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.

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!

Another EPIC week with my wife!

 

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As some of you all know my wife and I live in different countries. It’s difficult at times but it makes seeing each other that much better! In just 5 days we jammed packed our schedule. We went to two waterfalls, the aquarium, Kokusai Dori Naha, Okinawa World, and to many great restaurants! We used Airbnb to rent a small studio apartment, it was perfect for us and close to all the fun.

 

Emily arrived on a Friday and the next day was her BIRTHDAY! We spent most of the time at Kokusai Dori trying to see sights before Typhoon Noru. Kokusai Dori is translated into “International Street” which means it has a little bit of everything. Lots of cool little shops selling Okinawa items and a huge fish/meat market. We stumbled upon the market just by walking into a random door. I will have to go back and buy some fish to try because it looked delicious and fresh! That night we found small Japanese karaoke bar and celebrated her birthday with some friends! Unfortunately we were having too much fun having tequila and singing to take pictures. But the next day was another windy cloudy day so we spent most of it recovering.

Monday we had to make a stop on base to get Emily her military dependent’s ID then it was off to the 2nd largest aquarium in the world, the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. For being a monday it was crowded and jammed packed! We looked at some of the small exhibits but we were focus on seeing the 1.9 million gallon tank with TWO whale sharks swimming in it. That was truly an experience seeing creatures that large swimming at eye level with you. There were three outdoor exhibits that we looked at with dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees. What lives below us in the ocean is amazing, some of the most colorful and interesting living creatures.

That afternoon was very interesting going to Pineapple Park… A whole park dedicated to pineapples! You go in through the park entrance and get into a self driving jeep that takes you through a tour of the fields and gardens. Once that is over you are able to walk around the park and see everything up close, they have lots of beautiful plants and decorations. The trails lead you into the area where they make pineapple wine and you even get to try some! It’s good wine to pair with a desert that had some pineapple in it. Then we discovered a whole new world of pineapples… THEY HAD PINEAPPLE EVERYTHING! I am not even kidding if you can think of it they made it with pineapples. That evening we walked to sea wall and took some awesome pictures then had the famous CiCi’s chicken and waffles.

Okinawa has quite a few waterfalls that are a must see! They take a small hike to get to but the fresh cool water and views are worth it! We left early in the morning to have breakfast and get on with the two hour drive. Unfortunately we were delayed due to being rear ended on the highway, it’s not like the United States where you just swap information and move on. Here they have to bring out the Japanese Police and since I was involved I had to call the military police. Aha Falls have a big deep swimming area with two small cliffs to jump off of. There is a small waterfall that you will see first but the big waterfall at Aha Falls is extremely dangerous to be on top of but it’s cool to look at how the rock has formed. Fukugawa Falls are nice because they are shallow and offer better relaxing areas. The waterfall itself is true natural beauty in how it flows and the nature surrounding it. On our way home we witnessed a perfect sunset and stopped to take pictures at a seawall.

Last day here we saw that Okinawa World had good reviews to go see so we decided to check it out! It was very reasonably priced for all the activities and sights you get to see. They have a snake exhibit that has snakes of every kind to include the viper on Okinawa and the deadly sea snake. They’ll even put on a show where they bring out a cobra and smack it on the back of the head. Not sure the meaning behind it but the guy had some balls to smack a deadly snake. Emily and I had been through underground caves before but I think we both can agree that this one was the largest and most interesting. Going through it seems to be never ending and every new area brings new formations of rock. They have traditional Ryukyu Island song and dance with dragon costumes. I wish I was able to take pictures/video of it but they were strict on no cameras.

(Will update last day with pictures, didn’t realize I couldn’t upload Canon RAW images)

Storm Rollin In

I was able to capture a perfect picture of a storm rolling in from the East China Sea! Watched in on a small sea wall in Naha city. 

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