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Life Is An Obstacle Race. You Can’t Go Around It.

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Set Backs Don’t Mean That You Have to Make a Bad Decision

I was suppose to be doing the Spartan Beast Race in Vermont today.   Plans changed when I took a spill on 40” box jumps last Saturday.  What I originally thought was a little scrap, actually was (as the doctor described) fillet to the muscle.   When I saw how deep it was, my first thought was, “How am I going to take care of it so that I can do the race.”  Crazy glue was my first great idea  (no I didn’t do it yet).


A few hours later, I was showing it to a friend of mine.  I was able to move my skin like a sleeve.  I flexed my toes and the muscle would move and the skin would stay in place.  Wow, that’s kind of cool, but it might be a bigger problem than I thought it was.   So I made the decision to go to the doctor.  Probably one of my better ideas.  When the doctor saw it he said, “Oh my God that looks terrible.”  I started to laugh.  I said, “You’re a doctor, you see stuff like this all the time.”  He said, “I’ve only seen one other that bad and the guy was in a motorcycle wreck.”  Personally, I’ve seen worse stuff, so I’m a little confused.  Personally, I think it sounded much worse than it was.  That is until the doctor told me that I can’t run in the Spartan, because if I do than I will probably end up with a staph infection.  I have known people who had that and I definitely don’t want it.  I guess I will have to overcome my own stupidity and listen to the doctor instead.  In the past I have blown off doctors advice when it came to injuries and participating in sports.  Torn cartilage, messed up back, torn ligaments, and a number of things that I never told anyone about (that I would have been advised to pass up).  I honestly have no regrets about continuing to compete.  I didn’t end up in a worse situation and I overcame the pain.  This time it’s different.  I’ll do a different race.  I’m disappointed but I have to move on.

I was supposed to be meeting up with my brother David who had also planned on doing the race.  I still decided to come out here to support him.  The closer it gets to race time the more bummed out I get.  It’s a good thing that I didn’t bring any of my gear, because there is a good chance that I would convince myself that I would be fine doing the race.

Part 2 of this story is listening to my friends talk about how, I can’t jump and that I am uncoordinated and that it looked funny when I slammed into the box.  I already know all of these things so they aren’t telling me anything new.  So, I will get even with them by kicking their asses in our workouts, which won’t include box jumps.

I Won’t Be An Unintentional Hypocrite

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I do believe in practice what you preach.  For instance today when I was done with work for the day, I was a little bit tired and decided to take a nap which lasted for about 40 minutes.  When I woke up I felt pretty relaxed and decided that I should just lay around the house for the rest of the night and skip the gym.  I made my workouts on Monday and Tuesday.   Last week I trained every day that I was supposed to, which was Monday through Friday.  I used Friday as light training mixed with some things that I did for recovery which included hyperbaric Chamber (takes you below sea level and increases oxygen, speeds up recovery, increases endurance, lowers fatigue) and a Cold Tub (Reduces Inflammation) (Compliments of Muscle Pharm) while in Denver.  The following day I ran in the Colorado Spartan Military Race at Fort Carson.  Talk about a hard day of training, I jammed an  ankle, both of my big toes and a wrist.  I also trashed my IT Band (Your hip is attached to your knee by this tendon.  Basically, I beat the hell out of it and it was tight and knotted up.).   So did I make enough excuses to get out of my workout?

And than I had a revelation: I tell people not to make excuses.  I post motivational messages about being fit and getting fit.  I talk about Learning to S.W.I.M.™ (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration and Motivation).  I talk about overcoming obstacles and taking on challenges.  Well I have way to0 much respect for the people who read my posts to not just talk the talk.  Thank you for making me Walk the Talk.  Thank you for being my motivation.  Not only did I head to the gym 15 minutes later, I didn’t just go through the motions in my workout.  I had a kick ass workout.  I decided to do something a little bit different this time, so I switched up my workout and went with Cory Gregory’s 28 Method for my biceps and triceps.

I felt 1,000 times better when I walked out of the gym tonight.  Get motivated and don’t let yourself down.

Spartan Race Fenway Park – Follow Your Own Path, Others May Join You

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I use to wait around on other people so that I could do things that I wanted to do.  If I still did that instead of running in 8 obstacle races/mud runs, I probably would have run in NONE.  Are people really herd animals or pack animals?  It is nice to have other people around, but I realized that I was much happier just doing the things that I wanted to do whether or not I had other people with me.  If you can’t break off on your own it can be difficult to do some of the things that you may really want to do.  Besides I usually end up meeting other people at these races, that also have the same type of motivation and challenge in themselves that I have found in me.  These races are addictive for people who are looking for a challenge.

On November 17th, I ran in the Fenway Spartan Race.  I entered the race a few months earlier and told some friends that I was running in it and asked if any of them wanted to run.  3 of them took me up on it and 2 others came out to support us.  None of them really knew what to expect until after they signed up, so it got kind of funny when they started asking me about some of the obstacles.  Sue was already very active but hadn’t run in this type of race yet.  Chris and Sheila decided to start working out so that they could get ready for the race.  Sheila even started to make changes to her diet.

The Spartan was challenging just like the last one that I did, but it was only 2.5 miles.  They did cram a lot of obstacles into those 2.5 miles and we ran all over the stadium steps.  On top of that we had to do burpees a number of times.  If you screwed up certain obstacles you rewarded with 30 more burpees.  Those things suck.  The only one that I screwed up on was the spear throw.  It kind of feels like throwing the piece of paper that a straw comes in.  Hard to balance and not real heavy.  The race was a blast.  At the end you get the opportunity to run over 3 or 4 Gladiators or get the opportunity to have them slam you into the wall.

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Sheila fell about half way through the race and banged up her elbow pretty bad.  She had been telling me how much she was looking forward to this race ever since she signed up.  I could tell that it was something that motivated her and helped her set a goal that put her on the right track of training and nutrition.  So falling down and jacking up your elbow really stinks when you are that close.  The first thing that probably went through her mind was this hurts like hell.  I think its broken.  Kind of funny how you focus on completing something and now your mindset becomes fight through the pain and finish.  That is exactly what she did.  She came that far and knew that she couldn’t walk away from it without crossing the finish line.  She worked to hard to get there.

All three of them have told me that not only did they love running in the Spartan but that they wanted to do more of them.  These are not just races they build character and can help you find what you are made of.  I am glad that I had the three of them run with me and the other two hang out with us.  They can all be proud of their accomplishments.  I know that I am.
You might have to Learn to S.W.I.M.™ on your own but there are always people who can support you and help you on your way.  

What The Quality Of Life Means To Me

1) Living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying it – By making changes to my life I have reduced the risk of a stroke, heart disease, cancer and many other diseases.  I have done all of this with food that I actually enjoy.  Recipes like Fruit and Nut Bars  or Coconut Flavored Chocolate  actually make me feel like I am eating something that can’t possibly be good for me.  I don’t feel like I am missing anything and I am eating healthy.  I also enjoy working out and actually do workouts that have quite a bit of variation.  I compete in Mud Runs and Obstacle Races.  I hike and spend a lot of time out doors.
I actually thought about what it would be like to have a stroke and survive.  I would not want to be a burden on others and I definitely would not want be paralyzed on one side due to a stroke.  Obviously there are other things that could happen to me but I  would rather limit my health risks.  

2) Finding my passion – Experiencing Life the way it was meant to be experienced –  Live and do things that make me feel alive.  Do things that are fun.  For me it is competing and challenging myself.  20 years without it is a long time. It’s working out.  It’s helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle.  Hearing that I made a difference in someone else’s life actually motivates me even more.

Someone else could actually use their own body transformation to help them find what they are missing.  Turns out that it is much more than just a body transformation.  Maybe they haven’t discovered it yet.  If that is the case or if they haven’t pursued it maybe it is for the same reason that it took me so long to find mine.  Or at least to reconnect with it.  I was consumed with work.  I didn’t know how to allocate my time.  Giving myself a break to do the things that I love actually makes me more efficient with work.  It also makes me realize the wasted time that I spent.  My passion might actually become work.  I doubt that I will complain about that.  No excuses.  If I want to do something I do it.  I won’t make excuses on why I can’t do them and I won’t wait on others to do them with me.  If someone else wants to come along great.  (I use to see or hear about things that I wanted to try or do and would wait for someone to come along.  If I continued to wait I still might not have done my first Mud Run/Obstacle Race.  3 friends did the Spartan Race with me in Fenway Park the other day.) If not, I’m on my own.  Fine with me.  It’s my passion not theirs.  If someone’s passion is knitting I probably won’t be able to find the time to spend on knitting with them.  But if that makes them happy great.  Your passion may not have to do with training or nutrition or mud runs/obstacle races (however, try a mud run and see if you don’t get hooked).  It amazes me how many people have told me for the last year that they want to do one of the races and still haven’t.  That kind of accomplishment does hook people).  If you don’t have time to spend on your passion, make the time.  You will be happy that you did.  It will change your life.

3) Spending time with family, friends and my dogs Bailey and Riley – It’s nice when it involves my passion but like I said not everyone will spend the time on mine.  Just make memories and memorable times.  Have fun.

When I do die, I want to be able to say that I lived life the way that I wanted to live it.  That I enjoyed it and didn’t waste a day.
I’m sure that I can go on and on but I have only recently started to reprioritize my life and these are the things that I am spending time on now.  Learn to S.W.I.M.™ and find your passion.

What Is A Midlife Crisis And How Will You Face It?

On April 2, 2012 my life changed.  I made the decision on that day to commit to transforming my body.  Little did I know at the time that I would grow more in 2012 then ever before.  Not only would I drastically change my body over a 12 week, no 16 week, actually I think this thing is a lifetime transformation challenge.  I would change my mind (how I see things, how I am influenced, how I make decisions, etc…)  and my life.  I can not really say that I was unhappy or miserable prior to accomplishing my transformation, but I wouldn’t say that I was exactly happy.  Maybe it was more that I had my moments.  I wasn’t really honest with myself.  As my transformation progressed I became happier every day.   Obviously there have been situations that have happened in my life during this time which may have brought sadness, but I have also been able to continue on with my life in a positive way.  I am excited to wake up every day and I enjoy doing things that I may have missed out on in the past.

At 45 years old I guess I decided that I wanted to meet life head on.  As a little kid I grew up playing soccer and swimming on the swim team.  Once I entered High School, I moved on to football and wrestling.  I  continued with football throughout college. Towards the end of college I moved on to rugby which I played for the next couple of years.  Up until this time I was always involved in pick up games of basketball, team handball, handball and football.  Since high school I had also worked out.  Around the time I turned 25 all of this came to an end for the most part including the working out.  Every once in a while I might walk into the gym but it wouldn’t last.  In 1998 I competed in and became a Runner UP in the Bill Phillips 2nd Body For Life Challenge.  This new inspiration helped me focus on my health and fitness and got me into the best shape that I had been in during my adult life.  I was able to straighten out my nutrition and got into the gym on a regular basis.  This changed my life for the better.  I felt like I was doing everything that I had to do to continue with my healthy lifestyle.  I let it go.  I continued to work out but my nutrition was not good.  My head was not in the game.

In the back of my mind I knew that I wasn’t.  I was having trouble  being honest with myself.  I wanted my competitive life back.  The life that I left behind 20 years earlier.   For those last 20 years I was consumed with work.  60, 70, 80 hour work weeks.  My life was my work.  Sure work can be fulfilling, but aren’t there other things in life?  Once you enter the workforce is there limited time to do things that you really want to do?

I remember the days when we were forced to do one sprint after another at the end of football practice after you beat the hell out of each other.  I had a never quit attitude and would push harder and harder.  One day it all came to an end.  Let’s be honest, I never liked running and I still don’t.  Once it all ended there was no reason to put myself through the torture of training.  Training for what?  Turkey Bowl?  That’s once a year and just like every year I am going to go out and pull a hamstring or sprain an ankle or crack heads with someone else.  I don’t have to train for that.  I don’t have to torture myself for that. Well I do work out and I’m in good shape.  I can walk by the mirror, suck in my gut and see how great I look.
Well I guess that was about the time that my Mid Life Crisis set in.  I realized something was wrong.  I’m working out but I don’t look like I did in 1998 when I finished Bill Phillip’s Body For Life.

This was what helped motivate me to launch my new transformation.  Another Bill Phillips contest (Transformation Challenge).

This is when I started to learn to S.W.I.M.   For whatever reason I missed a lot of this in my first transformation.  Mostly the psychological side.  The part that could influence other parts of my life.  Also what made me decide to go even further on my “Journey to be Fit”.  The part that removed my limits.

I realized that I only have so much time on earth and I already let so many things pass me by.  I’m not going to miss out on something because I can’t make a decision or because I am waiting on someone else.  If I want to do something I am going to do it.  What does NIKE say?  I had been considering doing a mud run for about 5 months.  This is after I noticed the Tough Mudder.  However, I saw that the Tough Mudder was 12 miles and there was no way that I was going to run 12 miles.  Like I said.  I hate running.  I looked around a little more and noticed some shorter races.  Some of these were only 5k’s.  I already was running about 3 miles a day.  No problem.  I did my first race a few weeks into my transformation.  On Saturday, November 17th I will do my 7th race.  It’s a Spartan Race in Fenway Park.  On December 1st I will do my first Tough Mudder.  (I thought you said that you hate running?   Yes I did, but these obstacles are a blast.  The competition, challenge and achievement make you realize that you are alive.

I have a lot of people who wonder what the hell I am doing with my life.  Over the last 10 weeks (not long after completing my transformation) I have driven up to Plainfield, IL and stayed for 4 days and 3 nights each week.  I go there so that I can train at Xtreme Speed, which is a performance center owned by a friend of mine.  These guys are very intense.  I decided that I want to be on a whole other level.  In order to do that either train with people who have the same goals.  People who want to be where you want to go.  Or people who are already there.  These guys are already there.  I missed two weeks because I also went to Jackson, WY to have some new and old injuries treated by a friend of mine that does some amazing things with healing injuries and even illnesses with his own formulations.  (I will have more on my blog about him soon).  I also had a trip to Denver where I attended Bill Phillips new Transformation Program.  Basically all of my recent trips have been for myself.   It’s not like I stopped working.  I can work from anywhere.  I just made the decision to do things that I wanted to do.  At this point it is anything from sight seeing (places like Red Rocks in Denver) to training (which I love, especially when it is something different.  I also have another performance center that I will be checking out in the coming weeks) to running in mudruns or obstacle races.

I love the challenge.  I love being able to compete.  I love being more athletic than I have been since I was 25.  It’s never too late.

Is this my Mid Life Crisis?  If it is… Bring it on!  I’m turning 46 in 8 days and I look like I’m in my 30’s and feel like I’m in my 20’s.  Over the last 7 months I have totally transformed my body, mind and life and brought competition back into my life.  I also hope that I can help influence others to join me in this life changing experience.  

Midwest Spartan: What Would You Do for a Free Bottle of Body Wash?

                       

I’ve been doing obstacle races for less then a year.  My life has changed over the last year and much of it has to do the my Body Transformation.  The transformation has helped me live my life the way that I would like to live it.  I take opportunities that i would have let go in the past.  These races have become a challenge for me.  They have provided me with competition.  Something that was missing in my life.

The Spartan was an awesome race.  So far it has been the most challenging race that I have competed in.  It was also different running with a team (Team Dial for Men).  I met some great people at this race.  When I pulled in it was around 40 degrees, 

people were coming in from the earlier waves and  most of them looked pretty cold.  I met the rest of my team which included 5 other guys.  We had our “Before” picture taken as a group and were told that we had to run together as a team.  When we finished we would have our “After” picture taken.  

We ran for a couple of miles before we actually hit any water.  We ran through it to get around a group of people who were backed up on a hill.  Traffic jams can be frequent at some of these races, so you look for the way around them.  Usually the way around them is through water, mud or up a steeper part of the hill.  Anything to keep moving.  As cold as it was outside, I was hoping to stay dry a little longer but part of the challenge is to keep moving at a good pace.  Not long after that it wasn’t going to matter anyway.  We were running close to a creek and came upon our first barbed wire challenge.  The wire was low and we had to commando crawl to get through it.  I should mention that we were crawling across rock and mud.  The mud kept making me think of Bill Cosby.  “Whatcha gotta do, ya see is dip the spoon in the pudding”.  This stuff was thick and unlike pudding I had rocks digging into my elbows and knees.   Every once in a while I would smash my balls on a rock sticking up out of the mud.  We got through the 50 foot crawl and were a little bit colder than when we went in.  That’s ok we were still moving and the mud that dried on my skin became insulation

for me.  However, what was stuck to my clothing was still cold.  Not long after it dried we were hitting water again.  Some of my favorite obstacles are 7 and 8 foot walls..  Jump up and pull yourself over.  Before my transformation this might have been pretty difficult.  Not so bad anymore.  The only bad part is the crushed nuts as you flip over the wall.  Between the walls and the barbed wire I think I limped away about 4 times because of the torture my balls.  Maybe next time I will wear a cup.

Other challenges included running across logs, climbing towers, dragging cement blocks attached to chains, carrying sand bags, flipping tires.  One of the toughest obstacles was getting over these raised logs that were 6 feet to 10 feet high.  You could have someone help you get over them.  Unfortunately for us they were wet and as you grabbed onto the you would slide underneath and fall to your death.  I came down and hit hard.  I was already so freaking cold that none of my muscles reacted to my fall.  I came down with a hard thud.  Nice, only 6 more of these.  One of the other guys that was on my team (Brad) launched one of the other guys over a log and he came down head first.  Couldn’t help but laugh.  It was too funny.  I guess one of us on the other side was supposed to catch him.

As we approached the end of the race we came up to another barbed wire section.  This one was about 50 yards.  Being wet and cold was already causing involuntary muscle contractions.  It was so cold that I felt like George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode when Jerry’s girlfriend walks in on George changing.  “There was shrinkage”.   Crawling through the mud, more cold, more rocks in my arms and legs.  It’s getting closer, keep going.  I was basically numb from the cold.  The cold was the hardest part and only added to the challenge.  We got though the barbed wire and finished the race by slamming into the Gladiator at the end of the race.  We decided to dish something out on someone else.

Now for the hard part.  Get our “After” picture taken for Dial.  Fortunately, Curtis the Dial rep was  close to the finish line so we got the picture pretty quickly.  Next we had to wash off and get pictures taken again.  The cold became unbearable.  Standing around soaking ass wet holding a bottle of Dial Speed Body Wash (We did get to keep the Body Wash).  That’s not a smile on my face, I’m freezing and my damn teeth are chattering.

When my mom asked me about it and I told her about the race, she said, “that sounds horrible.  Why would you do that?”  I said, “Horrible? It was amazing, I had a blast.”  This is how I know that I am alive.  Why do I like pain?  I like the challenge. I like the accomplishment.  Your mind will quit before your body does.  How much further can you push your mind?  I’m not quitting and hopefully I will keep my balls intact.  Thanks for the soap.

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