Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Pivitol Day

Well today it happened.  I was advised that my position with Verizon was no longer needed.  I got laid off.  But bear in mind, I volunteered.  I came into this with both eyes open, somewhat of a plan before it and for after the action.  Nothing on the surface of my life right now has changed a whole lot but after Feb 28th I will no longer be an employee.

The package was generous and all that I was hoping for.  I won't go into details but living frugually and within my means I am sure I can live comfortably in Aspen for over a year without having to submit to some other entity for a paycheck.  I will work, my focus being on my life coaching business and the niches that I am developing there.  THAT is my new job.

It is hard to put into words the emotions and sensations that I felt today.  For starters, I only got one hour of sleep last night.  I don't know if I was wound up about the layoff or it was the damned wind that was howling and keeping me awake.  I had to be at the office at seven in the morning and really, on a scale of 1-10 with ten being a great mood I was probably a solid 8 when I was driving in.  One of my favorite songs came on in the Jeep on my way in and that helped some.  It just seemed appropriate.  "I used think this day would never come..."

The discussion with my manager went very well.  He told me I was his first call of the day and would be the easiest due to the fact I was a volunteer, but volunteering or not, when it happens it is still quite shocking.  There is absolutely no denying whatsoever that my life has now gone around a huge corner in life and will never be the same. 15 years, 8 months and 12 days of my life spent in the corporate entity in one form or the other. 

But the emotions were a muddled mix of fear, excitement and surprisingly a huge sensation of liberation and relief that I was no longer a cog in that very large machine. I felt it again when I walked of the building.  The only time in my life I can compare it to, that sense of freedom, is when I left the military on my last day.  Freedom.

Now it is gung-ho, balls to wall, time to fish or cut bait.  Now that the employment thing is settled, the last gating factor standing in the way of me and my new life is Aspen will be selling the house.  And of course before I do that, there is still a lot I need to get rid of.  I am still an employee per se until the end of Feb but since they cut my access to all of our servers, there isn't anything I can do so from now on when I get up in the morning my job is getting rid of stuff by whatever means necessary and getting the house ready to show and sell.  Also working on my business and building that.

I suspect that now I am no longer emotionally tied to the corporation, I will have more energy to focus on personal stuff.  It was never the workload that taxed me but the culture, the bureaucracy, and I guess the knowing that I was part of a company that in my mind was and just a former shell of it's great self circa 90's and early 2000's.  I don't have to witness the corpse rotting anymore.  This rat has jumped ship.

I was back home around eleven and after taking care of administrative household stuff, I was able to settle down and take about an hour nap.  I woke up with that full blown sense of shock first thing that I had to talk myself down from.  I reckon that will be normal for a while until my mind adjusts to the new mental demands or lack of.

I am happy and proud of myself.  I played this out until the end.  I left with what I wanted and I left on my terms.  I didn't resign, I didn't quit, I feel I left honorably.  It was definitely time.

After my nap and getting myself back together, I went for a decent eight mile run. Gloomy as hell with wind, rain, sleet, ice and snow.  But the run did the job of grounding me and allowing me to process and celebrate my victory all at the same time. 

Crappy weather tomorrow for the forecast so it will definitely be an indoor trainer kind of day at the gym.  I am definitely ready for spring now.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spinning Death

One of the first things that I got rid of in preparation for this move was my "ghetto trainer bike" and trackstand.  So now I don't have the ability to ride indoors at home anymore.  Today was slated to be an indoor workout but my original plan was to just ride outside... well, the weather had other ideas.

Since I only have another two to four months left here in the springs, in any capacity, going out and buying a spinning bike or setting up a new trainer is not worth it.  My goal is to sell things on Craigslist right and get rid of all of my stuff and not buying stuff which I might have to turn around and sell and or move.

So I now have a very reasonable monthly gym membership that I can renew month to month.  In the end it is probably the most cost effective route for me right now.  They have spinning bikes and treadmills so if I can' t do a workout (mainly riding) outside, I have a place to go.

I still consider myself new to this world of cycling but I have learned something that was proven true again tonight. Training on a bike outside, it is rather easy to get your heart rate up maintain certain levels of effort as prescribed.  Indoors on a track stand or trainer, it is a little more challenging but still doable.  The bike on a track stand wiggles, flexes, etc, so as far as I can tell it isn't exactly energy efficient.

On a spinning bike?  Hard. As. Hell.  The frame is so rigid and everything is so smooth that much more energy from spinning the pedals goes directly to turning the wheel.  Energy isn't wasted on wind or absorbed by the frame etc.  It's just a damned hard workout.

But that is what I did tonight.  A ten minute warmup followed by three one minute max efforts with one minutes in between RBI.  That was followed by four six minute max efforts trying to get my HR above 155 for the entire six minutes with a two minute RBI.  The session ended with a seven minute cool down for a grand total of a 55 minute workout.

It kicked my butt.  I was afraid that I was going to break something, that something being me. 

You can see the three one minute efforts followed by the four six minute sections.  Ignore the weird green thing at the beginning, I had forgotten to the turn the gps function off on my Garmin.
In other news... selling stuff bit by bit and starting to feel like I am making some progress.  It has just helped so much that I am staying here and not doing the drive.  I can focus, get stuff done, and feel pretty good about chipping away at it all day by day.

AND, I paid off my Jeep today which I am really happy about.  17 months early!

I also had a long honest discussion with my manager at Verizon yesterday and he basically told me that he would be calling me again later in the week.  The RIF is coming, no doubt. The rumor mill is abuzz with talk of it happening.  Estimated to happen on Thursday.  This is it folks.  Another tumbler in the sequence of unlocking my new life is about to drop into place.  I estimate my house will be on the market come the end of next week.  Heeeeere we go!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Naked Bearded Slow Ultrarunners Fueling With Bacon Chasing Miley Cyrus At The Leadville 100

Really... the title has nothing to do with anything but just stealing an idea from Footfeathers to see how if it drives up traffic.  I must be bored.

Awesome training week.  Just amazing.  Since I really don't have a solid plan for the year as this year's plans are contingent on if I get into the LT 100 MTB I have been floundering as everyone knows.  Throw in the cold I had and that "mood" that I fell into for a month or so, just finding square one has been a challenge.

But I got an idea and what I have been doing the past two weeks pretty much is following last years training at this time week for week, day for day and it seems to be working.  This way when I find out I am in the bike race, I will be more than ready to focus on that, and running too as I have to train for the Run Rabbit Run 100 as well.  It really works for me as it forces me to focus on the bike NOW and the workouts are already planned so I don't really have to think.  I have enough on my plate to think about now anyway, so it helps to just review the plan from last year and execute it one day at a time.

So... this week... 9:41 hours of training.  6:10 on the bike, 3:31 running.  76 miles riding and 23 mile of running.

This week I have ridden the Cannondale F-29 Carbon 3 (Hard Tail) exclusively.  There is definitely a difference between it and a full suspension bike as my sore rear end could give testament to.  I don't know enough about bikes to fully verbalize this but it seems the hard tail is a bit more responsive if I want to do something.  It tracks better, maybe?  And in some ways, even though it is lighter, it definitely feels faster at times. 

I am still on hiatus from the Aspen commute.  Melissa came to the Springs on Sunday and stayed until Wednesday and I swear it was like being on vacation as it was just so damned nice to have her here.  We are meeting in Denver this coming weekend and staying the night up there which will be a blast as always.  Not so sure when I will be heading up again but it will at least be a few more weeks.

Asia is doing great a week after her surgery just hanging out in her pen.  She is being a brat at times so it is obvious she is feeling pretty good.  But we still have to limit her activity a great deal for the next few weeks.  Sutures come out this coming Thursday.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Plan Has Worked

Wait long enough and eventually the house will get dusted.

Melissa came home today for a couple of days.

It is really nice to have Melissa here especially since she hasn't been here since September.  It's not all fun and games though as we are both tackling the purging process with the house.  Asia sure loves having her here too, especially since Asia is stuck in her little pen 90% of the time recovering form her ACL surgery.

I rode on Saturday for a little bit and ran today for a bit too.  Mostly just trying to do anything except be sedentary at this time.  That cold that I caught and put me down for two weeks really did a number on me.  Looking back it bums me out because I was doing pretty good up until then.  One little hill in Red Rocks that I usually just cruise up crushed me on the bike yesterday.  I have some work to do.

I am in the springs now indefinitely and taking a break from the drive to Pitkin County for a few weeks.  I plan on taking advantage of the weather here to ride as much as I can and run too.  Winter in Aspen doesn't really affect being able to run but riding is an entirely different matter.  Too much snow, ice, and the temps are just not warm enough. Any significant winter training on a bike in Aspen has to be done on an indoor trainer I reckon.  I will ride up there more come the spring time.

The plan for the week roughly looks like Red Mountain tomorrow and then a mix of riding and running each day for the rest of the week. Just keep moving. 

This video sort of explains how I have spent a lot of time the past few weeks.  I had never seen Battlestar Galactica and it was actually this Portlandia skit that turned me on to BSG.  I liked the new version a lot more than BSG 78.  I think they did a good job ending after four seasons.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Mexico List

The bare essentials to pack and bail.
Last night when I was driving back to the springs I was thinking about the list that I created back in 2008 or so which is basically the Mexico List.  In 2008 everything had or pretty much hit the fan in my life.  Plan E, with the E standing for expatriate seemed more and more a likely option for my life.  Thus the Mexico list was born.

Basic premise... dump all of my stuff, mail the keys to the mortgage company, and bug out with just the bare essentials that Roxy and I would have needed in the Jeep to go south of the border to start a new life.

I rediscovered the list last night after a quick search and though I have Asia now and not Roxy the plan looks viable still.  Dump it all and throw what I need in the Jeep and boogie.

If it were only that simple.

Today I went into the garage and about shit.  I have no idea how I am going to deal with getting rid of everything.  Not that I need or want all of this crap anymore but the mechanics of it or the "execution" as Annie puts it just overwhelms me to the point of immobility.  Seriously, I can get stuck looking at a piece of furniture anymore and go into a catatonic state while totally anxiety ridden at the same time.  It sucks.

Seriously, overwhelmed.

But there is more... of course last night driving I had time, lots and lots of time, to reflect over all of the bad decisions I have made in my life.  Well, maybe not bad decisions as I made the best decisions at the time with the knowledge I had at the time but decisions that if I had gone another way, well things might have turned out differently.  Such things as selling certain properties, buying other properties, getting a masters degree that cost a shit ton of money but in the end was it really worth it... those kinds of things.

All of this leads me to question the logic or feasibility of this possible Aspen move.  Could I be there and get my business going?  If not, can I be there and find some meaningful employment that I make a decent living at and enjoy?  Or will I end up there and be part of the struggling working class and working three to four shitty part time jobs and basically make enough money to stay but not enough to leave?  Is this another one of those "bad decisions?"

Can I escape Colorado Springs?  That is another huge question.  Am I so embedded into the ground here that the thrust required to gain escape velocity is basically unachievable?  Sometimes when I am away from home I think that an asteroid strike could be an awesome solution as long as I am not in the house of course.

I just don't remember a time in my life where I have had such fear and self doubt.  Not in recent history at least.  I know that when left home for basic training at 18, that was pretty high up there, and also when I got out of the service, but I also had a lot less life overhead and a ton less to be concerned about then.  Now I try to spin it in my head that this transition is NOT overwhelming, not scary, not stressful, and frame it as exciting, or at least not boring but even those cognitive gymnastics more often than not fail to buoy my outlook.

I have no clue in hell what life is going to look like 12 months from now, and I know that nobody really does but it would be nice to have somewhat of an idea.  For now all I can say is that I was much happier a year ago when there was a tad more certainty in life and I had some direction and sense of purpose.  Yeah... I'd go back if I could.

Running... if you are still interested and reading... I've run three days this week.  Nothing great, long or fast... just running.  I've figured that with the cold I had and basically losing two weeks of running as a result that the rest of January will be spent trying to rebuild some sort of a base and then in February trying to put down some higher mileage weeks.  At least that is the plan.  I only did two miles today and that was more of a token effort than anything... I told myself just one mile... you only have to run one mile... that was the leverage it took to get me out the door.  Seriously.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not Yet

It is Wednesday and still no running.  This cough is persistent but at the same time getting better, slowly.  Monday morning I was doubled over in pain coughing violently first thing in the morning.  Yesterday morning was better and today even more so, but it is still there.

Monday night was rough as I didn't sleep well with the coughing and as a result I was dead tired most of yesterday.  Last night I took some Nyquil and a Temazepam and that combo proved effect in knocking me out for the count... call it ten hours. If I coughed during my sleep it sure as hell didn't bother me any.  As long as I don't seem to get worse I will just assume that I am getting better and just be patient.  Any running right now would be counterproductive but I am hoping by the weekend to be able to get out.

This break is proving to be beneficial as it gives my brain time to process things in the background regarding running, goals, and my plans for 2014.  More often than not I end up looking the goals of the season or calendar year as one lump sum.  I have come to the conclusion the past few days that 2014 is more of a transitional year which will set me up for 2015 regardless of which race I might get into or what race series I might decide to do then.  That being said, the biggest goals for 2014 are the LT100 MTB followed by a solid performance in the Run Rabbit Run 100 in September. That's about it. 

Asia is definitely getting ACL surgery.  She is scheduled for the 17th at 9:30.  They might keep her overnight which I am not happy about so I hope they let me have her later that afternoon.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Back in the springs.  I was gone for 23 days.  23 days I spent in Aspen which is the longest I have really stayed in one place since early last spring.  Crazy.  But I had a great time and really never missed it here.  At all.  This week will be spent catching up around here before heading back up on Friday.

The drive back Sunday night was a chore.  Nearly six hours total.  Vail Pass which I am really starting to despise was a mess with lots of blowing snow.  Hoosier Pass had an accident about a mile from the summit.  Two cars head on it looked like and a semi had also slid off the road. More blowing snow, crappy vis and miserable out.  Much respect to the first responders out there in their bunker gear taking care of things.

Traffic jam on Hoosier Pass.  -2 degrees Fahrenheit not including the windchill. You can see the semi up by the curve.
I thought that I would run today but it didn't happen.  I feel a lot better but there is still a bit of a cough and I don't want to risk it.  The last time I had a cold and cough like this was back in April/May of 2012 and it lasted a lot longer than it should have.   I am not going to go through that again so I am still taking time off until the cough clears.  I feel fine in all other aspects it is just the coughing.  Maybe tomorrow.

I had better get at it.  I registered for the Run Rabbit Run 100 the other night when it opened up.   I have been studying the maps, course descriptions, and other beta.  I am setting up some goals for this race.  I am pretty excited about it. It won out basically because it is a Colorado race and not a forever and a day drive to get there. 

Asia blew out her other ACL on New Years Day in Aspen.  Confirmed that at the vet's office today.  She is getting around better but surgery is unavoidable.  I am hoping the vet schedules the operation for the 16th or 17th.  At least it is winter and she will be stuck inside recovering while it is relatively nasty out.  On a good note, Asia has lost a lot of weight which we were hoping for.  She was 77 pounds back in April and is now at 63.  That will go a long way to helping her recover more quickly post op.

But I really enjoyed my time in Aspen.  I ran some new cool stuff and I mapped out about 10 runs all in distances between six and thirty miles for training runs.  There are a ton of good options to keep it fresh.  Some of these courses will also play into bike training as well.  I found a trail that goes from Hunter Creek over to Woody Creek that I  hope to try to run this weekend weather permitting.  That one will take me past "Owl Farm" and I think I will end that run at the Woody Creek Tavern.  Sounds like a plan.

Ready for spring and summer though.

Really missing riding days like this.