Things I Think – Thursday 5/20/15

Funerals, Bikers, Love, Pie and Great Friendships

I apologize for not writing last week, I had to attend the funeral of my great Uncle Orman Blythe. So many great things happened that week too, but I was unable to finish and frankly I was not motivated to complete it before Thursday. So this week is a mash up of everything and yes once again I have a section of love, I swear I may never get another blog post without some type of mention of love. Oh the tragedy of being a hopeless romantic!

Funeral

Yes it is a sad day when you have to attend a funeral, especially of a relative. But one thing I learned, is sometimes not all funerals are all that sad. Don’t get me wrong, losing a loved one has to be one of the hardest things to experience, but in this case my great uncle “Bly” was 93 years old and lived a spectacular life.  He is only outlived by my great aunt (his sister) who is 97! My uncle was in WWII and a member of the Waco Police Department for over 30 years. He lived an awesome life, loved his children, grand children and great grand children. Now he is with the love of his life again and I am sure happier than ever.  With full military honors, it was definitely a funeral that took your breath away once taps started playing. We will miss you Uncle Orman!

Bikers

I have been a “Biker” since I was 16 years old. I may not be the “Hells Angels” type of guy you typically think of when you hear the term biker, but that doesn’t mean I am also just a weekend yuppie. Yes I take trips all over the country, yes I wear leathers and yes I have tattoos. Just because a chosen few give most of us a bad reputation, the majority of people who ride motorcycles are not bad people. My mother is a “biker”, my father is a “biker”, and my brother is a “biker” and I have a ton of friends who ride. We are not criminals, we are not Sons of Anarchy material, but we ride.

So it is a shame that the situation in Waco happened last weekend. Everyone has a point of view, I think there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered but at the end of the day, please do not crucify the rest of us for the poor decisions of others. I would argue that there are probably 80% or higher of motorcycle clubs who do nothing but charity work and charity rides. The Patriot Guard Riders with whom I also ride with, are not bad people. So don’t be afraid of someone on an motorcycle and please watch out for them.

Speaking of biker stuff, if you happen to be in Washington D.C. this weekend, it is the annual Rolling Thunder ride. They honor the POW/MIA along with anyone who has served and was lost during our wars, conflicts or whatever you call what we are currently doing. I expect there to be close to a million motorcycles there for the parade which starts at the Pentagon and ends up at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. I have partaken in this even four separate times and every time it was more breathtaking and emotional than the time before.  If you get a chance, grab your lawn chair and watch the parade, salute the veterans and enjoy the sound of rolling thunder echo throughout D.C..

Random thought of the day

circle-questionI think pregnant women are smoking hot. Although I have not experienced it yet, I believe that any woman pregnant with my child…would be sooo smoking hot to me!         #justsayin 

Love

So when I was at my uncle’s funeral, there was a poem in the program, which was my uncles favorite poem. The poem is called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. Below you will find the whole thing, but here is an excerpt that I love the most.

quoteFor it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

Let that sink in for a minute. I think I have mentioned this a few weeks back, crazy, it doesn’t matter what we own or what we have all that matters is how we spend our dash. Go ahead and read the poem if you must but in a nut shell it talks about how we are born and we die and what we do in between those to dots or end points is our dash.

Well you know how I am living my dash, you see it every week. You think I am crazy, I am a traveler, an adventurer and seeker of fun. Well I say YOLO!! When you come to my funeral, I hope you know I lived my life to the fullest and I truly had no regrets in life.  Which leads me to the next favorite verse here:

quoteAnd be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before. 

Another example of what I have been trying to do. One of my goals for the year was to love harder.  I think I have been doing that exceptionally well! So if you are in my life and have become more than just an acquaintance, get ready for the wild ride and know I choose carefully the people in my life, so I love all my friends and would give anything for them.

Without further ado…here is the poem:

​The Dash
by Linda Ellis copyright 1996

​I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
​the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

​So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

When I was at my uncles funeral, a friend messaged me to give condolences and then as we were chatting asked me this question which caught me totally off guard “What was his greatest accomplishment?” I was stumped for a second and I wasn’t sure what to answer, so I asked my cousin (his daughter) this question and her answer was “Finding my mom”.  She thought that over his WWII service, his 30 years as a decorated police officer, finding his true love as she put it was his greatest accomplishment. Then the stories went of them cooking in the kitchen, vacations, how family oriented he was and how he loved his family more than anything. A marriage that lasted 57 years and only because his sweet Dot passed away did it not go on longer. I admire that, I admire that a whole hell of a lot. Finding love is so difficult and to have it that long is amazing and something I hope to have someday. Love Hard…live your dash…

Pie

pieTwo weeks ago on our roadtrip to Austin (coming soon) we stopped at one of my favorite restaurants on the backroads to ATX.  So the new motto after this trip is “Pie Fixes Everything” and now I firmly believe it does. So if you are having a bad day, just go and get yourself a nice piece of pie! (PHRASING!)

 Great Friendships

Friendships seem to be hard to come by for me at times, sure I have a lot of acquaintances but if you know me really well and have reached my inner circle, that is saying something. With that said, over the last year I have submerged myself into racing and traveling and the whole OCR world. I have met and become friends with people all over the country. Over the past two weekends I have met some new people who I am sure are going to be good friends and I also created bonds with current friends which have only grown stronger.

IMG_1058I am so proud of my friend Melissa, she asked me one month out from her event to hold her accountable. So we started training once a week together. I put together a program to work on her trouble spots and we worked on her breathing. This was her redemption race as she called it. She wanted to do it without help and all by herself. So we trained, trained and trained.  On race day she wouldn’t let me go with her, she wanted to be alone. So I waited. I figured what her time might be and I camped out at the finish line. I even made friends stay with me and we all waited. Then we saw her, she struggled on the last couple obstacles and did burpees, but she knocked them out like no ones business. I was able to give her, her medal as she crossed the finish and a great big hug. She had no idea that I was going to be there, or anyone for that matter. But as a coach, how could I not. One of the best feelings in the world is watching someone accomplish something they worked so hard for and you helped them attain it. Plus this woman holds a special place in my heart, last year when I finished the Spartan World Championships in Vermont, after 7 hours and 43 minutes, she was the only person there.  She was cheering and hugged me as I crossed. When you are tired and nearly exhausted, that is the best feeling in the world. I was very happy to be a part of her redemption race! Congrats Melissa!

One of the highlights of the second weekend was getting to walk the second super with my friend Meg. With my torn up ankle and she had calf issues, she talked me into walking the super. One of the best times I have had in a while, just not being overly competitive, but hanging out with a good friend for 3 hours while having fun. We even finished the fire jump with dueling cannonballs!

Other friendships sometimes take a different turn.  My friend Natasha and I ran the sprint on Saturday and now have a bond forever. She truly inspires me, when I think my life is bad, well it is not.  If you want to read about our adventure, you can read it here.

Finally, I have to say I have met some pretty incredible people over the last couple of weeks.  But a huge shout-out goes to the friend who set their alarm the morning of my race because they know I get up super early, I mean I get up at 3am. Just to talk to you, just to say good luck, keep you company as you prepare for your race. These people are very rare…keep them.

Another random thought:

circle-questionHave you ever spoken to someone so dumb you had to squint to listen?

 

Music

Now or Never – Phoebe Ryan

Fearless – Jochen Miller

 

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers!

Making Natasha a Spartan

Austin, Texas 5/16/2015 – Spartan Sprint

quote“There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.”

~Kurt Hahn

Every once in a great while, you get an opportunity to change someone’s life.  I find most of the time I have no idea if something I did or said has made any impact on anyone’s lives. Sometimes I get emails from people who tell me I did, but I don’t go out trying to be a difference maker, I live my life and if I can be an example then I am happy to hear how I have inspired you in some way.

Last December my friend Natasha was in the ICU unit and posted on facebook she would love some company or someone to visit her and bring movies.  So of course I grabbed some DVD’s and went right up there.  I still get confused as to her illness (I’ll explain in a minute) but I gladly went up to visit. Unfortunately at the time she was under some heavy sedation so we did get a chance to talk in between her naps. I watched her sleep and chilled for a few hours. I don’t know if she really remembers everything, but I am sure she was grateful I was there if just for a short time.

I monitor her status from time to time and she has been living in the hospital basically for the last few years. Well this past week she commented on one of my pictures at how great I was doing at my runs. I privately asked her how she was doing and she said she had been out of the hospital for the past 3 weeks and was feeling great. In jest I mentioned if she ever wanted to run a race I would make her a spartan. Well she took me up on the offer! She decided on a Friday afternoon to up and participate in the Reebok Spartan Race Sprint in Austin, Texas the next day.

 Natasha’s Illness

So what I found out is that Natasha actually suffers from Eosinophilic Disease. What is an Eosinophil? An evil white blood cell that is a type of B cell. It has one job: attack parasites in the body. In her case these cells went rogue. Two (2) in every million people have  EGPA. In her case the Eosinophils are attacking multiple organs. EOS diseases have NO cure & NO FDA approved treatment. Let that sink in. We fight a losing battle daily with band-aid medications that rarely work.

She is currently in Stage 3, this is the last stage of her illness, and the cause of her recently mild heart attack. Yes you read this correct, she had a heart attack in March 2015 and is also on the transplant list for a new heart. Oh yeah and she also undergoes up to 5-hours of experimental Chemotherapy to fight this.

In September of 2014, she received her “death sentence” as she calls it, they told her she had give or take 5-years to live. As she told me “I no longer consider my illness a death sentence because I keep fighting through the tough times. Like I’ve said before, I’m Chronically Fabulous!” These are words of a true fighter.

The Race

Most of what I actually knew of her illness I learned during our race. I had no idea of some of these things when I asked her to do this, like the heart attack or that her cardiologist was probably going to hunt me down and shoot me because she has a strict no exercise policy or lifting anything over 5lbs.

But we started our adventure on the course at her insistence, she told me her illness was not going to determine how she lives her life and jokingly stated this could kill her today but it would be fun.  I guess it is a good thing she signed the Spartan “death waiver” then huh? So she tells me YOLO and off we go towards the start line.

Seriously I am a little worried at this point, but she is all smiles and doesn’t have a care in the world. We are in the starting coral and yelling AROO, AROO, AROO and now I can see it all sinking in, this is about to get real.

Just to review:

  • Heart attack in March (2-months ago)
  • On the heart transplant list
  • No exercise or lifting over 5lbs
  • She forgot her inhaler
  • 6-days post race she goes in for 5-hours of chemo

So armed with her feeding tube (yes still in), oh yeah she can’ eat real food either, her chemo port and the biggest smile ever, we took off on our Reebok Spartan Race adventure.

So off we go, walking our way to glory.

Mile 1

As we start off we instantly start talking about the past 6-months or so. Sometimes I am amazed at how fast time flies by. This is where I learn of her disease in depth, all the restrictions and how we shouldn’t even be walking. But she won’t quit so we keep going. She went up and over the saw horse looking things and then the 6-foot wall, at first it was intimidating, then she went for it and made it!

We hit the 1-mile marker and and she asked me if it was really a mile. Then it gets silent for a second and I can see something going on in there and she tells me, if you had asked her if she would have ever done this, she would have said no. I could tell she was proud of herself and she was ready to keep going.

Miles 2, 3, 4

It seems I did most of the talking, (I know imagine that!) but it was okay because we were working on her breathing and keeping her heart rate low. So I talked and talked and talked some more. I had plenty to say, it has been a busy 6-months!

As we approached the obstacles, she did just about all of them. I stuck the spear throw for her and then let her try, she had obviously never done that before and it did go straight, just not enough arm.  I asked her if she played softball as I was showing her how I throw it and the response was “No, I was a cheerleader!” okay then, cheer for me!

I did the rig pipe thingy because they would not allow me to assist her in any way to even try and she could not hold herself up there, so no big deal I knocked that out.

I carried her sandbag and mine too, can’t break the lifting restrictions and the water was a refreshing break.  This  is where we almost called it a day. You could say she was a bit stubborn and refused to let her illness stop her from at least trying the things that were doable. But her heart rate was going off the charts and we ended up sitting down at the water station to rest.

She wanted the medic and then didn’t want the medic so we sat and we talked and I tried to crack tasteless jokes to lighten the mood. Then I told her about my Houston Battlefrog DNF and how my motto for the Dallas Battlefrog was “Not Today.” So I told her that was her new motto to, not today. You are not dying or quitting this race today. Tomorrow you can, but not today! Then we looked around and I pointed out all of the other people just sitting around, taking breaks, goofing off, not doing anything. You see she felt bad she had to stop and was mad that she couldn’t lower her heart rate a tad. Then I calmly stated the obvious…what was their excuse? They were all healthy people, granted maybe out of shape, but they don’t have a death sentence or chemo therapy this week or a heart attack a couple months back. At this point it was like I turned on a light switch, she looked at me and said “yeah, what is their excuse?” she looked around and mumbled you are all healthy people just sitting around, then she stood up and off we went.

I also ended up doing the sled pull for obvious reasons, but she did do the Z-wall, even after much discussion on if should could, well she could and she did! She also did her own barbwire crawl and did the tunnel crawl.

But after the tunnel she saw the hill. She became petrified she would not make it up such a steep incline. She asked the volunteer to call for a medic just in case she died on the way up, no lie her words. The volunteer walked with us, we went slow and steady, up and over the big rocks and when she got to the top, out came a big “I did it!” and a huge smile and a high five! She truly has no idea how inspiring this is right now that she is just beasting this course. I mean, she isn’t even supposed to be walking to the mailbox! I told her the hard stuff is over, we are almost there. Then we took a selfie! :)

mountain selfie

Mile 4 Mile Marker was another milestone for us. When she saw the sign, knowing we had roughly a mile left she got really excited and of course we took the gratuitous picture. With her heart racing and struggling to get her breathing under control she looked at me and said “well crap, I’ve come this far, I can’t quit now with a mile left”…no, no you can not, not today.

Mile 4Continuing on we just keep going, I scale the 10-foot wall and then we approach the floating bridge. Without hesitation she gets up on it and starts across. On the last one she jumps off and immediately her arms shoot over her head and starts jumping up and down in the water. What a sight to see, such a huge smile on her face. When I get over to her, she is out of the water and on the shore and crying. I instantly think something is wrong and I ask if she is okay and needs a medic and you know what? It was a happy cry, she got so emotional completing that obstacle she broke down. I told her not to waste her tears on this one, you save them for when you leap over the fire and get that medal!

On we go, walking to the bucket carry she was having issues and we stopped and again I was about to get the medic. But she no, and just said when she got so excited it took its toll. Actually the whole day had now taken its toll on her and every step was a milestone. She marched on to the bucket carry and got some water and rested while I completed it with no problem.

The Last March

You can hear the festival area, I kept telling her we were so close, but the walking was really starting to break her down. I offered to piggy back ride her, but no that was not an option. It took a while but we made it to the slip wall, I knocked it out. I did the Herc hoist, Tarzan swing and I kicked the bell for her on the rope climb. Then we marched to the dunk wall. I could see the terrified look on her face. I told her not to get in but she did, then she started to hyperventilate of the thought of holding her breath and going under. In the end she did it, like a champ! Nothing but smiles as we get out and look to the fire.

The fire took awhile for her to go, but at this point we were not in a rush. I know her breathing was an issue and I think the thought of jumping over fire and into a water pit may have also been somewhat intimidating. She looked like a lioness actually, she was staring it down, pacing back and forth looking at it as if where to attack it. I am just standing off to the side waiting, my plan was to go with her and jump together and get it all on video from the side view. She walked up to me as if to talk to me and then she just took off.

I am so happy she went, but it was the funniest moment of my day. I wasn’t expecting it, I was a step behind trying to catch up to video and she also kinda blocked me and went to the far right. I was behind and now worried about landing on her, but I just pulled up and went in right behind her. Then I heard it. That laugh. That happy laugh I had heard all day every time she accomplished something.  We climbed out of the pit and marched to the finish and she got her medal.

It was hard to not break down. While her little heart was bursting from over use and stress, my was the complete opposite, sure I was getting choked up but my heart was full. I made her a Spartan and now I know no matter what life throws at her, she will always have this moment to reflect on. I hope this makes her stronger when she gets sick again and we end up watching movies together. I guess the next time I can take 300 and the sequel and we can yell our AROO AROO AROO down the ICU hall! Hopefully I don’t have to do that for awhile. For now, I will visit on chemo day and we can laugh about our adventure.

Natasha we may not get 5-years more with you, but I hope we get more. You have a fragile heart, but it is a heart of a warrior and you have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. Thank you for allowing me to bring you this special moment. I look forward to more adventures in the future! I am so very proud of you for this accomplishment.

Here is our video of the EPIC day.

The Day I Actually Quit

The longest 3 – Minutes Ever

quote

When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.

~Napoleon Hill

Have you ever flipped that switch in your head and you become almost obsessed with something? Well that happened to me when I DNF’d at Battlefrog Houston earlier this year. Since then I made the decision I was never going to do that again. So I got off my ass and started working out hard to achieve my goals.  It never stopped, I kept getting more and more into what I was doing and I was driven and on a mission.

Although the Spartan Race has recently lost its luster in my eyes, I was none the less excited about the upcoming Austin Races, 4-races in back to back weekends. Training was going great, my diet had also changed and I was feeling like this was actually going to be a great couple of races for me. For the first time in a long time I went into a race extremely confident and ready to perform at a high level.

I was challenged the night before to not run the OPEN race and upgrade to the ELITE MASTERS race. My camp kept telling me I was ready to take the next step. They believed I could do really well and were pretty convincing. Ultimately I went with the plan I started out with and I remained in the Open heat. Not only to I regret that decision now playing armchair QB, I knew it the moment I watched the elite men take off for the start of the Super.  But nothing you can do now I told myself, just crush the race and try to catch the women elites.

So our heat started and off we went. I always try to control myself and not get caught up in the initial sprint off, I mean it is a 9-mile race, no need to die in the first mile. So I let the knuckleheads take off but I also kept a good pace myself. The beginning was all trail and I train on this, so I felt good. I caught up to the small group who took off and I was passing them. I even yelled out “on your left” as I was going by. Then it happened. I took my eyes off the technical trail with the wet slippery rocks for a second to look ahead at the group I was passing and my left foot came down, the ankle slipped and rolled on a wet rock and I heard a “POP” sound, this was worse than anything I had ever heard before with my ankles. I came down hard too, full force on the foot.  I took a knee, in near tears with the pain.

Time: 3:31

Yes I took a knee, I looked at my watch and I was only three minutes and 31 seconds into the race. My ankle was throbbing and I was not sure what to do. People started to run by now, people asking me if I was okay and each time I responded with “No, I am not.” Reflecting now, this was the first time I ever got hurt and admitted it. I mean like, I was saying, “yes I am hurt and I need help” never in a million years did I ever thing this would happen. I remember I could not put any weight on the ankle, I couldn’t stand, so I just kept kneeling and semi rubbing it. There were offers for people to send back a medic and one guy said he would tell the next water station for me.  I was in a state of bewilderment. All I could think was “why is this happening to me? I was in great shape and I was ready, this was supposed to be my race! I was supposed to kill it and then show them and myself maybe I can run with the elites.” Then I hear a familiar voice. My new friend Darlene came up and started talking me, made me stand up. I told her I was done. I couldn’t race, I needed to just head back towards the start line.  So we started walking back,  back to the start line, back to the festival area, away from the race.

During this walk so many emotions started going through my head, “what would people think?” for starters, I know I shouldn’t care but still, that goes through my head. I didn’t want the sympathy, I didn’t want to let down all of the people I trained with, the ones who took time to train me, I was feeling this defeat and I could feel myself getting emotional. I know Darlene was talking to me and I half remember what she was saying over the voices in my head. But then something happened, the foot started feeling a bit better, so I tightened up the laces on my shoe and I stopped walking the wrong way. I looked and Darlene and I said I can’t quit. I just can’t do it. I absolutely had to cross that finish line, even if I was crawling I was going to cross that finish line. She told me to lightly jog and see how it felt, so I did. It felt good, only some sharpe pain here and there. But then I started running a bit faster and then a bit faster and then I just took off.

quoteWhy is this happening to me? I was in great shape and I was ready, this was supposed to be my race! I was supposed to kill it and then show them and myself maybe I can run with the elites.”

I looked at my watch and this whole thing took a little over three minutes. Darlene was running with me and I told her, it was starting to feel good and now I was pissed that I just lost 3-minutes.  Her comment was something like “just run faster then and catch up, its a long race still.” So off I went to cross the finish line.

I was actually very surprised at how I actually was able to keep going. Mile after mile, obstacle after obstacle. I did twist the ankle three more times during the race, two were very slight tweaks and one was a good roll again on a wet rock. It wasn’t until around mile 8 when I hit the wall. Which is odd because I was actually putting down a good pace on mile 7, I was passing female elites and I had not failed an obstacle.  Mile 9 was hell, for some reason as long as I kept running I was good, when we stopped for any reason, I was getting bad. The last barb wire crawl, the tubes, and the sled pull, all actually hurt. Walking was becoming difficult but I motored on, I went slow through the rolling hills and I carefully went over the floating docs, but I couldn’t run as we approached the bucket carry.  I went through the bucket carry and then I tried to run to the festival area, I am glad there was no one there to watch because it was ugly. It was a jog/hobble combo thing. Slip wall was no biggie, up and over the bridge and then the Tarzan swing,  the only thing I failed. I think it as a combo of things why, but I was for sure doing everything off one foot, but I doubt that was why.  So I did my burpees (so easy when you practice them!) The rope climb was no problem and then the fire jump. It was a sad day, I didn’t jump (yes no fire jump pose) I calmly stepped over it and into the water pit, crawled out and crossed the finish line.

I crossed the finish line, mission accomplished. I basically walked right through the finish area without stopping and made a beeline to the medical tent. I got wrapped and ice and called it a day. I was sad I didn’t get to race the Sprint the next day, but the swelling was worse and it hurt to walk so I thought it would be a good idea to just lay low. Of course this did mean that I could be cheerleader to my friends, take pictures and try to take it easy.

So I learned something about myself again this past weekend, I do have a never give up mentality. I could have easily called it a day, but I didn’t, I forged on. What really makes me feel both good about things and somewhat disappointed at the same time is that I ended up with this time:Screenshot 2015-05-13 14.04.11I am pretty pumped about this considering I had a bum ankle and when I compared my times with the elite masters, I would have taken 5th place. So I think I do have the confidence now to try and run the elite class and say goodbye to the Open heats.

One more weekend lies ahead and I am not ever sure at this point if I will be able to compete or not. So for now I am resting this week, staying off the foot and hoping I can feel good enough to at least run the Sprint on Saturday. If not, I will have my camera and video camera, so I can take a ton of pics!

 My name is Travis and I talk to strangers!

Things I Think – Thursday 5/7/15

Boxing, Eating Healthy, ISIS in Texas, Just Being Okay, and This

So I had planned to not write anything about being in love or relationships or any of that stuff this week since I had been in both of the previous posts. But dang it, crap happens, people ask me for advice (why I have no idea, have you seen my track record?) and BAM! I have thoughts. So here goes this week…

Boxing

By now everyone knows what happened in the May-Pac fight last Saturday.  I for one can honestly say this was the first time since Mike Tyson fought that I have attended a house party to watch a boxing match. Too bad this fight should have happened years ago when they were both better fighters. But needless to say, we all crowded around the TV and watched for something EPIC. Well I can say I had not laughed that hard in a long time. The fight, well that was just ridiculous, it was boring and May2842614200000578-0-image-a-114_1430627226447weather just hugged and danced and occasionally threw a punch.  No, what I am talking about are the entrances by both people. Now that was some funny ass shit. First you have Pac, with Jimmy Kimmel looking all tough as his celebrity tough guy. Seriously he looked like one of the guys from Run DMC! But the all-time best was the selfie right before they entered the arena. The trainer, Pac and Kimmel…priceless.

Oh yeah and on the other side, Mayweather we all knew he had the Biebs in his corner, but when they first turn on the camera as he starts to come out, we don’t see that turd, no we see Burger King. The third funniest thing all night! Seriously, Burger King walked Mayweather to the ring…

So to me this says just one thing, in this age of social media and self promotion, we can’t even be serious in sports anymore because everyone is trying so hard to get noticed. In reality the “Selfie” was an advertisement by Samsung.  I thought Pac looked ridiculous and so did his one corner man who looked like a NASCAR driver with all of the logos covering his jacket and he has on compression sleeves (with advertisement) I mean really? Where is the fighter like Tyson was, you know, black shorts, no socks and a freaking towel for a robe, that he cut the center out of to wear like a poncho. Now that was a fighter. Yes boxing is dead, nobody cares anymore and I miss great fighters like Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns. I think I would rather watch Rocky IX than anymore PPV boxing matches.

Eating Healthy

I have always had a very high metabolism. I usually eat anything I want and I have been okay with that. When I started this fitness journey about 5 years ago, it was simply because I was tired of my spare tire and I wanted to get active again. I spent basically 9-years doing nothing but sitting on the couch. So one of the first things I started to do was just eat better. I cut out the fried foods and soda as much as I could, but I still ate just about anything.

So I have been on cruise control through this journey until the end of last year. Then something amazing happened to me.  I met someone who for all intents and purposes, changed my life. It might sound silly but being around someone who eats healthy food seriously changed my eating habits and put me on the right path. I like to think I try new things, but in reality I don’t, I know I don’t eat seafood, in fact I don’t even try it.  I have preconceived notions of things either my family put in my head or I had a bad experience with. So I eat the same ole same ole.

I have a friend whose kids eat at the same three places every week. They eat the same foods every-time. My change started there, with trying to get them to eat more than chips and queso. I called it “Trying new things” and it worked some. Fast forward and I was asked to eat things like asparagus, artichokes and salads with kale and spinach. WTF? Can you be serious right now? I don’t that crap, don’t vegetarians eat that stuff? But you know it all goes back to the kids, they are like sponges and often times they repeat or like what you do. So once again the “trying new things” even if it was one bite came into effect.

But more than just trying new food, I am now in love with it. Sweet potatoes, umm yes please! Kale, I friggin’ love it! Artichokes, it gives me gas but hey I eat the crap out of it now and asparagus, I’ll eat it if cooked just right! But more than just the food, I am cooking it better by using coconut oil. I spent the first three months of this year eating stuff that I never would have eaten in the past. But it’s not only the food, I also cut out a lot of toxic things as well. Then in the past few months, I have met some uber heathly people, chefs who cook amazing healthy food and they have introduced me to more things. The kicker in all of this? I have embraced the “try new things” to a whole new level. I actually ate fish and calamari…and liked it! So thank you to all of you who have guided me to these new foods and way of life. Yes it is a way of life, not a diet.  Sure I have my cheat meals too, I mean come one I love pizza and cheeseburgers!

At the time of writing this I had an awesome call with a trainer and nutritionist who is going to further help with my nutrition and meal plan. I am super excited and I will have more details once we get my plan going. This is going to be awesome and hopefully will give me that boost I need. I have known this guy for years and we started talking over supplements, who actually has good products, who has good marketing and what I need for my performance. But before we do that, time to straighten the diet!

ISIS in Texas

All I can say is, hahahahahahaha! You really think you can come to Texas and try to strike fear into us? Seriously? In case you have not heard, two guys show up to a “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas in full body armor and start shooting. Well all it took was one police officer and a couple of shots and they were down. One 60 year old, 38 year veteran doing what he was trained to do. He neutralized the threat and nobody was seriously injured.  Now these ISIS folks claim more is to come and they have people everywhere…blah blah blah. I read today they plan on taking out all of the defenders of the Cross. Well, all I can say is that this is Texas and we have guns too, hell most of us have concealed permits and yes we can shoot also. The notion you want to destroy Texas is kinda funny actually, I mean we are almost our own country and even after all of our military bases and local law enforcement, you have all of us and yes we also have assault rifles and we probably can shoot them better that you can.  #Texasforever

Just okay

I think it is kind of ironic that I have friends that ask me for advice about relationships and life and things and stuff.  I don’t think of myself as Ann Landers by any means, I mean my own track record is nothing to write home about, but maybe it is because I am not afraid to put myself out there and I give 100% in everything I do. With that being said, I spoke with a couple different friends about the whole “life is too short” topic and spending time with people who matter. In the end we all came to the same conclusion.  If you are in a relationship because it is safe, easy, not complicated, and comfortable, but you are unhappy…what is the point? There seems to be two options, stay and make it work (because relationships are work and you need to talk shit out) or move on. Most of us don’t like the moving on piece because we have to change everything and we are all afraid of change.  Besides sometimes there is a reason you are with that person, it is not like we are in arranged marriages or relationships like 500 years ago.

My advice to my friends, was simple, you need to talk it out. Don’t let if fester and then you just explode, don’t live unhappy. I did it and it is no the way to go. Tell them you are unhappy and then make a plan to fix it. It doesn’t always work out, but in the end we need to be happy.  I truly believe in the “No Regrets” policy. I don’t want to regret that I shoulda, coulda, woulda, done something.

I can talk all day about this, but I came across this little saying and it spoke volumes to me and I hope it does to you as well.

11226884_894778860565016_863182522_n

 This

I came across this the other day and I had to think and reflect on it a bit. Someday, somewhere…this…

I love you for everything baby … I want you to be and have positive thoughts … Everything will fall into place …It’s gonna be hard .. But smile be positive and think of me .. And us.

I love you because :
You’re strong.
You’re beautiful.

I love you because even on my worst days, when I just want to throw in life’s towel and give up on everything, you’re always there, still cheering me on.

I love you because even though you’re all of the way over there, and I’m all of the way over here, you’ll always be with me.

I love you because you know I love you.

I love you because even when I’ve failed to provide more recent reasons for my affection, you still know how much I care.

I love you because even if you deserve and could easily have better, you still choose and love me everyday.

I love you because even though the distance and time apart seems so much harder after each visit, my love for you grows more and more with each passing moment.

I love you because I’d give my life just to have one single breath of you.

I love you because you are more to me than you will ever understand. You’re everything.

I love you because I don’t want to be the center of anyone’s attention but yours.

I love you because I’m with you now; you can shut your eyes knowing I always will be.

I love you because you’re making my fantasies come true. I Just care about having them with you

I love you because my hand fits perfectly in yours.

I love you because we’re going to make all of our dreams come true together

I love you and I go out of my way to try and impress you.

I love you because your eyes are not only beautiful for aesthetic reasons, but when you look me in the eyes I feel like you know me better than anyone else.

I love you because you believe in me.

I love because you love me and we argue over who loves each other the most.

I love you because we can talk about our future together comfortably. Because we both know that not only can we last long enough to have a future together-BUT WE WILL.

~Anonymously Once Upon A Time… Do they live happily ever after? One could hope this day and age….

Music

I debated what to feature this week, old school, new releases or just my favorites.  So I threw in one of each!

Michael Jackson – Rock With You

Hootie and the Blowfish – Hold my Hand

Better than Ezra – Crazy Lucky

Things I Think – Thursday 4/30/15

Riots, Relationships, Workouts, Athlete Pages and Spartan Koolaid

I have gathered my thoughts for a week and here is what I think this week.

Riots

All I can say is that I am totally disgusted with the ignorant people who live in our country. Now that one city has done it, people everywhere are going to act like a bunch of heathens and burn cities to the ground.  This is absolutely the stupidest thing I have ever seen. I think everyone arrested or identified as stealing and looting needs to have their homes and cars confiscated and put in jail. How are they gonna feel losing everything. Sure the situation surrounding the riot is heartbreaking, but how about a little faith in our justice system and that the investigation into the death will be dealt with.  It makes me sick that we have these idiots ruining our country. Lastly, kudos to the police and the national  guard. That moron that got snatched up on CNN was epic. More of that is needed! I mean why is everyone crying foul? Curfew was 10pm, it was like 10:38pm and he was out on the street in violation of the law, I don’t care what he was saying whether it was peaceful or derogatory, it was past curfew and they arrested his ass. So…what is the problem?

Relationships

I have thought a lot lately about relationships, mostly because I recently have gone through some shit. No worries this isn’t a woe is me post and I am not crying. But I do have another revelation which has caused me to re-evaluate how I approach things moving forward.  You see this may come as a shocker to the people who know me best, but I am a stubborn son of a bitch.  Which isn’t always a bad thing, but it can lead to some serious headbutting. With that being said here is my new profound approach to how I am going to think moving forward. It all comes down to these simple three questions I need to ask myself.

  1. Do you love this person
  2. Do you love this person enough to want to spend an extremely long amount of time with them…IE married or just 40 years or so.
  3. Does the love you have for this person make you want to embed them into your life so much you see yourself having a family. Either a new created one or just make two parts one whole and then establish an existing one.

So let me break this down and explain more in detail. #1 seems pretty simple right? Well sometimes you can think you are in love and in actually you are in love with an idea. That was me last year.  You know you are in love, when you want to shout from the rooftops to tell the world. You are not embarrassed to be around them and you want all of your friends to meet that person. It also means you drive over 4 hours at the drop of the hat, because all you want to is see that person and when you get there, it is a surprise and you don’t say anything except this “I just wanted to to tell you that I am madly, deeply in love with you and I wanted to know and I couldn’t wait another minute” you know that whole “if tomorrow never comes” type of thing.

I know #2 and #3 may seem like the same thing, but they are not. I want a family, that is not a surprise to anyone who knows me. Of course I want to have my own children, sometimes life throws you curve balls, so in the end if I never have my own, but I come across someone who already does, I would be just as content being in their lives and making them better human beings.

Synopsis

So why am I on my soapbox? I am sure to most people this makes perfect sense and they already know this…well my friends this is my blog and it is what I am thinking! Seriously though, here is my revelation, outside of those three things, nothing else really matters.  It doesn’t matter if you live in a 3000 sq foot home or a 900 sq foot apartment,  big city living or life in the country. It doesn’t matter if you live in Texas, Colorado or take up a gypsy lifestyle and travel the world. None of that matters, because in the end all that matters is that you are with that person.  So from now on I am open to the possibilities of grand adventure, you want to buy a bus and travel the country…lets go, as long as we are together it’s all okay.

We all have our 3, 5, 10 year plans and honestly we all have goals and tasks we need to get ahead in life. I have a ton of goals in which I want to carry out both in my personal and professional life. But then again when this crazy world throws at you a curve ball, you know like telling you what you had planned is great and all, now go do it while trying to fit this love in your life.

So this leads me to my second thought,  compromise. Embedding another person into your daily life is difficult, you find that things start to change, your schedule gets off and you start to wonder “what the hell.” Happens a lot, mixing in is a struggle. But here is the deal, I learned a valuable lesson, I can’t always help people, I have to learn the balance between trying to make someone’s life easier and completely taking it over to do things my way.  So I need to compromise better, understand that things can be a certain way and its really okay.  We all have to make sacrifices sometimes and the hard part is determining what you can live without and what you can’t. Trust me, don’t wait until it is too late to figure this out. I often do this, I don’t see it until I reflect on things long after the fact.  Because in the end all that matters is that you are together and living a happy life.  This saying pretty much sums up everything I want, no relationship! I want a partner and partners work together to make it awesome.

Photo Apr 26, 23 16 51

Workouts

I am sure you can tell I have hit the workout thing a bit more aggressively than usual. I hate to post crap about me doing workouts and what not, because for the most part, everyone pretty much knows I workout to run the races. I am not a trainer, I am not a leader of a fitness movement, but recently I had another revelation (I know right like two of these suckers in a short time!) and I do like to humble-brag some on my accomplishments.

But first and foremost I need to apologize to some people and if they actually read this, you know who you are.  You see last summer I really became serious about getting better. Not because I wanted to win money or be this great “Elite” athlete, but because I am somewhat competitive (I know shocker) I wanted to just do better at races. Well you know what happened, the winter came and I went into hibernation mode. The time change and cold weather really demotivate me. But I did have this accountability partner who actually got me moving this winter. We only butted heads over gym workouts versus running. I am not a huge gym and weights guy, in fact I normally don’t do anything except run and the occasional push-ups and pull-ups.  So yes I was an ass, I was stubborn and I failed. I failed because I didn’t do anything the whole month of February. This caused so much discontent and animosity and I added on my “winter weight” and once march hit it was ugly. I started to run again in March because I knew I had at least 2-races.

So March was an eye opener for me, I had my first DNF. I didn’t posses the tools to complete the obstacles. This fueled my fire, I kinda went nuts.  I was already heating a healthier lifestyle thanks to my awesome nutritionist [yes she changed my life (now you know this too) and I’m eating things I had never eaten before] but now it was on overdrive. I was reading more on it, asking questions and getting advice. Plus I invested in more training tools, stuff I can take out on the trails with me and busting out the old P90X workouts.

Needless to say I came back stronger at my next event and beasted it. So now that you see me going to the gym (I still hate them) to get stretched out or doing these homemade workouts, it isn’t because I never wanted to do it in the past or that it was anyone in particular. I just switched gears and found out there are things I needed to change in order to get better. I learned that osmosis does not work.  So I sincerely apologize to everyone that I was an asshat to over the winter, you were right and I was wrong. But it took me failing to see that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me to get off my ass and actually put work in. Things like:

quote“You now know what you need to do, what to train on, go do it and come back stronger”

“Not Today”

“You know if you trained more you would be a beast”

At the end of the day also, I am still a better coach than I will ever be an athlete and inspiring others to be their best is a lot more rewarding. So come workout with me, push me harder, make me better and I guarantee I will do the same with you. I love making others better!

Athlete Pages

So this is going to piss off a bunch of people including really good friends I have…but WHY!!!!???? I mean I get that we are all athletes but no one is truly a professional. I mean unless you are not working a normal job and devoting your whole life to racing like my friend KK Stewart-Paul, then yes you can have an athlete page. But I mean some of the people I see with pages I just have to ask what the purpose is? What do you post there? I mean are you trying to inspire people or make a difference in their lives with something or is it just a vanity thing? It makes me think…hey look at me! I just don’t get the point, especially coming from someone who works in social media and has a pretty big grasp on the concept of what channels you use what for. I mean I could see if you wanted to stop the friend requests and keep your Facebook page a little more private to close friends and family, why then you would start pushing people to your athlete page to keep up with your OCR life. But no one is doing that. If you still are accepting friend requests from people all over the country, most of whom you have never met, then what is the point? I mean I am sure you women get 100’s of requests because your profile pic is usually in booty shorts and sports bras. What do you expect there? Of course everyone wants to be your friend, they want to creep your pictures. But I mean if you have 3000 friends and 2000 or so are OCR people, I don’t get it.

I think this would be like me starting a page Travis Blythe Dirtbike rider or Travis Blythe Snow Skier. Afterall those are my hobbies too, or wait I could also be Travis Blythe Scuda diver. I could even add the word “Elite” to it and damn I would sound like a total badass!

Note to you amateur facecrack people with Athlete pages, if you post on your personal page all of your workouts and accomplishments and pictures for everyone to see, then what are you doing on your athlete page? If you double post, then why on earth am I ever going to go over to your athlete page? It will always be the same content, come on people get with the program here, either learn how to use social media or stop with the athlete pages. Most of you are just weekend warriors anyway, stick to letting me live vicariously through our friendship and creeping through your feeds instead of random athlete page posts. And if you are tired of me posting my race pics or dirtbike pics or skiing pics or riding my Harley pics, well tough noogies, it is my page and this is my life and I will share with you as I seem fit and what I see fit. Unfriend  me or hide me from your feed if you must, but no I will not create an athlete page just to post my weekend hobby adventures on.

Spartan Koolaid

After the Las Vegas Super and having run Houston and Dallas Battlefrog, I have to say I have stopped drinking the Spartan Koolaid. In fact I poured that shit out. I am now on a steady diet of frog juice! Yes I know, I know I am still running like 6 more Spartan races this year, but I have to tell you the luster is gone. Last year was all about getting the “Trifecta” and even this year everyone was on the “how many can I get this year.” Well I am here to tell you that I could care less. If my schedule stays the same, I am on track to get one, yes one trifecta. I will have a bunch of supers and sprints but I only have one beast to date on the calendar.  Truthfully I do not care, the only way that changes is if I do something epic like go to Hawaii and try to do a trifecta weekend just to see if I can. (I know I can, it’s just wanting to actually do it) So Spartan out, Battlefrog in.

Music

Here is my weekly contribution to music that I like!

Ron Pope – If you were a stone

Boyce Ave – Speed Limit

Footnote

It is funny to me how music can mean such different things at different times in your life. Last summer when I was having some difficulty making a transition into a new life I remember hearing some music and how it made me feel. Then a mere 6 months later I hear the same song, the same words and the meaning is totally different.  Funny how the universe works that way. Tomorrow I could hear that song and it takes on new meaning again because life has changed again. Then on the flip side of all that, there is that one song, you totally bonded with someone over and how no matter where you are or what you are doing, that song makes you remember them. I mean they could have killed your cat or boiled rabbits on your stove, but all you remember was the epic good things like how your epic first kiss tasted or the most passionate love-making you had…or I could be wrong and you never forget the rabbits.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

 

The Vegas Chronicles

By: Travis E. Blythe

Viva Las Vegas!

Believe it or not, Vegas has to be one of the places I dread going to the most.  I have only been probably three times in my entire life and granted it was for work and conferences, but still I was never a big fan. You see I am not much of a gambler, in fact I really hate to lose my money. However, last year I met a fellow OCR guy and over the course of the six months we have become friends.  So when he said I should come out to Vegas and race the Spartan Super, it sounded like a good thing. I was able to get a free race and a dirt cheap plane ticket, so off I went.

Unfortunately this is not going to be my blog about the Spartan Super, I’ll save that for another time. What I will do though is tell you about my adventures that may have just changed my mind about Vegas. I started the trip by getting in real early in the week, I mean like Tuesday early.  But it was late Tuesday so I basically got in and went right to sleep.

Wednesday

One of the things I dislike the most is being sick. I started to get sick on Monday and now when I woke up on Wednesday, I was full blown in my yearly bronchitis. Dreadful day, but I ended up going and getting some drugs, and I worked most of the day after that. The highlight of the day was going to Camp Rhino after my buddy got off work and get to play for a few hours. I have heard about this place on Facebook and have been waiting to get there and play.  This is basically am adult jungle gym for OCR and ninja warrior type people. Sure they also do boot camps and crossfit there, but the obstacles are the fun part. With my hands still pretty tore up from Battlefrog, I wasn’t able to do the complete WOD, as a matter of fact, we did one round and had to quit because the classes get first priority.  So I spent the majority of my time learning one of the things that slowed me down, the rope climb. I learned the technique and now was rocking up the rope using my feet! Pretty stoked about that! I was even able to meet and talk a little with the owner Julie and she is a really nice and sweet person and way cool.

Thursday

Not much happening on Thursday, I was still feeling really sick and just worked and slept most of the day.  My buddy Jesse wanted to go on a trail run after work, but I wasn’t feeling it and I talked him into tapering his workout some just two day before the race, so we just went hiking where he usually runs. Went on about a 2 mile hike, up and down the hills and park. Got to watch the sun set behind the mountains and I didn’t have to run.

Friday

Up at the buttcrack of dawn to take Jesse to work, I was able to meet up with some of my Facebook friends with who I have never really met. So we had breakfast and talked about what we were going to be doing all day. That is when this EPIC day started taking shape. What started with a conversation around one reality TV show, turned into a full blown trek around town seeing every show we could think of. So in the end, here is what was on our list:

  • Tank’d
  • Pawn Stars
  • Bad Ink
  • Counts Kustoms
  • Stratosphere – do the rides
  • Las Vegas Sign

So of course my mind starts going 100 miles an hour and I thought it would be funny to make a video giving one of the most known Spartan Athletes some grief and try to pawn his spear at the pawn Stars location. So off we go!

Las Vegas Sign

First stop to take some pics in front of the famous welcome to Vegas sign. Luckily we are fast, because as we were pulling in to the parking lot a tour bus arrived and I said we had to move faster and sure enough about 40-50 people got off the bus. But we got there first and took a few pics goofing off and being silly. (I know Shocker) Plus we posed with Spartan Spears just for the hell of it!

Pawn Stars

I am sure you have heard of this show right? Pawn Stars is actually a place called gold and silver.  Sometimes I crack even myself up with the wacky ideas that come into my head. Our morning brainstorming started with me thinking of this place. Then it hit me, why not act like they do on the show, do an interview outside and talk about going in and pawning something.  But it had to be something good, something that they would say no, maybe have an expert look at and tell me it wasn’t authentic or just not worth the crazy amount of money I wanted. Then it hit me, I need to tie it into the Spartan Race we were doing, then it really hit me and the creative juices started flowing.  My friend had his spears in the car from the day before so I called him got the okay and set my plan in motion. Some of you may know, okay who are we kidding, most of you know Matt “The Bear” Novakovich  and that he sells his own autographed spears for like $80 or $100 or something.

So there it was just staring us down, I signed a spear based on his logo and off we went to Pawn Stars.  So we get there and we make the video outside prepping the whole thing.  Here you go:

11159509_10153311297097962_5283471119770058671_nUnfortunately they would not allow us to video inside so the rest of the joke could not take place.  We were able to get some still photos and they played along. The rest of the joke was played out on social media and I have to say, Matt was awesome and played along with it. I can’t wait to finally meet the guy in person. In case you are wondering, we said they told us it was a forgery and not worth a dollar!

Counts Kustoms

IMG_9811So our next stop was Counts Kustoms.  If you have not seen this TV show, you don’t know what you are missing. For the most part they build custom cars. They drive around Vegas and buy peoples old cars and restore them or give them the “Counts” personal touch. No tricks here, we just went in and visited.  They have a ton of cool cars in there, so if you are in the neighborhood, totally check it out, hey its free.

Bad Ink

IMG_9837Another TV show Bad Ink was next on the list. If you don’t know, these guys walk around Vegas and look at peoples tattoos and then they fix them. Most of the time they are cover ups, but all of the time the work is freaking awesome. The name of the shop is PussyKat Tattoo, yes I Taught I Taw a Putty Tat! Unfortunately Dirk and Ruckus were not in, but I was validated! Screenshot 2015-04-28 21.33.52

Tank’d

IMG_9881I have only watched this show once, but it was pretty cool.  These guys build fish tanks and nothing is too big or too small. You can see a lot of their work all over town and in the casinos.  It was cool, the main characters of the show were there and came outside to pose for pics with people.  That was really cool of them and shows they are still down to earth.

So there you have it, that was our epic morning.  We hit all of those place and yet we still had a ton of time left in our day. We actually did go by Stratosphere and we were going to ride the rides but it was way pricy and we all decided it was not worth it.  Maybe next time.

But our day was not done, because you see like any great day of adventure, there is always more. We looked the watch, looked at the map and off to Hoover Dam we went.

Hoover Dam

I had never been here so the 40 minute or so it took to get there was not that bad. What a beautiful place! It was obvious the water lever was down, but none the less, pretty cool.IMG_9937 I got in my gratuitous hardstand pics on both sides of the bridge, however I did have trouble landing on the side facing the bridge. Someone got in my head that I might flip over and I was rushed because we were blocking the sidewalk and I wanted my photographer to get further out in the street and she wouldn’t because of the cars…good grief taking pictures should not be this stressful!

During the car ride we found out we had scored some tickets to get up in the Eiffel Tower, so offer went chasing more adventure.

Eiffel Tower at Paris

IMG_9939I have to say this was a little disappointing. We went up to the top and yes you can see the strip, yes there are some ooh and ahh moments, but if I would have had to actually pay for this…I would have been pissed.  You are stuck inside a cage and it just wasn’t all that…Kinda felt like jail to me…

The only cool thing was watching the fountains.

IMG_9946

So the day is winding down ad we did get the munchies, you know all this tourist stuff is exhausting so we went to Cabo Wabo Cantina and we actually sat on the railing watching the street. This was by far the most entertaining time yet. Watching the bachelor and bachelorette parties stumble up and down the strip was nothing short of hilarious. I mean seriously it was not even 5:00PM yet. Then you have the locals sitting on the sidewalks just pounding beers or margaritas or whatever, throwing their empty cans in the bushes. You also have the people dressed in costumes and you have to pay them to take pictures with them, dang it, they got me twice! (more on that later) Also if you ever want to know where to go clubbing, just stand in one spot and you will get 100 cards in no time from dudes wanting you to come to their club! I love people watching and this was funny, and the sun was still out, I can only imagine what this place turns into when the sun sets.

IMG_9955So off we go, one last stop, we are heading to the New York, New York hotel to ride the roller coaster! But first I got stopped by the storm troopers. I tried to fight it, but they were all like “Mr. Battlefrog this” and “Mr. Battlefrog that”. So I told one of them, I will take a picture with you but I have to be on your back piggy back style and I want your gun. Well, then next thing the guy says is, “you can’t do that, I think my costume will fall apart!” ha ha, that was hysterical. But in the end I had them pic me up, I think we took like 4 different poses and then they wanted to make me a video. So here is my Stormtrooper video!

New York, New York

If there is one thing you need to know about me, I love roller coasters. I love sitting in the very first seat and waving my hands in the air like I just don’t care! It is pretty sad that I live like 20 minutes away from Six Flags and I have not been in like 8 years. But none the less, I feel some summer adventures coming on some roller coasters! Well we went to NY, NY for one reason only, end the day on the roller coaster. It was not a long as I would have liked, but it was fun, it cost $14 per ride in case you are wondering and you can buy your pictures 3-$30, needless to say I do not have pictures. Fun times though!

So that concludes my Friday adventures, after this I went back to my buddies home, we had Tacos and called it a night!

Saturday

The race was run, we went home and took naps…oh the life of masters racing! After the mid-day snooze, I was lucky enough to be invited to the OCR Grinders team dinner. A very cool experience as they honored a boy named Austin. They ran for him at this race and made him a spartan! Very cool.

So off we go on our “Entourage” night out in Vegas. After a little bit of a delay, we finally were able to get to “Old Downtown” and the first stop was container park. IMG_0316

This was a cool place, they have a fire breathing praying mantis out front. Then we walked down the strip, by the Golden Nugget and a few others…pretty cool, they had zip lines overhead and these color things on the ceilings. Not to mention this hair band from hell playing live music at one end.  Again we were treated to all that Vegas has to offer, you know grown men in diapers taking pics with IMG_9992[1]people for money…and this guy================>

Only in Las Vegas can you see this stuff. There was so much more and I could have taken pictures all day.  Needless to say we laughed hard at the people and I for one am grateful I do not live in this or have to see this everyday because I am not sure if I could hold my tongue.

So we end up going to this food truck, more importantly a hamburger food truck called FUKU Burger! Knowing a chef has its rewards and they rewarded us with a little bit of heaven. Next time you are in Vegas, find this truck and get the #1, you will not be disappointed!

After stuffing our grills with these awesome burgers, we round the corner and low and behold a brick traverse wall appears out of nowhere in this back alleyway. So we do what all OCR peeps do, we climb that bitch! After a few minutes of horseplay, we decide to get on the wall and take a group picture. Now here is where that phrase “only in Vegas” has to come from. You have 7-grown ass men climbing a brick wall in an alley and as we all get up on the wall for a picture out of nowhere comes this dude who jumps in front of, one of our guys and I guess his goal was to prove he could climb also. But here is the thing…he couldn’t, that asshat kept falling off the wall and getting back on, I mean even after we all got off and started walking away in disgust that he ruined our glorious photo op, this tool kept trying.  I wish video had been captured, because here is what is going on, you have six guys on the wall, some barely holding on for dear life waiting for the picture to be taken, me in my flip flops up higher than anyone else (yes photographic evidence) and I am yelling at the tool to get off the wall, yelling at our buddy to pull his ass off by his shirt, just yelling. You know stuff like, “hey fucker, get off the wall!” “I will cut you! get off the wall!” “hey asshole, I will beat your face in, get off the wall!”, okay so maybe the last two were my inside voice, but I thought it!  In the end it was okay, we went around the corner and found another wall, this one all in black, no stupid Vegas drunk people trying to photo bomb us. We got the pic, memories forever!

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Sunday

So sunday we decided to attend the Camp Rhino post Spartan workout. Unfortunately my hamstring and foot issues prevented me from working out, so I did the next best thing…I took video of the poor souls getting their spirits crushed by miss Julie! Here is my video…

Monday

Monday Monday, Come Monday, Manic Monday, what ever song you equate with Monday or just having the case of the Monday’s, I am so ready to go home! At this point I just miss everything and everyone at home, I couldn’t wait to get back and tell everyone about my adventures, but when I actually did get home…no one wanted to know…story of my life.  But before I can go home, how about a workout first? Boy I give that idea two thumbs up! I can’t say no and look like a big puss, especially since I did nothing the day before and I am staying with all these freaking “elite”  workout monsters.  So I did the damn workout, didn’t die and I felt good, none of my injuries were harmed.

IMG_0319One last thing to do before I can blow this Popsicle stand is celebrate my awesome hosts anniversary with them. No complaints there! We went to the triple A affiliate for the NY Mets, the Las Vegas 51’s baseball game. They lost but $1 hotdogs (yes I had 5) were awesome! The picture is my little buddy Gio! Ever go to a baseball game with a 2-year old? Besides the fact that he is a parrot (repeats everything) he is also a barrel of laughs and never stops smiling! Okay one thing I don’t get, they are the Las Vegas 51’s and the logo is an alien on the hat, the mascot looks like a grey Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars and excuse me if I am wrong, but aren’t we in Vegas? I thought area 51 was in New Mexico? I distinctly remember going through Roswell, NM on my way home from my EPIC Ski trip (note to self…backlog that blog, that trip was freaking awesome!) and I thought that is where the aliens were? I’m so confused…

We left in the 8th inning as the visiting team just belted out another 3 run inning and they were up like 8-2. One my way to the airport I go! Exit stage left, Viva Las Vegas, leaving Las Vegas, whatever, I am outta here. Until we meet again sin city!

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

Things I Think – Thursday – 4/23/15

By: Travis E. Blythe

Random thoughts after a week in Vegas!

Okay a few from Vegas and a couple others, because hey it’s random right? So typically I pick some topics and give my 2-cents on them, kind of ranting if you will. Since it has been about 5-years and I think I have matured a bit, I am going to give you my weeks top ten things going on in my mind. In no particular order other than how they popped into my head.

1.  After spending a week with world class chefs, getting a recipe out of them is like pulling teeth! Seriously though, the problem is they just tend to make stuff up and I can’t write fast enough! But I can tell you this, when you do get one, watch out that stuff is like gold! Plus when they are athletes, they make nothing but healthy food and it is awesome!

2. They don’t call me the “Road Captain” for nothing. Yes I like to have fun, yes sometimes I am still 12 and if you want to have adventure in your life – just add me. I had several messages from people who followed along just to see what I would do next. Never expected it, but it does make me happy to see others living vicariously through me and if it puts a smile on their face…I am happy. I am looking for a partner in crime, a Bonnie to my Clyde if you will. Although there maybe an asterisk by that statement, the jury is still out on that. But in the mean time I had such a blast with my friends exploring Vegas in the most unusual way.  That blog is coming out soon so be ready for a detailed account of our shenanigans!

3. I love the song Mirrors. My favorite version is this one.

4. It is snowing up north, in April, and I am laughing hard. It really sucks to be you and hence why I live in Texas, the greatest country…errr state in the world!

11159509_10153311297097962_5283471119770058671_n5. So I made this video while in Vegas poking fun at Matt “The Bear” Novakovich and his spears. See he sells them for $80/ea and autographed. You can make them yourself at Home Depot for $10. So while in Vegas I made a video saying I was going to pawn an original autographed spear at the famous Gold & Silver pawn Shop as seen on the TV show “Pawn Stars”.  Needless to say he has a great sense of humor and since we have been bantering in chat rooms every other day.  What a cool guy.

6. I think I am so grateful for all my friends. You know who you are, you have massive shoulders, you put up with my crap and I appreciate everything!

7. So what is the deal with Hummus and Blue Bell ice cream recalls? Its a good thing about ice cream because it is not on my diet! But I just started eating hummus and I kinda liked it…WTH?

8. So I am pretty sure Spartan race has jumped the shark for me. After two very grueling Battlefrog races, I traveled to do a Spartan Super, which is basically the same distance. All I can say is that it was easy. There was a ton of running and hardly any obstacles. Those they did have were really easy and I had no issues.  I even hit my spear throw for the first time ever.  So, I went burpee free, finished top 35 out of over 8,400 people and not to boast but I was also sick all week and day of the race and injured. Kinda makes me think how I would have done healthy. I’ll take it, but I really don’t need to do a bunch of these races this year.  I would rather travel to the Battlefrog races and battle to keep my wrist band.

9. I made it a week in Vegas and I did not gamble! I am so proud of myself. I also only had 1-beer and 1-drink the whole time. I really didn’t want those either, but sometimes peer pressure gets to you. Okay I take that back, I also had 2-beers after the race, but those don’t really count because I was so thirsty I just gobbled them up and that was really early in the day.

10. This is going to come as a shock, but after spending a week in Vegas one thing I was starting to dig was the mountains. I instantly became jealous of all the running they do in the mountains. So now I am very open to possibly moving or spending some time this summer in a place that has mountains so I can run up and down them. Who knows, the winter might not be so bad either as long as I can ski.

Bonus thoughts

Okay, I know I said the top ten, but there is apparently more in me so here are a couple more bonus things I think…

11. I am so grateful for getting into this sport I have come to love. I have met some amazing people and I continue to make new friends and acquaintances every week. Whether I am connecting with Facecrack friends in person that I have never met before or meeting total new people, they have been nothing short of awesome. Over the course of the past 2 weeks I have met some funny people. Sometimes it amazes me how different people are in person and once you crack that shell they are so funny. I have new friends from Colorado, Florida, Atlanta, BFE Georgia, Utah, California and Mexico (yes the country). So what do I think? I think I am blessed and I look forward to seeing more unicorn farts in my inbox!

12. Forks in the road can come in all shapes and sizes. I find myself standing at a new one. One direction leads to parts unknown, new adventures, new people and new possibilities.  The other leads to paradise, it leads to where I could call home, familiar faces, warm hearts and every one of those happy quotes you people post every day. This second path is also filled with new adventures, new responsibilities and endless possibilities. So the question is, where do you go? The decision is not mine alone, although it does feel like it is. So of course I have one side I am leaning to and where I want to go. Now don’t go getting all sappy on me, don’t read to much in to this, because I have not told you if this road was personal or professional or both? Hmmm…inquiring minds want to know I am sure. I guess you will have to stay tuned for this little nugget and see where I go.

13. I love coaching and motivating. I realize I post a bunch of stuff every week and I try to relate everything to my personal journey, but I want to thank every single one of you who take the time to read stuff like this. You message me privately and tell me I made a difference in your life and that means more to me than any medal I get at a race. This week I saw a friend ask for help, not from me, but just in general. She needed an accountability partner, someone to make her stay active and on track for her goal in two weeks. Sure I could have ignored it and just gone about my business. But you know what, I am not that type of person. So even though I had no sleep, catching a redeye flight home, getting in at 5:30am, staying awake all day, I still met her and walked step by step with her up and down hills. It didn’t matter to me, I was doing my job. Fast forward to the following day and I schedule a brutal workout, mostly for myself, but there she was doing it. I mean everything except for the dreaded monkey bars. So we finished and we made her do the monkey bars.  I could tell she had a ton of self doubt, but we pushed and she went. She did it, the whole length, without stopping! She finished and as I go to high five her, she busts out in tears. You see she had never done anything like that before, not even as a kid. That is what it is all about folks, that is why I help people and I have been my whole life. I get knocked because I sometimes give to much and get nothing in return. But it is not about me, so I am going to keep posting motivation and transformation stories and hopefully secretly inspiring others to live the life they want to live and that they can do anything they put their mind to.

14. Just throwing it out there, if anyone wants to sponsor me and help fund me to go to races, I would much appreciate it. And no I am not going to start a “Go Fund Me” account, I think that is just wrong to beg for money to go to races. Now if you wish to donate to me, that is something different all together.  I mean, hey I do have a birthday coming up and if you were to send me a card with money in it, who am I to refuse that?

15. So there is a special someone I need to thank. You see as much as I just said I like to motivate and inspire, sometimes the “Struggle is real” and it takes a lot to get me going. This year has been a bunch of ups and downs. The truth is, I rarely do anything after the Glen Rose Spartan race, that typically ends my year and then the cold winter and time change sets in. What that normally means to me is that I hibernate.  See you in March when it warms up is usually my M.O.  However, this year was much different. I met someone who changed me, inspired me and made me want to not be idol. Whether this person thinks so or not, they have had a direct impact on this years racing season.

You see, I started the year on fire in January. I was running, working out and I was the most active I have ever been in January. Then February came and laziness crept in. I had excuses and no matter how bad this person tried, I was an ass. I think this caused some serious damage in the friendship because I was just not feeling it, I had one excuse after the other.

  • it’s too cold outside
  • it’s raining
  • I don’t have a gym membership
  • I think I just sh!t my pants

I had a ton of excuses. March hit and the weather started changing and as usual so did my attitude. Unfortunately I wasn’t really prepared for my first race because I was lazy. Sure I did okay, I finished decent but I know I could have done better. So at the end of all this, there was a comment made to me which has stuck in my head since then. The comment was thrown so loosely I doubt they even remember saying it, however, the comment was:

quote“You know, if you trained harder, you could actually be a beast”

This person was absolutely right. So since then I have refocused on my training. I started running again and adding strength workouts to my day.  March was a stellar month, I put in a bunch of miles and I felt great! I even lost that winter weight I think I put on in February during my “comfy” stage.  So thank you, you know who you are and you need to know I am sorry for my stubbornness, you were right (damn that hurts to admit I was wrong!). So go ahead and do your “I was right” dance…you deserve it! See it was a win/win!

16. Okay so this week has two songs, well because I said so! This one I heard two weeks ago and it has stuck with me, I just love it. If you don’t well then you can suck it. Sam Smith and John Legend…come on man! Here is the video.

Until next time, my name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

Battlefrog Redemption

By: Travis E. Blythe

The Ultimate Transformation Tuesday!

I started writing a blog a couple weeks back about my first experience with Battlefrog and how it “took my soul” away from me at the Houston race.  But now fast forward a couple of week and and instead of reviewing the Dallas race, I thought I would just write down how I felt I transformed myself after both of these races. There really are no before and after pictures or some incredible physical change that took place, no this rather is a transformation of my mind, will and determination.

Houston

So a quick overview of the Houston race, I think I was just a little to over confident. I went into that race thinking I was ready to run in the “elite” wave, even in the Masters division. Competing against the 40 and over crowd seemed doable. I was so sure I was going to get at least 3rd place. I mean I have been training hard, I have been running well at other events and I was all about “chasing the money”.  Then the race started, the most brutal ORC/mudrun I have ever attempted in my life. I know I have done some hard Spartan Races, but the fact we had to do 2-4.8 mile laps with roughly 68 obstacles, was just exhausting.

But this is also a mental game as much as a physical one. Case in point, I lost my bracelet pretty early on (10th obstacle) and after that, I was mentally defeated. I let that defeat creep into my mind and even though I finished my 2-laps and I attempted all of the obstacles, my head was not in it. I barely attempted things and used the I am so tired excuse, but in reality looking back I wanted to finish, get my two laps in and just be done. So It did.

The Takeaway

So what did I learn? I definitely learned a few things about myself, preparing correctly and race strategy. I talked to a lot of the true “elites” in the sport and picked their brains, how they did things, technique and I learned a ton about what I did wrong. I think the biggest mistake was just being to much in “Race mode” and trying to hurry through the obstacles instead of taking my time and doing it right. So I left Houston knowing my deficiencies and what I needed to work on.

The Plan

So if you are running a battlefrog and you want to know what you should spend some extra time training on? Then my answer to you is grip strength! The jerry can carry is no joke and having to do it twice is a beating. So I bought 2 cans, I filled them with water and I weighed them and they are 55lbs each. I simulated the distance of the Houston race and practiced carrying them. I would even do it twice sandwiched between a 4 mile run. Started running with the wreck bag and playing on more monkey bars. I have to admit I was lacking on that. I also put my gripmaster in the car and I drive around all day squeezing it!

The second phase for me was to attack the course very methodically. I was really nervous about several of the obstacles, but I knew if I took my time and did not rush I could be okay. Knowing the location of the Dallas race, I knew it wasn’t too hilly, so I figured I could make up time on the running after a slow obstacle. The object was just to finish anyway. No stress on trying to get on the podium or win the race, I just wanted to finish with bracelet.

Dallas

One of the greatest parts of being in the sport is that all of the people you meet are really some amazing people. I meet new people every week it seems and my core group of friends are some of the most supportive I have ever met. So here we are at the starting line and it is like the who’s who of racing toeing the line. I always think “what on earth am I doing here?”, but not today, because I am only racing the Masters division, the 40+ guys. I know I belong, I am only getting better with every race, I have a plan.

Lap one

20150415215845The race starts and off we go, with every obstacle my confidence is growing. The wreck bag carries seem so easy now, I run with that 50lb bag like it is nothing. My first major test was the “Bridge over River Cry”, I couldn’t get this one in Houston, but it was real early in the race, so I still had a ton of grip strength. As I approach, I see that Isaiah Vidal failed once and was still in line waiting to go again. No worries though..I got this. Three rings from the top I look away from the task at hand to see where the pole was and I missed grabbing a rung and I slipped and fell. All I could think was, oh hell here we go again. But I got out, got back in line and kept telling myself to be patient and calm. Nailed it on the second attempt!

Then my friend Melissa who was volunteering gave me the mantra of the day “Not Today!” Not today was my new theme, not today will they be taking my bracelet, not today will I fail, not today will this course beat me!

The rest of the obstacles were just flying by, one after another I was pushing through them without any difficulty. Even the dreaded jerry can carry. I stuck to my slow and steady plan, don’t burn out the arms was all I could think of. Then before I knew it I was at 5 miles, I came up on the rope climb, nerves setting in because this is my worst obstacle, nailed it. At this point I am like wow, I can see the finish area, two major obstacles left before lap two. Confidence is growing. I dominated the “Tip of the Spear” and rolled through the “Monkey Bars” on my first try. I think I let out a slight yell and a fist pump as I ran on to the next lap. I am thinking holy shit, I just did the lap and I have my bracelet.

Lap one: 1:18:38

Lap Two

I think the endorphins of doing so well on the first lap were at an all time high and I think it helped me on lap two. I set a goal, just duplicate lap one and I would be happy with that. I knew the course now, where the flat parts were, where I could rest my strength and where I could run just a bit faster. Most of lap two was a blur, I was smoking the course, “Bridge over River Cry” one shot and over! I saw Melissa immediately after and I ran over and gave her a big hug, kissed her cheek and I said “Not Today!” I showed her I still had the bracelet and I ran off!

I was so ecstatic after that, I remember feeling like superman, because I was just crushing these obstacles, one by one, I was 5 min ahead of the first lap when I got to the jerry cans for the second lap. Stick to the plan, don’t get too far ahead of yourself, save your strength.

I was closing in on the end of the race, I was running great, faster on lap two, then the wheels fell off.  I came upon the rope climb. The ropes were horrible, muddy, wet and a ton of people around trying and not succeeding. I ran in to one of my friends who was still on her first lap, had been stuck there for an hour already. Another was on lap two, was in 4th place in the female elite race and she got stuck.  In the end I spent close to an hour trying to climb up the ropes. Panic started to set in, several people started piling up, several elites just looking exhausted and defeated. More kept coming, some made it up real easy and that just made me feel worse. I finally rallied one last time, not today. I got up that rope and punched the bell as I let out a primal scream, jumped down and took off for the finish.

Okay, so I just lost an hour or so, its okay, we are going to finish, there is literally nothing left I can’t do. I am still finishing! I blasted through “tip of the spear” again and headed to the monkey bars.

When people talk about gut checks and never giving up, survival instincts, I am sure mots of us roll our eyes and just say whatever. Well I spent close to 3 hours trying the monkey bars. I suffered through the cold water, shaking uncontrollably until the sun came out and warmed me up. My first run I was 2 bars from the end and I just lost my momentum and just stopped, then I was dead and I fell.  So close, I wouldn’t get that close again for hours. I remember trying to keep calm. Don’t rush it, so I waited 10 min, then 15 min intervals, then 20, then 30. I must have tried easily over 10 times. My last three attempts I gained a blister on my right hand. Worse than a blister, I had the skin ripped off and I was bleeding. My hands would not close, I had no grip strength. I was actually contemplating quitting. One by one my friends would come over and offer support, pep talks, instructions on how to defeat this. They were giving those of us left a time limit and we would be pulled off. I had the mentality that I was going to be pulled off the course before I quit.

Finally I waited 45 min before my next run. I thought my hands had one last attempt. So I went for it and it had to be possibly the ugliest crossing of monkey bars ever attempted. I wish someone would have gotten video of it. After the transition I went from straight on to sideways to backwards and pretty much back around again. I thought I was going to fall, the bar twisted and I started losing my grip, I basically did a pull up to get closer to the bars and just kept moving, Don’t stop, please don’t stop. Well I made it. I will never tell you what I was thinking about that really got me over, my motivation to make someone extremely proud, not fail can be a strong motivator when you are whupped.

I made it, “Tsunami” was a piece of cake, I finished the mud crawl and the rest is kind of a blur. I remember dancing and screaming and jumping up and down. My friend Melissa was the first person there with my medal. I got my medal and a huge hug. There were more friends there clapping and cheering and it made it all that more worth while!

Lap two: 6:04:00

Yes that is correct, over 6-hours on the second lap. I thought I would finish around 2:40:00 which would have been a podium finish and 3rd place, had I been able to get through it and not wait those couple of times. My official time was 7:22:38, that is right over 7-hours to run a 11 mile race and complete every obstacle without failing.

The Takeaway

20150415220048I bet you might be wondering WTF is with this guy and why would anyone care that I just wrote this blog. Well honestly, I find it a huge accomplishment for me. I’m a 43 year old guy who is not elite by any means, but I am not the open weekend warrior either. I am somewhere in between. I love the challenge this gave me. How it crushed my soul in Houston and I had sweet redemption in Dallas. Now I can see where I can improve. I can continue to get better and stronger by working on the things I already was working on as well as learning the techniques which would have given me a higher finish.

I can find solace in knowing that I still have a long way to go and that honestly drives me to get better. Who knew at my age I would feel this alive doing something so brutal but yet so much fun!

I found I have some of the best friends ever, we share a bond, even if we just met to days before, have been Facebook friends and never met until we spoke on the course or have bled together the last year to be better. The comradery  I have with these people is truly amazing. I can’t mention everyone who I bonded with this day, but if you helped me, I thank you. If I somehow gave you motivation to keep going, then you are welcome, but that is me, I will always be a coach at heart and a motivator.

Until the next event! See you on the flip side!

Where have you been Dawg?

Missing my wit and sarcasm?

This blog was started in October 2014 and I have been afraid to publish it. I have constantly been making updates as my life has been changing constantly. I figure it is about time to see behind the curtain and enlighten you on what is going on in my life. Everything is italics will be updates from October 2014 to April 2015.

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October 2014

It’s time to come clean, make some confessions and let you know why I have been so AWOL and sporadic with my blog posts, facebook posts, twitter and other social media channels. Why does anyone care? No one probably does, but it will explain a lot and you will actually get inside the head of where I am and where I am heading.

2014 has been a very soul cleansing, traumatic, and turbulent year. Without getting into specific details about everything I’m going to give you a brief overview of the year. I can honestly say it has been a true test of my character and a test of how much weight one person can carry on their shoulders without breaking down or giving up.

This year I have been going through law suits in my business career, got divorced, parted ways with a woman I loved, my 9 yr old dog will be passing soon from an inoperable tumor and battled depression. However, I also rediscovered my passion for fitness, running mudruns or OCR races, met new friends and reconnected with old ones. I have been able to find positives in my life, I found that I can love again, have confidence in myself I thought I lost and believe I am as awesome as advertised!

DEPRESSION

Let’s start off with my brief bout of depression. At the beginning of the year for close to two months I had a bout of minor depression, I was in not by any means in a suicidal manner, but I did lose my motivation to do anything productive except sit on the couch and play video games. While I strongly believe depression is usually self-manifested and should be self-cured, mine was induced by the stress of financial means, unhappy in my marriage and sad over the disconnect of a loved one. Having to battle several lawsuits over business matters and finding the funds to do so was the key factor. This definitely led to me ruining several relationships and having a bad case of feeling sorry for myself. Fortunately, I had a WTF moment one day and got off my ass and did something about it.

What I learned was, if you need money, go make money and if you want someone in your life, just tell them and make it happen. So I did both and everything started to get better.

Love Lost

Not a great start to the year, but hey, there are 12 months right? So I also got divorced this year after 12 years of marriage. I am not going to get into a ton of detail over why or what happened, except that problems over the course of several years were finally too much to live a happy life. So I made the decision to walk away in order to find my happiness. I still hold a fondness for my ex-wife and she is a great person, unfortunately our problems could not be worked out and for all of the issues I had with her, I didn’t help them any by making decisions which affected the inability to live in a happy place. We remain amicable which I hold to be a good thing, I do wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors and I hope she is able to find the happiness I couldn’t provide to her any longer.

So I mentioned that I lost a woman that I loved and it was not my ex-wife. Yes I had an affair; I fell in love with this person and had planned on starting a new life with that person. While admitting this will bring out everyone judging me and/or holding disgust and character assassination, I honestly don’t care. If telling the truth for once brings your view of whom I really am to a place where you no longer want to associate yourself with me or not be a friend, then so be it. Without divulging too much information as to this relationship, I just want to say that it started as a frienship, then manifested into more. Why it manifested had a lot to do with what was not being provided at home and realizing that I could have the amazing relationship, friendship and intimate relationship with one person. So we continued to have an affair with understanding we would make the effort to be together. This was ultimately my own undoing, I took too long, I procrastinated and every fear or excuse I had for not doing everything earlier, in the end didn’t really matter. All my fears were just in my mind and I lost a great friendship.

So that sums up pretty much the negative parts of my year, why I have been so quiet over the past few years stems from not having the freedom to be as creative as I wanted without backlash of spending time in doing so. So my personal blog and other social media outlets have been pretty much put on hold.

Love found

Now for the good stuff, so not to come off as this is a woe is me blog, I felt it necessary to give a good back story of the first half of the year. Now I have to admit, going through a divorce and getting dumped by your girlfriend at the same time is pretty emotional, I was emotional for a bit, but then my new family helped me through it. One thing I have always done in my life is try to be fit and exercise. So according to all of the experts, investing in myself and working on making myself a better person is what the doctor ordered. So I reached out to my OCR friends, leaned on them to vent, to cry, and get advice. I have to say I have some amazing new friends who have opened up their lives to me and allowed me to not be alone.

In particular I met a wonderful beautiful woman who listened to my crying, talked me through it, was there for me when I needed a buddy and made sure I was not alone. Then the totally unexpected thing happened, my heart healed, it started beating again, I found passions in everything I always wanted, I saw a brand new life open up in front of my eyes. I will forever be thankful for that person coming into my life and changing my perspective on who I am and what I can be. They say that everything happens for a reason, while there are something’s in life I still question what the “reasons” were, I can honestly say that the reason I got divorced, and dumped by my girlfriend was so that I could meet her. It never would have happened otherwise.

Like a cut you get on your arm, eventually it heals, scabs over and maybe scars. The scar left will always be your story to tell, but once you are fully healed, you have full use of where that injury was. I have determined that the heart is the same way, what you may have thought was broken or damaged beyond repair, may not have been as severe as you imagined. While at the time I was devastated, I have now realized that my heart really was not broken but rather just sad, sad at all of the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s that were planned. Sad because I was scared to be alone and manage everything without a co-pilot there to help lead the way. Sadness is not as bad as a heart break. While yes I admit I was a mess for a few weeks, what I realized is that at the end of the day, when you have such a high regard for someone and you think that no one will ever measure up, you will be surprised what the universe will throw at you if you are patient enough.

What tIMG_5259he universe threw at me was someone who had all of the qualities I wanted plus more.  It took me a while to understand that impact of that, but I soon realized that when you do least expect it BAM! you get hit like a freight train. I don’t believe in the rebound relationship, because I think you can either be searching for that person who clicks with you for years, months or weeks, sometimes you have no control when they enter your life. The only thing is, you have to be willing to accept it and not be afraid of it. I am never afraid of it, I know heartbreak sucks and moving on can be difficult, but at the end of the day, I would rather “feel what it’s like to burn, than to feel nothing at all” sorta say. In other words, had I been resistant and hesitant, I would never have experienced half of the things I did. I would be sitting at home or worse yet have no fond memories otherwise. So I allowed myself to experience this person, take it all in and something amazing happened, my heart started beating again, I felt great about myself and in the end I felt ready to love again.

I know what you are going to say, you what? How on earth can you do that? Well, like I said I usually have my heart on my sleeve and when I think someone is so perfect in more ways than just physical, but mentally and also loves the same type of adventures, I ask, how can you not let yourself get absorbed in their essence? I have found that sometimes people enter your life and they maybe a permanent fixture or maybe they were just a stepping stone to get you back on the path you were meant to be on. In this case, while I let myself fall, it was not meant to be anything more than a stepping stone to where I needed to go. I can handle that, while as with most things that come to an end, it is sad to say goodbye, I am sure that just as I found something I wasn’t looking for, I have to believe that there is someone else who will be everything she was plus just a little bit more.

I tell my story to my friends and they all look at me like I am crazy, but I tell them, look, I met my ex-wife and within 3-months we were engaged and that lasted 13 years. It is all about timing, I wasn’t looking for anything back then, I was a single guy dating two other people at the time, but BAM! there it was again. I think as long as you are willing to just go with it, it can be great. Of course I have always been attracted to strong, independent women who feel like they don’t need a man. The trick is showing them it’s okay to let down your walls and let someone in and have them believe you’re not there to take advantage or strip them of their independence. Sometimes easier said than done. So 2-3 months of spending time with someone totally makes it possible to fall in love. It can be the first stages of love or it can be the “I want you forever” kind of love, you never know and you never will unless you just let yourself feel it and go with it and see what happens.

So I am at peace knowing I had another adventure I can tell people about and all of the new experiences I encountered. One funny note, I ate more sushi over the last couple months and actually enjoyed it than I did the past 12 years…true story.

November 2014

Update: that last section was written prior to November. In November of 2014 I met another amazing woman. While attending a race in Texas I was introduced to someone who again changed the course of my life. Sometimes we set our goals both personal and professional, set our course on how to obtain those goals and get after it. Well I honestly had no intention of meeting someone, anyone for that matter. The racing season was wrapping down, the holidays were coming and I was busy mapping out my 2015 initiatives. Then again BAM! just like a Hurricane blowing through, I was caught up in a whirlwind of a romance.

IMG_6703Again this was not planned and certainly unexpected and definitely at times it felt too good to be true. Over the course of the next 4-months the relationship grew, memories were created and this time I did fall in love. For the first time in over 9 months, I told someone I loved them. With my whole heart and soul, I jumped in feet first not even looking at how deep the waters were. Were we a perfect match? Maybe not (but are any couples a perfect match? I’d like to think we were really close though), but it was a breath of fresh air to have someone want to go on adventures together, we ran together, planned racing together, and talked about what the future would hold for us.  One of the best things was that we went snow skiing, my first time in over 20 years. I felt so alive and I had so much fun and I owe it all to this special person. Just like I felt on the slopes, she made me feel again what it was like to be alive.

IMG_6078Sadly, like most things in my life, this too has seemed to run its course. Sometimes you can’t force a square peg into a round hole and you just have to give up. But giving up does not mean that love is lost, I still love her dearly and maybe this just was not the right time for us. I am still head over heels in love and maybe someday there maybe another chapter in our book.

Adventures!

Facebook-cover-tracksSo, with that being said, I have also spent the past few months training harder than I ever had and I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. So I decided to travel and see the country again and meet new people and run races! Here is what I did this fall:

  • Mudtitan in Florida
  • Savage race in Dallas
  • Spartan World Championships in Vermont
  • Spartan Super – Chicago
  • Spartan Sprint – Chicago
  • The Bravest Race – Cancun, Mexico
  • Spartan Super – Sacramento, CA
  • Spartan Sprint – Sacramento, CA
  • Spartan Beast – Glen Rose, TX
  • Spartan Sprint – Glen Rose, TX

What a great couple of months! I had such a good time and now I am looking forward to the new year of racing and new races!

So that is pretty much me in a nutshell.  That wraps up 2014 and I promise moving forward to write more about the important stuff and leave the other stuff behind me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Goals

Ringing in the New!

my-goalsEvery year we get to this point and the new year resolutions start rolling in.  I have been victim to it before as well, we all commit to doing things that we really have no intentions of working on past the month of January.  So this year I have decided to commit to accomplishing goals for the entire year and then updating said goals every quarter to let you know how I am doing in my struggle to maintain accountability to myself.

So without further ado, here are my 2015 goals:

Updated 4/1/15

1. Laugh Hard

I want to laugh as hard as possible, laughter is my release, it is what helps me cope with the real world and problems.  I know that if I laugh hard all year, the world will be a better place. So if you know me well, you know I am full of jokes and sarcasm, don’t get all upset, that is just my personality. I am really just a big kid, but I can be serious when I need to be.

QTR 1 Update- I can honestly say that for the first three months of the year I have been laughing so hard it’s crazy. I am loving life right now, I have great friends and special people in my life who keep me smiling on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure you can see through all my pics and it’s not just a happy show on social media, I am one happy lucky guy!

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

2. Love Harder

2014 was such a whirlwind of a year, I learned so much about myself and and what I am looking for in a partner in crime. I didn’t love very hard at all, I know I didn’t give my all in my marriage and thus it ended in divorce. I had another person with whom I loved that I also didn’t give it my all and I spent most of 2014 not loving very much.

So this year I am not going to guard my heart, I am going to give it to you if you deem worthy enough to penetrate my circle. I wear my heart on my sleeve and if I only get a few months or a lifetime to love you, I will do it without hesitation. I tend to leap before I look and my favorite quote is:

quote    I would rather learn what it feels like to burn, than to feel nothing at all ~ Ron Pope
 

QTR 1 Update- What a first three months! Well you guessed it, I gave my heart away and fell in love. Definitely was not intended but sometimes you meet someone who makes you feel the warm and fuzzies and you can’t help but fall in love with them. No idea what the future holds, it is definitely hard being in a long distance relationship (4hrs away), along with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But I through my heart out there and I am happier than ever!

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

3. More Handstands

So I started doing handstands last fall and it totally spiraled into me doing them everywhere I go. So instead of your normal “I am here at destination X, you will see me hand-standing at destination X! My goal is to not only handstand in some cool places, but also when I am not traveling post at least once a week. #HeWhoStandsOnHands #Handstands2015

QTR 1 Update- I started out so good! I think I got the first 5 or 6 weeks in a row of various handstands. I am sure there are also a few I didn’t post, but I was there on a weekly basis. So chalk this up to a failure, I was only good on 50% of the goal.  Time to get back to standing on my hands! (it should be noted that I did injure my back in Feb and handstands were tricky)

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

4. Walk on Hands

So my old college buddy says to me “that’s cute, you can stand on your hands, how about you walk on them!”, so #ChallengeAccepted! I can already go a couple of feet, but I really want to work on my form and get this down, so I can me a circus trick at parties!

QTR 1 Update- So nothing to report here, I never even really practiced much. I definitely need to work on this more.

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

5. Learn to Play Guitar

I have never been able to play an instrument, well I take that back, I did play the piano for about a year as a kid, I can’t read music very well so I ended writing what the notes were on all of the sheet music so I could play it. Well I have forgotten everything, but I would love to be able to play this acoustic guitar I have. It would be so cool to just be able to sit down and play whatever.  Since I love to sing, it would just be campfire cool!

QTR 1 Update- Nothing to report here either, I never even looked into what is required to do this.  I guess I will chalk it up to just being to darn busy enjoying all of the other things in life!

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

6. Top 5 in the Spartan Open

I didn’t by any means intend for this to happen but as of January 1st, 2015, I was sitting in 3d place in the WORLD standings. It shocked me, so I know I want to get a couple more trifectas this year so I thought why not just keep racing the opens and try to keep the points up there and go for it!

QTR 1 Update- Unfortunately I have not raced a Spartan Race yet this year, most of my events will be in May/June and Sept. So I fell to 8th place, but that isn’t too bad, first place is still within striking distance and I am only a couple hundred points behind. 

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

7. Win more age groups in races

The days where I can compete with 20 & 30 years olds are sadly past me, but I think I can compete pretty well with people my own age. So I am challenging myself to get better and win my age groups in what ever race I attempt!

QTR 1 Update- So I have raced 3-races this quarter. I finished in the top 5 overall in the Polar Dash, 2nd in Age Group at the Atlas race and a big DNF at Battlefrog. I’ll take that, seeing as I took off the month of February.

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

8. Take more video

I noticed at the end of the year I hardly took and video. I took a ton of pictures, but when making an end of the year video it comprised mostly of pictures.  So this year I am going to document my travels and quirks more by taking video. Some will be posted on social media, some will not, but watch for more video this year!

QTR 1 Update- I am doing good but not great here.  Took lots of video of various things, but not much personal video or commentary video as I call it.  Most everything is athletic video at this point, I think I need to capture more of my life than just working out or running races.

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update

9. More travel/adventure with my favorite hobbies

Over the past 13 years, I stopped doing the things I love the most. No single person is to blame, some things were not as important and somethings just got lost in the shuffle of life. I’ve decided that life really is too short to not do the things I grew up doing or the things that really make me happy. Some of these things include riding my motorcycle more, traveling around the country, riding dirt bikes, snow skiing, running races and just hanging with my good friends.

QTR 1 Update- I had a great first three months! I bought a dirt bike and went out riding once so far. I want downhill skiing in Taos, NM and it was one of the best trips of my life. Skiing was so much fun, my company was great and the roadtrip was just EPIC! Traveled to Houston and San Antonio to race and had a blast there too! There were also a couple of other cool things went to ICE, Legoland, and Aliens in Rosewell, NM! I am so looking forward to April and May, I have a ton of adventure planned!

QTR 2 Update-

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

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