Climbing Out Of The Hole

“No, no… Dig Up, stupid!” – Chief Wiggum, The Simpsons – Homer the Vigilante

I think this is becoming an annual tradition.  Every year around Christmas time, the chaos of the holidays eats up my ability to get any blogging done.  So that when other bloggers are writing up end of year round-ups, Iron Rogue is in radio silence.  After that, come the new year resolution/goal/plans posts, and this space is still in hibernation.

I almost don’t mind.  While I don’t have a problem with the end-of-year and new year stuff, I certainly don’t need to do what everyone else is doing.  The start of 2016, though has dealt us some extra turmoil that has kept me from getting started again.   The nature of that turmoil, I’m going to choose to keep private, but it’s comprised of more than one unexpected event, and dealing with it has eaten up not only time to blog, but also time to exercise and take good care of my health and fitness, which dries up the well of subject matter for this space.

That means, among other things, that I’ve put on holiday weight and then some, and I’m not in good shape physically – or at least not the shape I’ve come to expect of myself.  I think of myself as being in a hole, and climbing out of a hole is always challenging even if I’ve done it before.

I’m going to start, and this post is a declaration of that beginning.  Does that mean I have goals and plans?  No, not yet.  I guess I have… Ideas. If I discuss those ideas here, that won’t make a plan, but it’s a good start to not only creating a plan, but starting to write again. Also, many of these ideas will make for future posts, which I will label in an effort to pique your interest in reading this blog going forward.

To start getting my house in order physically and creatively, I started following BexLife more seriously.  I signed up to do a 21 day mantra challenge, where she provides a mantra every day (the above image is from Day 6) that you meditate on for 4 minutes.  I’m generally lousy at this kind of thing, and I did struggle with some of my meditation sessions, but for others, I had an epiphany or two.  You can see some of my experiences on my Instagram account.  As Bex says “Look How Dope My Life Is” (#lookhowdopemylifeis).

I have to be honest and report that I didn’t get it done every day of the challenge, but I did learn about myself and I think I can make meditation a more regular part of my life – daily would be ideal.  I also didn’t manage to make every day of a core challenge called #thegetthatcorechallenge organized by Heather Rose Scott of Fit Strong Fierce.  How did I drop the ball on two daily challenges that didn’t have much of a time commitment beyond a few minutes each?  

WE WENT TO JAMAICA! [future post alert!] 

So I guess I traded guided meditation for feet-in-the-sand and core exercises for swimming with the kids, but it didn’t do much for getting back in physical shape.  It wasn’t the most active of our family vacations (plus unlimited Jerk and Red Stripe), but I will do a write-up to talk about it soon.

Before I even started the 21 Day Mantra Challenge, I did an exercise recommended by Bex to build Do-It-Yourself Mantras.  You can find the video to explain it on the page linked above.  Briefly, you take a list of 10 things you want…

  1. …freedom to go outside
  2. …a super hero body [future post alert!]
  3. …[PRIVATE]
  4. ...harmony in my family
  5. …robots [future post alert!]
  6. …a working side hustle (i.e. monetizing this space, as mentioned in last year’s Vision Board Post)
  7. …to keep learning
  8. …to be a good Scouter [future post alert!]
  9. …to travel as much as possible
  10. …respect for my contributions
You also need a list of 10 things you can offer…

  1. …my integrity
  2. …my knowledge of active family life
  3. …my knowledge of mobile communications and wireless networks
  4. …my empathy
  5. …my strength
  6. …my experience with scouting
  7. …my willingness to learn
  8. …my words
  9. …my love
  10. …my flexibility
Anytime you want a mantra, pick one from each list (with some correlation between the two, hopefully) and your meditation session is good to go.
So, I’ve slipped in my meditation, my core challenge exercises, and many other ways as I try to put my life back into the shape I want; climbing out of a hole means slipping back down sometimes.  If you watch this space (and also my Instagram, especially with the #ClimbingOutOfTheHole hashtag), you’ll see how that shapes up.

I’m hoping to build a community around this site, too.  That means active families, and hopefully some novice triathletes too [future post alert!].  Besides BexLife, I’m also getting plugged into Nerd Fitness; I think this year’s adventures will be guided by the kinds of connections I start making.

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.

“A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
“Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on
“Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'”
 -Leo McGarry, The West Wing – Noel.

Liebster Award!

The Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to throw a little recognition around, especially to blogs with smaller followings; a way to shed a little light into the dustier corners of the blog-o-sphere, so to speak.  I used to see posts where people got nominated and think “Why not me?”… and this weekend, Miranda of Cupcake Triathlete made my wish come true!

My mission, and I did choose to accept it is to answer Miranda’s 10 Questions, and nominate 10 other Bloggers to answer 10 of my own questions… she did mention that there are no “Liebster police” if you don’t get it all done, but here goes…

Miranda’s Liebster Questions:

1.  What’s your favourite workout and why?
This one’s pretty easy.  Burbathlon; I get to work on my running, which was pretty much my gateway into endurance and fitness overall, have fun, be outside and know I’m getting some strength and agility benefits too.

2.  What motivates you?
Shark Boy is very big on asking “Why?” for everything, and my favourite is when I can answer: “For Fun.”  I have noticed that exercise helps me manage stress, and I certainly need a counter-balance for when I indulge diet-wise, but I got hooked on triathlon because it was fun.  If I want to do triathlon races (which are the most fun, because it takes out the worst logistics of trying to fit in 3 sports in one shot), I have to train.

3.  Looking back over your last year of training, what would you change and why?
There’s so much I wish that could have been better, but if I don’t want to get depressed, I have to stick to what I can control… going forward, I want to supplement my nutrition for a better immune system.  If I could get back some of those sick days, that would have been something.

4.  Favourite thing to do as a training reward
A big meal, to be honest, though Epsom Salt baths are the better option.

5.  How do you get yourself going again after a training “funk”?
My blog helps with that, since I need material to write about.  A new frontier activity can be good (like mountain biking most recently).

6.  Hobbies outside of the athletic?
Uhh… blogging? I try to read a fair amount (and that includes, but is not limited to, comic books), though it’s more like a chapter a night before sleeping.  I could have a whole bunch more if you give me a big bag of money…

7.  Biggest challenge in training?
Anything that takes me too far from the family and/or for too long a period of time doesn’t work and doesn’t happen.  Long bike rides are the preeminent example.

8.  Moment you are most proud of (could be athletic or not).
I don’t know about a “Moment”.  I’m very proud to be a father, so the birth of each of my sons is right up there, so is getting married.  Finishing a marathon was big (back in 2006).  I turned 40 Last Year, and between that and a Bad Monday that made me check my accomplishments and how I stand up to adversity and sum it all up.  I guess that’s how I express my pride… more holistically, I guess.

9.  Embarrassing workout story (be brave…..)
Plyometrics are good for runners/triathletes.  Box jumps look like fun.  Using a step (with 4-5 risers) seemed like a good way to do them at the gym.  I set them up near a window, and after a few reps, toppled the step and splattered myself into the blinds of a window.  They are still bent to this day.

10.  What’s your “Mt. Everest” goal?  What’s keeping you from going after it?
Probably an Iron Man.  See number 7 for the reason why I haven’t gone after it.  I think the older (and hopefully somewhat more independent/better behaved) my kids get and with a more stable sleeping schedule it’ll happen.  I’d make it my own 42nd Birthday Present, but I believe it taking things one step at a time, so a half-Iron distance would have to come first.

My Liebster Nominees:

I joked with Miranda that writing this post would be a lot of work, but nothing would be as tough as coming up with 10 nominees (who hadn’t already been nominated by her); I have a lot of favourites, but I don’t know how many are all that ‘small’ anymore.  Luckily, I’ve been collecting a lot of new blogs lately, especially triathlon ones (though not limited to that), so the list filled out quicker than I thought it would.  

  1. Dan T Head – I’m a sucker for triathletes with families and this guy writes (and writes about) sci-fi, comics and other nerditry that makes me wonder if we’re related.
  2. Lauren Lives Healthy – A fairly new (yet shockingly competent) blogger who’s on her first tri journey.
  3. ElleSeeFit – A Toronto area blogger I had the pleasure of meeting once.  She makes Wellness a fun adventure.
  4. You Signed Up For What – Even if she wasn’t a triathlon blogger (and mom), she would have had me at the Name of her Blog!
  5. The Business of Losing Weight – Hank has lost over 100 lbs and is rocking his local Clydesdale division in tri, in addition to being a contributor to the Huffington Post.  He writes race recaps that will make you want to stand up and cheer.
  6. Cody Beals – I’ve only dipped my toe into the waters of his blog, but it looks like it’s more comprehensive and informative than most pro-triathlete blogs.  How can you go wrong with a hashtag like #AskTriNerd?
  7. Barefoot Angie Bee – Runner, Yogi, Sci-Fi Nerd, Special Needs Mom.  If you haven’t figured it out, the key to my blogger heart is multi-disciplinarian-ism (and nerdiness helps too).
  8. Family Sport Life – I’m not sure if this blog is small enough to be nominated, it looks so professional and sleek.  Still, this family is made of pure awesomeness.  Besides triathlon, there are some good life hacks for productivity and such.
  9. Wildly Fit – A tag team.  Katie and Morgan tackle health and fitness from many angles, but what I like best is how they prioritize nature and the outdoors.
  10. Mom Swim Bike Run – She’s a mom, but she Swims, Bikes and Runs! I would watch that movie.

My Liebster Questions For My Nominees (And You!)

  1. There are two kinds of people in the world: _______ and ________.  Fill in the blanks.
  2. If you could add an event onto a race (i.e. something besides swim, bike run for triathlon, something besides running for running) to make it More Multi-sport, what would that be?
  3. What’s your best quality/strong suit when it comes to getting the most out of your workouts? i.e. What’s your super-power?
  4. Why do you blog?
  5. What invention are you waiting for to make your life complete (or at least easier)?
  6. What’s your number 1 workout/running song? If not music, what do you use to pump yourself up?
  7. Besides health and fitness, what has your sport brought to your life?
  8. If you could debunk one (fitness) myth to the whole world, what would that be?
  9. For your favourite blogs/bloggers, do you have a “type”?

Getting Back Into Good Habits

It’s been so long… I really shouldn’t have let it get this far… I don’t know if there’s even a point anymore… I don’t even know how I’m going to get started again…

These are the kind of thoughts that run through your head when you’ve been absent from something you’ve been meaning to do regularly, and it’s the same whether we’re talking about exercise or writing a blog.  It’s almost worse in this case, since the blog is mostly about exercise and training.

I’ve had a long hiatus from both, and I don’t feel good about it.  I’m not going to dwell on why it happened, it’s in the past.  I was able to get back into exercising easier than back into blogging, but I think the key is the same in both cases, like Nike tells us: Just Do It.  Don’t overanalyze how to make your grand return, just start with something. 

Without further ado, let me tell you about my weekend workout.  A group of people from Jiu-Jitsu have commited to doing the Spartan Sprint and I’m one of them.   Having a group training day seemed appealing so it was scheduled for this past Sunday at High Park in Toronto.  The way we structured our workout was to do sets of 5 minute runs (each led by a different individual).  After the run, we did a Pyramid of Squats, Lunges and Pushups:

2 Squats | 2 Lunges (1 Left, 1 Right) | 2 Pushups
4 Squats | 4 Lunges (2 Left, 2 Right) | 4 Pushups
6 Squats | 6 Lunges (3 Left, 3 Right) | 6 Pushups
8 Squats | 8 Lunges (4 Left, 4 Right) | 8 Pushups
6 Squats | 6 Lunges (3 Left, 3 Right) | 6 Pushups
4 Squats | 4 Lunges (2 Left, 2 Right) | 4 Pushups
2 Squats | 2 Lunges (1 Left, 1 Right) | 2 Pushups

For my run, we did Burbathlon jumping over and on picnic tables and benches and ducking under railings and signs.  We also did some hill work and sprints.  Overall, we got very tired, very hot and very proud of ourselves.

 I brought the whole family along to High Park; Shark Boy played on the playground and the Lightning Kid had a nap.  On my last run I tried carrying Shark Boy along – he was game but once I wasn’t able to keep up with the group, I seemed to run out of steam.  We finished off the workout with some ab work (just because) and it turned into a lovely day… especially for ice cream.

Now that I’ve broken the seal on blog posts, hopefully I can get back into the full swing of things.