Training Session #33- July 11: Vanity Is A Lonely Road

In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disorder that chewed a hole in my cerebellum, atrophied various muscles, impaired my vision, balance, coordination and consequently stole my ability to run. I have dedicated the summer of 2018 to regaining my strength, coordination, balance, and relearning how to run. I am participating in a 5k run on September 23rd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my training journal. This is my attempt to grow physically strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

The previous training sessions can be found here, under “Fight on- Summer Training Log”


Time:

6:50 am to 7:30 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 77 degrees

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

40 minutes of continuous intervals of walking and jogging.

Accomplishment:

Jogging a quarter mile to finish today’s training.

Quote I’m Thinking About Today:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”  ~ George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Reflection:

I enjoy jogging–accept when I’m approaching another jogger.

When I see another jogger I suddenly become self-conscious.

I worry the other jogger will cast judgments upon my slow pace and herky-jerky form. Then after training, they will sit in a loose circle with their tightly muscled friends, sip protein shakes and talk about how this morning they passed a man jogging so slow that by the time he finishes his run his clothes will be out of style.

Vanity is a dangerous motivator. We want to stride across the eyes of others looking confident, composed, and strong.

But as a runner, writer, and struggling human being, I know vanity is a lonely road. Vanity is inauthentic and creates insecurity.  Vanity always disturbs pace, form, and progress. Vanity tricks you into that thinking that joy is easily attained.

The truth is–runners, writers and human beings are not always smooth or graceful, composed and balanced. We are erratic, frustrated and wavering.

And the sooner we dismiss the passing glance of another and accept, for better or worse, who we are–the sooner we will find joy in our actions.

From The Previous Training Session-July 10: What Advice Would I Give Myself?

As a 12th grade teacher, I’m often asked by students, who are about to graduate high school and embark on adulthood, for advice. Advice on facing fears, following passions, sustaining long-distance relationships, repairing relationships, and overcoming physical limitations.

But what if I were my own student? What advice would I give myself?

Keep going. 

 

Training Session #32-July 10: What Advice Would I Give Myself?

In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disorder that chewed a hole in my cerebellum, atrophied various muscles, impaired my vision, balance, coordination and consequently stole my ability to run. I have dedicated the summer of 2018 to regaining my strength, coordination, balance, and relearning how to run. I am participating in a 5k run on September 23rd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my training journal. This is my attempt to grow physically strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

The previous training sessions can be found here, under “Fight on- Summer Training Log”


Time:

6:35 am to 7:40 am

Conditions:

Indoor

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

1 hour and 5 minutes of gym training. Including:

  • Chest press 3 reps x 10 ea.- 90 lbs
  • Shoulder press 3 reps x 10 ea.-70 lbs
  • Inverted row 3 reps x 10- 70 lbs
  • Leg extensions 3 reps x 10 ea. leg- 30 lbs. right leg, 20 lbs. left leg
  • Hamstring curl 3 reps x 10 ea. leg- 40 lbs. right leg, 30 lbs. left leg
  • Leg press 3 reps x 10 ea leg- 60 lbs. right leg, 50 lbs. left leg
  • 80 sit-ups
  • 5 minutes on the Stairmaster

Accomplishment:

Trying out a new exercise–the Stairmaster.

Quote I’m Thinking About Today:

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” ~ Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Reflection:

What advice would I give myself?

As a 12th grade teacher, I’m often asked by students, who are about to graduate high school and embark on adulthood, for advice. Advice on facing fears, following passions, sustaining long-distance relationships, repairing relationships, and overcoming physical limitations.

But what if I were my own student? What advice would I give myself?

Keep going.

I know some days the struggle is real. Some days it’s hard and frustrating.

Some days you feel sorry for yourself. Some days you doubt you’ll ever heal. Some days you want to quit.

Keep going.

Keep going because no one is going to save you. Because you’ve spent 5 years expecting doctors and pills to cure you. Because your children are watching. And the way you deal with your own tribulations is quietly teaching them how to deal with their own tribulations.

Keep going.

Because all the perspective, happiness, and love you seek is nestled deep inside the struggle.

Just keep going.

From The Previous Training Session-July 9: I Want You to Feel What I Feel

Below is a video of me conducting a balancing exercise during today’s training session. The exercise in theory is simple:

With one leg, step over the white line while the other leg remains planted on the ground. Once over the white line, return the leg back across the white line so that both legs are parallel with each other, toeing the white line.

Understand–this video was not easy for me to share.

 

Training Session #31- July 9: To Feel What I Feel (Video)

In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disorder that chewed a hole in my cerebellum, atrophied various muscles, impaired my vision, balance, coordination and consequently stole my ability to run. I have dedicated the summer of 2018 to regaining my strength, coordination, balance, and relearning how to run. I am participating in a 5k run on September 23rd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my training journal. This is my attempt to grow physically strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

The previous training sessions can be found here, under “Fight on- Summer Training Log”


Time:

6:30 am to 7:35 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 71 degrees

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

1 hour and 5 minutes of walking/jogging intervals. Including:

  • 80 push-ups
  • 80 squats
  • A continuous quarter mile jog

Quote I’m Thinking About Today:

“I want you to feel what I felt.” ~ Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried ( My favorite novel)

Accomplishment & Reflection:

Today I recorded myself conducting a balancing exercise.

One reason why I train early in the morning is to skirt the eyes of others (Which is ironic because when training concludes, I journal about my experiences for everyone to read).

Anyway, in what now seems to be a former life, I was once an athlete. I defined myself by the games I played. I was never afraid of anything physical. I ran, jumped, climb, swam, rode, and danced with ease.

But that was then.

Sometimes watching someone run, ride a bike, ascend a flight of stairs or do the Cha Cha Slide is hard and frustrating and even sad for me. Doing physical things were once so automatic, now those tasks often fuel fear and anxiety.

This training odyssey encapsulates a lot of things for me: Conquering fear, feeling strong again, loosing weight, repairing confidence, reteaching my brain, believing in myself more than my illness and proving that with discipline and resolve I can triumph over my illness.

Below is a video of me conducting a balancing exercise during today’s training session. The exercise in theory is simple:

With one leg, step over the white line while the other leg remains planted on the ground. Once over the white line, return the leg back across the white line so that both legs are parallel with each other, toeing the white line.

This exercise was, and remains, difficult for me to do.

Understand–this video was not easy for me to share.

The movements in the video were not embellished or exaggerated. And I was not drunk. Simple, subtle movements are often the most difficult (and most embarrassing) to do.

But I know that for me to heal I have to fearlessly show you who I am now and what I’m training to be. I have to be open, authentic, and unguarded.

Sharing this video, like sharing my training sessions, is another way for me to share a chapter my story with you. To let you see what I see. To let you feel what I feel.

From The Previous Training Session-July 7: Goals are like Trashcans

I started training with the big goal of jogging a 5k in September.

For me and my body, 3.1 miles seems like an unachievable distance. But today my goal wasn’t to jog 3.1 miles. My goal was to jog from one trash can to next to the next until I jogged an entire block.

It was not glamorous. (And some trashcans were pretty ripe this morning). But jogging from trashcan to trashcan to trashcan made achieving the ultimate goal, jogging 3.1 miles, feel a bit more achievable.

From The Previous Training Session-July 5:

It’s hot. New Jersey ( along with other eastern and central states) are embroiled in a heat wave.

I stood in the doorway divided. The morning heat pressing on my front and the cool air from the air conditioner softly curling across my back.

I wanted to train but why did it have to be so damn hot?  And so I found myself in the simplest human conflict: What I want vs. what the world was giving me.

Training Session #30- July 7th: Goals are Like Trashcans

In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disorder that chewed a hole in my cerebellum, atrophied various muscles, impaired my vision, balance, coordination and consequently stole my ability to run. I have dedicated the summer of 2018 to regaining my strength, coordination, balance, and relearning how to run. I am participating in a 5k run on September 23rd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my training journal. This is my attempt to grow physically strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

The previous training sessions can be found here, under “Fight on- Summer Training Log”


Time:

6:15 am to 7:20 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 68 degrees

*This week I’m training in Wildwood, New Jersey

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

1 hour and 5 minutes of walking/jogging intervals.

Accomplishment:

Jogging four blocks beyond the finish line.

Quote I’m Thinking About Today:

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”~ Jim Rohm

Reflection:

We set big goals. Big goals are lofty and impressive. Big goals garner attention. They makes eyes pop and jaws drop.

But in setting big goals we often fail to set essential little goals. Little goals may not be sexy but are absolutely necessary when working toward accomplishing a bigger goal.

I started training with the big goal of jogging a 5k in September.

For me and my body, 3.1 miles seems like an unachievable distance. But today my goal wasn’t to jog 3.1 miles. My goal was to jog from one trash can to next to the next until I jogged an entire block.

It was not glamorous. (And some trashcans were pretty ripe this morning). But jogging from trashcan to trashcan to trashcan made achieving the ultimate goal, jogging 3.1 miles, feel a bit more achievable.

From The Previous Training Session-July 5:

It’s hot. New Jersey ( along with other eastern and central states) are embroiled in a heat wave.

I stood in the doorway divided. The morning heat pressing on my front and the cool air from the air conditioner softly curling across my back.

I wanted to train but why did it have to be so damn hot?  And so I found myself in the simplest human conflict: What I want vs. what the world was giving me.

Training Session #29- July 5th: The Thing About Air Conditioning

In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disorder that chewed a hole in my cerebellum, atrophied various muscles, impaired my vision, balance, coordination and consequently stole my ability to run. I have dedicated the summer of 2018 to regaining my strength, coordination, balance, and relearning how to run. I am participating in a 5k run on September 23rd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my training journal. This is my attempt to grow physically strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

The previous training sessions can be found here, under “Fight on- Summer Training Log”


Time:

5:50 am to 7:10 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 78 degrees

*This week I’m training in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

1 hour and 20 minutes of walking/jogging intervals. Today’s training also included:

  • 80 push-ups
  • 80 squats

Accomplishment:

Jogging two blocks beyond the finish line.

Quote I’m Thinking about Today:

“Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”~ Susan David

Reflection:

It’s hot. New Jersey ( along with other eastern and central states) are embroiled in a heat wave.

I stood in the doorway divided. The morning heat pressing on my front and the cool air from the air conditioner softly curling across my back.

I wanted to train but why did it have to be so damn hot?  And so I found myself in the simplest human conflict: What I want vs. what the world was giving me.

I love air condition. (My wife and I went two summers without air condition is our car. It was awful. If three screaming kids in a car is purgatory, then three screaming in a car without air condition is pure hell on wheels.)

The thing about air condition is that makes us comfortable. It soothes and pacifies us. However air condition is addictive–I want to be comfortable all the time.

But what about all those people who live and worked and sought their dreams long before 1902, when Willis Carrier fulfilled his own dream of inventing the air conditioner? How did anyone accomplish anything before 1902?

When our goals and aspirations are out there sizzling in the unair conditioned world, let us remember that people have been achieving their dreams long before 1902 and that sometimes achieving a dream requires the discipline to close the door behind us and step out into the heat.

From The Previous Training Session-July 4:

During training I visited the Wildwood Vietnam Memorial.

If you’re ever in need of perspective (which I am, which we all are) I suggest visiting a war memorial. It’s humbling. It reminds how fleeting and precious your life is.

 

Training Session #28- July 4: Some Much Needed Perspective

In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disorder that chewed a hole in my cerebellum, atrophied various muscles, impaired my vision, balance, coordination and consequently stole my ability to run. I have dedicated the summer of 2018 to regaining my strength, coordination, balance, and relearning how to run. I am participating in a 5k run on September 23rd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my training journal. This is my attempt to grow physically strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

The previous training sessions can be found here, under “Fight on- Summer Training Log”


Time:

5:46 am to 7:06 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 75 degrees

*This week I’m training in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

1 hour and 20 minutes of walking/jogging intervals. Today’s training also included:

  • 60 push-ups
  • 60 squats
  • 40 calf raises
  • 40 (each leg) up downs

Accomplishment:

Jogging block intervals. About 1 mile away from home I came down off the boardwalk and jogged along the sidewalk, only to stop and walk across intersections until I was home.

Quote I’m Thinking about Today:

“I am not going to die from this. I am not going to die from this. I am not going to die from this.”~ Ryan Holiday

Reflection:

During training I visited the Wildwood Vietnam Memorial.

If you’re ever in need of perspective (which I am, which we all are) I suggest visiting a war memorial. It’s humbling. It reminds how fleeting and precious your life is.

I’m proud of the physical accomplishments I have made in the last 27 training sessions, but there are still plenty of moments of doubt. In fact I had a case of can’ts this morning– I can’t do this. It’s too hard. Too painful. I can’t train because I have a blister on my toe. I can’t train because I’m on vacation.

Scanning those engraved names I pictured all those soldiers standing before me. They were alive but dead.  They were in their military uniforms. Some had red-stained bandages on their eyes. Some had bowling ball-size holes in their chest. Some were missing limbs.

They were quiet, just waiting for me to say something.

I cleared my throat and thought how they would react to my complaints. Thousands of dead men, most 20 years younger then myself, listening to me bitch about how difficult some things are.

Shut up and get to work.  

I moved through the memorial and read the engraved names. I read the last name on the wall, Jessie Alba, and I stood for a quiet moment. A moment where I am alive and breathing and Jessie and the rest of the men are dead. Their fate is our fate. We will all end up names on a wall.  We will all die– a simple declaration providing our life with some needed perspective. And a reminder of how brief our time is to live.

 

 

From The Previous Training Session-July 2. (July 3 was a planned rest day):

Today I thought about Lebron James… 

It’s astounding how valuable one person can be to a team. How one person’s presence can change the culture, perspective, and success of a team.

I thought about my teams: my family, colleagues, students, friends. What value do I bring to those teams? Does my presence improve the culture and perspective of the team? Do I increase our chances of success?

 

Training Session #27- July 2: The Lebron James Effect

In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disorder that chewed a hole in my cerebellum, atrophied various muscles, impaired my vision, balance, coordination and consequently stole my ability to run. I have dedicated the summer of 2018 to regaining my strength, coordination, balance, and relearning how to run. I am participating in a 5k run on September 23rd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my training journal. This is my attempt to grow physically strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

The previous training sessions can be found here, under “Fight on- Summer Training Log”


Time:

5:50 am to 6:50 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 74 degrees

*This week I’m training in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

1 hour of walking/jogging intervals. Today’s training also included:

  • 60 push-ups
  • 60 squats
  • 10 dune shuttles

Accomplishment:

Two 1 minute runs. I concluded yesterday’s training with a 1 minute run. Today, I concluded training with two 1 minute runs separated by 30 second of walking.

Quote I’m Thinking about Today:

“Individual commitment to a group effort: That is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ~Vince Lombardi

Reflection:

During training I thought about Lebron James.

Last night he announced he was signing a four deal to play with the Los Angeles Lakers. After the move, Las Vegas odds makers made the Lakers viable championship contenders, giving them the third best percentage to win an NBA championship next year.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron’s former team, chances of winning a championship fell to 500 to 1. Giving them the lowest chance of winning a championship next year.

It’s astounding how valuable one person can be to a team. How one person’s presence can change the culture, perspective, and success of a team.

I thought about my teams: my family, colleagues, students, friends. What value do I bring to those teams? Does my presence improve the culture and perspective of the team? Do I increase our chances of success?

Though we are probably not competing for an NBA title, we are a member of several teams. Teams that want to function well, flourish, and enjoy success.

My training is a selfish act. Mentally, physically I want get stronger and become more resilient. I want to improve for me.

But I know if I have the discipline to improve, my improvements will make the teams I’m lucky to be a part of stronger and more successful.

From Yesterday’s Training Session:

A few strides later, another runner, a short, blonde haired woman wearing a pink shirt stamped with the white words ” I Survived” inside a heart, smiled and said “Hello” as I passed.