Training Session #42- July 22: Getting punched in the mouth

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 confidence and 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 and mentally strong again.

Write on. Fight on.  

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


Time:

7:15 am- 8:20 am

Conditions:

Indoor

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

Today I developed and conducted a circuit consisting of 8 different exercises. Each exercise was completed 4 times. The picture below shows the different equipment I used:

From left: Bosu Ball, 15 pound Kettlebell, 40 pound Barbell, exercise mat.

Bosu Ball:

  • 1 minute standing pose
  • 1 minute kneeling pose
  • push-ups- 10 reps

15 pound Kettlebell:

  • Swings -20 reps
  • Thrusters- (hold the Kettlebell in both hands, at your chest, squat, quickly stand up and press the Kettlebell overhead) 20 reps

40 pound Barbell:

  • Curls-10 reps
  • Military press-10 reps

Exercise mat:

  • Sit-ups-20 reps

Accomplishment:

Kneeling on the Bosu Ball for 1 minute without any assistance.

Quote I’m Thinking About Today:

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” ~ Tony Robbins

Reflection:

We’re all guilty of being boxers who want world titles without ever fighting.

I want the good life. A pain-free, stress-free, heartbreak-free life.  A life where I drain the marrow of the day until I fall asleep fat and happy and without scars.

But the moment we feel pain, whether emotional or physical, we forget the good life and focus on survival.

Like Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

In a lot of ways, the moment after being punched in the mouth often predicts the future.

You’re on your knees. Blood dripping from your mouth and staining the canvas. Your ears ringing. The earth, and everything in it, is spinning. Your hurt and scared and you know the moment you rise, your opponent will be standing there, seething, smiling, ready to punch you again.

This is your defining moment. A moment that will teach you more about truth then a library of philosophy books.

The immediate choice is simple: stay down or get up. But the extended consequence of moment, of your choice, decides if you’ll ever have an opportunity to live the good life.

From The Previous Training Session- July 19: When you’re broken it’s easy to…

… give up.

… make excuses.

… place blame.

… complain.

… procrastinate.

… become angry.

… become jealous.

… become hopeless

… hide.

… forget that healing requires two things: action and love.

Training Session #35- July 13: The Thing about Voice in Your Head

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:

7:00 am to 7: 45 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 72 degrees

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

45 minutes of walking/jogging (wogging…it’s a thing)- 2.2 miles

Accomplishment:

The 2.2 miles is the longest distance I walked/jogged since I started training 6 weeks ago.

Quote I’m Thinking About Today:

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”~ William Shakespeare, Henry V

Reflection:

We all have a voice in our head.

The voice that tells us to look both ways before crossing the street. To eat all our vegetables. To be cautious around strangers. To avoid dark alleys. To rest when we get tired. And a voice that reminds us that it will always love you, even if you don’t try.

The voice loves you. Of course it does. Because if you were to die so would the voice. So the voice comforts, sympathizes with us and exists to protect and prolong our life.

But what does your voice say when things get hard? When the distance between you and your goal is too far? When the pain is too great? When the cancer is terminal? When hope and happiness and love have left?

For a long time my voice reminded me that I my brain was damaged. That my muscles were weak. That my bones were brittle. And that if I tried to do anything but take my medication I would get hurt.

My voice had good intentions. My voice sought to protect me. Yet in doing so, my voice made me believe that I was too sick to change my fortune.

So I listened. And the voice was happy. But I wasn’t. I was becoming weaker, complacent and dissatisfied. I began imaging what life would be like without the voice.

Then on June 2nd, I laced up my sneakers, jogged down to the court house and filed the paperwork to divorce my voice.

My ex-voice loved me to a fault. My ex-voice’s sympathy became toxic.

I had to endure four and a half years with my ex-voice to realize that though it wanted nothing more to be safe and comfortable, it was my ex-voice that was actually holding me back.

From The Previous Training Session- July 13: How to Deal with Anything

For my friends, two in particular, who are going through real shit today. 

How to Deal with Anything:

1.Make a Declaration

You have a Problem. A Problem that has manifested into an uncomfortable truth.

When living with an uncomfortable truth– illness, addiction, financial hardship, depression, anxiety, confusion, damaged relationships– the first step is to make a declaration that exposes your wound.

I have____________.

I am _____________.

My relationship with _________ is ___________.

2. Ask a Question

Ask yourself–“So I am wounded, now what am I going to do about it?”

The declaration inspires acceptance. The question inspires action.

 

Training Session #34- July 12: How to Deal With Anything

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:

7:01 am to 8:20 am

Conditions:

Indoor

Training Maxim:

No hurry. No pause.

Training Performed:

1 hour and 19 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 abdominal crunches
  • 20 minutes of hill training on a recumbent bike

Accomplishment:

20 minutes of hill training at the end of training.

Quote I’m Thinking About Today:

“In some way suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of sacrifice.”~ Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning 

Reflection:

For my friends, two in particular, who are going through real shit today. 

How to Deal with Anything:

1.Make a Declaration

You have a Problem. A Problem that has manifested into an uncomfortable truth.

When living with an uncomfortable truth– illness, addiction, financial hardship, depression, anxiety, confusion, damaged relationships– the first step is to make a declaration that exposes your wound.

I have____________.

I am _____________.

My relationship with _________ is ___________.

2. Ask a Question

Ask yourself–“So I am wounded, now what am I going to do about it?”

The declaration inspires acceptance. The question inspires action.

Take your time– the declaration isn’t easy. When the time is right, it has to be declared in your private heart before it can be announced publicly. And when declaring it to yourself, you have to declare with as much conviction and volume as if you where standing on stage, behind a microphone, in front of a stadium packed with a noisy audience.

Understand, the declaration is as much for you as it is for your audience. Your audience, like you, wants the truth. And when you demonstrate the strength to announce the truth, something magical happens. Your audience feels closer to you then ever before and your audience, in a way, will be seeing you for the first time.

The question, however, is for solely for you. “So I’m wounded, now what am I going to do about it?”

You can do two things:

1.Do nothing. Which most people do. Which I have done. Complain and moan and wish things were different and better but in the end we do nothing.

And by doing nothing the Problem gets bigger and stronger, as if the Problem found some steroids and joined a gym. Before long, the Problem is the biggest guy in the gym, walking sideways through doorjambs, grunting through reps, flexing and smiling at his muscles in the mirror, and intimidating you.

2.Take action. The amount of the action we take is inconsequential. The important thing is that you take action, which is defined by the audience as “having courage”. Even if you have terminal cancer, you still have the ability to do something. Write a letter. Have a talk. Sing. Smile. Hold a hand.

The important thing is that you do something. Doing nothing drains energy. Doing something creates energy. Energy that is essential to deal with the Problem.

Your Problems will die when your body dies. But your actions will outlive your body and shape the lives of the living. Your actions are how you will be remember.

So today, I implore you–do something.

And if you do–you’ll be able to deal with anything.

From The Previous Training Session- July 11: Vanity is a Lonely Road

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.

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 #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.

Training Session #26- July 1: Keep Your Head Up

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:

5:40 am to 7:00 am

Conditions:

Outdoor- 77 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. Today’s training also included:

  • 60 push-ups
  • 60 squats
  • 40 calf raises (each leg) on the bench below
  • 40 step-ups (each leg) on the bench below

Accomplishment:

A 1 minute run finale. I wanted to close training with a 1 minute run. This was much harder than I anticipated. I failed in the first two attempts. I ran for 54 seconds each time. However, it wasn’t until the third attempt that I succeeded in running for 1 straight minute.

Quote I’m Thinking about Today:

“…earlier generations faced worse problems with fewer safety nets and fewer tools. They dealt with the same obstacles we have today plus the ones they worked so hard to try to eliminate for their children and others. And yet… we’re still stuck.”~ Ryan Holiday

Reflection:

Early in training I was jogging with my head down, avoiding eye contact with other runners. Runners who kept a quicker pace. Who had better form. Who ran with confidence and poise. Who made running easy and effortless.

In the final 15 minutes of training I decided to run with my head up, eyes focused on the path ahead. And even though I was tired and hot, it felt good. My pace didn’t quicken, my strides didn’t lengthen. But it felt good to run with my head up–I deserved to run with my head up.

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.

And if you want to know the truth–it felt good to be acknowledged.

From Yesterday’s Training Session:

A few months ago I was considering what would be the hardest thing for me to do–what is impossible?

The answer–run. There was a hole in my brain and I believed my running days were over.

For almost five years I accepted my limitations. I believed in my illness more than I believed in myself. My illness stole my abilities, my confidence, my toughness. It emasculated me and quieted my spirit. I was only in my mid-30’s and I was just surviving.