Why So Many “Plans”?


For the last few weeks, I have had the honor of vacationing in Santa Fe, NM for rather cheap.  A good friend needed someone to take care of their house while they were away and I said “yes.”  So, I have been able to clear my head in the “Land of Enchantment” and take in both the physical beauty and the spiritual beauty of the place.  Lets just say I don’t want to leave.

As my brain turns back toward reality, I was thinking about the different things I need to start tracking as I head back to the real world of crime, concrete, smog, and sirens.  I made a list and was shocked at the amount of planning I was considering, let alone tracking and refining.   Oh yeah, these don’t even take into account the checklists which would proudly support the plans.

Some of these “plans” include:

  • nutrition/meals
  • exercise
  • time management
  • to do lists and actions
  • contacts
  • hobbies
  • PRM (personal relationship management)

Suddenly it hit me as I chowed down on a spicy fish taco (the gas hit me later) that I was building the manual to life.  What??  Really??  Have I reduced myself to the point that I need these “documents” to manage my life?  Maybe I have.

Read about my horrific year so far, A Significant Detour

life pulls in too many directions, make a planThen I thought of a client of mine from my house sitting days in SoCal who tracked everything through Microsoft Outlook.  Not only did he have detailed contacts up the wazoo, but he had calendar reminders, repetitive tasks, and even files embedded into this instance of Outlook.   His life, his household was managed through this interface.  It was brilliant, but also touchy. I realized how touchy it was when he asked my how to backup his outlook.pst file.  Even more touchy when a new version of Outlook came out and the import was corrupted.  But such is the digital life.  Living at the perils of ones and zeros, power outages, and corrupt files.  On the other-hand, the analog life is clunky, slow, non-searchable (is that a word?) and given character as you spill coffee on the paper.

You may be interested in reading my post, Just Push Through It!

It is possible to manage a complete life within some type of productivity tool, digital or analog. (more in this later).  Sometimes life is simply that complex.  It isn’t so much that one has failed to keep track or manage things on their own.  Feeling the need to plan everything, or most things, is simply a strategy to relieve stress.   When one records items on a piece of paper, they relieve the brain from having to remember them.  Writing things down (or typing them into a program) is freeing yourself to enjoy many other things the world has to offer.

So, let’s get planning!  Go mad with the lists, the calendars, the reminders, and the non-sense before we miss another episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Change of Scenery


Part of me feels guilty for taking a trip while “out of work.” But the truth is, I am on sabbatical.  I am taking the time I need to recuperate and get my head back into the game for a grand 20-year (maybe more) finish to this life.

When I left that horrible job and horrible company, I contacted a great friend of mine and asked if a visit could be arranged.  The response I got back was, “of course, but come in September”.  So, here I am.

I have been in San Antonio for 2-months now, but it feels like so much longer.  Perhaps it is the heat, humidity and general urban experience.  Urban living is so unnatural, at least to me.   Getting stuck in traffic, being separated from my beloved nature (trees, mountains, water), walking the concrete jungle, and facing my fear of crime, are experiences manufactured by the complexities of modern civilization.

After making some arrangements, the cat and I left for Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday the 13th. Luckily, we didn’t die or get slashed by Jason on the trip, but we did arrive in Santa Fe for lots of rain.

Gorgeous New Mexico, food for the soulThe contrast between San Antonio and Santa Fe is mainly in size, beauty and temperature.  Both towns have a remarkable history with native peoples, the Spanish and numerous governments over the years.  The added benefit of Santa Fe include the nearby pueblos, fantastic scenery, and the milder summers (but cold, snowy winters).

Roughly 48-hours in and my soul is happy for the change of scenery.  The intimacy, closeness of nature, abundant arts and culture, and a culinary scene to inspire wannabe cooks, are taking their effect on rejuvenating my soul. With inspiration and relaxation in abundance, perhaps it is hard to truly feel guilty about taking this trip.  Perhaps this trip is an important stepping to the next 20+ years?

Push Through It!


If working out was easy, everyone would be a triathlete.  Heck, the world would be a much better place as the food industry wouldn’t be trying to cram sugar laden food down our throats. But this isn’t a post about the sins of the major food processors.

No, this post is about the transformation and journey one will experience as they move off the couch and into the gym, outdoors on the jogging path, and/or on the saddle of your bike.  This is also a good time to disclaim the concept of seeing your doctor before doing any rigorous exercise.

Reflecting on the Painful Past

As I reflect on the past few days and the agony of sore quads, a bit of dehydration, and stomach discomfort, I look back to my first journey and the pain, the emotions, and the experience I had when I was in much worse shape.  It was not a walk in the park.  In fact, I was moody, in pain, couldn’t catch my breathe, and wanted to walk away from it all so many times.  But I didn’t.

This time, I know what is ahead.  Right now, it hurts.  Right now, I lose my breathe easily.  Right now, my heart rate peaks very quickly.  Right now, my muscles are fighting to stay in bed.  Right now, I am thirsty and hungry.  Right now, I am drenched in sweat.

But tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that, I will experience these things a bit less.  Pretty soon, I can climb a flight of stairs with vigor without losing my breathe.  Pretty soon, my muscles will be upset when I DON’T exercise.

Don’t Be One of the 95%

As we embark on our fitness journeys, we will go through stages.  I understand why a lot of people go to the gym and give up after three sessions.  In fact, one of my personal trainers told me once that if he could one client through six sessions, they would be a client for over a year!  That conversion rate, less than 5%.  Yup, less than 5% of clients go beyond six sessions.  That’s a lot of people saying goodbye to their fit future.

Take My Advice

Just push through it
from Brainy Quote

For anyone who is new to this and just embarking on their fitness journey, my advice is this:  “Just push through it! The reward at the end is far sweeter than you think.”  It is true.  Becoming a triathlete saved my life and it gave me a life I never thought possible growing up.  Being fit makes it super easy to do things.  Being fit makes you look different walking down the street. Being fit gives you confidence.

While the first few sessions will suck and that voice in your head will try to convince you to go back to the couch, don’t listen to it.  Listen to me, “push through it” because you will thank yourself later.

Let’s do this together.  Subscribe to my Blog, join me on Twitter. Leave a comment, share your goals. Let’s create a community.

Stretch People! Stretch!


stretches for triathletesOMG! It hurts! It hurts so much a grown man wants to cry! Just cut my leg off, PLEASE!

Seriously, it does hurt.  My left quad has a pain like none I’ve felt in a long time.  Why? I overdid my workout and I didn’t take the proper care post workout.

Yes, I had a nice thick luscious protein shake within 30minutes of my workout end.   BUT, I didn’t stretch. Nor did I foam roll.

Stretching is a great way to wind down from your workout.  It is also a great way to get into the workout mindset.  Stretching is about preventing injury to cold muscles and it also helps worn muscles to recover post workout.

So, stretch! Even better, foam roll! A combination of foam rolling first, then stretching will help keep your limbs from cramping up.  Also, drink a protein shake and drink plenty of water.

Stretch again before you go to bed.  Some athletes also start and end their day with a good stretch.  If you need some inspiration, check out these stretches for triathletes.

Stretching and foam rolling is not only a meditative way to keep your muscles in good shape, but they will also keep a grown man from crying. Get to it!

 

An Initial Workout


I had planned for a bike ride early this morning.  A step in rebuilding after tearing down. I did a bit of research last night and decided to check out part of the Medina River Greenway starting at the Pleasanton Road Trailhead.  A nice easy, meandering ride along the Medina River near the Toyota Tundra plant in south San Antonio.

All the best made plans and aspirations tend to fail at times.  With a restless night, a few trips to the  bathroom and finally being awaken by the cat at 9am, I could feel the bike slip away as my feet hit the floor this morning.  Groggy, tired, and perhaps a bit dehydrated, I really wanted a small breakfast and a good cup of coffee. Then we will re-evaluate.

Re-Evaluating the Best Plans

Upon re-evaluating, the oldest trick in the book became my block.  I waited too late and the heat of the day was upon us.  San Antonio quickly gets warm, shooting up into the 90’s and low 100’s by mid-day.  Today was no different.  It was warm and that is my block. I worry about getting dehydrated, sun-burned, and doing more damage than good. On the plus side, the heat sends the rattlesnakes to their rock covered dens.

Finding My Workout Gear

fitness gear for successWhile I wavered on my plans, after walking by the duffel bag, I was inspired to see what was inside.  I had set the duffel bag out next to the bike because I knew my Cookie Monster Jersey was in it.  Upon leaving Colorado, I threw all of my workout clothes, bike stuff, and other related into my workout duffel.  My initial reaction was the clothes wouldn’t fit.  Good thing I looked!!  I found a pair of shorts I forgot I bought, I found some lovely REI workout shirts that fit, and my package of Under Armor super duper workout boxer briefs.  I had everything I needed for a gym workout!

Well, everything but a heart rate monitor.  My Garmin GPS HR device was nowhere to be found.  I think it ended up in one of my electronics boxes during the move.  Finding it would be difficult.  So, I decided to run the risk of using my Amazon Fit Bip.  When it comes to heart rate monitors, this thing sucks.  It only refreshes once per minute (I know I could change that), and it is highly inaccurate.  Typically when my HR is high, it shows me resting.  Would it work this time?

Let’s Do This!

I got dressed and headed down to the “fitness room” of my apartments.  It is more of a fitness closet than a room, but with three machines (treadmill, recumbent bike, and elliptical) and a weight machine, it is really only big enough for one, maybe two in a pinch.

So, here I am, in my tiny little gym.  You know what happened?  I got excited.  I got inspiration.  My inner kid said, “bring it on!”.

And bring it on we did.  But we played it safe.  We initially started with a goal of one mile on the elliptical.  Then the goal increased to 15min.  My quads were feeling it, my lungs were surprised, and my head was on cloud 9.  The Amazon Bip was useless.  It did not record many “steps” and the heart rate said I was sleeping, not working out.  Using the HR function of the machine, the heart seemed to stay around 170 bpm.  That felt accurate.

After the elliptical, I couldn’t help myself, I had to use the weights machine.  I had visions of my workouts from 10-years ago.  I started with a split squat press.  Morphed into an anti-rotation twist, and then ended with one my most favorite exercise, squat and row.

A Corner Stone Established

OMG…  life is good again.  I did it.  My first official workout of my new journey is in the book.  While total time was only 25 minutes, it is a start.  I remember when 25 minutes would just be a warmup.  But then I cannot compare myself today to the person I became 10-years ago, a triathlete.  I can use those visions for inspiration, but not for personal shame. The reprogramming will go on.

And so the workouts with go on.  An initial workout has been checked off the to do list. This is the foundation for greatness ahead.  Or at least until the “runner’s high” wears off.

Tear It Down


give yourself a breakTear it all down.  Go ahead.  It is okay.  Just be a merciful.

After a disastrous first half of 2019 and the need to establish a more positive path forward, I needed to tear myself down.  I needed to reduce myself to my most basic self.  Let go of adult responsibility (to a point) and let my inner kid out.

  • Dairy Queen, oh yes!
  • In’N’Out double double with animal fry, heck yay!
  • Sleeping in till noon, why not?
  • Binge on Hoarders, sure!
  • Wear my pajamas all day and not even shower, YASS!
  • Look for a job, hahahahaha! no way jose!

Let the boundaries, let the rules, let the adult critic inside take a week or two off. Let’s be a kid again. Eventually, the adult in me will come back, fresh and new, and help me rebuild and move on as we near the 2019 holidays.

What will this adult rebuild?  Not sure yet.  Between junk food binges and Hulu outages I have been exploring thoughts.  Some of these thoughts are more realistic than others.  One thing is certain, a career change is imminent.  The new career will not be dependent upon the technology that is tearing up our society.  I have spent so much of my life behind a computer, I feel my time is served.  I just need to listen to myself a bit more and let Mr Adult in me formulate a plan and find more balance between what is real, myself, and that technology no one can escape.

 

Reflecting on Spirituality


Nature is my spiritual placeOur spiritual beliefs are a key part of accomplishing goals.  For many, many years I considered myself an atheist.  I only went to church when I was forced to, mainly for a family friend’s event.  Instead, survival from the family dysfunction was my spirituality.

When you live in a household without the stability, love, and nurturing psychologists claim a child needs (read The Absentee Mother for more), you revert to survival which includes being the invisible kid, having no preferences for your birthday, and going with the flow.  Since I couldn’t be me as a kid, I lived in a fantasy world in my mind.

Then I found anthropology.  Through this discipline I learned that humans have created numerous belief systems over the thousands of years of our existence. Believing in one god or multiple gods separated cultures spiritually.

Religion has been used as a means to profit. During Manifest Destiny, Christianity and other European religions were used to classify the Native Americans as savages and that the “land” needed to be civilized.  It was all in the name of profit, expansion, and nationalism.

If you believe in god, that’s great!  You believe! If you believe in many gods, that’s great too!  Having a spiritual platform is key to happiness.  Even atheists have a spiritual platform; they may not even know it.

For me, I reflect back on my life and recognize my own makeshift spiritual ways.  While honesty, hard-work, and perseverance align with my need for survival as a child, I realized something deeper after I graduated from college.  My need for nature to be an important part of my life hit me like a Greyhound bus one morning.

Nature is our life blood.  Without trees, oxygen, sunlight, vegetables, and animals, we simply do not exist.  In fact, many ancient religions incorporated nature into their beliefs and practices.  Agriculture required an understanding of the earth’s cycles.

What has come of this reflection is something which leans toward Stoicism.  A philosophy from 3rd Century BC, it is a belief that logic is the way, not our emotional reactions.  The world is unpredictable, but we do not need to be unpredictable as well. In fact, we can find happiness in failure.   We only control what we can control.

As I said before, I always believe hard-work, truth, and perseverance are key to a good life. Due to my childhood, my emotions tend to get in the way at times.  Therefore failure was never a good option and when it did happen, I lost myself almost entirely.  Of course, you get through it by understanding, learning, and adjusting.  Sounds a bit stoic?

For me, nature is my church.  A good hiking path, a grand canyon view, a creek-side rock are all places I can let my soul go and listen to myself.

Stay tuned… more on this later.