Sunday, June 14, 2015

On The Road Again.

June 14, 2015

Starting Over

Hello all.

It has been some time since my last post, I know.  So what have I been up to? Basically, I developed a drinking problem and then had to quit. I wasn't trying to emulate Rich Roll, it just kind of happened.

After Ironman Arizona, I suddenly had a lot of time to do some soul searching. I decided to rest completely to allow the plantar fasciitis in both of my feet to heal. It got pretty bad, the pain. To the point that I was walking like a little old man, every step like stepping on a nail. Suddenly not working out left my crazy OCD brain seeking some other kind of stimulus/distraction. Distraction from the infinite tape loop of mistakes and childhood horrors that endlessly repeat. Something I was able to "quiet" during training for the most part.

So I sat around, and I drank, and waited to heal.  .  .  and waited.  .  .  and drank some more. I kept the bottles to remind me of how far into it I went.

I thought about the race and got pissed off. I felt like after two years of training, my body had betrayed me.  I thought about my coach and how I had been training in the wrong heart rate zones for a year and a half.  Ultimately, I blamed myself for not pulling it all together in the end and trusting my instincts. At the same time, I was at a particularly low point in my career, spending far too much time unemployed and frankly, had lost faith in my ability to do the work I was used to and my ability to provide.  

So that is where I was, in that very dark place. I knew that with each passing day I was sinking more into the numbness of just not caring.  My first thought in the morning was drinking and within a very short period of time I was drinking 750 ml a day. That would be the large bottle. I knew what it was doing to me, I just didn't care. I needed the "break" from my own thoughts and the stress of being unemployed. In the middle of all this, I couldn't care less about triathlon. I stopped reading the magazines and unsubscribed from the many training and race announcement emails. I barely had any presence on Instagram and when I did post it was mostly about food. To be totally forward, I was pretty bummed that only two people checked on me. I gained all the weight I had lost back.

And then, I started to change my thinking. I started to think about my life long addiction to sugar. I began to think of the booze as just another form of sugar, which it is, and then I found out that sugar lowers the bodies cortisol levels. Or in other words, lowers your stress. For some reason, knowing this, armed me in a way. The understanding of the mechanism that drove me to drink, along with the avoidance, was very powerful. I had a moment of clarity as I was walking up the hill in the park to play with Orion. I realized that I had lost all that I had gained physically as I struggled to catch my breath. That I was being a complete hypocrite about eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle and that if I was going to turn things around, I had better get started. I also realized that I could not ever drink again. So I quit, and it was tough. Much tougher than I let on to Mariko. I had some serious withdrawal. I dealt with it with chocolate and a lot of grit teeth. No kidding. I realized my body would be craving the missing sugar from the booze so, whenever the craving hit me, I ate a candy bar or something else very sweet. I let my body get used to the change, then slowly tapered off the chocolate until finally I was eating 100% clean again. Nothing processed, all organic and plant based. It took weeks but I didn't rush it. I let my body and brain tell me when it was time to move forward. Not the voice of the addiction.

Then two things happened about the same time. Mariko asked me to workout with her and I just got completely sick of sitting around waiting to heal. I missed working out. I didn't miss the schedule, but I definitely missed the feeling afterwards.  My feet were still painful but much less. During the previous months I had done a lot of thinking about my training and realized that I made a couple of serious mistakes in not doing any strength training and specifically, working on the rear muscles of my legs. I think that my plantar fasciitis, among a few other things, was primarily caused from an imbalance in my leg muscles. I think I had developed the front of my legs far more than the rear, a mistake I won't make again.

It started again with a swim. The Boss, (Mariko for the new people) asked me to show her how to swim better. One workout was all it took. I don't think we even did more than 500 yards in the pool but afterwards I felt great. And I felt great all night after. Next was a run in Griffith Park. I went 1.5 miles on a pretty flat horse trail. My heart rate was redlining the entire 39 minutes. There was a bathroom break and at the top of a small 38 ft hill, I felt like I was going to pass out. But I kept going.

So I'm rebuilding. And it is going to take awhile. My feet still hurt but I don't care. My cardio is gone. To date I have run and swam several times, this evening, I even did a pretty tough yoga session. Far tougher than I was ready for and ended up in "child's pose" for a fair bit, sweat literally pouring off of me. Yoga is another thing I should have been doing the whole time. I'm not following any structured plan or working with a coach yet, (can't afford one anyways!) I'm just slowly building back up, listening to my body carefully and not pushing too hard. Eventually, I'd like to train and race a 70.3 half Ironman this year. But I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. I'm enjoying the randomness of working out with the wife and the adventures that entails. Orion, whom is now two, is enjoying us going to new places for her to smell and pee and poop at. I would like to race Lake Tahoe or Cozumel in 2016 but we will see what happens.

Somewhere, along the way, I lost myself the first time. I won't let it happen again. I'm back to my plain, unfiltered brain with the usual "loops" playing. Their not as bad for some reason. I can't even remember when I actually quit drinking. Seems like a few months now.
I'm not going to do a daily blog, it was too much the first time around. I'll keep you updated as I make some progress or feel like writing something worth sharing.

Until next time.