Sunday, October 9, 2016

Some reflections about the past and future plans

Greetings friends.  I took some time away from my blog to gather my thoughts.  Today, however, I break my silence to talk about some current events and plans for the near future.  Sit back with a favorite beverage and enjoy my mindful ramblings....

Charitable reciprocity

I mentioned many times in the past that most of my adventures were possible because of you.  Yes you.  My wife, son, family and friends accommodated my crazy adventures.  You all played a part - even if you sat on the sidelines and cheered.  I felt it all from the crushing blows of defeat to the exhilaration of achieving the improbable.  For that support, I thank you again and remain in your debt.  The reason I bring this point up came from yesterday's Hawaii Ironman race and another call for your support.  Our friend and swimming mate Aaron Church was there to compete.  Aaron is a beast.  He has the heart of a lion.  If I had his heart in swimming, there is no telling what I might accomplish.  Aaron outworks us all.  He dives in first, completes every set, and stays until the end (and even afterwards) to improve his stroke.  Nobody outworks Aaron.  Nothing stops him - not even the cold water.  I doubt Aaron has an ounce of fat on his sinewy body.  The man is just one or many muscles and we all marvel at his determination.  So how does Aaron fit the theme of this section?  Kat and I were dutifully following the racers online and noticed that Aaron was not making any progress after about 80 miles on the bike.  I assumed it was a glitch in the system but this morning I noticed that the final results posted a DNF (Did Not Finish).  I know Aaron's family - the entire crew including the GMU Patriot Masters Swim Team and friends - will give him the support to overcome this bump in the road.  Through adversity, we all learn the sweet taste of success.  I hope we all find some bit of compassion for those who experience defeat.  Lend a hand.  Be kind.  Remember, we all taste defeat and experience setbacks; do someone a favor and extend a hand of support.  You did it for me - do it for Aaron and for everyone else who might need a little boost.

New Adventures

I have two adventures on the horizon.  The first is Cork Distance Week (CDW) - organized and managed by Ned Denison.  

Outside article title:  Not sure I fit into the "elite" category.  
Ned was kind enough to offer me a spot so I grabbed it right away.  I can't wait.  Swimming twice a day in frigid waters, drinking pints of the good stuff with new friends from afar, and soaking in the scenery of beautiful Ireland sounds like a dream come true, right?  Well, before you say yes, read a few takes on the adventure.  The first is a recent blog post from a really funny bloke - Brendan O'Brien.  He recounts the entire week (9 days!) in a witty manner.  Hope to run into him when I go out there.  Second, you need to read Outside's summary of Ned's camp.  If reading is not your thing (why are you reading my blog?  Ha!  Caught you), then check out this great video Ned sent me a few weeks ago:

and this one that documents the week:

The Showtime segment makes marathon swimming sound much crazier than I view it.  Sounds more like boot camp than summer camp.  I'm not up to the challenge at the moment but will be by next July.  Kat and I are already booked for the trip - at least we have an AirBnB with some other swimmers.  I can't wait!  We celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this coming March so it will be 25 years and 4 months since we were last in Ireland when we land in July 2017.  Hopefully, I don't gain the same 25 lbs I gained on our honeymoon.  Yes, don't laugh.  I lost it and more eventually but had fun putting it on with fish & chips and Guinness (6 pints/day - doctor's orders).

CDW is my first adventure.  My second?  I figured since I am already in Ireland, I might as well swim the North Channel (Ireland to Scotland).  Why not?  I'll post more about the swim but suffice it to say that the North Channel is to the English Channel as K2 is to Everest - in a word:  challenging.  

The track above shows Steve Walker's 2016 crossing (11:05 according to the MSF track but 11:19 according to this recap).  So if the North Channel is like K2, you are probably thinking it is a tough challenge.  Yes, it appears to be.  But, why not take it?  Seems like a foolish task for a foolish person, right?  If I am successful - and that is a big if - then I would be the 4th American male to finish that swim (according to the online solo swim database and Steve's recap).  By posting about the swim, I guess I am committed or should be committed.  I'm doing it.  Yes, there you have it!  Well, presumably they will let me give it a go.  I'll keep you all posted on the application process.

These adventures mean I need to keep swimming.  I am still steadily losing my walrus figure (down 13+ lbs or 6 kg since mid-August and losing more by the week) but will need to hold onto a few extra lbs of blubber for insulation.  Wish me luck and stay tuned for a few more updates as I prepare.

One final thought before I get some work done....

Surviving Bad Days

Today was a bad day.  I worked out for 3 hours yesterday running for 30 minutes, lifting for 30 minutes, and striding mindlessly on the elliptical for 2 hours as I read and watched TV.  It was exhausting.  I haven't felt very motivated the past few weeks because I have no purpose for my training.  Yeah, sure I am trying to lose weight but that is not a very strong motivator for me.  I know if I really needed to lose weight, I could just go climbing for a week and lose a pound (.5 kg) each day from the exertion and limited food to match the caloric expenditure.  What I really need is a fire under my fanny to stay focused.  Yesterday and today showed me that some days when all feels awful, I just need to survive through the workout to get some benefit.  This morning, I went to swim practice and endured 4,000 yards.  It wasn't pretty and I wasn't in a particularly good mood but I got through it.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment just by surviving.  If Aaron were at practice, I know he would have pushed us all.  Adversity makes us all better.  Embrace the setbacks; turn lemons into lemonade.

I need to sign off now and get my work done.  My next post consists of a few thoughts about why I do these adventures.  Read them if you want to know what makes me tick.  Who knows?  You might find some insights to keep your kids from following in my footsteps.  

See you soon....

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