I Forgot to Run

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I purchased the Rock ‘n Roll Tour Pass for 2016 with the intent to run a 10k, Half and Full with it in 2016. Well, January went by and my running shoes have sat in my closet collecting dust.

With a 10k looming at the end of February, I figured I needed to get out and run since I can’t remember the last time I ran. I realized this weekend that I’ve been suffering a bit from “paralysis by analysis”. Without a running group here in Texas, I’ve been over analyzing running. Mostly when/where. Not knowing the area, I let my research consume me until I’d get so fed up I just wouldn’t do anything aka paralysis by analysis.

Today, I started out that way. I had 10 tabs open in Safari looking for places to run. Finally the voice of reason in my head just said, “put your shoes on, go out the door and go explore”. I don’t have plans until 6:00 PM tonight and it was noon. So I had about 5 hours to make it back to my apartment should I get distracted or lost.

So, I turned off the laptop and did just that. I got my stuff together, filled a water bottle and took off. I left my complex and headed into downtown Boerne.

At first, I started with a structured 2/1 run/walk pattern and was very focused on running. Somewhere around 0.75 miles I found myself in downtown Boerne taking in the sights and suddenly became less focused on running and more about enjoying the journey I was on.

IMG_2640I arrived near the city center where my church (1910Church.com) held our Christmas Eve service and found myself at the trail head for the Cibolo Trail. I snapped a picture of the trailhead sign and off I went again. Still keeping somewhat of a pace and then I kind of got lost in my head and my run became a walk.

Then I stopped listening to my watch. I was listening to a Praise and Worship playlist that I have on Spotify and decided to just immerse myself in the “space” I was creating for myself. I had nothing to prove. No race to win. No place to really be. So somewhere along the way I forgot about running and decided to just be.

Soon I found myself standing at the end of the trail on the other side of the town. I realized I had literally just “ran” from one end of the town to the other. Ok, so maybe “run” is an ambitious word, more like power walked but still, you get my point.

As I was returning I had a few thoughts come across my mind:

First, how blessed I am that this is where God has lead my life. I’ve been on quite the amazing journey in my life with moving to Texas last year and I think in the hustle and bustle of everything I forgot about what blessing it is that God allowed my life to land in Boerne, Texas. Not only is this community full of wonderful and amazing people but just look at the pictures in this post. I’ve only previously dreamed of living somewhere where this is my backyard – and now I am.IMG_2642

Second, how it’s not always about the PR, distance, or destination but sometimes about the journey. I also think that it’s our human nature to want to do everything ourselves. One thing I’ve learned in this last year is about trusting God more and relying on our own self less. I’m very guilty of getting hung up in the destination in life and forgetting to enjoy the here and now – the current journey no matter how fast or slow.

So, now that I got over that hump – it is time to get some weekly runs in and enjoy this beautiful town even more.

Happy Sunday!
John

A picture is worth a 1000 words

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I fell off the blogging bandwagon pretty hard last year. Thankfully I love taking pictures and was able to capture a lot of this year through photos and journaling offline.

Near the end of the year I saw everyone creating their “2015 Best Nine” on Instagram and decided to give in and see what mine would be.

I don’t think I could have asked for a better collage of photos for my best nine. Each one representing a major part of my life this last year. I looked at this collage and thought, “If a picture is worth a 1000 words then this one would be worth so many more…”

In short, what does each picture represent? Here’s the breakdown (left to right)

Top Row

  1. A Thank You Card from Scott
    I remember this card like it was yesterday. When Scott, Tracy and the kids were in Houston for his treatments I would go out every other week to help out and visit with them. One week I was returning to go back to San Antonio and upon getting in the car to drive back I looked down and there was an envelope that said “John” on it. I opened it when I got back to San Antonio and saw this sweet message from Scott. I’m so glad I saved it…
  2. My Relay Outfit for the Toledo Marathon
    Running has become part of my life (even though I slacked for most of 2015). This relay was something that was planned long before I moved to Texas and I’m so happy that I was able to logistically make this happen even after moving to Texas. My running friends have been (and still are) like family to me!
  3. The last picture I took in Ohio
    I guess I should say, “Last picture I took in Ohio as a resident of the state” since I’ve been back a couple of times. I took this on 3/6/15 – the day that I officially moved away from Ohio to begin my life Texas. My entire life packed in that Chevy Tahoe with my two bikes on the back. Crazy to think that this was almost a year ago now!

Middle Row

  1. Scott Participating in the 2015 CrossFit Open
    Scott never failed to amaze or inspire me. Here he was,  currently during the week receiving radiation and chemo and on the weekends was in the gym participating in the 2015 CrossFit Open workout. He never let his diagnosis be an excuse and participated until he was physically not able to.
  2. My First Christmas Tree in Texas
    I never have had a real Christmas tree and so I decided to start a tradition of getting a real Christmas tree the year! It was a challenge for my OCD to decorate a tree that’s not “perfect” but I made it through and was so happy with the outcome. Looking forward to many more trees in Texas.
  3. Cycling in Texas
    Cycling is a big part of my life and thankfully it continues to be a part of my life in Texas. This is one of the many trails here in the San Antonio area and with the amazing weather we have I get to enjoy cycling a whole lot more.

Bottom Row

  1. Football Hall of Fame 5k in Canton, Ohio
    This race was more of a “fun run” for my relay group. We ran together in matching costumes and had a blast doing it! Everyone loved our outfits and we’ve been featured on the website, email newsletter and Facebook page of the race! Such a good time.
  2. Boerne Lake
    I discovered this lake on one of my rides around the little town I live in. I had heard there was a lake but wasn’t sure were (come to find out it’s a few miles north of my apartment). I ride out here often and just relax. It’s a beautiful place to hang out!
  3. Texas Hill Country Sunset
    The sunsets (and sunrises for that fact) are so stunning here. Each one different and amazing. They often capture my attention and my photos do not do them justice. One of my favorite things is to sit on my balcony in my rocking chair and watch the sunset. So peaceful and relaxing.

I’m very curious to see what 2016 has in store and what my nine photos will be like at the end of 2016. I can tell you that on January 1, 2015 I never thought that in 365 days my life would have changed as much as it did.

Here’s to an exciting 2016!
John

Back to CrossFit

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5:00 AM

The alarm was blaring. I opened my eyes, looking at the ceiling and slowly got out of bed. As I stumbled around the room I quickly put on some clothes, grabbed my water bottle, apple and keys then head out the door.

Today was going to be my first CrossFit workout since the memorial WOD for Scott that I posted about previously. I haven’t really said it but I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back to CrossFit since Scott passed away.

You see, Scott was the one that got me into CrossFit. He was my own personal CrossFit cheerleader. I remember when I first started CrossFit it was actually supposed to be the weekend that Scott had his surgery in February of 2014. I skipped my first class to be at the hospital and he promptly gave me crap about it post surgery.

I went back to Ohio and started in at CrossFit. Even with all that Scott was dealing with – fresh off of brain surgery and dealing with his cancer diagnosis he would call and ask me how CrossFit was going. He’d text me and make sure I was going then ask me how the WoD was. He’d encourage me every chance he got and would always tell me to not give up and to stick with it. Scott will forever be the person that I associate CrossFit with in my life.

So, in moving to Texas I got the privilege to share CrossFit with Scott on a regular basis. A gift that I’m forever grateful for. By the time that we got to workout together he had some balance issues but that never stopped him. No matter what he was dealing with physically he would go to the box and workout. On especially bad days he would still go and would just use the rower. I will never forget the WoDs that we got to do together. He really taught me what it meant to never give up.

After Scott passed away I found myself in a bit of a spiral. I started to cope with my grief by emotionally eating. I also couldn’t even begin to think about stepping foot into CrossFit. It just didn’t seem right for some reason. It sounds stupid and I wish I could explain it but that’s the only way I know how to put it.

October 4, 2015. Two months. Some days it feels like it all happened yesterday and sometimes it feels like it’s been years since I talked to him.

I finally looked at myself in the mirror and looked at the scale and realized that I couldn’t keep dealing with my grief like this. I had to change. Scott would want me to be in that gym every minute that I could be. So… I decided that Monday – it was time for me to go back to CrossFit.

I’m in the process of turning my diet around step by step and each day it gets a bit better and I’m already seeing positive changes there. I’m trying to build healthier outlets for my grief than food… but it’s a tough one.

So back to 5:00 AM…

I arrive in the parking lot and sit there for a couple of minutes staring at the door. It was too early  to be emotional. It took all I had emotionally to get out of the car and walk to that door.

Once I did get inside I was quickly greeted by familiar faces. Everyone came over and welcomed me to the 5:15 class and before I knew it we were well into the warm-up.

The workout was upper body focused – one of my weak areas but I suffered through it and finished in a decent amount of time. Before I knew it I was back at my Apartment heading up to get ready for the day.

As I (slowly) walked up the steps I thought about Scott. About the impact he’s had on my life. I thought about how even after he’s gone that he left behind a wonderful community of people that I somehow have had the honor of being accepted into. Thanks to Scott I met so many other awesome people there at Hill Country CrossFit. People who I now call friends and enjoy spending time with. After getting to know these people I can see why Scott loved them all so much.

Life won’t be the same without him…

 

“Serene”

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"Serene"

I arrived at the box around 9:45 am. I’ll be honest – I didn’t show up any earlier because I didn’t think I could emotionally handle it before the WOD.

You see – I’ve been slacking with CrossFit. I hadn’t been there since before I got my job in Texas. The last time I was at Hill Country CrossFit was with Scott. Even though while he was alive I went to the box from time to time by myself – it just hit me different yesterday. It was a “first” for me.

As I stood facing the white board I read the workout:

“Serene”

1000m Row

—- 4 Rounds —-

8 – Front Squats 185/125#
4 – Should to Overhead Press
15 Pull-Ups

———————–

43 Burpees
1 Mile Run

I’ve never done a workout this tough before. I’m also two months out from my last CrossFit class. I haven’t slept well. I haven’t been eating. I’m probably dehydrated. I can’t go but 5 minutes at a time without wanting to start crying. There are a bunch of people here to just watch.

These are all thoughts that went through my head and then this one:

Who cares. This one is for you buddy…

So with a deep breath I started warming up. Thankfully that warm-up (which by the way – I always feel like the warmup is a workout) took my mind and focused it on what I was doing and off of what this day was.

Jerry

Then we all gathered around and Jerry explained the meaning behind the workout. Never in my life I thought I would get emotional over a CrossFit workout…

1000m row – When Scott started having issues with his balance and was unable to do a lot of the WODs he would come to the box and row.

4 Rounds – Scott was crazy about his 4 children. So today the 4 rounds represent the 4Cs

8-4-15 – The day that Scott left us

43 Burpees – Scott’s age.

1 Mile Run – At the end when Scott was having trouble walking and therefore could no longer run he would always take about wanting to run again. So that day we were going to run for him.

Me - #BetterThanDying

Yep – that last one pushed me over the edge and I was standing there in tears. I had a flashback to him reading a couple books about how to learn to running again. How before the last prognosis that he would talk with me about how much he wanted to be able to run again even though he hated running.

Even though the workout was brutal – I don’t think Jerry could have made it more of a fitting tribute to our friend. I’m also so happy Jerry programed it – Scott loved all our CrossFit coaches but he would often tell me stories of how motivating Jerry is. He used to always make cracks at Jerry’s programming too and how much he loved to hate it. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect person to program it.

I talked with Danny that morning to figure out how to modify the workout because I couldn’t do the pull-ups so we decided on ring rows. I setup my bar at 75# and got in line for the rower.

I sat down at the rower and they yelled GO

Row

I started rowing with all that I had. I rarely row (mostly because I hate the rower) and know that usually my times are horrible. I had some serious determination to get that part over with. I had a flashback to a time in Houston where Scott and I were in the garage at the rental house where they were staying while he was getting treatment at M.D. Anderson. He had a rower that a box in Houston loaned him when they heard his story.

He told me that we were going to play a rowing game. Row to 100m and for every meter that you are beyond 100 you have to do that many burpees. 10 times. So yeah… total was 1000m. How ironic. I sucked at that game so much that Scott let me have an 11th turn and scratched out my worst score so I could win. That was just the kind of guy he was. I sometimes think he knew I needed the win for the confidence in myself. It was a silly little game but now that memory means more to me than anything.

I rowed the 1000m in 4:24 or something like that. Fastest I’ve ever got to 1000m in my life. I headed inside the box to start the 4 rounds.

I approached the bar and started the first round. I don’t know about others but for me, each of those rounds represented his 4 kids to me. So I told myself that each round I was going to complete for that kid. I got through C1’s round pretty quick. Then I started in on C2’s round. This is about the time that my body decided that we were done but I pushed through and pushed hard. C2 sometimes can had a bit of a “fiery attitude” and it was only appropriate that I approached the bar during that round with some anger.

As I was going into round 3, for C3, I was struggling. I dropped the weight. I was shaking. I could barely open my eyes. I had several people around (several who were also doing the WoD) cheering me on to keep going.

Then I heard it.

A small voice was saying, “Go John”. I looked over and C3 had decided to sit down against the wall next to me and cheer me on. She is really a lot like her daddy. Hearing her and seeing her I told myself that I had to finish this round and I did.

Then as round 4 began I saw C4 sitting there next to his sister. Hell or high-water I was going to finish this last round for him. I dug down deep and found strength I didn’t know I had and pushed through that last round.

Now for the burpees

I’m pretty sure I was somewhere on the verge of passing out (literally) as I began the burpees. I managed to get out 3 and then collapsed on the floor. I’m pretty sure Ira was the one who told me I could do this and to move in front of the fan. A few more and again I collapse on the ground.

I’m emotional. I can’t breathe. I’m in pain. I refused to give up though.
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Laura said, I’ll do them with you. Then Madison said she would to. They got me through the next 10.

Then Janina came over and started coaching me. Helping me slow down. To modify. To do the thinking for me that I couldn’t do.

Me, Madison and Carly

At one point I look over and C3 had got down and was doing the burpees with me as well. I knew right then that I had to finish. Just seeing her down there with me gave me strength I didn’t know I had.

I’m sure I’m forgetting others that were standing around and cheering for me (I’m telling you guys – I’m pretty sure I was very close to passing out. Even when I opened my eyes I had tunnel vision).

Folks – that right there – that’s CrossFit. Media will show you the elite of the elite or see how much bad press they can give the sport but they don’t show that. The community. The fact that it’s about more than just you finishing but cheering on your fellow athlete to finish as well.

I finally finished the 43 burpees. I stood up, got a water and began my 1 mile run or in my case walk. I left the box with a group of people to walk with me (I’m not sure if it was for support or because they thought I’d pass out before getting back… lol)

At about 3/4’s of a mile – I began to throw up. It was all water because I hadn’t ate that day (or actually in the last 12 hours) but I threw up. A LOT of water. As I was puking I thought – well, this is fitting… first CrossFit workout I’ve ever thrown up on of course was going to be Scott’s. He would have laughed so hard at me and loved every minute.

I kept going and rounded the corner to get back to the box. I was last to finish and almost everyone had gathered outside to cheer me in. Also fitting I’d be last to finish – just like every other WoD Scott and I have done together.

Group Photo

Finishing this workout just didn’t give me the same feeling as other WODs. I didn’t feel like I accomplished something for myself – I felt like I accomplished something for someone else. I honored my friend who loved CrossFit and always wanted me to and believed that I could become a great CrossFit athlete.

The worst part of the whole morning? Going to my friend’s car to get some stuff for the memorial and she handed me the 8×10 picture that was going to sit on the stage. I looked at his picture and it was like a ton of bricks hit me. I couldn’t call Scott and tell him all about that WoD. He couldn’t tell me how proud he was of me or how I needed to work on my rowing form or how he knows that I could do that WOD again and do it faster the second time. He isn’t here anymore. It all became real to me again and I went to my car and weeped harder than I have in days…

***Special thanks to Jennifer McKinney and Jessica Farrell for the pictures

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 8

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Eight weeks! That’s crazy!

We’ve been having a rainy spring here in Texas so I haven’t had the chance to do much outdoors. I have been faithful to make it to CrossFit 3 times per week though! I’m continuing to see small improvements by either being able to complete sets faster or add more weight in certain scenarios.

I’ve managed to (just barely) not have any DNF workouts this last week. Tuesday workout (posted above) I thought was going to kill me. I ended up doing 100 single unders (jumprope) x 5. So yes, in one workout I did 500 single unders. So, before I had only previously done like 200 in one workout. Needless to say it’s Thursday and I am still feeling it. I decided to skip today and return tomorrow for my third workout of the week to give my body some extra time to recover since I also went yesterday.

I still haven’t stepped on the scale and really don’t care to at this point. My eating isn’t where it’s supposed to be but I figure once I’m in my own space I can work on getting that in order too. I do however feel like my face looks thinner and my clothes seem to be fitting better so that’s a plus.

When I return from my San Diego trip I’m hoping to identify some cycling groups to join as well as a running program to help me train for a full marathon this fall/winter. That’s my goal for May.

Until next week!
John

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 6 & 7

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Special Back to Back Edition!

So I spent the last weekend in April running two races back in Ohio – The Gold Jacket 5k at the Canton Football Hall of Fame and was on a relay team for The Glass City Marathon in Toledo.

While I enjoyed seeing everyone back in Ohio the allergies and as a result temporarily losing the hearing in my left ear for 24 hours, the cat peeing IN my suitcase and me rolling my ankle during my second race I could have done without.

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My relay team did the 5k together and we had coordinating running outfits. We were more interested in just walking the race together and having a good time than about trying to PR. I’d say our outfits were a huge hit based on the amount of pictures we had taken of us and how many compliments we got.

The next day was our first relay race ever. Overall it was a positive experience but as I said above I managed to roll my ankle somewhere between mile 2 and 3 of my 6 mile relay leg. It dropped my time a ton and I was pretty discouraged but tried my best to not let it get me down.

I came back to San Antonio ready to get back into CrossFit. I came back during “1 rep max” week. So we focused on finding our 1 rep max on various movements. The WODs each day were less than fun and very much gave me a run for my money.

This week I’ve made it through two workouts (switched to a M-W-F schedule) and am proud to say that I was able to complete both of them before their time cap. I am feeling it today though – yesterday we did wall balls and toes to bar (knees to chest for me). I will say that I am starting to surprise myself by lifting heavier weights than I previously thought I could.

The weather hasn’t be cooperating with my other sports. We’ve been having daily rain (which in Texas is something we welcome) so I have been just relying on CrossFit but I’m sure the rain will end soon enough and I’ll be out running and biking again. I did stop in at a local bike shop and got some resources about mountain biking in the area. Now to find a group to road ride with and I’ll be set!

Until next week!

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 5

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Woah! I got way behind. I wrote this update on the plane and forgot to publish it! So… we’re going to post this today and tomorrow I’ll catch you up to these last couple of weeks so we can get back on track.


 

Special Plane Edition!

I’m flying back to Ohio today for a quick visit with my family and friends and then this weekend will be meeting up with my running friends to run a couple of races around Ohio! Being that I like being continually productive I thought I’d get my blogging done during my flight this early Thursday morning.
So last week I posted about it being DNF week for me at CrossFit. I launched into Thursday ‘s workout with some firey passion. I had a new attitude – I was going to dig deep within and give every last ounce of energy I had to finish the today’s WOD within the 20 minute time cap.
After working on push ups and knees to chest for our strength piece of the class we got to the WOD:
150 Single Under Jump Ropes
21-15-9
HSPU (Hand Stand Push-ups – which I did from my knees on a box)
Box Jumps
150 Single Under Jump Ropes
Classic CrossFit Buy In / Cash Out workout. I struggle with all of the movements except the box jumps. So the timer starts and I begin the jump rope piece. I could do about 35ish in a row now without stopping. I quickly got to a point where my lungs were giving out before I was tripping on the rope. It was tough but I manged to get 150.
The next piece I found myself breaking the reps into smaller sets in my head to make them manageable. After what seemed like an eternity I finally got through and looked to the clock to see if I had time to get my jump rope in.
To my pleasant surprise I was somewhere in the 12 minute range! So I picked up the rope and started cranking out single unders like it was my job. I was racing the clock and wanted to finish around 15 minutes. As I was finishing the last 10 reps and the rope passed under my feet for the last time I looked at the clock – 15:13.
I did it! I finished a WOD before the time cap!
Then I proceed to literally fall to the ground on my back and lay there for a good 30 seconds.
Saturday my buddy Scott and I went to do some lifting at the box. I wanted to work on my hang cleans because I still try and muscle the bar up and don’t pull my elbows high enough. Somehow We ended up working on:
Hang Cleans
Knees to Chest / Elbows
Jump Rope
Rowing
So during the jump rope Scott tells me I have to get 50 in a row before I can move on. I told him I can’t and he just told me I had to try. So try I did and failed time and time again. Scott moves onto rowing and tells me that I can get a rower and start. I insisted that I was going to get 50 in a row no matter what. About 5 minutes later I finally hit 50 and again about collapse.
I am finding out that part of my hang up is mental. Something that I need to work on as well.
No CrossFit this week. I was in Houston for Scott’s final treatments for his brain cancer. We did mange to sneak in some rowing, squats and burpees though one day in the garage. Now to stretch and hydrate these next couple of days before my races!
Onward!