Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just Breathe...

We all take for granted our innate ability to just breathe. As a heavy ex-smoker I know what it's like to have labored breathing while working out and difficulty developing any kind of significant lung capacity for athletics. All pretty much essential to successful CrossFit and trail running.  I brought it on myself with my old lifestyle, and willingly pay the price of correcting it for the privilege of living the lifestyle I do now.

Not all of us create our own messes, some of us just have to deal with the body God gave us.  Here's a tiny insight in to one amazing young man and his family who are living such a life...


I first met Jake back in 2006 after hiring Eric as my coach.  Jake was also one of his clients, but far from your average fitness enthusiast.  Jake has Cystic Fibrosis.  I remember watching Eric coach Jake and listening to Jake's deep coughs and labored breathing while he fought his way through the workout Eric had set for him.  I never ever heard him make excuses, complain or quit. I watched them a number of times and the workouts Eric gave him were always seriously daunting.  I remember being struck by the kid's incredibly tough resiliency, determination, positive attitude and frequent smiles... once the workouts were over of course!

As some point I stopped seeing Eric and Jake train together and I lost track of him (he went away to school). Then his sister Lauren started training at the Academy and I immediately saw the similarities between them... same tough resiliency, positive attitude and ready smile.  Then earlier this year Jake visited our new facility and I was surprisingly pleased to see how much he had grown and filled out to manhood.  He looked absolutely fabulous.

Tom Bigley has been running with the Arrogant Bastard's for some time now and while I'd chatted with him and his wife Elaine casually, it wasn't until I joined the team that I was able to actually spend time with him.  The apple truly doesn't fall far from the tree because he also radiates this same high spirit, strong resiliency, athletic enthusiasm, positive attitude and warm, open smile.

The Bigley's are a joyfully impressive family and I've always been slightly in awe of them.  At least until a few weeks ago.  I knew nothing of Cystic Fibrosis until I received word from Eric that Jake was gravely ill and in the hospital.  After I did my homework, I realized just how great of a challenge was ahead of this young man and his whole family.  Cystic Fibrosis is a horrible and progressive disease.  Jake's lungs are failing and need to be replaced immediately.

On Facebook there is a link to an excellent website that the Bigley's are using to keep friends looped in to Jake's progress.  (here's the link, I highly recommend setting yourself up too, Jake is going through one hell of a journey and the more support the better... )

Today's post told us about how he was able to actually walk around the ICU with an entourage pushing his equipment behind him.  They even post memories of Jake's time with Eric and I have little doubt that Jake taps those difficult training session memories to help give himself the strength to push himself now.

My heart hurts at the pain Jake and his family are experiencing and I try to focus on the fact that God never gives us more than we can handle.  God must have a very high opinion of Jake and the entire Bigley family because I  know down to my toes that if any family can walk through this challenge and come out the other side stronger, it is this one.

Stay the course Jake, you have exactly what it takes to get though this!  To all the Bigley's... thank you for welcoming our support and stay tough family, you are all up for this challenge!

Next up... Bastard 50K

May was action packed with mega events and apparently I waited too long to rein in the horse.  A few too many training days strung too close together and this is what I get...

The Tuesday morning CrossFit session went well... more interval training, similar but longer than Monday's.  This time 24 minutes of kettlebell swings and jump roping, followed by wallballs and rowing.  The first workout called for 20 double-unders but since I can't do that many in 30 seconds, I had to swap for 60 single unders... also a challenge, but it turns out manageable with a stretch.  In fact, I was actually able to string together more consecutive jumps than ever before and still finish within about 35 seconds.  All well and good, except I could feel the last 3-4 rounds were stressing my left calf, but of course not badly enough to stop or anything!

Now, enter Bastard training Tuesday night and I really should have passed.  I knew my calf wasn't 100% and that I hadn't recovered from the weekend, but like most of us, I'm not always the smartest athlete when it comes to taking care of myself....  The workout?  From the top of the Eaton Canyon gate, across the bridge and up to Henniger Flats for a bunch of team squats, push-ups, dips and jumps, then home.

We were supposed to be moving at 85% capacity, but when you're Roadkill, even teamed with another Red  member, there is no such thing as taking it easy, and my teammate Joyce kept me moving at a clip that barely allowed me to speak with her... sometimes.  The rest of the time, it was just hang on her heels as much as possible and be grateful when she'd pause to let me catch up.  That gal is destined for racerhood if she can just clear her calendar enough to train every session!

It was a very cool hike up and in between gasps, we had an opportunity to get to know each other a bit.  I love these team bonding sessions and really appreciated our time together.  Yes, the rest of the teams beat us to the turn around point, even though we had a head start, but most of them were still there when we got to the top... although one team who shall remain nameless opted out of their Monte Birthday exercises and were just on their way back down when we arrived.

The pace back down was also anything but leisurely since we both enjoy a good downhill run, and we were moving pretty fast... at least I thought so.  By the time we reached the gate, it looked like the entire team had been sitting for a good hour, so I could be delusional.  I do know that by the time we got there, my calf was feeling severely fatigued and while it didn't hurt yet, I knew the soreness wasn't far off.

Yup, I was right and two days later, the calf is still too tender to foam roll and I still can't quite walk normally.  So, Wednesday and Thursday became rest days and we'll see if I'm up for CrossFit tomorrow morning.   I am stubborn, but I've not had a real injury since my broken foot and plan to keep it that way.  Worst case, I save myself for Saturday... I don't know what Coach has up his evil sleeve, but we are now done with Mt Wilson and the December Bastard 50k is looming into view, so I wouldn't be surprised to see our Saturday sessions start stretching out.

Joyce and I are determined to do it together and I sure hope our other red teammates opt in too... so Lynne, Julie, Kathy, Amy and Maggie... take care of yourselves and train regularly.  We want a full team come the end of the year!

Here's mud in your eye!

It's been four days since the weekend back to back mud runs, and I'm finally caught up enough to write about the experience.  It was quite the weekend....

I've done a number of back to back races at the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, but after the last one in B&U both days, I vowed to never do that again... the blisters on my heels took a good month to fully heal.  Nasty, painful, ugly beasties.   This year I eliminated that potential by running open on Saturday and saving the B&U for Sunday.

Last June my friend Laura quit smoking and asked me to help her stay stopped.  That mainly meant phone chats and texts, until I suggested she find a BIG goal to really help her stay stopped.  She chose the 2013 Camp Pendleton 10k Mud Run.  IMHO it was the perfect goal to choose.  Seriously challenging, but well within her skill set with training.  Last New Year's Eve we signed her up and for the last six months she's been attending her local CrossFit, working on her nutrition and running progressively longer distances.

Not only did Laura finish the course, she completed it in under two hours.  A very good time for a novice runner at the very beginning of her athletic potential!  Congratulations my friend on accomplishing the goal you set for yourself.  I am very proud of you and look forward to watching or even joining you on your next great adventure!

Now, Sunday's run was a whole different kettle of mud sucking catfish... The Filthy 50 Fem's were running and I'd been invited to join them. As had occurred the day before, I was up before dawn and on my way down to Oceanside with my running mates by 5am.  Why on earth we need to arrive at 6:30 for 9am start time is just wrong. lol

I had fully expected to live up to my Roadkill identity by being the weak link on the team, but I dodged that bullet and it hit our team captain Rose squarely in the uterus.  Poor gal was visited by her very angry Aunt Flo and just wasn't capable of much running... in fact I promised her I'd let all my blog readers know that this was actually the first year she was forced to make a pit stop at the half way point of the course.  Hey better that than to attract the undue attention of any local mountain lions. I'm just saying...

(I took this photo through Instagram, and just love the special effects... thanks Trish for finally bringing me in to the 21st Century!)

I particularly love this photo because I think it could very prove to be the last one of its kind.  After running this course well over a dozen times I may be done with it.  My whole love of this race stems from the fact that it takes place on the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and as such has always been a place of heart felt tribute, respect and serious awe. Over the last few years in particular, the race has been commercialized and cheapened to the point that it has become a shell of it's old self and really nothing more than just another mud run, albeit still one of the better ones I'm sure.  I know life must move on, and sadly some of the best memories must eventually move to just memories.

A final toast to the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton...

Great Luck and Here's Mud In Your Eye!