Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Up before sunrise training like a Champion

I asked Angelina's husband Chris to help me with my running.  I need some aerobic training on the off days that I'm not doing Crossfit.  Chris agreed to help me and asked me when I wanted to start.  I told him that I would be willing to accommodate his schedule because mine was the most flexible.
 
I said, I'd like you to run with me because you can run faster than I can.  I want you to set a pace that makes me push myself to keep up with you, but not so fast that I cannot keep up with you.
 
I only found out yesterday afternoon that Chris was a sprinter on the track team in High School.  Well he is 49 years old.  So that was at least 31 years ago.
 
Anyway...he wanted to start at O'dark thirty this morning.  5:30 a.m. to be exact.  So last night I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m.   Where we met up is only about a 5 minute drive away, but getting up 45 minutes earlier gave me time to drink some water, eat a small banana and down a cup of coffee.
 
It was still dark when we started.  We did some warm-ups and light stretching before beginning.  After our first run, we were back in the parking lot and Chris wanted me to do some sort of sprinting exercise. 
 
I didn't have time for sports when I was a kid.  My mom signed paperwork when I was a freshman in high school that allowed me to only take the bare minimum number of credits to graduate from high school.  So I only attended school till 11:30 a.m.  Then I went to my jobs.  I was a grocery store bagger and then in the evenings I did janitor work at a local drug store.  Part of my paycheck(s) went to my parents to help with expenses.  My father was disabled and unable to work by the time I reached 7th grade.
 
While this arrangement didn't prepare me for higher education, it did teach me responsibility.  But I'm digressing on the main topic...the sprinting exercises.
There are parking strips in the parking lot.  I started on one line and as fast as I could manage would run to the next strip and then back to the starting strip.  Then run to the 2nd strip and back to the starting strip.  Then the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th strip and so on to eight strips.  Then count down running from the 8th to starting point, then 7th, 6th, 5th and back to zero. 
 
After that exercise we closed with another 1/2 mile run.  This is good for me.  I was breathing hard and couldn't carry on a conversation.  Chris was fine and he did everything I did.  So I feel I picked the right person to train me.
 
Our next training day will be Thursday morning.  He plans to add on another 1/2 mile.  For those of you that run regularly, you may be thinking...pfft...yeah, right.  Big deal...that's nothing.  Well I say, we all start at zero, and move forward from there.
 
I don't want to be a sprinter, I just want to run my 6k in a respectable time and would be very happy to get back a 10 minute mile for multiple miles.  But I'll let Chris decide how to train me.  After all...he is helping me on his own time and for free. 
 
When you watch the video below, imagine listening to Eye of the Tiger while watching it.  I was having video editing issues this morning.  Have a great day!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Winners and Losers - freedom of choice

I was listening to an old Jim Rohn post on Youtube.  Jim Rohn was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.  He passed away in 2009.
 
Anyway...he was speaking about potential and how so many of us don't realize our own potential.  He asked..."How high does a tree grow?"  The answer was, "as high as it possibly can."  A tree does not try to limit it's own potential.  If all the other trees in it's species grow an average of 40 feet high, there isn't a single tree that contemplates only growing to 20 feet high or half of it's potential. 
 
Jim went on to explain that man is the only species that can deliberately limit his own potential.  How can man do this?  Through the freedom of choice.  We can choose to be our best, or we can settle for less.  Often times, much less.  I suppose it depends on where we decide our minimum comfort level is.  What is the minimum acceptable standard we will comfortably tolerate?
 
I have a nephew who is a successful businessman/family man, happily married and proud father of two great children, and home owner in Phoenix, Arizona.  He has the standard swimming pool in the backyard kind of Phoenix, Arizona home in a nice community / neighborhood. 
 
This wasn't always the case with him.  Twenty years ago he was a high school dropout.  Getting high, tattooed, and having really long hair down to his hip bone, were the priorities in his young life.  I remember his step father (an Arizona game warden) said "M" could move back home if he quit the drugs, cut his hair, got a job, and finished school.  Well "M" thought those rules were too excessive.  His biological father didn't want "M" around him and his "new" family - period.
 
So "M" partied and squatted from one friends home to another friends home.  Staying for free, living the good life of mooching off others until he had no more friends to mooch off.  "M" eventually made his way to Seattle, Washington.  Here he met kindred spirits.  Finally..."M" was living in a garbage dumpster.  This was his home.  He would sleep here at night and beg on the streets of downtown Seattle during the day for spare change from strangers.  Relying on the pity and kindness of strangers to help him maintain his minimalist lifestyle.
 
I was living in Great Falls, Montana during this time period.  My daughter Angela (who was also a teenager back then) thought "M" had the worst step dad on the planet.  How could he be so mean?  She asked.   "M" was living in a dumpster!  I told my daughter:  "M" has freedom of choice and "M" is exercising that freedom of choice. 
 
He can choose to live by the rules that govern our society or he can choose to NOT live by those rules.  No one is making "M" live in a garage dumpster.  He is doing so of his own free will.  If and when "M" gets tired of living like this, "M" will be the one that makes the lifestyle choice changes.
 
And eventually "M" did.  His job requires he dress professionally and at a minimum...a collared shirt, slacks and tie.  He wears long sleeves.  In part because his upper body, the entire back, chest, abdomen and both arms are covered in tattoos.  Fortunately for "M" he had the good sense not to tattoo his face and neck.  Otherwise he might be working elsewhere.
 
In his youth..."M" made the conscious choice to NOT live up to his full potential.  And when he decided he didn't like where he was...then he changed the direction of his life.  He took responsibility for his life.
Nowadays "M" is high on living life to the fullest!  He replaced the drugs with weights and health foods.  He is built like a muscular athlete.  A devoted family man whose spare time is spent in an active lifestyle with his wife and children.  "M" is a terrific example of someone who decided that they wanted more out of life, than the minimum requirements.  Food, water and a roof over their head.  He wanted to reach his potential as a man and as a human being.
 
I often see the same struggles and poor choices that "M" had with drugs and alcohol, in people who struggle with food choices and healthy habits.  I know, because it wasn't that long ago that I also made daily poor choices regarding my health and what kind of foods I selected each day to eat.  I had excuses.  I thought they were very legitimate excuses.  Where was I going with my excuses?  On a downward slide to nowhere, real fast.
It was only when I finally accepted that I did not like where I was in the direction of my life and that I wanted real change, that I stopped making excuses and started making myself accountable.  Once I made myself accountable, then I could start the process of changing how I saw myself, and how others defined who I was. 
 
One part of my life that most fat people and former fat people may relate to, is the gift of food.  You don't want anyone gifting you clothes.  Because you worry that they will buy a size too small for you to wear.  Then you'll feel bad about yourself.  Because they under guessed how fat you really are.  And if they buy a size too big (rarely happened) then you are insulted that they assumed you were that fat.  The nerve of them - anyway.
 
If you must give me a gift: Please (the old me) give me a gift card to Applebee's, or Chili's, or anywhere else I can order off the menu.  Because everyone eats, right?  Food is universal.  And fat guys love food gift cards!
 
When I stopped thinking like a loser (loser's let life happen to them) and started thinking like a winner (winners make life happen for them)...that is when I started getting successful with weight loss.  And so long as I thinking like a winner (making life happen for me, rather than letting life happen to me) those positive vibes spilled over into other parts of my life.  Relationships improved, I learned to forgive and let go, (that is so freeing) I made more intelligent financial decisions, impulsive shopping became a thing of the past.  I became more focused and goal oriented, and spent less time day dreaming my life away or worrying about the "what if's" of life.
 
So no matter what your age, or where you are in life...make life happen for you!  As long as you are breathing and able to get about on your own, there is time for positive change.  You are the driving force that determines the direction of your life.  Steer it in the direction that brings you the most joy!