Monday, April 30, 2012

I Like This!

Personally I am a fan of the single tower theme instead of building two towers again.... for me it symbolizes one giant middle finger to the world that says we are back!

Here is the story.

Goodbye April! 226 Miles

I am going ahead and saying goodbye to April today as a running and training month.  I did not run yesterday and I will not run today which is the last day of the month.  I am still dealing with this cold, I have to go go to Denver tonight to pick up Melissa and I am also on-call tonight so I really don't feel up to trying to just a cram a run in there for the sake of a getting a run in.

April turned out to be a very low mileage month for me but I am not going to worry about it.  The same thing applies to today's run... I am just not going to stress over it.  Tomorrow, May 1st, I will get serious about training for the San Juan Solstice.  I look at today and April and the reduction in miles as a break (albeit unplanned) before I start training in earnest for the June race.  I am also hoping that taking the past couple of days off and resting will  help me to get ahead of this cold and get over it sooner rather than later.

Spent most of yesterday afternoon working on a project which I can't divulge at this point.  Annie helped me and there was no way I could have finished it without her assistance.  I'll post pics of it tomorrow but I can't put anything here in case Melissa gets bored traveling  home today and decides to read my blog!  :)  Doubtful but it could happen.

Along with May comes another weight loss initiative.  From this morning's weigh-in, I need to drop ten pounds before June 23.  This basically means that anything and everything that I enjoy and has any calories to it (especially sugar) will be verboten for the next several weeks.  I have been reading about racing weight and I learned that my gain isn't exactly a disaster but now for the next few months it is imperative that I drop it in order to have a chance of reaching my goals.  For example if I were ten pounds lighter, conceivably my finish time for this past weeks 50K would have been ten minutes and 20 seconds faster... again, in theory.

Annie's High School graduation is three weeks from tomorrow!  Unbelievable.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mo' Bettah!

This Race was not part of the plan... not by a long shot.  I have just never been interested in running 50K around the base of Cheyenne Mountain in the scrub.  Boy was I wrong about this course.  It is hard without out being too technical and there is enough ups and downs and twists and turns to really make it fun and interesting.  As far as short race courses go I will rate this my second favorite with the Salida Half-Marathon in first.

Earlier in the week my friend Marc Pevoteaux sent me an email saying that I should jump into it.  At first I thought that he was crazy. I'd just had my ass and various other body parts handed to me unceremoniously in Fruita the week before.  Another rout?  A week later?  RUFKM? This I didn't have the bandwidth for.  But Marc had some good selling points, first of all I had to do a long run anyway this week and it would boost my confidence some.  Maybe.  I think that I was registered within five minutes of reading  his email.

I hand initially planned for this week to be a very easy recovery / wallow in self pity and self loathing - low mileage kind of week before starting running in earnest getting ready for the SJS 50 the following Monday. Well, that plan was summarily chucked out the window.  I had to get ready for Saturday's run.  My plan was to do some medium mileage runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, take off on Friday and hope that I was rested and ready for the 50K on Saturday morning.  It was the best plan that I could come up with.

Thursday and Friday I felt somewhat out of sorts and it became obvious that I was coming down with some kind of cold.  All day Friday I felt so tired and it was a constant struggle to stay awake.  Actually both Thursday and Friday nights Annie and I called it an early night.   I know that I fell asleep watching a movie Friday night and after I awoke I was in bed and back to sleep by 9:15. 

I slept until the last possible moment on Saturday morning and Marc and Amanda came by to pick me up so that we could carpool.  I was excited and felt pretty good on the drive there. I hadn't seen Marc and Amanda in forever it seemed so it was nice to see them again.  We got to the race start and it was sort of chilly and the wind was strong out of the south but overall, not too bad.  We had just enough time pre-race to take care of a few things like packet pick up and, bathroom lines, etc.  The 50K started at 8:00 and I was ready.

When we started running I had the first chance to see how my oncoming cold would affect me and fortunately it wasn't too bad.  Some tightness in my chest but I could breathe; not too deeply but well enough and I didn't have to blow my nose too much either.  So really everything is great and bonus!  It isn't like running on the surface of the sun out there!  I chose my Crosslites for today's run but in reality I could have gotten by with the 110's but I just didn't know.  Regardless, it was so nice not having to worry about having any foot issues in exchange for a few extra ounces.

It took a bit to warm up into the first loop but I was feeling rather well overall.  At about mile six I got distracted and rolled my left ankle while trying to get out of the way of an incoming runner.  It wasn't that bad and loosened up in a short distance and I could run on it.

But that wasn't the only thing that loosened up.  My stomach started gurgling and cramping and  I knew that I was soon to be spending some time alone, off-course to take care of it. I waited until the last possible moment and then bailed.  It cost me some time but well worth it.

Back on the trail I am running and definitely more comfortable.  The ankle is there but not giving me fits, and my stomach is okay. I know a lot people passed me during my break and there was not much I could do about that.  I decided against trying to run faster to try to catch up with anyone and opted for a smooth consistent pace that I felt that I could maintain for at least several miles... and it worked.

It took some time but about mile 14 I started catching up to other runners.  Runners that I had passed earlier that I knew who had passed me during my off trail adventure.  I just tried to keep the pressure on and keep thing smooth and steady.

What a contrast it was this weekend compared to last weekend.  90% less discomfort while at the same time 90% more pure enjoyment.   Everything else aside, times, miles, passing people, etc, it was just so damned nice to be having fun again!

In the next several miles I think that I passed a total of ten people and I was passed by two after the second huge climb.  I think that somehow I made up for my lost time and then some.

My official time was 5:41:25 which I am very happy with.  As I was coming into the finish I was just happy and glad that I raced today.  I think that I was able to parlay the run last weekend which didn't go so well into a decent run today that I am completely happy about.  If I had to rate my three best and favorite runs of the year, this would be number three following the Fat Ass 50K earlier in the winter and the 30 miler I did from home up to 2-to-go on Pikes Peak and down on March 24.

It is so great to feel like I am moving forwards instead of backwards again.  So great...

Elevation Profile for the Cheyenne Mountain Trail 50K

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something Funny

Yeah, I've got nothing...

Tuesday morning and nothing great to report. Had a productive day yesterday, work,  rode the bike with Asia running,  unclogged a couple of drains, mowed the lawn and other than that, just took it easy.  Melissa is gone for the next week so I have lots of free time (read boredom) to get things done around the house. 

I had planned to get up this morning early and run before work but when the alarm went off at five for the life of me I could not remember why I had set it so early.  After turning the alarm off and THEN remembering it was to get up and go run I said, "screw that," rolled back over, unashamedly, and without any guilt whatsoever went the hell back to sleep.

Still processing the weekend a bit. Well, that is not entirely accurate.   I am processing the last three races and trying to believe and or deny that any trend may exist that the past three performances may be pointing to.  But to be honest I am starting to really feel limited now in what I might be able to do from here on out.  On one hand I believe it is all BS and that I can still do a lot more but on the other hand I do fear that I might be constrained just by my own biology, talent (or lack of) and age. (Just because other men of a certain age can still kick ass on such a grand scale it does not mean that I get to just because.) Constrained to the point that no matter how hard I work from here on out, or even how smart I work and train, there are factors that just can not be overcome.  Please believe me when I say that I hope that is BS because at this stage of the game, as a person, as a human, I still need and want to have the belief that the possibilities are still there.

I feel in a lot of ways that I am where I was when I walked away from whitewater kayaking.  I was a good boater and I really wanted to be even better.  An excellent boater if you will.  I was 32 or 33 and I realized that the only way for me to become an even better kayaker, I had to start spending WAY more time on the river.  Not just one or two days a week, more like three to four and damned near year-round. As much as I wanted to move up in skill there were other things in life that I wanted more I guess.  It was disappointing but easy to walk away at the same time.  It was a trade off that I took responsibility for and though I miss boating from time to time, a decision that I don't regret.

This situation if you will is similar but different.  Then I knew that I still had room to develop, grow and enhance my skills... now, even that comes into question.  Last year for me was all about trying to prove or disprove that I had the capacity to go sub-25 in Leadville and for the most part everything was indicating that was a possibility.  This year though... crap... everything just feels more difficult, challenging and just slower than last year.  

Am I burned out?  Over trained?  Is there a way to regroup and come back at things from a new and more fresh perspective?  Why was I running so much faster and stronger in January compared to now?  What changed?    Anyway, this is why I am really backing off this week.  Not only to give myself a break but also some time to look at these types of questions and hopefully come up with some meaningful answers and then move on.

On the subject of shoes and tactical errors from this past weekend in Fruita, I wore the MT110's the first 25 miles of the course.  If I were only running  the 25 mile option of of that race sure they would have been fine I guess but that super rocky terrain is not a good surface for those shoes, at least not for me.   Mostly I just felt a lot of foot fatigue, no blister issues or anything like that but they just did not provide enough protection from the rocks for my liking.  I still think it is a great shoe that would probably do well in SJS50 and even a good part of Leadville but not for super rocky courses.  For Desert Rats, my Crosslites would have been a more wise choice.  Lesson learned.

This turned into a much longer ramble than I planned.... One last thing, as I was talking to one of my best friends yesterday William pointed out that I did not DNF in Fruita... it was more like DNHF... Did Not Have Fun.  I thought it was pretty funny myself.

Short run today to get things moving again...  it will be easy.  My left ankle still feels a bit tight and sore from the weekend. Not sure what is up with that.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Desert Debacle

I am definitely disappointed in the DNF from this weekend in the Desert Rats 50 miler but I know deep down without a doubt that I absolutely made the best decision in not pushing forward on Saturday afternoon.

It was a decision based on many factors.  Many.  I won' t get into the list of tactical errors on my part which helped to set up this failure as there are still aspects to those decisions that I have yet to fully look at.  One of the challenges that I faced yesterday was a bout of nausea and vomiting which if it happens every once in awhile, I can deal with and I typically feel better afterwards but, yesterday in the span of two hours I wretched six times, and the last one was a very uncomfortable spell of dry-heaves.  This is the second time that has happened this spring as well.  The last time was on Barr Trail a few weeks ago.

Of course the heat played a huge part in yesterday's race for me as well.

I can make excuses all day but it came down to to this... the last couple of miles DOWNHILL I had zero speed.  I was not having fun.  Let me repeat that, I was not having fun.  I expect a certain amount of discomfort and general unpleasantness in most long races but I am generally, usually, in one way or the other having fun even just the slightest little bit.  Not yesterday.  As I crossed that ridge the second time I looked the cattle with sheer pity and felt truly sorry for them cause that has to be just one shitty place to be a cow.

Anyway...  When I made it to the aid station at mile 32 I was done.  I was not having fun and for the life of me I could not see any reason to continue on.  I knew what the next 19 miles were going to be like, I have done them before and I know that the way things were going that there was no way that I could finish and still have some sort of happy ending to the story.  No, it was a quality of life decision, pure and simple.

There is a lot more to the story and tons of other details but for now this is the 30,000 foot overview.   For a 32 mile run I am feeling sufficiently beat up and tired.  Beat up and tired enough to make me want to take a couple of more days off and really think about what I want to do for the rest of the summer and which races I may or may not do still.

At this point I am not adding any more races to the schedule and I am not taking any off.  If anything I will decide to continue on and focus hard on San Juan for the next two months.  After that THEN I will be considering Leadville. But for now, I will not commit to any course of action or inaction one way or the other.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fruita via Glenwood

Melissa and I are off to Glenwood before heading on into Fruita on Friday.  We are both SO looking forward to this trip.  Everything is packed and I just need to put the bike rack and the bikes on the Jeep and we are ready to go.

I had an idea for a cool racing shirt and Annie and I collaborated on the design.  She brought the finished product over this morning and I was totally blown away.  I can NOT wait to wear this shirt on Saturday.  That will be its first public showing.  I need to trademark this logo or something.

I am feeling very rested and fresh for a change.  Nothing is hurting or sore.  I did not do a heat workout last night and just focused on getting ready.  The only complaint that I have this morning is that my allergies are really acting up so now I am just waiting for the Claritin to kick in.

This is about enough to make me switch to a new cell service provider!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another day off... why not?

Decided this afternoon that today will be a non-running day as well.  I will ride the bike tonight as my last pre-Desert Rats heat training workout.  I still need to eat dinner tonight, pack, and just get a lot of other things ready before we leave.

Talked to my sister today and we had a good chat.  I have been so busy this week that I was not able to check in with our lawyer in Florida.  Thankfully Lydia called them earlier in the week to see if they received the package I mailed and to ask some general questions.   I am so glad that she did that and we talked about it otherwise it would have just been one more thing that I would have not gotten done this week.

Went to the office today... rode the motorcycle and that was a lot of fun.  I am going to try to ride it more and more this year especially with the high fuel costs.

Ready to get out of here for a few days.  I need it.

We watched this last night and really enjoyed it!  The Giant Mechanical Man

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Taper Week

Thank heavens for backup plans I guess.  This week did not go at all as expected.  I had one of the worst on-call rotations in forever last night.  I spent pretty much six hours on one crisis call and had to manage three other outages back-line in the process.  Crazy.  I didn't get to sleep until eleven this morning and I slept until three this afternoon.

My goals for the day were simple... get my run in this morning, do part of Barr Trail with Annie, ride the bike for some heat training and get to REI for the last day to use my 20% coupon and my dividend to get a bike rack for the Jeep.  Actually I pulled it all off except for the long'ish run... instead of 20 or so I only got in five but I am more than okay with that.

The original mileage goal for this week that I planned months ago was about 45 miles then a few weeks ago I decided to up it to 60 just to keep me from maybe getting stale before going to Fruita... well, with work, the weather and what not, I ended up with only 45 for the week and really, I am feeling okay with at that.

For this race I am going to choose to error in the direction of rest and relaxation.  I already know that it is going to be hot and I will have to deal with that and that is fine.  I just don't wan to go to the line so overwhelmed that I can barely concentrate on what I really need to do which is run my ass off for fifty miles.  Judging by how I felt this afternoon running with Asia I think that I am on the right track.  Compared to a week before Rocky, I am maybe 1/5th as tired and stressed as I was then.

Thank god Melissa spoke up on Friday and pointed out just how f'd things were and how they were effecting me and that I seemed to be more stressed than in January... thank  god... it was the perfect reality check to force me to back up and put thing into perspective.  Thanks honey!  Without her expressing her observation I would have been less inclined to sleep so much this weekend before my on-call rotation, sleeping today and just being realistic about what I could reasonably accomplish in the time that I had these past few days. 

So I missed some miles, big deal... I am feeling great and I'll trade that for an extra 15 miles to the weekly total any time.  Well maybe not, but definitely this week!

Took Annie and Melissa to Rudy's tonight and gorged on BBQ.  Boy did I miss bread last week!  It was nice to have dinner and laugh and crack up with the two of them.   Annie even drove us!

Low miles this week...I will still work on the bike the next few days as it seems to be helping in other areas though I doubt I will benefit too much from the heat training this weekend.  The bike, it really is helping to keep my legs loosened up it seems like.

Wearing these for Desert Rats... the shiny silver color should reflect sunlight and heat right? (Joke)  I can' t wait to see how trashed they are AFTER the race.  This will be my biggest test of the 110's to date but I have a lot of faith in them.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Heat Training!

I got the mountain bike and the track stand trainer set up in my downstairs office.  Now to see if the heat training theory pans out for me or not.  I figure it can't hurt, right?  I know that I won't be able to do enough between now and Fruita to make a difference but maybe it will help me for other summer races.

Today I did 30 minutes on the bike and that was after my five mile run.  Tomorrow I will shoot for 45 minutes.   It is just strenuous for me to concentrate on riding that long...  My goal though is to be able to do around 90 minutes a day eventually for several days in a row to be sufficiently heat trained.  Or at least that is the hope.

Today in the middle of the workout... Annie took the photo.

You are not allowed to retreat!

But! You can advance in the opposite direction and that is pretty much what the past 48 hours has felt like... fall back... regroup, count and resort ammo and get ready for another assault.  Reconstitute and redeploy. 

The biggest achievement of the week, or milestone or whatever has been getting the ball rolling with the attorney in Florida.  Yesterday, Friday, I sent overnight mail an envelope full of documents and the check for his retainer that should arrive this afternoon.   Glad to have that going but the good old savings account took another hit and I really hate it when more is going out than coming in and nothing is coming in to help out so far in this situation.  So that is really frustrating me too.  Let's just say that so far I am down a new fence and getting the house painted.  Frick.

I did an easy three with Annie and Asia on Thursday afternoon.  Annie went to a swim meet and after that we headed over to CC and had dinner with Melissa who was still working at the Spring Open House.  Awesome prime-rib!

Yesterday though, Friday was a wash....  I am not going to go into all of the details but the morning was complete and total chaos which basically blew the rest of the day all to hell.  After mailing the package to the attorney I figured that I would take a nap for about an hour then go run.  Well an hour ended up being two and half hours and after I woke up I just new that I could not do it... No way would I be able to run.  So I made the command decision and I didn't.

My first day of not running since March 12th.  Can you believe that?

Seriously I think that everything the past few weeks has just caught up with me.   I had to yield.

Plan B was to get up super early this morning (Saturday) and go and do a long run.  Hell I even set all of my stuff out last night to be able to do it but when the alarm went off at 02:30, I just could not do it.  The thought of getting up and taking off in the dark and being gone for a few hours was too much for me.  Maybe some inner-genius finally proclaimed that at this point more than anything I need rest... not just physical but mental.  I went back to sleep for another seven hours and it was fantastic.

So now I am on Plan C!  Tomorrow if I am still alive after my on-call rotation ends I will go on a long run, meet Annie in Manitou then we will do our Barr Trail, LRR, UPT, time-trial which will roughly simulate our climb up and over the power line/Sugarloaf section of the LT100 course which she will be pacing me on this year. 

For today at least I am going to take it easy... work on work stuff and handle calls as they happen.   I have 128 miles in so far this month and still about thirty miles to get in between today and tomorrow.  I am in a good place training wise and can afford the break of a day or so.  Besides,  the worse thing that I could do right now is get stressed out even more about things and end up going to Fruita next week completely fried, tired and stressed.... I need to be happy, relaxed and rested and I will be!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, Twelve-Sixteen, Rain

I called Melissa ten miles into yesterday's run.  I was way up on Rampart Range Road, the light was getting dim and the clouds were moving in on me quickly surrounding me with fog and dropping the cold rain on me.

"Hi... Uh... I think that I might be in some trouble here," I explained to her.  It was too late and getting too dark to bail down Williams Canyon like I wanted to do and which would have been the shorter run.  I was going to have to run all the way down RRR to Manitou in the dark and the rain.  I quickly estimated the mileage to the 7-11 in Manitou and the time to get there and I asked Melissa to please leave the house in 45 minutes to meet me at the 7-11.  We confirmed the plan and I hung up the phone and started pounding down the road.

By now I am running in the clouds.  I can not see any city lights below at all and the rain is picking up.  Actual real fricken rain!  When was the last time we had that in Colorado?  I kept berating myself for not packing a headlamp but at the same time I was just thankful that at least I have decent night vision.  After about three miles down RRR not far from above the water tank lights started breaking through again and I was then UNDER said clouds.  Though it was still dark out and I was without a light, the city lights reflecting down off of the clouds did help a bit.  I couldn't see colors of course but definitely shades of darks, and greys and I had depth perception.  Good enough.

Of course I was SOAKED.  Like 2012 Rocky Raccoon soaked.  This just caused me to laugh as I knew that I only had three maybe four miles left... After what happened in Texas this rain and the amount of time that I would have to endure it was for the most part, meaningless.

The problem that I was having though was trying to balance running fast enough to cover ground, and yet staying warm, while at the same time going slow enough to be careful.  Even though I was soaked from head to toe, the only part of me that had been cold was my hands.

About the time I was close to GOG and I could see the rock formations I began to relax.  I knew that I was out of the woods pretty much, figuratively and literally.  I was just trying to enjoy this part of the run now... enjoy the break away from everything and just being outside, weather be damned.

I made Manitou just as I planned time-wise and sure enough Melissa passed me right before the 7-11.  Once again just absolute perfect timing.

Yesterday was supposed to be a 12 mile run, but in the end it was over 16.  I still had fun and I plan to use this first 10 mile section as a jumping off point to other runs this summer where I can just leave the house and go for a super long run.

Elevation Profile

Actual Course

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two Boxes

Two boxes arrived today.  One from Montana and another one from Florida.  From Montana, Hammer Nutrition products... From Florida... Dad.

Now that I have the DC's and some other pertinent information I need to have a huddle with my attorney in Daytona and set him loose to discover initially then gather and then clean up my father's affairs down there.  My sister and I had a good talk about it all yesterday and though I am of the mind that I really don't care about taking care of the rest of the details, property and whatnot... she is right that we need to get it taken care of and not be living with that stuff over our heads anymore. 

It is a weird sensation unraveling and untangling someone else's life after their death. It is even more bizarre if in theory it is someone that you should know but the actual reality is that you are dealing with a complete stranger.  It is frustrating, sad and at the same time a very lonely feeling.

I talk about the mechanics of what is going on, the activity of it all but I really can't talk to anyone it seems about how I am feeling about it all past the general sense.  Hell, I don't even know if I could even completely verbally express it all.  There is the shock and even a bit of of heartache.  But right now what I can't seem the escape is the ever constant awareness of mortality, mine and everyone and everything else's and the temporary nature of it all.  This is not a new revelation to me by any stretch but right now it just seems to be ever present and a constant theme that to be honest is becoming very tiresome.  Very.

I wake up in the morning and after the three to five seconds of peace as I am reorienting myself into the world the situation settles upon me again and I ask the question every day, "what do I have to do next to deal with this and what do I have to get done today?"  From there on out that is a constant companion during the day, this thing, this situation, this job of sorts. 

Doing what I do, I am still trying to focus on the positive takeaways here.  My sister is doing the same thing as well, with her lesson being that you should never assume that there is more time.  As for me, my resolve to not waste the next 30-50 years and to make the absolute most of them has been renewed.  My number one goal above anything else is to be happy and let everything else take care of itself, which isn't much different than my goals three weeks ago before dad died, it is just more of a focal point now.

A break sure would be nice though.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Is that what you are going to wear?

Good day today... I finally retained a decent attorney in FL to handle my business there so that headache is being taken care of.  Relief.

I had to go to ENT to get a new debit card today too.  Walked out with not only a new debit card but a 3% interest rate reduction on the Jeep loan.  Nice.  The banker Erika was trying hard to push me towards a home refi but I have my reasons for not wanting to do that quite yet.  I'll look at the numbers and maybe call her again later in the week.

I really dodged a bullet with the lower right leg, shin, tibial tendonitis thing.  It hasn't really bothered me in days.  Aggressive treatment with vitamin IB, tons of ice, compression and switching through different shoes everyday seemed to do the trick.  I feel really fortunate.

Had a solid 22.5 mile run on Saturday with Brooks.  I was actually surprised by how trashed I wasn't afterwards.  Sunday was 7.5 miles with one mile running barefoot on the grass at CC.  An easy seven plus miles today that felt pretty good as well.

Less than two weeks until Desert Rats.  Shooting for 60 miles this week as a taper week... I might do more based on how I am feeling later in the week.

I'll leave you with this craziness... I've been there firsthand... thank god for Melissa!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Halfway though the week already and besides being a bit tired, everything else is going pretty good.   Had a good 13+ mile run last night and a really good Barr Trail run this morning.  I made it to the top of the W's in 30:36 which is a new best for the season.  31 miles for the week so far with a target of 70 so 39 miles to go.

My new 110's came in the mail yesterday.  The ones that I bought back in February are pretty trashed.  I will wear, or at least attempt to wear the new pair through the entire Desert Rats 50 mile course.  I think that they can do it.  I got the titanium 110's this time and not the black and thankfully the titanium/red combo is not nearly as garish as it originally appeared on-line.

Past that I really don't have a lot to write about which I guess is a good thing.  I think that I am going to take my ass to Carl's Jr. for lunch today! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Something that I wrote some time ago...

This is chapter three of my unfinished book The Abundance Threshold.  Maybe now I can finally finish it.  Anyway, I wanted to share this today.  Enjoy.

The Default Theory and the Power of Decisions

Decisions, decisions, decisions, our lives are full of them.  From the moment we awake in the morning until we go back to sleep our days are a continuous exercise in making decisions.  What to have for breakfast?  What to wear to work?  Do I really want to go to work?  What’s for lunch?  Skip today’s workout for happy hour?  Take the short or the long way home?  These may be some of the bigger decisions made during a day, but between them there are probably thousands others.
Decisions are important.  Decisions are all powerful.  Deepak Chopra states, “When you make a decision you change the future.”  This applies to EVERY decision that is made.  Each choice made spins off a different outcome leading to other choices and an infinite number of other outcomes.
However this is something that we barely recognize that is within our own power.  A long time ago I was complaining to someone about a particular situation that I was in and how many things I was dealing with as a result.  His subtle and somewhat sly response was, “so you decided to handle that situation?”
“NO!” I fired back at him, “somebody has to be responsible!”  My partner nearly smiled and said, “So you decided to be responsible?”  Checkmate.   I could not move.  He had me nailed solid on that and I realized he was entirely accurate in his appraisal of the situation.  I conceded, that yes, I did decide to deal with everything on my own.
In that situation I had made a decision based solely on practical matters and being responsible.  Was it a conscious decision on my part?  In reality no it was not.  It was me reacting to the situation within the framework of being logical and not taking time to make a decision fully aware of what I was committing to.  The decision was made based solely on what was needed to be done and no thought was given to what outcome I would have preferred to see.  By doing that I denied myself precious personal power in that scenario and as a result I presumed to be completely powerless.
When I acknowledged that I had indeed made that decision at that moment I laughed out loud as I realized the situation did not wield any foreboding power over me.  I had made that decision to be engaged in that matter as I was.  By owning that, I realized I had the freedom to also decide to change it if I wanted.  Power was restored.
A great side benefit of understanding the power and importance of decisions is that once we recognize the decisions other people make, we are less likely to assume responsibility for those people or for the decisions they make.  However someone else decides to live, or to be, no matter what they do, it is important to accept, acknowledge and respect their decision to do so.  One can only be responsible for one’s decisions, not the decisions of others.  Conversely, nobody can be responsible for our decisions, only the decision maker bears the responsibility in either case.
One time many years ago I took a vacation to escape the winter.  The resort that I visited had a nice pool and that is where I decided to spend the majority of my time.  While I was playing in the water, and hanging on the edge, the manager of the resort came up and sat down on a chair across from me and we started talking.
This man completely opened up to me and told me how unhappy he was with his life and his circumstances.  Of course from my point of view I did not see his situation as dire as he described.  Nice place to live, a good job, interesting people not to mention that he was smoking what I recognized as a premium cigar.  It couldn’t be all bad I thought.  He was so focused on the negative aspects of where he was and nothing else.  After he finished telling me everything I asked why he just didn’t leave as there didn’t appear to be anything firmly anchoring him there.  No kids, no wife, no other responsibilities.  He replied with many reasons, but the bottom line was that he just did not want to leave and he did not wish to make that choice. 
I happened to go back there some years later, and guess what?  Yes, he was still there with the same story.  For a brief instance I felt sorry for him but then I realized that was not entirely appropriate.  Ultimately I recognized that it was his decision and his decision alone to keep himself there whether he realized it or not. 
Tremendous power is achieved by owning one’s decision in any given situation or set of circumstances.  By realizing that it then gives us the opportunity and energy to change any situation as needed.  It also allows us to fully own a situation and be empowered within it.  We can then accept it because we are then aware that we “decided” to be there, that we are not there by some external design or influence.  It allows us to take back our power and use it for change.
This raises questions of course.  How much action do we take in our lives based on unconscious decisions that we just write off to current circumstances, etc?  How many of our decisions are we truly aware of on a daily basis?  How many decisions do we make unknowingly?  Lastly, how does all of this affect the manner and means in which we create our lives?
Some decisions are bad, some decisions are good.   Some decisions are just that, decisions, merely forks in the road that we choose to take based on whichever one appeals to us.  Some decisions are made because one way may seem easier than the other.  A lot of decisions in life are made without much thought or awareness as if we are on autopilot and just going through the motions.
Many decisions in life may not be bad, but they may certainly be weak in nature.  Weak because we fail to be clear with ourselves as to what outcome we would ultimately like to see.   In many cases we truly do not know what we want.  If we do not know what we want, and we can not be clear and honest with ourselves about that, then how can we be expected to make a decision that will steer us in that direction?  We may say over and over what we want, but more often than not, these are just empty statements and not firm declarations based on fully cognizant decisions.  They are merely whims.
What this means it that for a lot people their lives lack conscious creation.  Their lives have been created by default.  Many times based on what they are led to believe they want in life, rather than looking inward and learning what it is that “they” truly want or need to be fulfilled. 
Mass media has done a wonderful job of telling us what we want and need.  Constantly we are under the barrage of messages telling what to eat, what to buy, what to drink, where to go, and where to live, and more often than not these messages are geared to make us believe that if we follow those courses, then we will have what we want and then of course, be happy. Everyday these things are blindly pursued and most often obtained but for what result?  Many people awaken to find themselves with everything they thought they wanted, but realize they are completely lost and unfulfilled at the same time.  This is the result of unconscious creation.
Unconscious creation leads to creation by default, or creation by the path of least resistance.  Without the knowledge and understanding of the power of our own personal decisions, it is often easy to just resign ourselves to the status quo and then not initiate any action for change.  If a decision is not made to change anything, then nothing will change.
Another form of creating by default is to never being clear on what we want but constantly being clear on what we do not want.  Have you ever known anyone who constantly says what they do not want?  Typically they can tell you 1000 things that they do not want but when it comes to verbalizing what they want, they can’t do it.  Knowing and saying what you want is not the same as saying what you do not want.
Not knowing what you want in life is a very serious trap and an impediment to getting what you really want.  At best it is an easy way to sidestep being honest with yourself about what you truly desire.  Saying what you do not want is very much like saying “can’t.”  Can’t only means that you do not want something bad enough, because the truth is that you can do anything if you really want to and you decide to do it.  To say can’t is a decision to not want something and thus limiting oneself of many options and opportunities.
If you completely focus on what you do not want then the possibility is strong that you will draw that into your life experience.  If you focus on what you do not want and fail to focus on what you truly desire, you may then unknowingly invite something completely unknown into your life and also discover that was something that you did not want either!  By only saying what you do not want and not being clear on what you do want, you are likely to still be setting yourself up for something you do not want; you just didn’t know it yet.
Sometimes though knowing what you do not want can be a starting point to define and get clear on what you would like to have.  For instance, if you don’t want to have chicken for dinner, then acknowledge that.  It is merely a signpost pointing you into the direction of what you may really want.  Use “not wanting” as a tool, utilizing the process of elimination to finally become clear on what it is you really want.  The “not wants” are merely impurities in the spirit of life… by distilling the “not wants” out, then you are left with a pure solution of “wants.”
What prevents us from recognizing and acknowledging the things that we do truly want in life?  Sometimes it may be an inaccurate sense or belief that we do not deserve more or better in our lives.  The answer to that is whatever you want; you must believe you truly deserve it.  Not in just an empty sense of entitlement but honestly and truly believing that you are worthy of more and better.  Allow yourself to fully dream and create, as we dream so we create.
To have anything in abundance in our lives is a choice; it is a decision that is to be made.  The only way to approach the abundance threshold is to have a clear understanding of what it is that we desire.  Know what you want, not what you “think” you should want.  Make the conscious decision to go after it and move in that direction.  If you are not where you desire to be in life then decide to go elsewhere.  It is that simple.  Decide on that which you want, then make the decision to act and then get it.
Lastly, to quote the song by the band Rush from the song Freewill, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Good Day and a Good End of the Week

Today just turned out to be a great day and really the saving grace for this past week.  I slept till eight then I got up and ran some errands, washed the Jeep, and went to the grocery store.  Then I spent some time in the kitchen cooking up the Swiss Steak and making some Three Bean Salad, both which would be part of tonight's dinner.

Then I mowed the front lawn, the whole time having the motorcycle idling and warming up... I put weed and feed down on the lawn again and then after cleaning up the front took the motorcycle for a quick trip around the block and that was fun!

Came back in and had eggs over the leftover nachos from The Loop and that was great... By now it was eleven in the morning and I had already had a pretty full day. 

Melissa wanted to get some accessories for her bike and I wanted to run so she rode and I ran from the house to the Criterion bike shop up by Woodman.  It is about seven miles one way. We got there and found what she wanted and while she was off looking at other stuff, I was looking for a bike that I might want.

There were some cool cyclecross bikes on the main level but they cost WAY more than I wanted to spend and could ever justify.  I still wanted a road bike.  I saw the stairs going to the upper level and where they had more bikes and I figured I would just check that out too.  When I got to the top of the stairs and was looking around I saw it... a black and white Cannondale, 54cm, single speed road bike!  I went and found Melissa and while her bike was being worked on I took her upstairs and I was shocked at first because I thought it was gone then I found it again on the rack.  She thought it was a cool bike too.  So I was able to try it out and it rode like a dream...  I was wondering how the single gear would work on a hill and it wasn't too bad.  I had the bike put on hold.

Melissa rode as I ran home... noticeably faster than the trip to the bike shop mind you... got home, cleaned up, changed and then back to the bike store.  I was pretty excited!  I missed my old bike so much and to finally get a replacement... the right bike, a bike that I wanted... it was just cool.  I have missed riding around to do errands and stuff too...  It is just such a cool bike.

We got home and then I made mashed potatoes to go with dinner and we ate.  I had downloaded my Garmin from earlier in the day and saw that I was sitting right at 92.5 miles.  I still had to run Asia for the day and I told Melissa that we were going to do 7.5 so I can round up to 100 miles for the week.  So after dinner Asia and I went up to the mesa and ran around a bit on the hills up there then came home.  It was just before sundown and the temps were perfect.  I wasn't overheated or cold and she wasn't getting too warm either.  She ran so hard tonight.

Annie came home from spring break tonight and being back east and we had a nice talk.  I look forward to seeing her later in the week and running with her.  We have been running together about once a week for the past couple of months or so and it has been just a blast.  I also need to take her shopping at REI and get her some more gear like a headlamp and water bottles/handhelds and stuff like that.  I am really looking forward to some of our longer runs and stuff this summer after she graduates and before she is off to FoCo. 

Gotta say, all things considering, and even including yesterday's ass kicking of a run... this has been the best week running since late January.  Finally things are clicking again and it feels great.   Finally.

Everything else? Eh... I'm dealing... I made my peace with stuff a long time ago and that helps a lot.  But overall the past day or so have been a lot easier than earlier in the week.  I think that finalizing the arrangement on Friday really helped a lot in taking the weight off of my shoulders and allowing me to start thinking not only about the rest of the mess but also just getting the hell on and being happy in MY life as well... Anyway, a new week... a new month... I am excited.

Desert Rats in 20 days... :)