Endurance Sports Mentality

DSC_0063.JPGKonbanwa! (Good evening in Japanese)

A quick over view of my training, then to the good stuff of why I am writing this post. Lately I have attended a Profession Military Education course to ensure I am trained enough for the next rank. At this course is mostly different running drills, ranging from long runs to formations to high intensity sprints. Courses in the military use running to induce stress upon the students, After a while anaerobic exercises wear down the body and mind faster than regular aerobic exercises. The anaerobic state is where humans grow physically and mentally, which I will talk about the mental portion later. I have also been fortunate enough to make it to pool on base to perfect my freestyle and breast stroke technique for the Ironman triathlons.

Now to my observations and opinions about endurance sports. To be fair I have gone back and forth between gym rat to endurance nerd, I have observed both sides of the spectrum. I will still continue strength training because I believe in an overall fitness approach. I get asked all the time “Why do you run/bike/swim/hike so far?” “Do you actually enjoy it?” then I get statements like “I could never do that” “Cardio sucks I hate it” “It hurts though” maybe a couple others along those lines. Well for those who ask I enjoy endurance activities and my reasoning I do it varies from personal goals, time to think, overall health, and so I can eat what I want (to a degree).

Working towards a personal goal keeps life interesting and the motivation flowing. Most marathon runners don’t start off at 26.2 miles but start small with 5k’s and work towards an overall goal. With each step in the ladder comes a greater dedication of time and effort. With increased distance/effort comes a greater risk of injury and burn out. In return for a greater personal satisfaction. The burnout and negative mentality is what can destroy someones personal goals in all sports but I have observed it most in endurance events.

Running is greatly psychological from beginning to end. (I will bring up running the most due to being the most common endurance activity) Mentally preparing yourself for something that you know will hurt takes a strong mindset, if you are running and you don’t hurt then you are not physically or mentally growing (don’t run through injuries though) I am talking about lungs burning, muscles on fire, almost to the point of lightheaded. This is how you will become fast and be able to go longer. But this is where endurance sports separate themselves from all others. You aren’t preparing for intense pain for a couple seconds to maybe a minute but instead working towards an event that could last for a half hour up to days and weeks. This is where that mental toughness comes in to say “yeah I am sore but I can do more, go faster, go further”.

The “suck” is not limited to you personally, it can also come from environmental factors. The heat, cold, wind, sun, rain, hills, scenery, and terrain conditions all play into the mentality of an endurance athlete. A 60 mile bike ride will be different every time you ride and where you ride. I remember in Yuma, Az I could crush it on the flat lands but as soon as I went to race in California I got destroyed on the hills even though the distance was the same. Personally I think windy bike rides are the worst, you are slow on areas you should be fast but unlike hills there is no downhill to recover on. I have dig deep into my mind and tell myself this wind sucks now but it will only make me more comfortable in different situations. This is why special operations, military, firefighters, and police officers deeply care more about how you perform during endurance activities than any other.

Endurance sports give you time to think, and when I say time to think I mean A LOT of time to think. This is where the whole endurance sport athlete boils down to and determines who can make it. Personally I have benefited my mental while out running or cycling, I have used good thought provoking techniques to solve my problems. Ultimately I have discovered who I am. While out there on the road it is easy to get caught into a negative thought process and question why you are doing this. Thoughts like “This sucks”, “I’m tired/hot/cold/hungry”, “Why do I do this?” are all far too common. Even boredom gets to people while training day after day, week after week. But from what I have read up on is boredom can actually be good! When bored we tend to think deeper, problem solve, and have a more creative mindset. In today’s times we are constantly distracted by cell phones, television, video games, and social media that we don’t allow for ourselves to get bored. I believe this is the reason why we as society have so much anxiety and depression built up, we are never truly able to think it through or solve our problems. When running/biking/swimming we are doing a very repetitive task that does not take much brain power at all (if training, actually competitions our mind needs to be there) so why not let your thoughts drift, solve some problems you are facing, or think of creative ways to plan for the future.

In closing I would like to say endurance sports offer you the chance to spend time outdoors. Natural sunlight and fresh oxygen are the two elements the body and mind crave that we don’t get enough of now days. Planning different routes and events breaks up the monotony of work, gym sessions, and life. You taking in more on a bicycle than you do in car, and you take in more during running than you do on a bicycle.

Long time no update!

It has been a while since I have posted anything besides a couple of Instagram pictures but I am back to making YouTube videos and the blog a priority. I will upload pictures from Thailand and the week with Emily in a separate post in the next couple of days. Right now all of my content is on a back up hard drive due to building a new desktop computer and restoring my MacBook, trying to speed it up now that is 7 years old.

My mind is still blown that is one day away from being April and I have two and half months to keep training for the half Ironman. This year so far is flying by and that is okay with me, faster time goes the faster I get to start my desired career choice.

More to come later but for now…

Enjoy the Video!

First day back in the pool!

After months of not being in water except for showering, I finally made it to the pool on base. Luckily the pool is heated and Okinawa doesn’t get below 60 degrees. Swimming will be a struggle for this triathlon as it is my weakest event and it is very technical to be a good swimmer. A 30 minute swim session left me extremely sore the next day, ontop of hitting up the boxing gym. I cannot believe I am on training day 20 already! 135 to go!

Stairway to Heaven Day 15

Suckered my friend into bicycling to the Stairway to Heaven here in Okinawa. After a little confusing from Google Maps taking us down wrong roads and not the best directions from a source my friend had, we made it to the Stairway to Heaven! There were a couple added hills we rode up while looking for the stair step but all in good training.

The hill will be easy to incorporate into the days I have to bike and run, this steepness will condition the legs and lungs faster than regular flat ground running. Sprints will work in the same manner to strengthen and condition.

By the way the sports drink I had on my ride today was absolutely terrible by itself. Next time if I do have to use I will mix it with fruit juice or Gatorade.

 

Boxing Session Day 13

Tonight I decided to get back into the boxing gym and literally hit it hard! Afterwards we went out for a dinner with a friend that is leaving on Saturday. We tried raw chicken from the restaurant and it was surprising good with a little soy sauce.

Steak and Sweet Potatoes (Paleo Friendly)

Tonight after my workout of mostly pull-ups, push-ups, and kettlebell exercises. I made a delicious dinner of steak and sweet potatoes. Starting the diet has been a struggle adjusting to from my normal eating habits, the cravings for bread are ridiculous especially when walking past the bakery at the commissary. The dish would be easy to make a large amount then slice the steak to separate for meal prep containers. This dinner will definitely be added to my meals list though!

Ingredients:

Favorite cut of steak

Sweet potatoes

Tonkatsu Sauce

Onion

Garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Parsley

Thyme

Salt

Pepper

I started by marinating my steak in a light coating of tonkatsu sauce. After several hours I preheated the oven to 350 and began to saute the garlic and a medium layer of olive oil in a braiser pan for easy transition to the oven. Once the garlic is caramelized add in the onions for caramelizing. Cut up the sweet potato into cubes then throw into pan and season with parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until outside is golden brown and crispy. Push potatoes and onions to edge of pan to make a space in the middle for the steak. Place steak in pan then place in the oven for 10 minutes. Broil for another 5 to crisp everything up.

Next time I make this dish I will marinate my steak longer and add in a little vinegar to tenderize the steak better. I will also try just broiling the dish because the pan is already cooking the steak from the underside.

Please comment your suggestions and recommendation to the recipe!

I will update as I experiment with different techniques.

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Wifes Trip to Colorado

Carl and I have always wanted to live somewhere that we can find an adventure every day, so when my friend and bride-to- be said her bachelorette would be in Denver, Colorado, I was thrilled! The cheaper option was to drive, which is only a ten-hour ride from Tulsa, OK. The best part about driving was seeing the Rocky Mountains get closer and closer, and eventually getting close enough to see the snow covered peaks.

This was a short trip, but we were able to pack several activities into one day.

We started off Saturday morning driving to Golden, Colorado for a Coors Brewery Tour. Golden is home to School of Mines, which is one of the best colleges for engineering, geology, and mining. The Coors Brewery Tour started with a tour of downtown Golden. One of the coolest facts I learned is that Adolph Coors, founder of Coors Brew, was only 26 years old when he started the well-known company. After the bus tour, we walked through the brewery and saw the production of Coors while listening to the company’s history. At the end of the tour, we got to sample three beers! The best part is- the whole tour was free, including the beer tasting!

After the brewery, we headed northwest to Estes Park. On our way to Estes Park, which was about a two and a half hour drive, we got to wind through the mountains and see a bunch of Elk! On the way up the mountains, the temperature dropped about thirty degrees. It began to rain, which turned to sleet, and before we knew it, there was blizzard-like snow all around us! We finally got to the top where there were several different trails to chose from. There are all kinds of options whether you want an all day hike, short hike, or guided hike. There is a $20 entrance fee for a day pass, or there are season passes to buy as well. Due to our packed day, we chose a two-mile trail called “Alberta Falls”. There were quite a few hikers out on the same trail that we chose. Words and pictures cannot describe how breathtaking the trail was. Snow was falling heavily and it started to pile up on trees and bridges. At the end of this particular trail, there was a very tall, large waterfall. Throughout the whole walk, you can hear the waterfall, but you don’t see it until the end. I could have sat and listened to the waterfall all day! Pictures truly do not do this park justice. I would highly recommend Estes Park and the hiking trails.

Once we came down the mountain, there was clear blue sky and the temperature rose back up in the sixties. We went back to the hotel and fixed up, then went to dinner at “The View House”. This restaurant is towards the higher end of dining. It is a two-story building- the first floor is a huge bar on one half and a banquet side on the other half.  A wedding reception had just concluded when we arrived. The second floor is what the restaurant is named for. The whole second floor is glass so you can see Denver’s views and mountains. The food was excellent and priced well. I would definitely recommend “The View House” for a nice dinner on your trip!

After dinner, we went to a bar in downtown Denver called  “Punch Bowl Social”. This place is awesome! It is a huge building with a bar, bowling, darts, a photo booth, and arcade games on the first floor. On the second floor, there is another bar with Ping-Pong, pool, and a few more arcade games. We went to a couple more bars throughout the night, but I would recommend checking out Punch Bowl!

Even after a short trip, I completely fell in love with Colorado. This is definitely the place for Carl and I!

Between a rock and a hard place

Hello readers!

Recently things haven’t gone according to plan but it has given me time to focus on some reading and getting started back up with college. Being in the military has given me tons of great opportunities and experiences but it comes with a price by the amount of rules we must abide by. I got in a little trouble for not signing out the barracks to go out into town so as a punishment I haven’t been able to leave base for almost 60 days now. It has been rough because I am a very adventurous and social person but as soon as this punishment is up I will be spending every day at a new location exploring.

A couple new books I have been reading have been “How to Master the Art of Selling” by Tom Hopkins, “Way of the Wolf” by Jordan Belfort and “#ASKGARYVEE” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Some of you may know my plans for when I get out are to be an entrepreneur in the fields of real estate and cybersecurity. These books are very well written and offer good insight on business, sales and life in general. As my mom always told me growing up “Leaders are readers” but it never struck me until I found a genre that I was interested in. I will also by starting online classes soon for a degree in cybersecurity then when I get out of the military I want to use my GI Bill to get another degree in business. I will be designing a “Drunken Wanderlust” logo soon to start an adventure clothing line so stay tuned on that!

Along with computers I built up two cryptocurrency mining rigs about a month ago. I have been following Bitcoin and a few other for years now and have always seen the potential for a currency that can be used universally. I see the biggest benefit of this in the travel industry that I could go to another country and pay for lodging, transportation and souvenirs without every having to find a currency exchange. Imagine how much easier travel would be!

Lately here at work has been busy with not much off time anyways so I guess being restricted to base isn’t that bad. Over the weekend we were barely out of the way of Typhoon Lan so all we got was a little wind and rain.

Lastly I will be looking at coming home to Tulsa, Ok at the end of December to beginning of January! Spend some quality time with my wifey, dogs and family! My wife and I are trying to plan a trip to a fun location while I am so if you have any recommendation please share!

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