Saturday, August 16, 2014

Intuitive Turning Points...

Once upon a time, October 9th, 2009 my brother Bob and his girlfriend Darlene came to visit from Winnipeg.

That night we ended up in the Pig & Whistle and before the end of the night the beer bong came out. It's just not any beer bong it's the most industrial looking beer bong that holds 24 beers.

It was created by Davis Sohor, at the time in college, and up to that point he told me "Uncle Bryan I've made so many beer bongs, this one is the best beer bong I've ever made". And Davis never does anything half assed. It was a gift to me from him after Davis, his dad and my good friend Rich and I did Ironman 70.3 Muskoka.

The week leading up to that fateful Friday night I was losing weight and it was continuing to burn off well beyond my standard 180lbs at that time.

Intuitively I knew I was on the verge of breaking a barrier and that if there was any time I could get my weight down to the low 170's or even into the 160's is was by riding this wave.

The only problem was my brother came over and the beer bong was broken out. My brother is a big beer drinker and had never seen it before and by his own admission once seeing it he was scared of it. It's not your standard college type beer bong, it's in a class all it's own.

I had no plans to drink from the bong but I was primed from just having beers and my brother threw out a challenge like 6 beers from the bong without stopping and I win $150. I came short, not by much so then he gave the money to Alyssa and Reid for birthday gifts.

The point of my story is that before I took a pull from that beer bong and even before the night began that if I had beers I was going to stop my body from losing weight. It was going to stop it and even reverse it. I knew this in my bones. I knew if I had too many beers my chances of getting down to the low 170's or high 160's was gone.

In hindsight I have mixed feelings. It was a regret that I stopped the losing weight train and on the other side it was a great night with my brother and his girlfriend and I have some great pictures from that night.

The night was about a month before I did the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater and I ended up doing a personal best 4:38 which should have been faster had I not broken my chain, so it's not like it ruined my race. It just took my body out of the fat burning zone and I lost that special opportunity to see how low I could go.

I do know the lowest I've ever been, it was when I was 19 years old I got down from my high school football playing weight of 212 lbs to 158 lbs. My first Ironman I was 161 lbs. My weight for Clearwater was 183 lbs. I often wondered how much faster I could be in today's world with my weight in the 160's.  I had my chance and I "bonged" it that Friday night.

Today was a similar day to that Oct 9, 2009 night but reversed. I intuitively knew that if I over ate or had beers I would balloon up. That I'm on the threshold and if I make the wrong moves I can blow up 5 lbs in a very short period of time and at 200.4 lbs currently the last thing I want to do is get up to 205 lbs. Not to mention the warm weather will be ending soon and I need to lose about 5 lbs to be able to fit into my jeans comfortably.

Yes I've quit drinking beer but on a cold Saturday afternoon with nothing to do it does enter your mind that enjoying a meal at a sports bar, watching sports and having a beer or two could be nice. It's kind of a romantic Saturday afternoon get away.

We did get out of the house. We did go for a drive. The temptation to stop and have some food and beers was pushing hard.

This time around I thought back to that October 9th evening and remembered what could have been had I not put the breaks on my bodies fat burning. I remembered the regret. It wasn't a split second decision, I worked all the pros and con's through in my mind.

In the end I decided against stopping, eating and having beers. I would stop, eat perhaps and just have diet coke. Even with that we got lost in the escarpment and couldn't find any cool looking places to stop so instead we just picked up sunflower seeds, peanuts and pistachios and diet coke and drove around some more in the dreary rain.

To me I felt this as a turning point. Not just a turning point not to gain weight but as a turning point of the self discipline required to get back to my goal weight. I'd really like to reverse my October 9th regret and put myself in a position to see if I could get into the low 170's and still carry muscle.

We drove around for about 2 hours, I was trying to recreate our Route 66 trip. It was so fun driving through all these little towns. Only problem is the roads we drive on I know all to well. I think the fun of a road trip is not knowing what is coming up next. It's all one big adventure. It's hard to be an adventure when you know where you are and what to expect.

After we got home we chilled. I was in the prone position on the couch and on my computer. Toggling between work stuff, personal social media stuff and checking out things of interest and going down the google hole.

At some point I googled "Cycle Across America" Tours. It's something I've always wanted to do. Yet I haven't even fully enjoyed my retirement from Ironman and I'm looking for another ultra endurance challenge. WTF is wrong with me?

This time it was different, I was looking and not close to committing to doing it. In the past I'd look and then thinking about it for about 15 minutes and sign up to do it.

There was a number of reasons I didn't sign up to do it. In no particular order, there will be dark moments especially when you ride with a group. I've done these types of rides before where you ride and you camp or stay at a school or church at night. They move your gear, you have to get your camp set up at night, you need to tear down in the morning, you need to do chores. It becomes a grind.

If I do a ride across America I want to do it in style. Staying at hotels not campsites or church basements along the way. I also don't want to ride rain or shine or be under a tight schedule. These tours are typically 60 - 90 days long and by the end it becomes a grind.

My vision of doing a ride across America is to have family with me. I get up and ride 5 or 6 hours a day. They drive the 90 minutes to the next stop to meet me. We relax in a hotel. We sight see. We go out for dinners and if we want to stay at a place a little longer we do. If it rains or there is bad weather we don't ride that day. We stay indoors.

A second reason I wouldn't sign up is time. It takes 60 - 90 days of vacation time. I don't have that time to spare. I have too much other stuff going on.

A third reason is it's too much like an Ironman. It won't take long and it becomes an endurance event and painful. I don't really want that torture. Again, if I was to do it I'd want it to be enjoyable. If I don't feel like riding, I don't.

A fourth reason is I won't do it without my family with me. Being away from home for 3 months is a long time to be away from family. I did it this year as part of the documentary for Salmon Social. It's as tough mentally to be away from home as it is to do anything.

When you are away from those you love, especially at my age, you feel like you are squandering life. That you are eating into quality family time that you can never get back. To take a summer to do a cross country bike ride with strangers and not experience being with your family seems just plan wrong.

Mind you if I was a younger person with no ties I'd probably do that ride in a heart beat.

In the end it really didn't even get down to decision time, I figured as much as it would be fun to do for all the above reasons I wouldn't do it.  If I did it it would be only with my family with me the entire time and at my pace and we would make it a 3 month vacation with more memories of the vacation than the bike riding.

After googling riding across America I then looked at adventure racing. The cool part was I'm not interested in all that stuff. I think about it and then I visualize what the day is going to look like. The up early, the pushing yourself to dark zones and I ask why? I've been there so many times, I know I can do it, I've gotten the T-Shirt(s) literally and I'm not interested.

I am interested in doing something though. Perhaps weight training? A buddy suggested body building? I'm not sure. I do know I'm not going to rush it. It's way to early, it's only been 2 weeks since my last Ironman and I have a lot I want to do with my career. The worst thing I could do right now is commit to something new. A new challenge. I need to just relax and let life unfold.

In many ways I think today was a "Pop Quiz" type day for me and I passed.

One thing I forgot to mention that helped me make my decisions throughout the day was listening to my body.

Over the past week I've noticed that the back of my neck was getting tight. I've had that feeling over the years and for many years it would be chronic and I'd just ignore it. I no longer do. I came to realize that that neck stress is my subconscious telling me something is wrong and I need to address it. When I do it goes away.

I consider it like a compass. If I start experiencing neck pain, or back pain something is wrong. It's not always clear what that is but it gives me a starting point to explore what it possibly could be. Miraculously once I figure it out the pain goes away.

For me as I've mentioned in earlier posts I'm changing a lot of my thought and approaches that I took on the first half of my life for the second.

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