Challenging Conditions Channel Courage

(I wrote this a few years ago and never posted it. Here it is)

Courae is not the absense of fear.

Triathletes are considered lunatics, not because it is outrageous to swim, bike then run, instead that these disciplines go on for endless miles, in uncontrollable conditions, and with fire-in-the-eyes determination.   The ‘Tri Bug” is basically a burst of courage to overcome a physical and mental obstacle that simultaneously humbles and builds you up.

IMLT swim start rain run

My boss came into work the day after IRONMAN Lake Tahoe’s inaugural race with a 140.6 PR, and bragging rights to the advantage of growing up in the icy mountains of Colorado.  She was prepared for the freezing air temperatures with the emergency gear, with the game plan to stay calm and the reward was to head out to KONA World Championships in Hawaii few weeks after for a work expo.  Mantra was “The sooner you finish, sooner you can thaw out in Hawaii.”   Uncomfortable and unexpected conditions are intimidating, but not impossible to overcome.

Seeing her overcome that sudden weather change challenge with courage made me relieved I didn’t have any unexpected conditions racing in San Diego.  Then… Doh!

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Terrible, No Good, Very Bad RUNS

Have you ever had a terrible, no good, very bad run? What made it “bad”?

No one asks you at the start line if you have trained for that event. There is no required coach to report to before the event to explain your readiness.  What’s the point to invest time into preparing for months, for free?  Simple, even though running is with your feet, it has the power to influence the mind… almost in that order!

5. SPIRIT: Find joy in executing a strategy

4. HEAD: Challenge Your Quitting Range

3: HEART: Seek Strength in new Types of Discomfort

2. STOMACH: Learn about your nutrition & digestion

1. LEGS/FEET: Practice the physical effort

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Years of ignorance to realization

I have known that my left leg is longer than the right, but did not think it was so major of an issue. For the past few days I spent focused on running on a narrow line (run drill thanks to coach Jose) and the pain became pronounced. My left knee bends inward and leg loops around to make up for size difference. Meanwhile the right leg is spending more time on ground stressing the Achilles (an injury I have been dealing with for years). Aside from this causing pain, it is adding unnecessary non forward motion distance costing me time. Solution? I am going to remove the left insole of all my shoes to hopefully fix this.

Pics of what I’m talking about:

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(S)ave (E)nergy (X)

 Is it unrealistic to ask if you “have” time and energy for regular intimacy?  In this post I will address factors that improved our relationship regarding a subject that’s taboo but so vital to long-term relationship survival: relationship intimacy and sex.

It is crucial to separate time and energy for sex.  Your partner’s engagement in your hobby has nothing to do with fulfilling your responsibility by genuinely making each other a priority. Continue reading

30 day challenge: 5k everyday under 20 min

Every year, I participated in my USA triathlon winter mileage challenge event. It is to swim, bike, run as much as you can. Pace doesn’t matter. I put myself into the hole building these miles, and what hurt more than my injuries, was the fact that people were counting walk miles for run miles!  This time, I made my own challenge, based on effort.  My 5k PR is 18:24, but that was 2 years ago. Everyone wants to get faster, otherwise they get demotivated and quit sport when they do not perform as before.  This year many critical errors, slowed me down that even cracking 20 min in the 5k was a struggle.  So the challenge was set: 30 days of 5k everyday under 20 minute.  Most were on the treadmill at *1 grade.  This would require me to drop my mileage and focus on the goal.


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California International Marathon – 5 years later

Five years ago when I was 30 years old, I did the 30th annual California International Marathon in a serious attempt to Boston Qualify. Unfortunately flooding rain that year created deep rivers on the road that I missed the mark by 5 minutes.  It is a decent course if the weather is good (slight downhill, but running into a headwind makes up for it). Eventually I got the BQ goal at another race.

Fast forward 5 years into the future, where I and the race turn 35.  This year is special, the USATF marathon championships means you have fast runners to chase.  Many people Bessy and I know from San Diego were going – yea, we caught the FOMO bug.  This is also a good chance for Bessy to shoot for a PR, as she is having a stellar year (she just P.R.ed in the half 2 weeks ago and ran a marathon the next day! 1:26 / 3:11 ).

Personally I had no hardcore goal in mind, as I already have run sub 3 marathon 5 times before, but it doesn’t mean I wont try!  I set a few up (A = PR, B = sub 3, C = young man BQ, D = old man BQ, F = just finish).  For training I used the same high volume formulas as before.  Now I need to reveal, I was a bit underweight coming into this… since Carlsbad Marathon earlier in the year.  My fatal error was being underweight and doing some intense workouts that led me to have red urine, aka rhabdo.

That is a sign of of muscles being used for fuel, instead of propelling you forward.  So don’t believe that losing weight will always make you faster, there is a limit, especially if you are lean already.  This is what cost Meb Keflezighi a year for the NYC marathon, where he was terribly injured thanks to trying to reach the weight of some of the Kenyans.  I was trying to up the food intake, but sometimes I didn’t know when I was burning muscle, as I ignored pain easily – so I kept adding the mileage.  This also hurt my stride, as many proper trained nuero muscle motors went missing.


As you can see how my stride fell apart, Bessy on the left with good stride, me power walking on the right

Taper time I still didn’t think the lack of glycogen storage would hurt me – I enjoy a low carb diet.  Race day this meant I would have to rely on Gels, and early.  I started off at P.R. pace, but like Bessy did earlier this year, I was not feeling the need to eat and missed the appropriate time to intake the gel in order to maintain pace.  At the 10k mark Bessy already passed me, then all the other folks I knew.  I just held down like a rocket fizzling… remembering the true intent for me in this trip is the camaraderie  to see all people I knew and are friends with push their best, which in the end they all did accomplish!  Bessy hit a PR of 3:02, and I held on to goal D.  Now its time to recover mentally and physically and take these lessons forward.


Everyone did well so that made me happy

De über life

We have set ourselves free!  This done by selling our car – to live the car free life style. No more the guilt over our heads of supporting oil based wars. Done the stress of gas prices, maintenance, insurance, taxes, repairs (blown head gasket was the twist of the dagger).  Un-conforming to the modern made American dream that “you NEED to have a car” – in order to get a job, get food, find a significant other.  This dream creating the illusion of ownership when the reality is most people don’t own their cars, the bank does.

This car did have many great stories of adventures with us, but also did carry a scarlet letter on it when originally purchased.  Bessy had a job where you drive together to locations far off to work.  In order to climb the corporate ladder, you recruit people on a team you want to grow – somewhat of a pyramid scheme gig.  These people, who don’t make much, somehow need transport.

So the mental drive to grow the company programs in your head – led to the decision to buy a four seat car.  Originally Roger wanted a smart car, fuel and space efficient two seater.  Eventually Bessy did find better job.  So somewhat of a lesson learned here, be wary of centering your life around a particular job (such as this car purchase).  We still kept the car, but as its known a car is a money pit, and the repairs it needed where beyond the value worth of keeping it as usage is so low.

Fortunately, we were exposed to the car free life living two years in bike / train friendly Holland.  When we first moved there yes I (Roger) was shocked at the deprogramming needed to free myself from the car centric and materialistic lifestyle.  I was in the deep – driving since 16, getting into the car scene when the Fast and Furious movies came out.  I worked myself up to a twin turbo dodge stealth – a top gun car at its time.


It was my daily driver, and that was a fatal error when I was building the power up.  Eventually it gave out with the large turbos I added.  I put my heart and soul into it, yet it was a time to learn to let go.  Still living in Connecticut, a car was needed thanks to the infrastructure.  So I am not totally going to hate on cars, because I probably would have never met Bessy!

No regrets, of the former life.  If anything it makes me appreciate where I am.  This also makes me excited for this new life, as we are on a verge of change thanks to technology – Uber/Lyft being so cheap in urban areas.  The transition phase is occurring with cars to be automated / driverless.  It is good to be ahead in the emerging trends.