wanted to go about things. I told her my timeline I preferred, and told her with 100% certainty that Dr. Schumacher was not gonna be the guy.
“He had his shot and blew it…he’s not getting a second chance!”
Dr. Link took notice of that and said she would send me to someone else.
The next thing she asked was my weight and height. She said I looked like I had dropped weight, which was good. Last summer I was carrying too much weight to get operated on as they don’t like you to be too big for that kind of operation. I told her my rough weight and height. (My frame is 5’7”, but I can’t stand up straight anymore, so I am currently around 5’5”.) She said my BMI is at 29, which put me inside the window of weight where they wouldn’t bug me to drop more. I assured her anyway that I would drop more by then for sure, and told her about my 31 Day Challenge.
Dr. Link was funny about it. She seemed to try to think of every way she could to get me to eat treats. “…but high end chocolates come in paper wrappers,” she said with a big fatty excited smile on her face. It was pretty excellent! I freakin’ love her!
After we finished with my hernia stuff, she asked me if there was anything else. I simply showed her my foot without saying anything. She got right into that. As she finished talking I told her I had gone to the hospital on Saturday. When I told her that, she asked me what they said. I simply gave her the prescription, to which she immediately said it was the wrong thing. Once again…Dr. Link crushing it! The other guy in the ER was so transparent with not knowing what the hell was up with my foot, and Dr. Link was all over it. She gave me a new prescription (more plastic), and in one day my foot is already showing signs of getting better. Just like that!
If you need a doctor in Nelson, go see Dr. Link at the Walk-in Clinic! She is amazing!
On my way out of her office I put myself on the scale. Turns out I haven’t lost too much weight at all since I began this 31 Day Challenge. That is because I am building muscle at basically the same rate I am dropping fat. It shows the flaws in the BMI (Body Mass Index) reading as well as the serious flaw in simply reading a scale. The proper determination of the ideal way to be has to factor in muscle mass vs body fat on top of body weight and height…then you have resting heart rates and VO2 Max, blood pressure, etc. A full well rounded picture to measure the state of ones body takes many things into account. Simply stepping on a scale and putting that next to your height is very limited and therefore flawed, of which I just showed yesterday.
One of the girls I work with just randomly told me this morning that I have lost weight. I was armed with my up to date knowledge that I hadn’t really because of the muscle building thing, but it was good to know that I have been dropping away the sludge from my body. I can’t really tell, but apparently it is noticeable to others. All I care about though is getting back on track with my challenge even with the lost time, and newer outlook within it all. I’ll keep charging along, and whatever results will take care of themselves!
The new bonus is swimming as the river has finally warmed up somewhat. I can tread water OK, but it hurts my belly too. I tried swimming a few strokes and it tore my right shoulder apart. That pissed me off though as I am still looking ahead to doing some triathlons at the end of August. I am not sure how I can do that though with my shoulder in the state that it is in. I know I won’t be able to get into my wetsuit by a long shot, but I will simply have to toughen up to the water. My shoulder is the only real concern…possibly my belly on my bike, but I can’t make a call on that until I get back out on the road and off my winter trainer. I will do that in August. Once again…Time will tell!
Time restricted eating has been pretty easy. Once I busted through the first couple days of my body adjusting, the rest was pretty smooth sailing. My fitness thing has hit some walls, but I will address that later.
No new plastic has been the easiest part of all of this. Sure it has cut back on some things I like, simple things such as the bananas and avocados that I keep mentioning, but overall it isn’t too challenging at all. I do know I will be bringing plastic once this is all done obviously, but I will address that at the end of my challenge. I was, however, forced into breaking my no-plastic thing for an unavoidable reason:
Something strange has been happening with the top of my right foot. It was like a little burn or something that kind of lingered. Nothing noticeable happened to kick it off. I didn't hit it on anything, didn't get bit by a spider or whatever, no scratches, or burns...no nothin'! It just appeared from outta nowhere. It would always start healing itself up by the end of my weekend as I walk around barefoot all weekend. It’s when I would go back to work and have to put on footwear again that the healing it was doing would become undone.
I hate wearing things on my feet as it is. I also have a hard time reaching my feet for years now because of the chaos in my spine and pelvis. Putting on socks and shoes is a real challenge for me. I am a flip flop kinda guy anyway though…even in the snow. I wear those fuckers year ‘round! Yes, I am a beach guy, but they are also comfortable, and easy on, easy off to wear too.
Luckily, I get to wear flip flops at work. I have them kicked off and go barefoot in my office for the most part unless I have to get up and answer the door or leave the office. I like that. Even still, having to wear them that much would always hinder the progression of the healing of the little spot on the top of my foot that didn’t wanna seem to heal properly!
At first I was using a herbal salve that worked great. Soon it didn’t really have any affect. The wound got a bit bigger and felt like a healing scab, so I started putting on some hydrogen peroxide that I had. That seemed to be helping too for a bit. On Friday though, when I was floating in the water I noticed that it had just exploded in size.
The wound was indented like a little crater, and was pretty symmetrical. It seemed to be expanding outward from the middle. After seeing it like that in that angle of the sun with the water on it, I knew something was up that had to get checked out, so I went to the hospital yesterday.
Of course the doctor had never seen that kind of wound before. I am used to that. I’m just that guy that doesn’t just have so much different shit wrong with him, but always things that are rare that doctors haven’t seen or say there is nothing that can be done. This was just another one of those moments!
He gave me a prescription and told me if it didn’t get better in a week that it would need further investigation. It was the first prescription I had gotten in many years. I was given a prescription for pain killers when I had a hernia operation in the spring of 2016, but I didn’t need them and gave them away. Other than that though, I can’t remember the last time I have gotten a prescription for myself…It might be close to 20 years…at least 15! I’m pretty natural that way!
The cream that the doctor gave me came in a plastic container though, so that was my unavoidable moment of breaking my no-plastic part of my challenge. I don’t feel horrible about it though considering the nature of the reason behind it. My foot is gnarly and it was the first time in 15-20 years that I have gotten a prescription to use.
Other than that, the no new plastic thing has been a breeze. It has also been a real eye opener towards how much plastic we really bring into our lives on any given day. I’m starting to walk through the stores and look at products differently. Even when I am in a line-up to pay for something I see what everyone else is getting too. Maaaaan…that shit is everywhere!
(This was actually Day 10, but for some reason I cannot change the title.)
I put in another long night at work, and instead of leaving at 7:00am, I walked out of there something like 1pm. When I got home I knocked off my push-ups straight away. I was tired, but it was pretty warm out and mid-afternoon, so I finished blowing up the recliner water float-y that I had started blowing up a couple weeks ago and never really got around to finishing as I'd use my Stand Up Paddler instead of lounging.
Now, with this challenge of mine I haven't had any time to do anything else. Today I said, "Fuck it!", and finished blowing the thing up. (Yes, I know it is plastic, but it falls in the loophole of no new plastic...I bought it last summer, and have had it sitting on the floor half blown up for awhile.)
I took it down to the water to lounge around floating for a bit. La la laaaa..
I've started noticing that my swim shorts are startin' to smell like old stank-ass hockey gear that hasn't been cleaned for a season. it is nasty, but warmly embracing. I really do love the gnarly athlete within me where things like this hold a beautific essence in my mind. Blood, sweat and beat up injury is the place I feel most at home...that and Grateful Dead shows!
(Speaking of Grateful Dead shows... A real close bro of mine from Dead Tour days, who I haven't seen since then, just had a baby. I'm so happy about it that I kinda can't believe it. There has always been something different about people I did Grateful Dead Tour with. I was living in Toronto, Derek was from outside of Detroit, and we met in Ohio. We clicked right from the moment we met, and have been lifelong bros ever since. Shortly after Tour ended when Jerry Garcia died, Derek moved west to just outside of Vail, and within weeks, I headed west to British Columbia. When he had his baby the other day I had a rush come over me. I'm just so happy about it. I fuckin' love that guy! Grateful Dead...bringing worlds together!)
It was nice to float for a bit, but I was exhausted and needed real siesta time, so I packed 'er in and went up to my place and crawled into bed despite it being mid-afternoon of a beauty day.
LaRae is pretty amazing! She's always living life right to the max.
I had some thick cobwebs when I woke up, so I spontaneously took my doggie for a hike to the waterfall nearby. I've had it in my head for a few days since I messaged LaRae about it when she was looking for local hike recommendations.
It was a nice walk. The water isn't rushing as hard now, so i could walk out onto a nice slab rock right at the base of it. There was a stiff wet breeze blowing off from the spray. It was super refreshing. I enjoyed that for sure.
I stood there thinkin' about and sendin' out some huggy-smiles across the air to another friend who has been feelin' down lately. I didn't stay too long though 'cause dusk was waking up for another night and I wanted to get home and do my hills.
when i got back to the bottom after my second hill i noticed my heart and chest doesn't feel the same pain doing the hills, so instead of just walking quickly...my version of quickly...I ran the third and fourth ones tonight. I felt good, and more reveled in doing it barefoot in the dark...although I always do it barefoot.
It's nice to feel progressions, even just small victories. You know how it is when you string together and add up a bunch of small victories, you end up with something special.
The one thing I am looking at in my mind though is that it is 10:00pm as I write this and I have only completed my push-ups and hills so far. The big hurdle in this moment is the chunk of time on my bike, especially with my legs all chewed up from hike and hills. Once I get through that the rest is smooth sailing. I just know it is gonna be a long night though 'cause I need to sit down for awhile though before I crack into any more of this.
Today I filled in a lot of holes I found myself in from Days 2 and 3. I got myself caught up on my backyard hill climbs, my seated rows and my leg extensions. I am now +1 on my calf raises, and yesterday got myself up +5 minutes on my winter trainer bike riding. So, for all of those, I can settle into routine. I've made up a lot of ground on my chest, arms and upright rows. The biggest breakthrough came in my push-ups.
On the first day I struggled with the first three. They were wreaking havoc on my shoulders and draining the life out of my arms. As I wrote about them earlier in the challenge, "I had some reservations about those that was bordering on anxiety," it was somewhat daunting looking at completing all of this over 31 days. A few days later I started making some progress, and my totals went up which was encouraging. Then today happened...
Only a week ago I struggled to do the first 3 of the 42 push-ups I had to do, and then I fell in massive holes putting me down to -78 push-ups. I clawed my way back though, and today I crushed down 81 total push-ups, bringing that -78 deficit to a +3. I feel a bit of a strain on my right lat, but I expect that stuff to happen and will fight through it like always.
Even under such layers of fat, I can feel the changes in the fibres of my muscles. It feels great, despite my tired body, but the feeling of how quickly I could turn around and leap forward with my push-ups is somewhat intoxicating. Maaaan that shit feels good.
The last real holes I have to get a handle on are my stretching and focused breathing. Those are easy though. I made the conscious choice to sacrifice them a bit for now so I could grind out the real tough hard grunt work, and then settle into those two relaxing exercises as my reward for bustin' my ass with the tough stuff.
Thinking about yesterday and my observations with the indirect removal of sugars and how fast my body acclimatized to it, and then where I got myself to with my physical aspects of my challenge, I'm left once again fascinated by the capacity of the human body and the positive changes it can adapt to if some discipline and love is put into it.
I've spent more than half my life in a very pain filled messed up body, and have had most everything I love ripped away from me without choice. (25 years this upcoming September 8th) Through everything my body has been through, and what I have dragged it through despite it all, I have never lost fascination with the human body. It is nothing short of remarkable. I know what my body means to me, and unfortunately it took devastating loss in the snap of a finger to find out the real truth about that, but it's days like today that keep me grinding forward because even with all the pain and loss, I'm still able to pull off some bad-ass shit!
(I'm gonna put photos of my menu tonight throughout this, but food list is at the end.)
I'm still making up some ground on my fitness end of things. I can also feel the changes in my body starting to take hold as well. My muscles are tired, but they are really tightening up a lot faster. I had been working out for awhile now, but not like this. Typically, one or two rest days a week are ideal to rest my body and let my muscles breathe so-to-say. Going hard every day is definitely a change, but it is not what I am writing about today. My topic of the day is "sugar!"
This was a surprise thing I never really thought about. Eliminating all new plastics really altars what one can eat. Pretty much everything in a package is gone; and then there are things like bananas and avocados that disappear from the menu as well because of the simple little stickers put on each of them. (I will keep mentioning those because I really miss them already.)
Rosemary, Garlic, Ginger, Seasoning swimming in hot Chicken Stock
When you remove all plastics, the food that is left over is just natural fresh produce as well as grains. Meats all come in wrappers of some sort...even the film on the inside of the paper meat gets wrapped in is a disqualifier. Even though I don't eat too much meat, I do find myself missing chicken just because I can't have it, not necessarily because I want it.
With only fresh organic food on the menu, I was sure my tolerance for sweet, sugary things would really disappear. I didn't realize how much until this morning.
I went into Safeway immediately after work as I was dropping something off at a friend's who lives nearby. I was on the cusp of my restricted eating time, so I went there to see if there was anything available to me. (I was hoping for some fresh bread from the bakery) Turns out that pretty much the entire store is off limits, even their little bit of organic produce. (The Safeway in Nelson has a really hurtin' organic department as it is. Save-On-Foods is quite literally 100 times better with abundance in selection for organics and bulk foods...possibly even 200 times. You can tell SOF actually listens to their customers needs and is aware of their demographic. Safeway has their heads up their asses in this regard.) Plastic everywhere!
When I went to the bakery, I was immediately eyeing up the bread in paper bags. It was all off limits too as every one of their paper bags had a thin plastic window in them. Bummer! All that was left was the bulk bakery stuff.
I scanned through what their bulk selection had. I grabbed 4 bagels. When I left, I caught a glimpse of the doughnuts and figured it was my only chance, so what the hell. I grabbed a couple chocolate dipped ones.
I had them all in a paper bag, but although it isn't plastic, I still didn't like bringing that home as I am kinda getting into the non-existent waste effect all of this is having.
I started digging into the doughnut before I even got outta the store. I instantly regretted it. The sugar was so overwhelming my body didn't seem to know what to do. My taste buds were on the front lines and were totally horrified. I got a glimpse of light headedness too that took no time to show itself. I could feel it travel right down my throat, leaving a thick sludgy residue behind. I didn't get heartburn, but a shitty feeling did emerge
Aside from the obvious overwhelm, I was actually fascinated by how fast my body acclimated to the effects of fresh, natural organic produce, rooted mostly in rich greens like kale and broccoli.
Even though the doughnut made me feel like shit in numerous ways, I am glad I had it, because it really showed me something. Yes, the terrible effects it has on my body, but also opened my eyes to the effect of how removing plastic can severely alter one's diet for the better as a whole. It was like a minor epiphany that I won't soon forget. I never really gave thought to the way plastic influences so much of our foods we eat and that are available to us.
I'm definitely not trying to be a condescending prick or anything, and I'm definitely not saying I won't eat sugar again., but this is just a simple observation for what I have experienced so far...and it happened in no time at all.
With the doughnut behind me, it's back onto the regular program...with a touch vigor. (The bagels, by the way, I gave most of them to my dog.) On the menu for tonight is my favourite thing to make...my one-pot meal I make in my skillet.
I have made this for Jana a couple times and she loves it! It's just a lotta different vegetables, a sauce or stock, and usually boneless skinless chicken breast. (No chicken tonight though!)
My ingredient list for tonight:
-Chicken Stock that I made on Day 1 (from the leftover roast chicken I had)
-7 Small Red Potatoes
-2 Celery Stalks
-Lots of Broccoli
-Some Red Onion
Toss that shit in a skillet, put a lid on it, and throw 'er in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Stylin'! The only bummer is I can't eat it hot outta the oven as I have to wait til I go to work dammit!
I got a jump on things before I left for work. I was tired and beat up, but I did 6 sets of hills and some push-ups. All night at work I was beat to shit. It was a busy night too because we had a lot more going on with Canada Day that never happens on a Sunday night otherwise
I'm not proud of much, but Canada (and being Canadian) is one of them.
It was all worth it when I got home and was ahead in thee game for the day...even if just a little bit. It was the opposite of what I had been feeling from having fallen behind so quickly on days 2 and 3.
I knocked off a couple more sets of push-ups before I crawled into bed so I would have a bunch done by the time I woke up for my afternoon.
When I did wake up I knocked out some more push-ups and then got on my bike straight away to get that behind me. My bike is the biggest solid time chewer I have to deal with. I put in another 25 minutes on my bike, which has put me ahead of schedule. It felt good to be up on something rather than behind. By the end of today I will be caught up with my calf raises, and tomorrow I will be caught up with my hills as well, so I’m showing some good signs of progress. The biggest picture of optimism though, is within my push-ups.
My push-ups started out really rough. Sure I knocked off the 42 I needed to get done the first day, but it devastated my arms. Sucked the life right out of them and shredded my shoulders to pieces. That left me feeling weary and like I was a tad too ambitious with the path I chose for myself. I was committed though, and I know how I am, so I couldn’t let myself down because I would mentally beat the shit outta myself in a very devastating and destructive fashion. I hate that feeling and I will fight really freakin’ hard to keep it at bay…defend my mental ground in my fight against myself. The next day was devastating for that thought.
On day 2, because of how messed up feeling I was, I only did 6 push-ups. That quickly put me at -36 completed. I was so mad with myself, and I was also rattled with how things were gonna turn out with the rest of all of this challenge. That wasn’t the worst though. Day three happened where I lost the entire day due to my work.
When I lost that third day, I didn’t know to do just on the push ups alone. I mean, they were draining me and tearing my shoulders to pieces when I was fresh. How the hell was I supposed to get through the next 4 weeks when I have that as my foundation and was sitting at -78 for my push-up total?!
Even with the bars, I have a real short range of motion in my wrist, so it impedes in a certain way when it is strong and stable enough to let me bang some out. The good thing about these bars is that they let you go deeper into the movement than just on the floor.
To answer that question I turned to the same page in my book I always rely upon when I am beat down with the walls caving in and everything in my body and circumstance trying to impede my progress:
Toughen up, suck it up, and go for it!
Thinking about it doesn’t help. That just eats at your mind. Giving up is not an option, so that choice is out the window! The only thing left is knowing that, in this instance, the push-ups aren’t gonna complete themselves, and the more time I waste, the deeper of a hole I will fall into. So what do I do?
Dig the fuck in!
So, that’s just what I did, and here are the results…
-On Day 4, even though I felt like shit, I banged out 54 of them…bringing my total to -66.
-On Day 5, I banged out 52…bringing my total to -42.
-Today, on Day 6, I filled a little bit more dirt into the whole I dug for myself by banging out another 54 push-ups…bringing my deficit to -30 in total.
I can do more, but I’m being smart about it. I don’t want to sacrifice the rest of my daily fitness challenge in terms of losing more ground on several other elements of my challenge, only to make up ground on one.
Although I still have a good sized deficit, I have shed any sense of doubt or trepidation in my mind about the rest of the month. That shit’s gone. The fight came in my mind early on and I whupped its ass as needed. Holes are being filled and ground is being covered. Better than that though, I have that mental challenge behind me already at Day 6.
My mangled hand. Only my index finger works properly...but he's a workhorse and I make that shit work!
Even with this full turn around, I know my body is gonna go through some shit. I’m way too beat up for it not too. I have far too much experience in this kind of realm not to realize that. Sporting injury has never been a big deal to me. It isn’t real pain. I live with something far worse every second of every day. Sporting pain and injury is actually comforting to me. It’s like a security blanket that comes with me that I don’t have to carry. It’s such a familiar feeling, and comforting in the fact that I know I only feel that way because of doing the things that I love.
There’s no better feeling than pursuing a full faceted test of one’s self. Testing the mind, body and spirit simultaneously! The mental games and wars to elevate your body to transcend the impossible for yourself is pure bliss to overcome. It’s an absolute drug. Not many people seem to understand that the way it runs through me because of how often I get questioned as to why I challenge myself like this when I can. Far too many people have told me they don’t understand why I do things like this the way I do, and will often go as far as to tell me what is best for me, even encroaching on telling me it’s stupid of me to charge like I do, especially in my broken body. I’ve never changed my attitude towards them: I feel sorry for them! If they only took the chance to really test every aspect of themselves all at once, to face deep, deep adversity within as well as with everything around them, only to fight the mental and physical battles to transcend and persevere, my goodness…a whole new world opens up.
A GAWD DAMNED BEAUTIFUL ONE!
I never really feel the urge to explain myself to those who question what I do. For the most part they don’t want to understand, even if I could explain it properly. If anything, it fuels me to go even harder…to dig in even more, to get my fix of the drug I love. I don’t do that to prove anything to anyone, or even to myself, I do it just out of pure love for what I do.
The bottom line though is something I believe deep within, the only way we can find out what our true potential is, is to have the courage to imagine the impossible for ourselves, and use that courage to go for it. Sometimes you make it, sometimes you don’t, but there’s only one way to find out. That falls into the realm of how I often look at failure. I don’t look at failure as the lack of success, but rather the lack of trying.
Not trying is an internal torment that hurts worse than any pain. I hate it. It’s almost like a fear of that internal torment is what can often drive me to fight and claw so hard to battle with everything I got when I find myself looking into the face of everything trying to tear me down. The worse it gets, the harder I fight. If I go down swinging, I go down swinging, but at least I’ll know I gave it everything I had, and that is all that matters to me.
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.