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!
I have been altering my fitness program as I have gotten deeper into this challenge. Yes, I had a few stumbles because of what my body has thrown at me, but I'm still cruising along really well.
I'm still keeping the weight program at 5 sets consistent across the board. My hill charges have mostly stuck at 4 reps, but sometimes I do one or two more. I started out really struggling with push-ups, but now those are feeling pretty good. Instead of doing a target goal of 42 a day I have pushed that up to 50+, so it's nice to have some more thrown in there.
My bike has climbed up quite a bit. My original schedule started me off at 7 minutes on my trainer for a few days, and then working my way up to 30 minutes. I have blown past that by 25% by riding 40 minutes in a gear higher, so it burns some more for longer.
I don't really like riding on my winter trainer. It doesn't take long for it to start hurting me a lot. My feet and butt all get so sore and go completely numb. When I am out on the road I can at least coast and shake off my feet every now and again; and for my ass, I can stand up and pedal. You can't do that on a winter trainer, so it's pure suffering.
Of course, my quads get chewed up too. When everything is going numb and unbearably sore, the thing I think about most is Travis. A lotta local people know who I am talking about, but for those who do not, the easy thing to say is that he is a real good friend of mine. The place I draw inspiration from him though is the way that fucker charges on a mountain bike. Two easy examples:
In 2011 he got sponsored to go down to Costa Rica to do the La Ruta. It is a 4 day stage race that I believe is the hardest in the world. Travis made the podium in his age group.
Travis charging in Leaders Jersey - La Ruta (2011)
Yesterday (July 21, 2018), he just won his category at the Canadian XCO Championships in Canmore, Alberta. Here is the link to his results:
Travis at the Canadian XCO Championships
(Photos by John Gibson: gibsonpictures.com/ )
I know how much time he puts in on his bike...in groups, or on his own. He does insane shit like it ain't no thing! In order to do what he does, and as well as he does, you just know he charges straight into the burn head on...looks at adversity straight in the eyes and punches it right in the mouth, and then rides over it.
(He really should be nicknamed, "Podium!")
So, when I am on my winter trainer and everything is feeling shitty and falling apart it is inevitable that I will get flashes of Travis pass through my mind.
I need to get my bike out on the road soon to see how my hernia reacts to riding proper. I'm hoping that there will be a big difference now that I have put in the time I have into my body through this fitness end of my challenge.
I wanna feel the roll on the road!
I wanna stand up and charge!
I wanna dig into some hills!
I've decided to extend my 31 day challenge longer, at least until August 16th; but when the initial 31 days are up I will be pulling my bike off my trainer and getting it out on the road, because I need to put that time in.
I haven't just increased some numbers within the exercises I have been doing, I added a new element too: Treading water!
The river has finally warmed up enough to properly get into it, so I have gotten straight at treading water. I'm only in the beginning days of that, but I started with about 12 minutes, then 16, and increasing from there. The water is still cold enough to leave me feeling it by the time I get out, but it is nice for the hot sun as it really drops my core temperature.
I will start swimming any day now as well. I am feeling a lotta pressure to get on top of that because I am running out of time to do so. It is definitely on my mind though, because I have tried a bit, and my right shoulder is really messed up. I have to figure out how to modify my already limited stroke so I can swim most efficiently for how screwed up I am. I just need to put the time in and then I will find my way through the pain. I always do.
The reason for the pressure I have been feeling from swimming, and that firm date of August 16th that I mentioned above is because I have just signed up for a weekend of racing in Penticton from August 17-19. I will be doing all three days.
The Super League Triathlon in Penticton is a new one since my last days of racing in 2012. It is on the same weekend of the legendary Kelowna Apple Triathlon...most often our National Championships!
(The Super League event in Pentiction: superleaguecanada.com/ )
I was looking to do the Apple when I started thinking about racing again not too long ago. When I went on the Tri-BC website for the first time since 2012 to check it out, I saw this Penticton 3 day event! Shiiiiiiit!
Even though the Apple is hosting the National Championships again on the same weekend, I wanna charge three days in Penticton. Why do one day when I can do three?! I can do the first two in Penticton and then go up to Kelowna for the Apple, but I wanna complete the whole Penticton race. Besides, even though they are the same distance over all:
I like the format in Penticton of doing back to back Sprint Triathlons:
I'm also interested to see what the course is like in Penticton. When I raced the Peach there, the run had a crazy long uphill after a flat to warm up the legs. The ride was nice and rolling too. The Peach was a full Olympic distance though, so not sure if the course will follow the same basic routes for a double Sprint. I am curious for sure!
There is also a beautiful thing about Penticton with triathlon. Yes, the National Triathlon Centre is in Victoria as is the home of 3 time Kona (Ironman Hawaii) winner Peter Reid, and Simon Whitfield lives on Saltspring Island and trained out of the pool in Sidney BC (The Commonwealth Pool from the 1994 Victoria games.), but anyone who knows anything knows that the Okanagan is the beating heart of triathlon in Canada. That was always anchored by the Ironman Canada which was held in Penticton for 27 years until it moved to Whistler in 2013.
Regardless of the move, when you go to Penticton, the thumbprint of Ironman is all over the place, especially at the park where the transition zone is and racing is competed from. I absolutely loved racing there.
There's something about those ghosts of years past. It's a real special feeling racing in Penticton. I don't even give a shit that I finish last place, all that means is I get to be out on course soaking it up for longer than anyone. In a strange way I always looked at the winners as the poor bastards who got to have fun for much less time than I did. I never liked finishing races because it just forced me to stop having fun.
I left my racing life behind on a sour note, and I am starting to feel that there is no more fitting place to get back out there than this three day event in Penticton. I have no idea how my body will respond to it, and I know my body will be nowhere near where I would like it to be, but I don't care 'cause I'm goin' for it!
Rest assured, when the pain sets in, that speedy lil' fucker, Travis will float through my mind. It will make me smile and dig in even more!
Racing in the Okanagan again will feel like coming home, and just through the process of writing this just now, I have realized how much I can't wait to get back out on the track again!
Just got back from treading water. I don't really time myself traditionally. I count in blocks of 100. I timed how long it takes me to count to 100 at the general pace I do, and it is just over 2 minutes.
Today I did an 1199 count. Screw 1200! I wanted #99 (Wayne Gretzky) and #11 (Mark Messier). Divide Gretzky by Messier and you get Gordie Howe and The Rocket! (#9). So...I'll take Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Elbows and The Rocket over 1200 any day!
Around minutes 15-16 (between the 750-800 count) I really felt my ankles getting very sore, so I had to kick much less. Shortly after that I felt a slight pull in my right lat muscle...the same one I have been having problems with from push-ups. I don't really mind those kinds of injuries though. They feel like home to me, so I just suck it up and go longer.
When I was done I did a bit of floating and splashing around on my back gigglin' in the sunny water. Then I went for a quick toot around on my paddle board.
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!
I didn’t have any apprehensions, but when I started this out going into my first day, I definitely had some wonder with how things would go. Any preconceptions I had with my anticipation of how things would unfold did not take long at all to get dispelled.
I started off great on my first day. I crushed through most things I had to do. My food was simple as I had not yet really done any shopping. As I am an idiot, rather than getting some proper food to start me off in a position of strength, armed with the knowledge that I was taking this challenge on, and what it would mean for my food intake (both amount and kinds of food available to me), I got myself a pizza on my last day before I began. One last blast before I get at ‘er!
My food was very simple on my first day, leftover roast chicken and rice. I ate that through the night when I was at work (My equivalent of daytime…kinda!)
The fitness aspect of things was equally great and quite lacking. The push-ups drained my arms really badly and really chewed up my shoulders in a nasty way. I was expecting the shoulder part, but the amount they drained my arms was beyond what I expected, or was prepared for. It took me a lot to get through all of them.
I also gave myself a set back by trying to add some planks into the fitness end of my challenge. I only did one for 22 seconds, but it took such a toll on my hernia that I had to stop. Not only could I not do anymore of them, but it set back the rest of me for what I still had to do. Bottom line: Planks are out!
The planks put me in a bit of a hole, but I would soon find myself in a bigger hole in the next couple days to come.
The amount of time involved to do everything was more than I expected too. Aside from all the fitness chores I have to knock off, I also have to prepare food to take to work with me. The first night didn’t take long as it was so simple, but the rest do take time and planning. By the end of the challenge I will have it all dialed to a smooth running machine, but this is the beginning and not the end, plus I started off in a hole right away.
Part of the thing that put me in a bit of a hole was the time constraint of the day my first day fell upon. It was on my worst working day of the week. I have a schedule adjustment that costs me time at home as I get off several hours later than usual. I also had to go to the market after work to get some food. I wrote about that already for day one.
My meal for my second day was much nicer. It was rice, cucumber, shredded beets, Liquid Braggs, some Spike seasoning, and green onions. I also had a chunk of that bread from the French Bakery that I got at the market, as well as some strawberries.
Rice, Cucumber, Green Onions, Shredded Beets, Spike Seasoning, French Bakery Bread.
I was freakin’ starving though. I definitely expected that on the first day, and it delivered for sure! When I woke up before work and was preparing my food to eat at work, I shoved a few of the strawberries in my face. Daaaaaamnnn were they exactly what I needed. I felt my insides crying with happiness. My tastebuds were dancing to the songs the strawberries were playing to them. I was in heaven.
I cut off a big chunk of bread…about 1/3 of the loaf (They are small loaves…don’t judge me!) and ate it while I was driving to work. I know rice and bread were two starches, but I didn’t care one freakin’ bit.
I had gotten home from work just after 12:00 noon. I was freakin’ exhausted! I crawled into bed and slept off and on for about 2½ hours. I couldn’t let myself sleep any more than that as I had to be awake at 9:30pm to get ready for work, meaning I had to go to sleep around 6:00pm to try to get maybe 2½ to 3 hours of sleep before work. (I will usually wake up 2 – 5 times in a three hour stretch.) Sleeping so late though, waking up just before 3:00pm I mean, set me up to probably not be able to sleep again before I had to go to work. That’s not ideal, but that has become normal to me.
I woke up with a brutal head ache, and felt like I had sunstroke. I had no energy and was light headed all day. I could barely take on my fitness tasks at all. I was bitter about that for sure. It was eating at my mind and pissing me off! Luckily, I didn’t know what I had ahead of me or I would have been really upset.
That next night I was at work from 11pm Thursday until 5pm Friday afternoon. I did take a 30min break to just sit there deep into the night as I knew I would be working into overtime because of circumstance. The morning was dragging on, and work was nuts. Sometime after 12:00 noon, Daniella and I went to her place for about an hour to let the doggies play as I was starting to talk to myself about taking a break for Fennario. (I had brought her to my van just before 10am thinking I would be done for the day around noon.)
Daniella & Willow; Fennario
Needless to say, it was a fuckin’ grind of a long-ass day. It beat the hell outta me. As soon as I came home I crawled into bed and passed right the fuck out. I woke up several times though as per usual. I’d get up to drink some water, and then get back into bed. I did get outta bed for a couple hours in the middle of the night, but I didn’t do anything. I just sat there like a useless piece of shit and stared at some of the World Cup. I went back to bed, and aside from the usual waking up every so often and grabbing a drink to make some use of the time, I didn’t get outta bed for good until sometime between 9:00-10:00am.
I lost my entire Friday...Day 3! I was freakin’ pissed off! The only way I could look at it though was through two things. One, it was only the beginning of the challenge, so I had time to make up the lost ground on the fitness end of the challenge. Two, it was the weekend, so it was a good place to start to make up that ground and get some proper footing on finding a routine.
When I got outta bed I sat around for a little bit, in no hurry to wake up quickly. I was riding the blob in my mind and the lethargic-ness in my body. I got bored of that quickly, or perhaps it was just my mind only thinking about all the ground I had to make up, so I got up and immediately did some push-ups to begin my fitness end of Day 4.
I had some reservations about those that was bordering on anxiety. I just knew how much they drained me, screwed up my shoulders, and set me back a little. I did make an adjustment though with my technique to see if that helped. I went to a wider stance position with my arms and it worked beautifully. I started making up ground right away. I need to complete 42 push-ups each day. It was a massive struggle on Day one, but this was kind of my 2nd day and I did 54 push-ups to begin.
After I did my push-ups, I went and did 6 sets of hills in my back yard. I wanted to do more, but I needed to bathe and hit the road as I was going to Castlegar to see a matinee. After my work week, I really felt the need to unplug like that. When I was there, I had my popcorn and a soda. (I don’t go to the movies to be healthy, I go to unplug my brain and turn on my robotic arm while I stuff popcorn in my face.) The movie popcorn/soda is eating loophole I gave myself. I did however, not get a lid or straw for my drink, so I stayed plastic free. (Except for the waxy shit they line those cups with) I didn’t think they would let me take my drink like that, but they did, so I was happy about that.
On my way home from the movie, as it isn't too far from where I live, I went to Evergreen Natural Foods in Crescent Valley to load up on some more food. I like going there 'cause I get to see a couple of really great people: Tracey and Kelly. Lucky for me, both of them were working, so I got to say hello to each of them. Yaaaay for those kind girls!
Even being a natural health food store of organics, etc, I still found the same problem of stickers on most things like avocados and bananas, so there was only a limited selection to pick from. I still got some good food though.
When I came back home I got right back at it and made up ground in every category. It took me into the night, but I did pretty well.
I was up through the night until about 4:00am. I had to deal with some unexpected work stuff between 1:00 and 2:30am. Even at home on my weekend my work still gets me.
I woke up for good not too long after 9:00am. I got at Day 5. Despite how tired my body is, I did 52 push-ups, and did 12 sets of calf raises instead of 4. I also did 6 sets of hills instead of 4, so I am making up ground again.
I stopped to make some food, but I don’t really feel like eating it. The struggle from the first couple days is behind me already and I’m nicely on my way with the time restricted eating of one meal a day, with some nibbles while I am making it. Today it is elbow pasta with broccoli, zucchini, cucumber, green onion, and a couple spoonfuls of salsa.
I kinda feel bummed that I don’t wanna eat my food. The nice thing though, is that I already feel lighter on my insides. I don’t mean as far as body weight, but in the way of my digestive system, and the feeling of not being full, or any kinda thing like heart-burn or whatever. It’s nice to feel that progress.
When I see how the first handful of days has played out, and reflecting upon them, not bringing new plastic into my life and time restricted eating has not been an issue all! The real issue is the time involved for all the fitness tasks, as well as food prep combined with my working schedule. I will need to reconfigure my time management. This is all to be expected, but just not quite the way I might have thought initially. I guess that’s the whole point of a challenge. I won’t let myself fail. Pain lasts for a little, failure lasts a lifetime!
June 14, 2018
I feel like I have been stuck in a rut for far too long. Of course, I have no one to blame for that but myself, and I have no choice but to accept that one.
The stupid thing is that it drives me nuts every day. Every…freakin’…day! The obvious huge part of that is my body. I’m disgusted with myself every waking moment. The grotesque level of fat that I am living in is nauseating to me. I really mean that. I feel this sludge hanging off of me all over my body…sludge that never falls off or wipes away.
I feel it hanging off my back, hanging over the waist of my pants. My pants are so tight that they are so bothersomely uncomfortable. I refuse to buy bigger ones because all that does is say that it is OK to be like that…but it’s not OK.
I don’t understand this whole thing in this world of obesity we find ourselves inn now in the way that we promote how being big is beautiful too. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. The reason for that is I know how unhealthy it is, and I don’t think it’s right to promote unhealthy as beautiful. What one looks like and what their personality is irrelevant to the issue at hand...this is about health, plain and simple!
For me, the excess fat on my body, and my disgust within it, has nothing to do with how it looks, because I don’t give a shit how I look to other people. The thing that matters is what it does to my body. My efficiency of movement is non-existent, and therefore so is my efficiency of energy. I’m just wiped out all the time.
I know I have all the strikes of my pain filled body and sleeplessness working against me too, but even with acknowledging it, I still ignore it and hold myself to a standard irregardless of it. That plays torture on my mind…all day every day. It never won’t! Even when I am at my best it is still never good enough for me, because I still see what could have been.
I am sooo far from my best right now and my daily battle with insanity because of it is another torturous fight on my daily plate I am force fed to eat down.
The amount that I hate getting winded for nothing is something that I couldn’t possibly quantify. I fuckin’ hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it like you don’t even know!
The strange thing is that I love hitting hard cardio to the point where I feel like my lungs are gonna pop and I am gonna throw up. That unique taste that forms in my mouth full of saliva that splats out of my mouth and hangs off my chin while I have snot shooting from my nostrils while I am gasping for air feeling like I’m gonna die is one of my most favourite things. I’ve been so in love with it for so long, but my body has ripped the true ability for that as I structurally cannot bring myself to that level. There is one exception to that, and that is when I am able to find a steep mountain hill in the winter and charge up the hill in belly-button deep snow. That shit fucks me up in that very blissed out way. Sadly though, it has been a very long time since I have been able to do that.
Getting winded from being so over weight is not the same thing though. It’s coming from the same place. The tiniest ways that I can get winded are embarrassing. I don’t mean embarrassing in regards to what others might think, because just like not giving a shit what people think about how my current obesity looks, I couldn’t care less about what one might think of the ways I can get so winded so easily.
Although not steep and deep snowy mountain terrain, I have been dipping into doing hills in my back yard from the river up to my home. Even that kills my heart and winds me terribly though
The path from my home to the water. Doesn't look like a hill here, but I swear it is one.
It eats at my mind to not have a low resting heart rate. (I used to love seeing results of my resting heart rate being in the mid 50 beats per minute when I was younger.) The thing hurts worse than my lungs for getting winded is the pain it causes in my chest around my heart area. I have to be conscious of that. I miss the recklessness of hard cardio when I was in shape, or not far from it, where I could go hard and it felt nothing but good for me even when I would throw up from the hard charge. It is the exact opposite though with a body so horribly out of shape, because the worst thing is my heart. It just feels like it could give out at any moment. The strain my heart and chest feels is insane! This is why I think it is not right, and down even outright negligent to be promoting excess body fat as beautiful, because when you get below skin deep and look at what is really going on it is absolutely terrible. I don’t understand why people are so OK with it.
For those who may read this and get offended or all mad at me, I simply put this 30 month challenge out to any obese person. Take 18 months to eat relatively well, and get good exercise consistently 4 days a week. I don’t mean going for a shitty little walk, I mean proper cardio and weight bearing exercise. Cut the weight off while strengthening your muscles and cardiovascular system. Eighteen months is a good amount of time to do it safely and properly. During that time, honestly acknowledge how it feels in your body. Completely ignore how it looks as that is not what this challenge is about. It is strictly about what the effect of proper eating and exercise has on the function and feeling of your body. Document the journey. Then, at the end of those 18 months, for the next year, go back to eating whatever you did before and giving up on exercise…do whatever it was within your previous lifestyle that had you in an obese body, packing on a whack load of weight again with cardio stripped away. Document that honestly too.
With 100% confidence I guarantee that the results will find that of the two different body types and lifestyles, the healthier eating and exercising one will feel better. I know this first hand because during the 25 years of my broken body I have been kinda disgustingly underweight (to the point where I had to walk around with my hands in my pockets just to keep my pants from falling down), grotesquely overweight (as I am right now), as well as ripped in shape. I have experienced the full spectrum of body type (Irregardless of the pain in my body.), and well condition trumps grotesque underweight or overweight every time with no thought. There is no comparison.
Having been through all of that, and knowing it first hand, plus having been in shape (or not far from it) for most of my life I know what I am talking about with it. Packed with that knowledge is also why it drives me so insane on more than a daily basis to be in such poor condition that I’m in. It’s there in my mind non-stop. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, if it isn’t on the forefront of my mind, it is lingering around on the back burner poking at my brain.
It is really hard for me to push through that. It gets harder and harder with the more that my body breaks down. I’m so worn out, and I sleep so little that it is a struggle to do nothing most of the time, so having to push through that to charge into strengthening a well rounded aspect of my body is tough. Real, real tough!
I’ve always been known for having a real tough mental strength, but although it is there in theory, it can often feel like it is waning which is terrifying to me. If I lose that I’m fucked.
I know that mental capacity is there as I have shown it far too many times when strength is the last thing I felt inside me. Finding that mental strength doesn’t always have the same recipe though, and at times I feel like I have lost my recipe book and have lost the intuitive nature to create a new recipe from scratch. That can frustrate the living hell outta me; and that’s when I start really attacking myself mentally for being so weak and shitty in my mind. It not only terrifies me, but it disgusts me. I love being strong. If not in my body, than at least in my mind! If it’s not there, or it continuously tries to elude me I beat the living shit outta myself in my mind.
If all that is not enough, I also have to deal with my mind ripping itself apart over the actual physical sensation of how it feels having these disgusting layers of sludge hanging all over my body. It is such a living torture every day. Add to that the unfathomable exhaustion permeating every cell in my body and it’s really hard to put it all together.
I am trying though. In my mind every day I am desperately trying to crack through the wall my self-imposed rut has led me to. I have been building muscle to where I can feel those changes in my body. That feels good, and paints a lotta pictures in my mind of the first summer I started working out with Ronnie Perkins when I was 12 years old. That summer changed everything about who I am.
Starting to strengthen my body has also flooded me with images of working out with my Uncle Charlie in his powerlifting days on his way to winning the world championships. I’m not sure if he ever realizes the true depth of his impact on my life. I fuckin’ loved spending that time with him…even when I was a piece of shit little punk-ass teenager
When I moved last year, I bought myself a universal gym. I had wanted one of those since that summer workin’ out with Ronnie. The downfall with them was always the limited amount of weight on them, but that isn’t a problem anymore as my physical structure can only sustain so much, so I will never be able to strengthen my muscles to their capacity. That’s a bummer for sure, but I will take what I can get.
Without exception, every time I am working out on it, I think of my old bro from high school, Gary Beynon. He and I had some good work outs on the universal gear in school. He was a tough bastard! Strongest and toughest in our school as he used to be a boxer! Fuckin’ great guy though! Even though we haven’t seen each other since forever we’re still really great friends
Gary's greatness was always inevitable!
(We are both die-hard Philadelphia Eagles and had all our dreams come true in the Super Bowl this year! Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Eagles! Eagles! Eagles!)
I also have a few people on my mind on pretty much a daily basis who are from around here, but who I barely know at all…Kaila, Ali and Leo. They’re pretty well known, so a lotta locals will know who I am talking about. Ali owns Power by You Crossfit. (www.powerbyyou.com/)
Leo is a firefighter who trains at her gym. (They are also engaged) They are both competitors on top of simply training themselves. Ali had this amazing video of Leo made last year. It is bad-ass as all fuck!
Not too long ago, the community came together in a heartbeat to sponsor Leo to go to a big competition he qualified for. He's such a good guy, and works real hard, so people jumped all over the sponsorship opportunity for him.
Kaila owns Bambu Hot Yoga Studio and also trains at Ali's gym with the two of them. (Kaila and Ali are best of friends.) Her yoga studio is right across the road from my work. I work nights, so I see her car parked out front all the time when I get off for the day. You can pretty much set your clock by her discipline. Earlier in the year I spontaneously wrote this about Kaila.
Bambu Hot Yoga in Nelson, BC bambuhotyoga.com/
Kaila and Ali are freakin' animals when you see one sense of the way they are. No matter the time of year, how nice or shitty it is out, you see Kaila's car parked in front of her studio somewhere around 5:00am...even in the deep dark side of winter all covered in ice and snow. Then you look online and Ali's postin' stuff for her business and returning messages at like 4:00 - 4:30am. It's totally amazing. Forget the crack of dawn...these two kick the crack of dawn's ass all up over the place!
Two seriously bad-ass people!
Kaila, Ali and Leo are all pretty serious into being bad-ass and living a really wholesome lifestyle. The three of them, maybe they do realize it, maybe they don’t, but they do leave an inspired impression in their wake. They’re all really freakin’ nice and just go for it! What’s not to dig about that?! I like people like that. I didn't mean for them to be on my mind, they just inadvertently carved their way in there from being awesome.
In my past I have been told too many times I have inspired people. I don’t always think I deserve that, but regardless, even those who inspire need to be inspired, and I like that I casually 1% know these people, and that they are around town. It’s good to have that kind of thing at the doorstep of ones mind when trying to push through a barrier.
As I am writing this I just caught a whiff of my wetsuits hanging in my closet. Ooooh that disgusting smell of neoprene rubber that I both hate and love so much! I can’t stand the smell, but I love what it represents. It often makes me think of a triathlon I was doing in Florida 10 years ago at Disney World. Before the race began, when it was still dark in the early morning, when I was in line to go to the bathroom the guy in front of me turned and said with a smile on his face, “Aaaaahhh…nothing like the smell of neoprene and port-a-shitters before a race!” If you’re a triathlon person you will understand what that means.
(By the way…at that Disney triathlon, there was a petting zoo between the water portion of the course and the transition area. Haha…That was a first!)
So, even though it is covered in fat, I have been building muscle in my body, but aside from casual time on a recumbent bike trainer in my home, I have not really been hitting cardio.
**On a side note...it is a really strange feeling having tightened and toned muscles that are buried in fat. It is a truly perplexing feeling.
I have tried to ride my bike, but the tough thing I found is that I have a big bulging hernia that hurts pretty badly. When I did get out on my bike for a chintzy flat 4km ride, my hernia went rock hard and was sticking really far out. It hurt really badly. The pain I can take, but I don’t want it to rupture ‘cause that’ll be trouble, so I kinda don’t know what to do for my cardio right now. I am trying to figure it out. I have figured out how to weave through the pain and my hernia to do some weight training, but the cardio aspect is a different animal, an equation I have yet to figure out. I am a persistent one though, so I will figure it out.
I am also getting back into intermittent fasting and casual consistent cleansing just to give my digestive system a break. Straight fasting is not something that is good for the make-up of my body. I have discussed that pretty thoroughly with numerous healers many years ago, but intermittent fasting seems ok. Cleansing is more suited to my body needs, and I have been well versed in that for sure.
A couple weeks ago I looked on the Triathlon BC website for the first time in 6 years. It was a spontaneous thing that I kinda found myself surprised that I was poking around there. There are a bunch of the same races, and also some new ones. I kinda have the itch to do that again, but the state of my body is so rough, and it has broken down so badly with a lot more permanent damage since I last raced that I don’t know what is realistic and what is not.
For now, all I really wanna do is cut this fuckin’ sludge off my body and be able to get this hernia cut outta me in the fall time with enough time to heal before I have to start shoveling snow…or else I will have to wait til spring for that.
Cracking the cardio code for my shitty body, and busting through all mental barriers pulling me down with such crushing weight is my real top priority, but maaaaan is that shit ever tough when I have the level of exhaustion flowing through me that I do.
How I walk around...living in a world between awake and asleep.
Last month I kept track of my sleeping hours during one of my work weeks. My entire duration of sleep over that week totaled 7½ hours. I get so tired that I feel like I am gonna throw up, so it does make it real tough to have that as the starting point to then push through paint throughout my whole body with a crazy hernia on top of it all. I guess this is just another one of those times where I can try and see what I’m made of to see how it all plays out.
October 8, 2017
I am behind with the training I had envisioned for myself for my swim next summer. With my target being the meteor shower on August 11 or 12, 2018, I wanted to give myself a full 10 months of full steam training because I know I have a long way to go.
I am aware of my body completely collapsing and falling apart, but that is a part of daily life, so I don't acknowledge it too much other than hoping I stay glued together 'cause I really wanna take a crack at this swim...and hopefully the two bonuses of hiking to and from the flagpole, and then riding back home outta town.
I had a horrible past 10-11 months and needed to reel my psyche back in. I laid low, and simply blobbed out. I definitely put on weight despite how much it grossed me out. (Someday I'll write something proper about what I feel about unnecessary excess body fat on my body.) Excess fat, when you are in the obesity range, feels like sludge that hangs off you all over your body, but never falls off. It is just there. It disgusts me, and I really do hate feeling it on my body and carrying around day and night. I also hate what it does to my breathing, and my chest when I am walking hills...and everything is a hill when you live in the mountains.
I'll need to get back in my wetsuit from my racing days for this swim. I'm not too sure where my weight is at, as I rarely ever step on a scale, but I am guesstimating that I'll need to drop roughly 60 lbs of fat and put on 15-20 lbs of muscle.
As much as it disgusts me, for my mind, I really did need to blob out this spring/summer. I had started working out, but then some more crazy shit had happened early in the summer after a local suicide at the start of July, and it kinda kicked my mind back in the gutter.
The emotional mess that I was in sapped any sense of physical strength I might have had. I unplugged from the outside world, and instantly started feeling a bit more clear. It was then that I had the idea for my swim. I was excited for that, but sad that I would have to wait until next summer for my shot at it.
With my swim not able to happen until next summer, I decided to ride out the rest of this one like a sack of shit. Loungin' around and simple floating down at the river. Not really thinking about it, I formulated the plan to give myself 10 months to train, which meant I wanted to hit full stride by October 11th or 12th.
I was gonna enjoy blobbing until the end of September despite feeling like a fat piece of shit. I know once I flip the switch I will bring in discipline all around...exercise training as well as nutrition, etc. I had a few stumbles over the past year within this realm of thought, but that was directly attributed to the shit I was going through. This time will be different.
I wrote a post on my facebook page on September 8th, and followed it up with another the next day about the original collapse of my body.
After I posted these I got a message from Monica, who is an instructor at the Chinese Medicine School in Nelson. (She is also the step-mom to Leigha, my roommate over the winter and spring.) Monica asked me to be a part of one of her classes she teaches...to use me to teach her class about doing an initial patient intake. (I think they do that every year) On top of that she offered me a free treatment as well...which was really kind of her.
I had the intention of using the first part of October to warm my body back up into working out. I would ease my way into it, and have any initial aches worked outta my body, so I could then hit full stride for October 11.
My treatment with Monica was on October 3rd. I am writing a separate thing about that, but I will say this, it was elaborate and intense. It really threw my body outta whack. I still feel a bit off, but could not wait any longer to get at it 'cause I don't want to start into all this with excuses towards slacking off.
I am glad I have finally taken the first step towards changing my body around, and preparing myself for this swim. I am hoping to come outta the winter in a more conditioned body and mind, and having shed all the layers of garbage that I have been enduring since the end of autumn last year. It will be nice to have myself cleaned out and fresh to go forward and try to do some good positive things again.
August 1, 2017 (Photo: Me at 2007 Nelson Triathlon; by www.bestphotos.ca)
I haven't done as much floating lately. The water is too nice not to be swimming in, so rather than sittin' there floatin' on top of it, I am spending all my time inside of it. There is no feeling in the world like water all over your body. It's the most embracing thing ever. Liquid wonder caressing every part of you!
I am down to my river a few times a day. If I am too tired I will take a siesta on a floaty raft for sure, but as soon as I wake up though, I head to shore to get rid of the floaty so I can get to business...kiss the water with the depth of my soul.
I swim. I tread a lot of water. I float on my back. I bob up and down. I splash. I laugh and giggle. I take the time to appreciate it on my body.
I love the coolness of our water in the West Kootenay. It is so refreshing. If you toughen yourself up enough you can stay in for a long time and really drop your core temperature to make the hot sun a non-existent factor.
A definite other plus of the coolness of the water is that it has a soothing effect on my sore body. It just feels so damned good. Even if I have stayed in long enough that I am freezing, I can never get out on my first try. I always end up turning around and charging back in for at least another dive and glide...usually a few though.
I never don't take the time to consciously appreciate how much I love being in the water, and how it feels on my body when I am in it. Every time! I can’t help it. I am too full of gratitude to ignore taking in that appreciation.
In 2015, when I was doing all those fall time triathlons in the lake with no wetsuit, it was still the same. That is almost a contradiction in terms when you consider the level of anxiety I would get when I would simply be walking to the water's edge before getting in. So many times I even felt sick to my stomach before getting in. I even lost sleep over it. I was doing those for Sierra though, so I didn't mind one bit.
Getting in was so hard, but I always knew if I did it yesterday that I could do it again the next day. The toughest was probably when it was +2 degrees out and pouring down wet snowy-rain. Stripping down and making the seemingly impossible long walk from my van to the water took a lot of mental strength. I had to deal with both the physical side of things as well as the torrid head games my mind was trying to play. None of that was the hard part though. The hard part was when my first foot hit the water. Things started out bad and only got worse.
Maybe it was routine, or maybe it was something else, but it always played out the same. Although it was a gingerly wade, I could easily walk in up to my waist. Once to my waist I always had to pause. My anxiety levels surpassed all the maximum's I knew...even if it had only been since the previous day that I was in the same water. Each day was a clean slate of horrified-ness!
I would stand there kind of rubbing the water on my arms like suntan lotion or some shit. Then I would rub some on my chest and belly. It inevitably felt like I was just putting off getting right in. It was then that I would see a photo in my mind of Sierra skiing in Switzerland, and I would think of the promise I made to her. (Story for another time.) I would get mad at myself for bein' such a lil' Nancy-Boy piece of shit and then charge the rest of the way in.
As soon as I started swimming it felt like thousands of little razor blades were slicing these little slits all over me. It burned. It hurt. It caused my body to tighten up, and feel like my lungs were collapsing in on themselves. Despite all of that, none of it could touch how good it felt to have the water all over me.
The water seemed to be doing its best to tear me to shreds, but truthfully it was having the opposite effect. It made my spirit soar, and I most definitely took the time to appreciate it. The first 10-20 strokes were always special in regards to initializing the embrace of the moment. After that I started to fall into my gruuuve and the meditation within it all took over.
It always seemed inevitable that around the 3/4 way point of my swim, out deep in the cold lake on my way back towards the oat launch where I got in, that my body would completely give out. Instead of swimming across/through the water I would start sinking and my version of a freestyle stroke was reaching up to the water's surface to pull my sinking self up for air.
I felt like lead, and once I pulled my head to the surface I had to convince my burning lungs that they needed to work for one more breath. At that point it was all one stroke and one breath at a time. The ones after that didn't matter if I couldn't get through the ones in the moment. That was the fine line I brought myself to.
My muscles all throughout my body...especially my arms...would start ceasing up and pulling too. The shut-down button had definitely tried to press itself. Despite everything conspiring to work against me and bring me down, my resolve always was the champion of the moment. My deep rooted love and passion for the water rose me above all adversity...that and the burning image of not allowing myself to let down Sierra. I just couldn't live with that. I’d see her face in my mind, and also an image of her skiing the Swiss glacier, and any thought of giving up disgusted me.
When I got out of the water I was so cold that I could barely stand up or walk. It was like I was drunk as fuck on a shit ton of rye n’ ginger’s. My legs just did not want to work. I could barely talk either. I was shivering far too violently to string words together.
One would think that it would take all my mental strength to pull myself through that, but as much of that that strength I used, I still had more in reserve. This I know because even when I was coughing and choking on water trying to gasp for air with my sinking violently shivering body, I still had the capacity to enjoy the feel of the water. I even took the time to enjoy the sound of it splashing on my frozen ears. The refreshing wetness in my mouth and stabbing sharp pains on my eyes! (No wetsuit, no goggles, no swim cap…old-school bad-ass!) The fact that I had the entire lake all to myself didn't escape me either. I really loved that.
I love being in the water and swimming so much that the depth of that passion can easily take over all sense of logic and reason. That's why I gave up lounging in a floaty for the most part this summer when the water became tolerable for me. Sitting/laying on a floaty on top of the water under the hot sun feels like such a waste of time when I could be in the water instead. (It's like sitting in the ski lodge rather than charging the hill. You're just wasting runs and might as well go home.) Obviously swimming time in the lakes in the mountains in Canada is very limited, so I don't like to waste it. I feel that gratitude derived from that frame of thought every time I get in the water.
I hit that meditative state yesterday when I was treading water for a long time. I've been wanting to do something epic again, but have had no idea what that meant. It has been really eating at me and driving me half insane though. (I have had a couple attempts a bunch of months ago, but they got derailed because of much more important things.)
As with all the big stuff I dream up, I don't really think about it...things just kinda come to me from outta nowhere. Yesterday was that epiphany time again. I was happy about that. A picture of a nice big swim for myself came into mind. It is one that I don't know if my shitty body will let me do, but I know it is one that my mind will pester me to go for, and will destroy me over if I don’t at least take a shot at it.
I'd like to try to swim from Balfour down to Nelson. That is a 35km drive on the shoreline tracing road, so I guess the swim wouldn't be too far off of that.
I don't really see that as a big deal, nor do I see it as epic, but it would be a fun challenge. I can tell my body is in extreme objection and revolt even though it has no idea what that kind of a swim will mean. My left shoulder is the first point of extreme collapse that I can think of. My wrists are next. Then my ankles…and on and on…
The real shitty thing is that I have only had this idea now on the last day of July. There is no way I could be ready for that this year. Who knows how long it would take me, but it will easily be over 24 hour straight hours.
Aside from all the physical preparation for such a thing, being in our chilly water for that long, even in the height of summer, I would definitely need to swim in my wetsuit. That simply cannot be avoided. I am a long way from fitting into that right now. The current Nelson Burger Tour I have been doing does not help with that either…it is definitely pushing me in the other direction. (Giggle, giggle)
I think I could pull it off in a month of time as far as physically being ready to at least try the swim because I have been building some good muscle under my fat, but I couldn't fit into my wetsuit that fast. I am about 50 pounds above my ripped race weight that my wetsuit is sized for. Fifty pounds isn’t that big of a deal to lose, but in month it can’t really be done in a healthy way.
This all means that I would have to wait until next summer. That seems so far away. I also have to consider that, if my body history is any indication, my body is going to collapse again sooner or later...possibly with in the next year. When it does I will lose a fat chunk of time again. I can only hope that it holds on til after the end of next summer.
(2007 Nelson Triathlon - www.bestphotos.ca)
Aside from my part in that kind of swim, as far as the physical endurance, exhaustion, and hunger, etc, I also have logistics to think about. The big part of that would be needing someone to come with me in a kayak or rowboat or something. Being more than 24 hours, I imagine I would need a couple people to take shifts.
All this is neither here nor there, because I know for sure if I'm gonna go for something like this I will be able to find people to support me. It would be like in this photo my friend Phil Best took of me and the firefighter kayaker guy during the 2007 Nelson Triathlon…paddlin’ beside me while I do my thing.
I also had another long shot mini idea on top of all this. By next summer I will have lived here for 19 years. In all that time I have yet to hike up to Pulpit Rock. I have the image burned in my mind of swimming to the property right below the trailhead leading up there, and then go from the swim to hike to the lookout. That’d be the little cherry-on-top nice touch to the journey if I am able to pull it off. (If I get ‘er all done, I have a feeling someone’ll have to scrape me off the rock, and then drag my busted up self down the hill. It’d be worth it though.)
I already have a picture in my mind of a trial run from the 6 mile beach into town with a target date of July 9th. (That is the date of the final Grateful Dead show ever as well as the day I did my first trial run triathlon for myself in 2003.) Even that short swim will likely tear the hell outta my body, but it would be a good way to catch a glimpse into how my body is going to function. The only way I will find out the truth within any of it though is to just fuckin’ go for it. I can only hope and pray that my body somewhat holds up until the end of next summer. I will be crushed otherwise.
Although swimming from Balfour to Nelson isn't really an epic thing to do, it would still be little step in the direction of a tad bad-ass. Now that it is in my head I am actually really psyched on it. Waiting until next summer is a huge problem though. A huge one! My desire to really bring out the animal in me is burning too deep right now, and with each passing day I get a bit more frustrated; so even with this swim on my mind, I find myself lost in thought about something seriously bad-ass I could do. Until that reveals itself to me, the desire is gonna burn a hole in me.
This is another time I find myself teetering on the thin line between patience and horribly impatient.
**I just went back down for another swim when I finished writing this. On my way down to the water I had the thought that the best time to do the swim if my body is functional is the pinnacle night of the annual meteor shower around August 11-12. In 2001, I did the 40km kayak down from Queens Bay to Nelson at night during the meteor shower. It was phenomenal! The sky was falling down all around me while I paddled and felt the rhythms of the water. (I very highly recommend that to everyone) As the sun was coming up fish started jumping all around my boat! Daaaaamn!
I think that would be a great time to take a shot at this, not just for me, but also for my spotter. I think they would really enjoy the paddle under a sky full of shooting stars.
I really hope I have this in 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.