Great Range Traverse – 2013 trip report

Great Range Traverse – 2013

Summary:  20.45 miles, 11,679′ elevation, 19.08 hours

GRT2013

I signed on for this adventure for a couple of reasons.  First, I love the Adirondacks.  I’ve always been more of a beach guy, but I fell in love with the Adirondacks through my trips to Lake Placid.  Second, this was going to be a new challenge for me, never having done a major hike, with serious climbing.  Finally, I wanted to stretch outside my comfort zone.  I’m not a big fan of heights, particularly those on extreme terrain.  This hike would provide me with multiple opportunities to stretch outside my envelope.

Friday arrived at hotel after an overnight stop in North Creek to visit a friend.  The weather forecast looked spectacular, with bright sun, cool temps and low wind.  Since this was going to be a first time event for me, I was glad to know that weather wasn’t going to be a major factor.  We spent Friday afternoon working to put up a support pole for a new solar panel array.  It was a bunch of work, but it went pretty quickly with 4 people.  A big Thank You out to Scott & Ruth for their hospitality at Camp Garuda.

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I was a bit worried about my gear selection, since some of it was new, and other bits weren’t used  before on a long hike.  I was carrying a pretty big load in my hydration pack, and although I’ve used it many times on MTB rides, none have ever been longer than 2-3 hours.  Wearing it loaded with a lot more gear for 17+ hours would  be different.  I also decided to use hiking poles, since I figured the would help with balance on the trail.  For footwear I opted for my trail running shoes, which worked ok,  but weren’t optimal for the hike.

The rest of the group arrived over several hours on Friday, and we all went out to dinner at local restaurant near our hotel (ADK Trail Inn) in Upper Jay.  After dinner we sat around a campfire provided by the hotel and entertained another couple with stories of the ridiculous endurance events we’ve done in the past.

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The plan was to be up by 4:00am and on the trail by 5:00am.  The hotel staff put some “to go” bags together for the the group since we’d miss the normal breakfast.  Thankfully they also provided hot coffee in the morning as well.

After a bit of a delay due to some mechanical problems with a teammates car, we got on the road to the trail head.  Our plan was to leave from the Rooster Comb trail head and exit at the Gardens trail head.   The planned hike was a “standard” Great Range Traverse, which covers over 20 miles and includes 10 peaks:  Roster Comb (2762′), Hedgehog (3389′), Lower Wolf Jaw (4175′), Upper Wolf Jaw (4185′), Armstrong (4400′), Gothics (4736′), Saddleback (4515′), Basin (4827′), Little Haystack (4692′), Haystack ( 4960′ via the Devil’s Half Mile) and Mount Marcy (5344′).  After bagging all the peaks, we still would have to hike close to 10 miles out to the pick up point.

GRT Map

Our research found that ‘book time’ for the GRT was between 15 and 17 hours.  All we knew is that we were in for a very long day.  None of us had any designs on a fast run.  Our estimates ran from 12 hours to over 24.  We’d just take what the day gave us, move as fast as possible and have fun.

in the hotel
Heading out in the dark was fun and the Rooster Comb trail started to climb pretty quickly.  On this leg, Jim’s wife Kate and their dog Tempo joined us.  They planned to summit Rooster Comb then turn around and head back for the day, and provide ‘base camp’ support, then pick the rest of us up at the Garden trail head.  Jim was wearing a SPOT GPS locator that tracked our path via satellite transmissions.  Kate would be following along online back at the hotel.

As we hiked up Rooster Comb many of us began to shed layers of clothes as we heated up from the aggressive pace.  After the summit, as we moved on to Hedgehog, Mark & Dan dropped back to an easier pace and  brought up the rear.  We quickly summited Hedgehog and moved on to the Wolf Jaws.
DCIM100GOPRO
Along the way, Dan caught up to the rest of us, stating that Mark was going to continue on his own from the back, and would bail out when he had enough for the day.  As an experienced solo adventure racer, and with the excellent weather conditions, we felt he’d be ok on his own.

The remaining five hikers continued through the Wolf Jaws, and Armstrong.  At this point we were continually above 4000′.  With each peak, the trails up and down became harder, steeper and longer.  After we summited Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback and Basin, each decent required a LOT of rock scrambling and very cautious footwork along sheer granite rock faces.  Along the descent out of Gothics we found cables attached to the rock to help with the descent.  This was WAY beyond what I had expected from the hike.
Greg & Brian cables down
Once we came down from basin, we had a choice to make.  We were several hours behind our planned schedule, and running low on water.  We could choose to bail out along the Shorey Short Cut trail, skip the Haystacks & Mt. Marcy and head back to the pick up point, or continue on to the last three summits.  At issue was the length of time we would be out on the trail  Since both the Haystacks and Marcy required separate out-and-back trails, we’d be covering about 3.5 miles of trail,  but with the substantial elevation gain & loss between each we would need close to 4 hours to complete the peaks.  We were all pretty well spent physically, and many of us were running low on water.  Dan & Dave decided that they had enough, having summited these peaks before.  Brian, Jim and I decided that we would continue on to complete the whole GRT.

5 left
What Dan & Dave didn’t know is that the Shorey Short Cut was a brutal length of trail and would include close to 400′ additional elevation gain, before beginning the long descent and hike back to the pick-up point at the Gardens trailhead.

Brian, Jim and I continued on toward the Haystacks and kept our eyes open for any water.  There seemed to be a lot of small puddles around, so the trail wasn’t completely dry.  We finally located a source of running water, and filled up our hydration bladders & bottles.  Jim passed around what he thought were iodine tablets to each of us, but on closer inspection we learned that these were different tablets that were to be used AFTER the use of iodine purifying tablets.  So now we had water, but of questionable quality.  We actually began to debate how quickly we’d get hit with giardia if the water was bad.  I was ready to bail out and head back on my own, but Jim and Brian reasoned that we should be able to beg for some iodine tabs from other hikers we met along the trail.

As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait long.  About a 1/2 mile later we ran into a group of men coming down the trail.  While they didn’t have iodine, they did us better with a filtration pump.  We quickly filtered our water, thanked them profusely and headed back up the trail.  We were advised that the view from Haystack was worth every bit of effort it took to get up to the top, and we were excited to get there.

As we summited Little Haystack we passed beyond the 4600′ tree line, and into the arctic-alpine vegetation zone.  Here we found moss and other hardy plants that could survive the harsh, windy conditions.  We had to be extra careful to stay on the rock trail as the plant life was sensitive to any foot falls.

At the top of little Haystack, we could immediately see the summit of Haystack, several hundred feet hight, and right through the Devils Half Mile.  At this point we met up with another hiker who shared his iodine tabs with us, and informed us that we were crazy to consider going on to summit Marcy, so late in the day.  He also stated that we were his kind of crazy, and wanted to meet up with us on a future adventure.  Brian gave him a business card and we were on our way.

The view from Haystack was as gorgeous as advertised.  A full 360 degree view across the area.  The weather was still perfect, but we were losing daylight quickly, and had a significant push to get to Marcy
We descended the Haystacks, doubling back along the trail, and lost a lot of elevation.  When we got back to the trail junction we realized we had to gain 1,200′ to reach the summit of Marcy, and we would be racing sunset.

As we got close to the top of Marcy, we ran into a young lady who had set up a small campsite along the trail.  She informed us that we could catch the sunset from the top of Marcy if we hustled to the top.  I’m not sure how much hustle we had left in our legs, but we assured her we would try.

As we got into the arctic-alpine zone, the wind began to pick up substantially, and near the summit, it was a full 30-35 mph wind.  We caught the very end of the sunset descending over the horizon, as we stood among clouds blowing over and across the top of the mountain.  For me, this was definitely the high point of the day.

marcy sunset
We got our pictures, and then ducked between some rocks to don warmer clothes for the decent and trip back home.  As we descend back to the trail junction, we were in the shadow of the mountain and lost daylight very quickly.  We had to resort to using our head lamps during some of the steepest and gnarliest parts of the descent.

Jim channeled his inner mountain goat and simply bounced down the trail.  Brian and I continued further back, carefully navigating our way with  very tired and sore legs.  The fatigue was really hampering our ability to maintain footing and we had many slips and near falls.  At one point both my feet slipped out from under me and I hit the rock trail flat on my back.  I was stunned, but not injured however it took Brian and I several minutes to find one of my hiking poles.  It had flown up into a tree on the side of the trail.

We caught up with Jim at the trail intersection and decided it would be best if we tried to stay together as much as possible.  We were all very tired and sore and we didn’t want to get separated in case there was any problem along the way.

We knew we had about 8 miles to cover until we got to the end of the trail, and that we’d hit the Johns Brook lodge about 1/2 way to the finish where we could get water and some food.  At this point we were covering a mile every hour or so, but we knew the trail would level out a bit further along.  The first few miles were rocky technical decent, further tapping our dwindling endurance.  Words like “relentless”, “shattered”, and “WTF” were heard frequently from the group.  We finally came upon the Slant Rock intersection and had a bit of a challenge locating the trail out to the lodge.  After a false start, re-group and locating the right trail, we crossed the Johns Brook and followed the creek out to the lodge.  The trail got easier the further we went along.  As the distance passed we began to wonder if the lodge was a reality or some cruel joke from the map makers.

We finally stumbled into the lodge camp around 10:00pm, or over 90 minutes after we were expected to be there.  The food that Kate had hiked in for us wasn’t kept by the ranger, however the volunteer at the lodge made us some tasty sandwiches and handed over a bag of peanut M&M’s.  We could also fill up our bottles again with fresh, clean water.  Our trip was once again salvaged by the kindness of strangers.

We decided not to go into the lodge proper as it would have been far to tempting to sit in comfortable chairs and go right to sleep.  After we ate on the deck, we headed back out to the well marked trail and began our march home.  We were able to pick up the pace a bit to 26-27 minute miles and we covered the remaining ground pretty quickly.  Brian, Jim and I traded spots at the front of the march as we each found second/third/ninth winds.  Finally Jim called back from the front that he saw tail lights in the parking lot.  We emerged from the dark to find Kate and Mark waiting for us.  It was just after 1:00am.

GRT2013 Finishers
We piled into Jim & Kate’s truck, and food was passed around.  The team had picked up quesadillas and ramen noodles for us and we quickly devoured them on the route back to my car.  Mark was kind enough to ride back to the hotel with me as I wasn’t sure that I had the mental capacity to find my way back without getting lost.

Once back at the hotel, we were greeted with more food.  I got back to my room, showered and ate and after 30 or 40 minutes chatting with Dave, I finally burned off the last bit of adrenaline and caffeine and fell asleep.

Sunday morning came up very quickly and we all met up in the hotel lobby for breakfast.  We were all staggering around stiff legged, sore, tired and yet really satisfied with ourselves for having had a great day out on the trails.

I want to thank Brian, Jim, Dave, Dan & Mark for joining in on this adventure.  Having a bunch of fun guys along for the trip makes all the difference.  And a HUGE thank you to Kate for following our SPOT tracking and coming to drive us out of the Gardens trail head.

Next up:  Presidential Traverse – New Hampshire White Mountains

Lovin’ the feelin…

I always enjoy the end of the racing season, more so with this season than in the past .  I’ve had some great race results this year, have stayed injury-free and healthy.  But mostly it’s the end-of-season fitness that I’m really enjoying.  I just love the feeling that I can jump on my bike for 5 or 6 hours and ride, or head out for a run for 2+ at any time.  It’s a feeling of confidence that extends beyond athletics and into all the other aspects of my life.  A friend once commented that it amazed her that completing an Ironman race threw a psychological safety net under the rest of her life.  No matter what sort of problem she encountered, she knew she could get through it because she completed an Ironman distance race.  That’s the essence of relentless forward progress, and the biggest benefit of an endurance sports lifestyle.

I think it also helps that I don’t have “racing pressure” on myself at this point in the season.  I’m wrapping up my training for the New York City Marathon, but I’m doing the event as a bucket list race.  While I want to do well and have a soft time goal in mind, I’m really doing the event for the experience.  I want to run hard, but mostly I want to enjoy the spectacle and chaos of 45,000 runners and a million spectators and a guided tour of the five boros.

I’m also loving the feeling of carrying this fitness into the winter, and planning out my 2014 season.  Since I’ve trained and raced well this year, I’m not going into 2014 planning with a sense of dread or burn out.  I’m truly excited for the upcoming season!  I’ve got some big events on the calendar (Ironman Arizona, Challenge Atlantic City relay) and am starting to fill in the schedule with smaller races and training events.  It’s going to be a great year!

Live to fight again…

Here in the Great State of NJ we are enjoying a very hot and very humid summer.  While this is to be expected from time to time, the pattern has been in place for several weeks, with no end in sight.  This makes training outside something that has to be planned carefully, and proper recovery is VITAL.

My IMMT training plan called for a 5hr ride/45 min run brick on Saturday, and a split brick, then run workout on Sunday.  Because I was to lead the Team NRGY Basebuilders bike ride on Saturday, I decided to switch the workouts.

Saturdays workouts went well.  We got a pretty early start, and the weather cooperated with heavy clouds and a bit of light drizzle.  Warm, but not too hot.  The group seemed to enjoy the country roads and the nice break in the weather.  After the group ride, I went out to the Bedminster dirt roads to run my 1:25.

Because I’ve had problems with insufficient recovery from split workouts in the past, I made sure to eat a good meal, and sit in the cool house, wearing my RecoveryPump boots for at least an hour.  It didn’t hurt to have the end of stage 15 of the Le Tour on the TV!

I rested and napped until about 4:00pm, then headed out for my 2nd 1:25 run.  As I expected, the temperature had increased about 10F, and my pace fell off about 30 sec/mile.  But I felt pretty good for the total run.

But Sunday night I blew it.  We had plans to go over to a friends house for a big birthday party.  I really under ate at the party, despite all the yummy stuff on the table.  Even if there wasn’t a big selection of healthy choices, I should have just chowed down.  My body needed the calories despite my lack of appetite.

On Sunday, my lack of adequate fueling would catch up with me.  I knew the day was going to be brutally hot and humid, so I made a point to get on the road by 6:00am.  It was still quite overcast, but much warmer.  Within an hour I had sweat & condensation streaming from my helmet & arm rests.  By the 2.5hr mark I knew that my lack of fueling the night before was a huge mistake.  I had blown through any glycogen in my legs in the hills and I was running on fumes.  At this point I had gone through two bottles of hydration and was down to my last 24oz.  I stopped to get some more liquids, ate a gel and headed back out.  Within a few minutes I realized that I wasn’t going to complete 5 hours of quality training, and any attempt past 3.5 would likely require in much longer recovery.  I knew that the following week was going to be another big build week, so I decided to pull the plug when I got home.

As I rode through the swamp and the gel kicked in, I started to feel a bit better, but whenever the road pitched up my legs could not respond.  Further my average HR was inching up with the increased heat, and my power numbers were stagnant.

I got home and quickly downed a cold Recoverite, showered and ate lunch.  Within a few minutes I was hungry AGAIN, reinforcing the fact that I was seriously under fueled going into the day.  I got another full meal down and spent another hour in the RecoveryPump.

Today I’m feeling a good bit better, and the legs seem Pretty well fueled.  Today I have a 4k swim and easy recovery run and I’m really looking forward to them both.  Once again I’ve learned a great lesson:

Never sacrifice tomorrows workout for today’s workout. Better to adjust the length and/or intensity than to put a big zero in the following day!

Patriot 1/2 IM Race Report

Time:  5:37:41

Swim 32:41 (1.39 miles)
T1 3:30
Bike 2:51:08 (would have been 4:30 faster but for a mechanical problem)
T2 3:49.9
Run: 2:06:34 (10sec PR for a ½ IM run)

16/33 AG

3rd fastest 1/2 IM and only 30 seconds slower than 2nd fastest.  #1 and #2 were set in 2005 & 2006.  It feels pretty good to be able to race a younger version of me and get close to catching up.

?The conditions could not have been better for me.  Sunny and warm, clear skies, light breeze, very low humidity.  This is a very well run event, in a nice venue.  Swim in a nice clean lake, 2 loop bike on quiet roads, sightly rolling and scenic.  1 loop, rolling run course.  About the only complaint I had was the aid station spacing on the bike.  They had one at 18 miles and the 2nd at 26 miles.  So you went a very long time if you lost a bottle.

Everything really fired off well at this race. Going in I just wanted to execute a good plan. Have a solid swim, solid bike, solid run, all at a real race-pace.  I planned on pouring down a lot of liquid nutrition on the bike and fill up for the run.

I think I scored across the board. Except for a couple of hiccups I did pretty good. I broke rule #1, and tried out a new rear-mount bottle holder and didn’t check all the screws! The seat mount was nice and tight, but the screws that hold the bottle mounts to the seat mount came loose and I spent almost 5 minutes fixing the problem around mile 26. But once I got back on the bike I was able to head out and keep the pace high.

I was a bit worried that I overcooked the bike, but once on the run I settled in to a nice hard pace. I futzed with the Garmin to display HR, but then never looked at it. Just looked at current lap pace and lap distance. My plan was to walk all the aid stations enough to get in a bit to drink, toss some water over my head, then keep going. I stopped at mile 3 to pee. I figured I’d pick up the pace a bit at mile 8, then embrace the suck at mile 11. And that’s what happened. I took a caffeine gel at mile 8 (rocket fuel!) then another at mile 11. THAT one took way to long to open since I picked up a Hammer espresso from an aid station. I had to stop to open it so I could eat it and wash down with water. Then I just pushed on through to the end.

I had a bit of a mental melt down at the last big hill before the finish. I ended up power walking the hill, and I should have just pushed myself to run hard over the top.

I wanted to really kick at the finish as there was one last guy ahead of me, but I could not summon up any more oomph… I left it all on the course.

Onward towar?d Mont Tremblant…

Earning my awesome

My training has been going pretty well and was beginning to see some good progress in my tests and during my workouts. However I felt I really needed to focus on diet and fueling.  I had lapsed into a bit of a lazy diet with way to much sugar, and processed foods. I chose to kick start this aspect of my training through a 14-day detox program with Pursuit Athletic Performance.  

The program called for two ‘shakes’ each day with a regular meal in between.  The program was not a calorie reduction diet, but focused on eliminating grains, sugars, dairy, and processed foods.  Caffeine is out too.  The program focuses on fruits, vegetables and clean meats & fish for the regular meals. Some foods aren’t ‘approved’ because they lead to  inflammation, or create an acidic environment in the body.  Basically the point of the detox is to push a big “reset” button on your metabolism.

So how was it?  The first week was tough, especially eliminating coffee.  Typical foggy head and low grade headache through day 4 or 5.  On the first weekend I attempted to fuel my long bike ride with water and a couple of Larabars and ended up in an epic bonk.  It took a bit of soul searching to decide if I really wanted to continue the program, I wasn’t feeling a lot different, but I was losing a bit of weight and a good bit of body fat.  I wasn’t feeling hungry, but I was having a lot of problems focusing on tasks, reading etc.  In the end sheer stubbornness kept me on the program for the second week.

But within a day or so into the second week, the fog lifted and I started to feel much better.  My weight and body composition bottomed out, and I realized I had a lot more energy.  I no longer had energy spikes and troughs but just a steady, level feeling of energy through the whole day.  I started falling to sleep a lot faster, and sleeping much deeper and completely through the night.  I was waking up feeling good and not sluggish.

By the end of the second week I was really feeling awesome.  My weight had stabilized about 6 lbs lower and 3% less body fat than when I started.  My workouts felt great and my recovery seemed much quicker.  What amazed me most was my mental focus was a LOT better and emotional stability was much, much better.  As I was continuing the program with some minor tweaks into the third week (I had to have my coffee back!) I was also handed a lot of new responsibilities at work, covering a role for a co-worker who retired.  While I could sense the stress level increasing with the workload, my ability to “remain calm and carry on” was so much better than before.

Normally I would get really wrapped up in the situation, and my self-talk would focus on the negative aspects of the issue, and blaming all those around me for creating the situation.  Suddenly I’m able to see through to a positive solution, even finding learning moments in some of the most stupid situations.  That was a huge breakthrough for me.

The whole process culminated for me on Thursday, during my bike/run workout.  Since this past week was a planned recovery week going into XTERRA Jersey Devil, the bike/run was “as you feel”.  Coach Debi instructed “Listen to your body and ride as you feel – slow or fast – just listen to what the body wants to do!”  I opted for a quick MTB ride and trail run at Chimney Rock since I hadn’t been on the MTB for awhile and wanted to make sure the Mojo was running well before the race.  I got to the park only to discover that I left my bike shoes at home.  Since I was squeezing the workout between a conf call, and a dinner engagement, I was not happy to have to waste 30 min driving back home to retrieve the shoes and then back to the park.  Normally this would have ‘popped my cork’ and I would have blown off the workout. Instead I just figured I’d do what I could with the time I had left. I

Back at the park I started out on my normal 1st loop.  Within 10 minutes I felt like a completely different athlete.  I was grabbing harder gears on the climbs, blasting through technical sections that I’d normally take much more carefully, railing corners and bombing descents.  Everything felt smooth and effortless, and just got easier and easier.  My brain and body became disconnected in a way that I’ve never felt before.  I was able to just stop thinking about what I was doing and let my body push the bike around.  I had reached a state of Zen on the MTB that I’ve never felt on a technical trail.  Even a bad line choice was instantly corrected without conscious thought or effort.  My iPod seemed to be plugged directly into my emotional center and was pumping out a continuous stream of perfect tuneage.  I had flow.

I cut the bike ride about 12 min short, as I wanted to make sure I got as much of the planned run as possible.  Transition was quick and off I headed down the trail.  My legs felt light and springy, and I was moving along quickly.  As I headed into the technical section of the trail, I hit the first incline and simply bounced up and over, leaning into the turns, and flowing over the roots and rocks I felt solid and sure footed. I began to pick up the pace and I could feel my body respond with extra power.  In fact as my pace began to really increase I had to exert some effort to slow down and not leave Sunday’s race on Thursday’s workout.  At one point I realized I was feeling so good, moving so well and smiling so wide that tears of joy were flowing out of my eyes.  I’ve not felt that good on a workout in a very, very long time.  I stopped at a sunny spot to pull my emotions back under control, take a quick selfie pic, and then head back out to finish the run.  On the 2nd loop of the run, I really focused on what was working well for me.  My balance seemed better, I was more confident in my footing, I was light on my feet, letting any loose footing roll under control.  Descending the last rocky section on each loop was faster than I’ve ever run on that section, nailing each foot fall without thought.

Back at the car I began to process what just happened.  As a coach I understood that my training was falling into place exactly as planned, and feeling this good during a sharp taper prior to a race was a very good sign.  I also knew that losing 6 pounds would also be a major improvement on the bike and run.  But my overall feeling of awesomeness couldn’t be explained by the weight loss alone.  By focusing on eating much better, cleaning out the sugar, processed grains and most dairy I was really altering my body, mind and spirit.

So I would say that the detox program was a big success for me.  Did I really need to use a ‘program’ for the results?  For me, I need structure to make these types of fundamental lifestyle changes, and the 14-day PAP program provided the right structure at the right time.  The PAP Detox group on Facebook provided a good sounding board for questions and encouragement during the tough early days.

I’m continuing the same meal plans (shakes/smoothies 1-2x day) and a smart lunch or dinner.  I’m adding back in some detox-forbidden foods (coffee!) and will continue to experiment with small changes such as adding back some dairy and some whole grains.  But not too much change too fast.  I don’t want to lose any of the awesome I’ve earned!

 

Compliments

The last week, a couple of people have asked me “are you a runner, because you look like a runner”  I’m always taken a bit by surprise by this question because I’ve never considered myself to be a runner.  A cyclist?  Yes.  A swimmer?  Yes.  A triathlete, certainly.  But not a runner.  It’s probably because I came to running late, as a part of triathlon.  But 8 years later, I’m still not completely at ease with the idea that “I’m a runner”.  I suppose that’s a good thing, because I’m hardwired to improve that which I’m not proficient, so I try to work hard on my running.

But maybe it’s time to admit it.

Yes, I am a runner.

Hunting

Ratchet-Up Fitness is becoming a reality. I’m off to Montgomery AL for the USAT Level 1 coaching clinic. I’m going through a lot of emotions while I sit at the airport, waiting for my flight. I’m excited by the prospect of starting something new and creative. I’m nervous about making this big commitment in time and energy. I’m pissed off that TSA took my shaving cream. I’m reflective on where I’ve come from to get to this point in my life, and I’m optimistic about my future!

As I was working through a difficult work task yesterday, I caught myself thinking evasive thoughts about the task. Why couldn’t the requirements be more clear? Why wasn’t I included in the early discussions about this topic? Why can’t the request be more specific?

When I stopped complaining long enough to think about my reactions, it occurred to me that I was looking for someone else to make it easier for me to complete the task. The other person I was working with kept insisting that this was my problem to solve. What i had not done was to make the mental switch from ‘problem’ to ‘opportunity’. I know that this is a trite saying, but in this case it was like a bolt of lightning. I was being given a highly visible platform for stating the change that I have been advocating for a long, long time. I just needed to focus, and come up with the best way to phrase it.

Now comes the really hard part: Selling the ideas to a larger audience with their own separate agendas. What I learn from this assignment will be valuable as I move forward with RUF. In both areas I’m hunting sacred cows. This latest assignment is a golden opportunity to sharpen my spear.

Checking in

Heading down the home stretch of EMTM.  Three more weeks until graduation.  The weather looks to be settling down, so outdoor training will be a lot easier.  Work seems to be settling down, getting a handle on the major projects, able to delegate stuff and focus on the high-impact work.  I’ve got a couple of important presentations to make, a business forum (Vegas baby!) and an internal opportunity to pursue.

So it’s time to focus on training.  Right now my biggest challenges are diet and consistency.  #1 is consistency.  I need to schedule the workouts in advance, put them on my calendar and get up and out when the alarms go off.  As far as diet, we start the weekly veggie allotment in two weeks, so getting fresh fruit & veg will be easier.  Now just to stay away from sweets.  It’s going to take a concerted effort to quell the chocolate jones.  I’m going to need to figure out what’s causing that trigger each evening.

Got some fun times planned with a long beach/anniversary weekend, and back-to-back Lake Placid training camp weekends and looking forward to OBX later in the summer.

Life is good.

Moving along

I’m still on the wagon and doing ok.  I’ve found O’Doul’s Amber is pretty darn good NA beer so that’s what I’ve been drinking.  I really can’t say I miss the alcohol all that much.  I certainly feel a whole lot better.

Speaking of which I’m back in at CrossFit.  I signed up for 3x week classes, and am planning on Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning sessions.  It’s going to be a challenge to get up for the 5:30am classes but I think that the strength & power gains are worth a little bit of sleep.  Today was the first class and it was a good session to start:  800m sprint, 21 KB swings, 400m sprint, 15 KB swings, 800m sprint, 9 KB swings, 400m sprint.  My time was 16:43, but I used a pretty light KB.

I ran 5m at lunch outside in the cold.  I managed to negative split the out-and-back again, but just barely.  My hamstrings were pretty tight from the CrossFit workout.  It’s going to take a couple of weeks to get over the initial shock of 2-a-days again.

Week 1

So I gave up drinking on Friday,  19 November.  I finally realized that it was becoming a bigger problem and that continuing down that road would not lead to anything good.  So I put down the booze and picked up my training.  The result was my biggest training week, volume wise since the week of  June 7th.  I managed to ride 75 miles, including a 47 miler today, and run 19 miles, including a 10 miler on Saturday.  I certainly feel a lot better (especially in the mornings!) and I seem to recover from workouts faster as well.

As far as quitting goes, only the first two days seemed difficult in the least.  I didn’t feel any sense of deprivation over Thanksgiving and haven’t really felt any strong urges to drink.  I suppose it helps that there isn’t really anything to drink in the house, at least nothing that I would really want to drink.

Next week is going to be a true test as it will be a full work week and a school week as well.  In order to counter the inevitable stress of both environments, I’m going to try to go back to two-a-day workouts.  I’m not sure if I can make early morning workouts, but I should be able to run at work during lunch.  When I get home I’m planning on “pressing play” on P90X.

I have no idea if this is going to work, but I’m willing to give it a shot.