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2018 – Goals and Wishes

This cold weather is ridiculous. One thing I have always enjoyed about Virginia is that our winters aren’t too extreme. Yes, we had 4 feet of snow a couple of years ago.  And we’ll have 3-4 days where it gets cold. But this past streak of cold weather is crazy. I know it is colder other places and I’m glad I’m not there.  Because of this cold weather I really haven’t been out hiking.  I have made a couple of trips to a single trail where I take photos and I have been out photographing birds but that’s about it.  This post will be dedicated to my goals and wishes. I won’t call them resolutions because I am adverse to that word.

Spartan Goals

I have already signed up for my Sprint (DC) and my Super (Asheville). I just have to solidify my Beast at some point. I wish there were more Beasts near me. It looks most likely that I’ll do West Virginia due to its date (provided my son doesn’t have a tournament that weekend).  I am pretty excited to get my Trifecta again. Now, I have to pick up the training. I know what I have to do to train for Asheville – I just have to do it. That includes eating. I’m a lazy eater. I hate going to the grocery store and while I enjoy cooking, I’d just rather not.  Overall, the biggest goal for Spartan (aside from the Trifecta) is running my Sprint fast. I’ll be with a big group from my gym but I won’t be helping the newbies this time. I hope they understand.

Hiking

I am slowly making my way through 500 miles at Shenandoah National Park. It is slow going because that’s a lot of miles. But I do want to knock out at least 100 miles this year. That takes a lot of time. However, I will make it part of my Spartan Training. Some of those trails I will run (or partially) and I will, towards the end of spring, push towards more 8-10 mile hikes.  Additionally, my son and I want to visit the Sand Cave in Southwestern Virginia and we’ll hike the Grayson Highlands during spring break.

Photography

The end of 2017 was great for my photography.  I can say I actually made some money. Not a lot when you consider the costs involved and the money I’ve put into it, but, I sold quite a bit at a craft fair and have sold prints and calendars to friends. I think that I may be making a very small name for myself and hopefully those sales will increase. That means I need a better website. I do have one but I am considering one that I pay for (like SmugMug).  I’m hoping this makes it easier for people to order prints.  I may never be able to quit my job because I make enough with my photos but it is a nice goal to have (and I love working towards it).

Personal

The last 6 years have been very crazy for me personally. I won’t go into the reasons why for that but there has been a lot of heartache. I am hoping to develop some new friends (anyone?) and actually DO things with those friends. That means finding people with the same interests and that’s not always easy. Not everyone wants to hike 10 miles.  The fall of 2018 will also mark my daughter’s senior year of high school. When I put the last day of that school year on my calendar the tears started flowing. It was a bit surreal.

What goals do you have for 2018? Anyone else running those Spartan races?

A Long 10 Months…

Last year I accomplished a big goal of mine – earning my Spartan Trifecta. For those who aren’t familiar a Spartan Race is an Obstacle Course Race (OCR). The Trifecta consists of three races:

  • Sprint – 3-5 miles
  • Super – 8-10 miles
  • Beast – 12-15 miles

I completed my Beast last year on my 45th birthday. I made a crucial mistake after that race. I didn’t rest and recovery enough. Because of that it set off 10 months of health issues and injuries.

The first few months I dealt with horrible asthma and breathing issues. I finally got checked by an asthma doctor and found out I had really bad allergies to basically everything I’m around daily. She asked me to stop working out because of the stress on my heart from the laborious breathing. Finally, the meds starting working and I was given the okay to workout.

10 days later I fell running a trail and sprained my ankle. As I sat there and cried I felt a lot of frustrations. I wondered just how long it would be before I could workout again. I got myself up, found a stick, and hobbled 1.5 miles back to my car. Six weeks recovery ordered by my physical therapist.

Almost six weeks to the day I was out walking and stepped on a wet rock. And there goes my knee. I knew it was bad.  It was the worst pain I had experienced in a long time. I, again, had to get back to my car. I was worried I would need surgery but thankfully the MRI showed nothing was torn. So off to physical therapy I went. It was slow-going. I felt like it would never get better. It was a month before I could even turn over in bed without pain. I asked them about my upcoming Spartan Sprint – the only one I had registered for this year – and they were confident they could get me there. 2x a week I went and endured the pain. When I would complain the response was, “You’ll thank me when you’re running!” Finally, they gave me the okay to start running. But even that was slow as I kept having pain.

Just two weeks ago, doing a kettle bell swing, my knee hurt tremendously. I stopped, did a different exercise, and more pain. I stopped all workouts.  I almost decided to not run the race. But I was determined. I love goals. And just went ahead with it. I would be racing alone. That doesn’t bother me anymore. I didn’t want anyone holding me back or pushing me too hard.

Now all of these things are physical issues. But through the past ten months I had personal set backs as well. I won’t go into deep details but I was in a lot of personal pain. Anxiety. Depression. And, at times, wondering if anyone cared at all. I was ready to quietly exit people’s lives knowing they wouldn’t miss me. And then came the realization that someone important in my life had some mental issues that caused them to hurt me repeatedly. I had to cut them out to save myself. Cutting someone out of your life isn’t easy. Especially when they are the one you rely on to encourage you, support you, and you do the same for them. But when they aren’t capable of being that way without causing you pain you have to make the hard decisions. As I look back over the past 10 months, as much physical pain I endured, this was worse.  I never shared how close I was to just wanting to die.

Yesterday I drove to the race. I wasn’t nervous. I had a plan: to walk the race. I figured I would take it easy. As the race started I jogged. And I felt good. I walked up the hills. I ran down the ones I could. I ran when it was flat. I made it through all the non-grip strength obstacles. And I did modified burpees. And I finished faster than I ever have. When I crossed that line I felt amazing. I knew that I could put the past 10 months behind me and have a fresh, new start. I feel like I can move forward with my fitness and get back to where I was last year.

One of the ideas promoted by Spartan Race is that the body is stronger than we think. And that if we can train our minds to get past the immediate pain or uncomfortabless we can do amazing things. I tested that yesterday and it was true. As I trudged up the hill holding the bucket, breathing harder than ever, my mind took over and I didn’t stop. I made it to the dumping of the rocks and it felt like I dumped the past 10 months with it. It can be done.

So now I push forward and start a new story!

Finisher!!!