Letter to my next Girlfriend

Dear Next Girlfriend,

Prelude:

It took me awhile to start writing this, but this post has been on my mind since I had my “Say Anything” moment back in January. I crashed and burned hard. In typical fashion after that happens I start analyzing everything and I do mean everything. From every conversation we have had and arguments to the fun times. I start evaluating what I did wrong and what could I have done better. This process is crazy because I am like a computer processor and I think about what was said in the way of why I am no longer needed or why this person just decided one day that they no longer wanted me in their life. So without further ado…

Dear Next Girlfriend,

I have a confession to make right off the bat, I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I know, this may seem crazy but it is true. If you capture my attention and my heart I won’t be afraid to tell you. More than likely though, it will not be some random moment, it will be some epic grand gesture when I tell you about my love. More than likely I will be head over heels for you and you will never know it. I tend to jump in with both feet and reckless abandon.

So that brings me to my first point.  I am a hopeless romantic in every sense of the word. Even though I detest that hallmark holiday they call valentines day, I typically love to go overboard just because I want to spoil my person. I will constantly be looking at you with a smirk on my face, I will tell you how beautiful I think you are, how amazing you are and how glad I am to have you around. This isn’t just a bunch of flub, but I am honest to God sincere.  I am also a very affectionate person, so I will kiss your neck, grab your butt as I walk by and hug a lot. I won’t apologize for this. So if all of that is too much then I am more than likely not your person.

When I get into a relationship I want to know everything about you. Some of the best relationships I have had the other person was the same way. I want to know all the things, from your favorite flower to your favorite book or poem. The more I know, the more I know how to spoil you, how to make you smile and show you how I feel without words. So when I inquire about your shoe size don’t freak out! In return I hope you want to know all about me, my past, my present and my future. Just know I am very guarded about some things in my life and I am not a perfect person. I have secrets, if you ever know about them, then you are one of a handful of people that actually do. Not everyone gets the privilege of knowing the deep dark parts of me. So if you get there, just know you have reached a place which few have and thus what I am trying to stress here is how important to me you must be.

When I let you in, embrace it, understand how special you are and know you have obviously broken down the walls, I have all the feels and you are important to me. With that being said, just know you will become my best friend, I will tell you everything, I will not be able to wait to talk to you to tell you about my day good or bad.  You will know about my business, my problems and I may ask for your advice on solutions. When I get down, depressed or just not feeling it and like a failure, I will hope you actually help me get out of my funk and not use it against me or as an excuse to break up with me. You may not know every detail in my head of why I chose to do certain things in certain ways, but know this, just about everything I do is very calculated and done with purpose. Hell I make lists for my lists, so if you think I am ignoring a problem or not facing it, just ask me.

One thing you need to know if you are going to be my girlfriend is that you need to have thick skin around me. I grew up being teased by my own family about just about everything. I am unfortunately the same way. I joke and have sarcasm like you would not believe. But please know this, if I am teasing you or picking on you…I FREAKING LIKE YOU! Don’t get all mad or pout, dish it back out to me! And for the love of God, don’t hold a grudge for something I said, if I genuinely hurt your feelings, then tell me, I am not an A-hole, I will apologize, because if you are worth it then a great relationship is much more important than who is right or wrong and pride.

Yes I am a sexual creature, I love sex, intimacy and kissing. I also send out a lot of sexual innuendos…pretty much anytime I can. So be prepared, if that turns you off, then I may not be the guy for you.

Speaking of joking and having a good time, you need to know that I am rarely serious. I joke around and live with a very carefree attitude. You might not find that attractive, but I love to travel, experience new things,

I am not into just hooking up, I want substance, I usually only date if I can see some kind of a future.  Granted there are probably exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, I am looking for long term and someone I can see a future with.

I also have a list of criteria that you must pass:

  1. you must love motorcycles
  2. you must love to travel on motorcycles
  3. not get mad when I want to run or workout
  4. know that I love running races, particularly OCR races
  5. must love to adventure
    1. hiking
    2. scuba diving
    3. downhill skiing
    4. dirt bikes or 4-wheeling
    5. rock climbing
    6. generally being active
  6. must want to have a family
    1. yes I want to be a dad, I understand most people I meet usually have children already, I still want my own, just know this.
    2. by saying all of that, I am not saying I need a biological child, I would love to adopt as well.

So by now you are probably thinking I am an odd duck or some anomaly, I can’t possibly be real right? Well I am a God Damn UNICORN! Yes I said it and let me explain further. Besides all of the above mentioned things, I also can do the following:

I clean, I can do laundry to include folding, I can iron clothes, I’m basically handy and above all…I love to cook! Boom I just blew your mind! I know you are asking, why is this even important? Well let me tell you why, because this will explain my need to fix things around the house, make the quality of living better, fold and do your laundry, wash dishes by hand and clean your place.  I’m a helper, I know you can do it, but sometimes if life gets hard, complicated and you fall behind, I am more than happy to help out. That is my nature, it is what I do. If this annoys or aggravates you, then I am sorry in advance.  I have a habit of finding or looking for things that need to be fixed and fixing them or finding ways to make your life just a little bit easier. So just let me or at least let me know if you don’t like my ideas and why, because I am ALWAYS right and I need a good convincing every once and a while.

So I am going to leave you with this little nugget. I am not from Texas originally, I lived in Michigan for 22-years but I have now lived in Texas for almost 23-years. I pretty much consider myself a Texan and more than that, I love living here. I love everything about this state, I am proud to live here and frankly, I don’t ever want to leave.  I got my parents to retire here and life is good.  With that being said, you need to know one thing, if you ever hear me say that I would actually move away from this state, just know that is a pretty serious statement. I mean, like for realz, don’t just take that lightly. You must be a pretty special person for me to say those words, many have tried and failed.

So do you have what it takes to be my next girlfriend? Well you know all about me and my odd quirks, so come on and say hello!

Things I Think – Thursday – Everything Happens for a Reason

My Pleasure My New Friend

At the end of January I made a trip out to Phoenix, AZ. While I would love to tell you that my sole intention was to run the Battlefrog AZ race and test my injuries. Frankly, that would be a lie. I went out there to have a “Say Anything” moment and tell someone my true feelings that I would regret if I never did. Well I said what I had to say and to no avail, I left AZ a changed man in more ways than one.

When I arrived to the Battlefrog, I had a heavy heart and I felt like I had been kicked in the head all night. Besides going through my personal issues, I was sick and instead of getting better after I arrived, I was progressively getting worse. Having a horrible case of bronchitis, nursing an injury and basically feeling like a worthless piece of crap, I toed the line and set off on my AZ adventure.

Do you know that phrase “everything happens for a reason?” Sometimes I wonder what that reason usually is. On this day I actually found a couple of reasons for why things turned out the way they did. So while this trip seemed to be a burnout in the desert, it actually turned into a life altering experience that brought joy to my heart and made me realize why I started doing these races to begin with.

Just exactly at the 1-mile mark of this race, I ran into a fellow runner as we both were coming off an obstacle and our watches both beeped the first mile was over. We struck up a conversation and he asked me if I minded if he ran with me. I usually run alone or I am racing others and we never speak during a race, but today was not about racing, truth be told, I was just there to play on the obstacles and get out of the house and try and have fun.

So this is where my life will be forever changed. I don’t consider myself to be this great “Elite” type of runner, in fact, I am just happy most days to hold my own in the “Masters” division.  While talking with my new running buddy Jamie, he told me this was his first race ever. I mean seriously, this was his first race ever, not first Battlefrog or OCR, this was his first race of any kind by way of running…EVER! I remember telling him he picked one hell of a race to start running. He told me he had initially signed up with a group of guys who wanted to prove to themselves that they could complete this race.  Unfortunately for him, everyone bailed on him. He was faced with not going or going and running alone.  So of course he did what anyone would do, he set off by himself.

During the next 5-miles together I learned a lot about my new friend. He is a Youth Pastor for starters, which is why this adventure we had made a huge impact on my life. You see, when we started running, walking and talking, I told him I wasn’t going fast but if he wanted to hang with me, I would show him all the tricks to beat the obstacles. So that is exactly what we did. I showed him feet techniques for the rope climbs, monkey bar techniques, Tip of the spear and more.  This was honestly the best part of the race for me. I am a coach at heart and having someone who wants to learn and try without question was a great experience. We didn’t exactly get everything as planned, but it was a blast trying!

During our Walkabout as I like to call it, we spoke about a lot of things, mostly me and my personal relationships and what was bothering me. He posed one question to me and try as I might to answer that question, in the end he simply said he still had not heard the answer. That made me think even harder about everything.  For miles we talked about life, we played like kids on obstacles and we finished the race. While I also listened to his story of bad luck and relationship woes, he left me by saying he was praying that I would clearly know which direction to go.

In the end, while he thinks I was a blessing from God, he told me God sent me to guide him and help him on this day. He told me I was a great coach and motivator and he didn’t understand why God wanted him to run alone, but now he does. I don’t see it that way, I see it as he saved me.  He showed me why I got in this sport to begin with. Why I love this sport of OCR so much, the people you meet, having fun on the obstacles and helping others. For me this was not an OCR but an adventure. I fell in love with everything all over again, just like I did with my first race in 2010.

Thank you my friend, when I was feeling doom and gloom, you actually made me see some light and helped me understand the path I was on. When I returned home, I returned to a friend who was waiting with open arms to start my healing process. Someone who despite my flaws and this odyssey I went on, understood and was there to comfort me.

I am now on a new path, a path with no ending in sight. I am not sure if God is leading the way as Jamie would say, but I’m pretty happy none the less.

Footnote: I heard from Jamie a few weeks later and his text was simple:

“I am going to talk about you in chapel today and tell them how you were a blessing to me on the obstacle course. Hope things are going well”

Thank you my friend, you showed me what I was not seeing because my judgement was cloudy and in the end I found happiness where I wasn’t really looking!

Loves and Crushes and the fear of both

“Love Harder”

In 2015 I made it a goal of mine to love harder. At the time I wasn’t sure what that meant. What does it mean to love harder? I think for me it was to put myself out there and not be afraid to get hurt. I see it often with these stronger willed, independent women who go through life alone and are so afraid to love because they were once “hurt” that they put up these walls and barriers and never really let themselves be happy. I decided I can’t live life that way. After getting divorced and realizing the person I thought was going to be my person, really wasn’t my person, I was crushed. It took some time but I got over it, I met some wonderful people, but I felt then like I was unable to fully give myself over. So when I did meet someone who sparked my interest, I thought why not, live life and love hard.

See I don’t care about getting hurt. I guess we really do all learn from our mistakes and gain valuable life lessons from them. Sometimes it is not very apparent but they are there. One of my favorite quotes from a song is “I’d rather learn what it feels like to burn, than to feel nothing at all.”

Love…oh love, it’s that tricky word we are all afraid to say to people for fear of what may come. Is it reciprocated? Rejection? Is the feeling mutual? These are all of the things that go through our minds. Well what do you think? Did I “love hard” in 2015? Well I can honestly say this. I’m in love with three people and I have a crush on three more. I know what you are thinking…that can’t possibly be right or I’m some kind of weirdo. Well I am a weird, but let me explain and no I am not one of those who found my soulmate every three months. Of those three, only one person heard the L-word from me last year. Yes it was a serious relationship with a lot of potential. Unfortunately it fell short of forever, like really, really short. One person I grew to love over time. The last never heard those words from me until it was too late to salvage the relationship.

A small fling that turned to friendship, with whom I remained close with, we talk about relationships and life and cheer each other on. Will that ever lead to anything? Who knows, but right now I love her like a best friend and it doesn’t hurt that she is a hottie too!

So the third person should have heard from me, she should have been told, but like a lot of how things go, I dropped the ball. I’ll take the blame, I boast of wearing my heart on my sleeve and this time I just didn’t let her know before she walked away.

Now you know a little bit about that, but I am sure you are sitting there saying…but tell us more, who are these women? Where are they now? What happened? Are you okay? (Okay so I doubt anyone really wonders if I am okay…ha ha, but it would be nice you jerks)

I bet you are wondering what one has to do to date me, well basically you have to hit me over the head because apparently I am blatantly oblivious when it comes to these things. Seriously, like send me smoke signals if you like me or I just keep moving along. I had to re-evaluate what I wanted in a partner after my divorce. I wanted someone who had all of the interests I do from, scuba diving, snow skiing, and riding motorcycles to running races, OCR and traveling the country or the world for that matter. Yes you have to be adventurous, have a sense of humor and have a thick skin, you see this maybe a character flaw of mine but I was raised in a family where poking, prodding and making fun of each other was par for the course at our family cookouts. Re-telling old stories of our adventures and never letting anyone live down what they did…well, that is how we rolled. I am the same way, so if you fall, crash or do something that I think if funny as hell, no matter how embarrassing, well…EVERYONE MUST KNOW! Some call it picking on, but yes I am very sarcastic and I joke a lot. I mean I joke a lot; I am not serious unless I need to be. Life is too short to have a constant resting bitch face. I want to look old because I have laugh lines from always having a smile on my face. So that is me in a nut shell, so yes I can be picky and this year I basically only gave you the time of day if you met my extensive list of criteria.

So with that being said, at the beginning of 2015 I found myself in a serious relationship, let’s call her Austin. I was told I was “the one” and then I wasn’t. This relationship lasted until around April, it was sad because I was in love and I also loved her daughter. Not being able to continue that relationship was hard, but I understand. I hold no hard feelings and honestly, if she ever asked to sit down and talk and maybe date again, I would be open to it. I doubt that will happen, but never say never right? Without going into too much detail, we basically had a different opinion on the future, moving in together, where to live and stuff like that. So the plug was pulled in order to pursue our life dreams and goals without compromise. So everything has a lesson right? Here is what I learned about this whirlwind romance:

Lesson 1

For as much as I preached about no regrets and living life to the fullest and taking chances, I was selfish on some of the break up sticking points. Mainly over moving, I was stubborn and wanted my way and I realized after the fact I had absolutely no compromise what so ever. I needed to work on that. I’ll admit I was wrong…

Okay well now you know about the one I told. But what about the others? Well on to number two.

Have you ever cared about someone and though that you could have a great time with them, but for some reason the stars were never aligned, but as time went on you developed feelings? It’s definitely an odd feeling because it isn’t that lustful type of feeling but it also isn’t like loving your sister. So to keep the innocent protected let’s call her Bombshell. So bombshell and I met in 2014 actually and briefly dated for a week or so and unfortunately, life was dictating (at least in my mind) that it wasn’t our time. We lived in different states, she has just quit her job and decided to go to school for a career change, taking a part time job to get by, financially everything was tight for her and she was pretty much committed to be there for about a year. Looking at the big picture, I was probably selfish and I self-ejected thinking that there is no way I could afford to fly out there that often. I kind of felt like a dick and I still feel bad to this day, but I have to say, we stayed friends believe it or not and have continued talking this whole time. We chatted during my relationship, my break ups, during her relationships, her break ups, life’s struggles and we still talk almost every day. So the bond I have with her now, I can honestly say I have a love for her. She is one of the few people I would do anything for and die trying to protect her (yes that is huge in my book if I am willing to take a bullet for you). Will we ever be anything more than pen pals? I am not sure; I am think that if it is meant to be then eventually everything will figure itself out. Until then, I am happy to have someone I can tell my thoughts to, give pep talks to and laugh with (or at sometimes!)

Lesson 2

                What I can take away from this is that again, I need to stop being so selfish.

So now we are down to lucky lady #3. My Sedona. The one I didn’t tell, the one I should have, the one that I let walk away for no other reason than because everything seemed like it was going to be hard. I just had a flash back to bombshell. Except the difference here is that we did do the cross country distance thing for close to 7 months. I know I am an ass, I will admit it. What was I thinking? Well in order to explain this, I need to start at the beginning, how it all started and how hard I have fought back the “feelz”.

Like many of my recent relationships, this one started over chatting and texting. This one actually if you want to get technical, started with “Happy Birthday” (in a Morgan Freeman voice) and a thank you led to small talk which led to 7 months of conversation. When I started talking and getting to know her, it was literally a laugh a minute with this one. One of the best things I think is that we actually went about a month before we ever laid eyes on each other. We didn’t just talk about sex and gibberish, we actually spoke about awesome stuff, and we played 20 questions, 5 at a time. Learning about someone first was a whole new twist on things. But did I think this was going to go anywhere? No, I didn’t…in my head right from the beginning I thought it would just be something fun. The distance thing initially had me worried and thinking everything I thought about the other relationships that started and stopped over the year. Plus I was just feeling the effects of starting to distance myself from one of my crushes. I met crush #3, spent about 5 days together and then everything was slowly fizzling itself out. While I wasn’t totally heartbroken and devastated, I was blue. Then Sedona entered the picture, soothed my soul, made me forget the sadness with long talks, advice on relationships and honestly…why she was better! Ha ha ha!

After a brief meeting in July, we went until September before we physically saw each other again. You know seeing someone basically two times in 3 months…I really had no expectations. At least that is what I kept telling myself. I tried to keep her at arm’s length, my mind tried to think of everything that would keep us apart. I think the most frustrating thing was that once I started getting the feels, I actually got angry that I couldn’t see her more. Being in Hawaii, talking when we could because of the time difference, wishing more than anything she was there to experience this with me, all the romance, sunsets, hiking and of course the race. Life was just throwing curveballs one after the other and I could never hit a damn curveball! Never! In high school they DH’d me because I could not hit the curve and they were tired of me striking out all the damn time.

Back to the story…by now you are wondering, so what does Sedona think of all of this? Come on I know you are, well she definitely had all the feels but we never talked about it. In fact, we never talked about the future, we never talked about what we were doing, and we never talked about being boyfriend/girlfriend. I always thought that was odd, but I didn’t push it because that meant I would have to talk about feelings. Then I slipped into a mini depression and I felt sorry for myself, I felt like a complete failure, everything I touch seems to fall apart at the seams. So of course I projected this outward and the effects of this rippled through the relationship.

On her last visit, one that was supposed to be totally awesome, ended up being a nightmare, ending up with her getting on a plane and walking away, basically ending everything. We had “the talk” as they say about the future and for me I just really wanted to know what we were doing, what was the plan, the long term goals. I was tired of not knowing when we would see each other, I wanted a plan. Part of the depression I experienced had a lot to do with finances and not having the funds to freely go when I wanted. I am a man damn it, I hunt and gather, I should be able to see my woman when I want to. Needless to say, in my opinion, I ended up telling her all of my wants and needs and she said nothing. She basically said she couldn’t give me what I wanted and thought it was best she didn’t waste any more of my time. We ended up talking for about an hour before she had to go to the airport. I quietly held her hand as we walked to the security gate, we said our goodbyes and I cried. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit it, most guys will, most guys are too macho, but then again I am definitely not most guys. (I’m a god damned unicorn remember!) Yes I cried over a girl, it was sad, I haven’t cried over any girls recently. Not when I broke up with Austin, no tears were shed there. So this is kind of a big deal to me.

After she left, as I do after every relationship, I over analyze everything and dissect it. Then it hit me, this was possibly the silliest breakup I have ever had. You have two people who are madly in love with each other, who never actually told the other person how they feel, decided to walk away because life threw a roadblock. But a roadblock which is actually easy to overcome. I started thinking about my list of demands…again back to lesson one and being stubborn. What was I thinking? Why am I not trying to be more flexible if in fact this is someone I am in love with? It did not compute in my head.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew I had made a huge mistake. I constantly preach about taking chances, not being afraid, just jump feet first into the deep end and guess what…I failed to do any of those things. I failed myself. I knew what I had to do, I had to change this, and I had to fix this.

Unfortunately this is easier said than done, I tried to reverse the damage, but she wasn’t having any of it. The more I dissected our last conversation, all I kept thinking was, I told her what I wanted, but she never said what she wanted. All she said was she couldn’t give me what I wanted and would rather walk away instead of proposing ideas on how to overcome these obstacles. I never did get a straight answer.

So the thinking had begun, I racked my brain and I came to one final conclusion and this is going to be the deciding factor moving forward in all my relationships, nothing really matters, money, living arrangements, moving to what city or state, in the end all that really matters when you love someone is that you are with that person. Sarcastically, I would be happy under a bridge, in a cardboard box if it meant I was with my partner in crime. So I went with that.

I bet you are reading this and wondering why I am putting all this out there for everyone to read, I know I should keep my private affairs private and not show the softer side, the vulnerable side of me, but I honestly do not care. It’s kind of therapeutic for me to write. I have hand written numerous love letters as therapy and never sent them, some of which I look back thinking how pathetic I was. Just when I think the world has ended, someone else walks in who is just a little bit better for me.

So how does this story end? Well with a grand romantic gesture of course! I couldn’t let this non-closure thing happen. It is easy to stop texting, calling, etc when you are 14 hours away. But I refused to believe what I was getting back on text messages. I wanted her to tell me to my face to move on, go away and never come back. (I know a little dramatic, but hey, that is how I roll) The hopeless romantic in me thinks it will end up like one of those movies; you know where you break up, spend time apart and realize you can’t live without the other person and you end up outside the window with a boombox over your head! In my case, I did something just as good.

I couldn’t take the distance, when you talk to someone every day for 7 months, not talking, hearing their voice and seeing their face, makes you do crazy shit. So I jumped in a plane, found out where she was going to be at this conference and SURPRISE! I felt as though worst case scenario, I needed closure for myself. No regrets, not even one single letter!

So what happened? Well, that is another story you will have to stay tuned for.

On one final note, I mentioned I had a few crushes, this is true. But I think it is healthy to have a crush or two. One I actually spent some time with in-between my romances, which is why it was hard to initially fall for Sedona, but she has a ton going on and trying to rein her in was almost impossible. So it is what it was and just another adventure to log in the books. The other two are just as tricky because crush #2 has no clue and lives at a great distance as well. If you noticed the order, then you have noticed that my crush #1 is mentioned last and that is because she is someone I met over a year ago, something about her caught my attention, but she was never interested. I think she is beautiful and it would be cool to get to know her, she actually lives in DFW. Right now I am in the friend zone, which is hilarious, but that is okay, I am a great person and a pretty good handyman!

Would I pursue them if this doesn’t work with Sedona? Possibly, you never know, but probably not since it would mean another long distance thing or putting myself out there and I am not sure my poor heart could take that. But then again, you never know, I might just jump.

 

One Final Lesson:

So what did I take away from all these relationships this year? I need to not focus on the future and what could happen as much as I need to focus on the present and making things happen. I still think breaking up because one person won’t move is one of the craziest experiences I have had, but again I need to stop being so selfish. I get I need to be selfish to a degree, I know what I want for my future, but honestly it doesn’t mean I can’t compromise or at least work on solutions before bailing. I cherish the experiences I had in 2015 and would not trade them for anything, heartache is just another experience which I am glad to work through because I have a ton of memories that were pretty awesome too.

My Name is Travis and I wear my heart on my sleeve!

Things I Think – Thursday – Please Stop the Madness!

Thinking out Loud!

I saw this article the other day which was 6 Total A**hole Moves People Make When They’re Getting Healthy. I have to say it was spot on. I’ve been thinking of this post for some time because, well I’m really annoyed with some of my Facebook friends.

Oh gosh, yes I said it. I know some of my friends don’t get it, some are very simple and only have family and close friends with whom they interact with. Me on the other hand, I add people daily, most of them are OCR or fitness related and some I’ve never met. Most people can’t comprehend why I do that. Well it’s simple, I meet people and I like to meet more folks with my same set of hobbies. With that being said, people you have to stop the narcissism, I mean really, I know I post a lot of selfies or usies with friends, I know I post where I go and what I do, but Facebook is meant to share your life with people you care about. So I do…but here are the posts I’m getting so tired of seeing and some of you need to reevaluate your existence.

The workout pics & videos EVERY SINGLE DAY.

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Hey, I totally get it, some of you are proud of what you are doing, I completely understand, I am too. But seriously, give me a break. Dear all OCR friends, WE ALL WORKOUT! Yes we do, we basically have to, I don’t need to see it everyday, I mean I know you do this everyday or you wouldn’t be running so many races. I don’t need to see you box jumping, snatching, mirror selfies at the gym, burpee videos, trail running or your workout times from your watch. It’s pretty much a given you do that everyday. I mean you don’t post pictures of you at work “crushing those TPS reports.” Unless you are a trainer and posting to help others or WOD’s (which you need a professional page then) I don’t care, I don’t think anyone does. Please stop it! I would rather know more about you, other hobbies and interests you have. If you are in a relationship, show it for Christs sake, stop acting like you are single. I want to see your family, kids, adventures outside of OCR or races you run. Be real.

IG/Facebook cross posting.

circle-quote5So many of you do this and it drives me insane. As someone who is involved in social media daily (as a job), for the love of God, stop posting on Instagram and pushing it to Facebook. On occasion it is okay, but every single time is just annoying. Okay, I’ll explain, here’s why:

Facebook = sharing your life,

Instagram = sharing your life through pictures.

With that being said, you probably have a ton of the same people following or friends with you on both places. I don’t need to like your pic on FB and then run over to IG and like the same pic. When I see you post from IG on FB, that tells me it’s in both places, my mind automatically says, like it on FB, ignore on IG. I say this because all of us are the same, we all want likes and as many as possible. Yes you know you do, you want a ton of likes, most of us are wired that way, it makes us feel good to know people care about our pictures and thus us.  So…be unique on IG, don’t always post the same pictures, make me want to look in both places, I guarantee you will start getting more likes.

Sponsor Tagging in every picture

circle-quote4Speaking of IG and FB, please, please, please stop sponsor tagging on every post. Seriously!! Again, I get it, we all do. You are either giving us a buyer discount (which you get a kickback) or you are sponsored by them. I understand you might get paid or have to post a quota on social media and I get race pics, I’m okay with that…but come on man, every picture? Really? It kind of goes back to showing me you are more than an athlete and seriously none of you are Amelia freaking Boone or Ryan Atkins and they don’t do it that often. Plus YOU ARE NOT A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE! There I said it, you are a weekend warrior at best and it pays for this expensive hobby. Stop looking like a NASCAR add, it’s honestly annoying. So if you take my advice and start posting more life pics, please don’t post a pic of your kids school play or your dinner/movie date night and also tell me how I can get 10% off of ORAL IV.

Professional Athlete Pages

circle-quote3Which leads me to the “Professional athlete pages”…seriously stop it. OCR has more pro athlete pages than any other sport ever. Okay I made that up, but seriously only about 10% of the people in this sport actually need them. Plus, nobody cares, I can’t speak for everyone, but I am pretty sure most of your friends will tell you – we don’t like looking at two different locations about your life. What is really funny is when you have to share what you said on your Athlete Page on your personal timeline just so people will see it…isn’t that the reason you created your AP, so you could keep your private life and athlete life separate? Facebook changed the Algorhythms within the past couple of years and fan pages are basically obsolete these days. Even for big brands, unless you are paying Facebook to advertise, less than 5% of your actual fans will see your posts unless they physically click on your page and look. The fan page is useless and again, you really are not a professional athlete or brand and who wants to update in two places all of the time?

Stop living in the past!

circle-quote1So you want some advice on how to use Facebook and Instagram? Well for starters, stop living in the past. It all started with Throwback Thursday, then it was Flashback Friday, now I see Way back Wednesday & Memory Monday. People please stop it! Start living in the present and future, stop living in the past and showing me the same stuff you already did. Plus there are rules to Throwback Thursday, the first being that your pics need to be at least 4-years old! Yes those are the rules! Not last week or last month or last year. 4-years people! This was started as a way to show great pictures of your youth, those pics which some of us have still on real actual photographs, and Polaroids. Those pictures before everything went digital. Come on get creative, there are 52 weeks this year, pick past holidays, birthdays or when you lost your first tooth! (Yes I have that one)

As for the other days, just stop it. You can’t be remembering things everyday, it makes me feel like you hate your life and all your good times were in the days of yore.

Put your shirt on!

circle-quote2To some of my friends, please put your shirt on! Yes, to all my bromance bro’s, for all that you hold sacred in this world, put your shirt on.  Don’t get me wrong, your abs look great, your pecs are on point but COME ON MAN! I understand all the race pics, but then you add in your workout pics (even the staged ones where it’s so obvious you took off your shirt for a picture), and your running pics and any other pic you take where your shirt is off! If people like you, they will like you with a shirt on, trust me, we all love you for your personality! I liked your running picture yesterday without a shirt on and the day before that and the week before that. It’s snowing outside and you have no shirt on…seriously? Maybe it’s because I’m uncomfortable posting pics without mine on, but come on, not every pic.

Okay my rant is over, I have been sitting on this stuff for awhile and my head just exploded and it feels so good. I know people probably block my feed, I get that, not everyone cares about my races and I tend to post a crap ton of race pictures. I also try to keep it real and post other things about my life, I do have other hobbies other than running and racing believe it or not.

My Name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

The 7-P’s

Time to get right

Do you know what the 7 P’s are? Well I do and after running the Spartan Beast Glen Rose this past weekend, I realized some things and this was all I could think about. During the whole race, which was actually shortened due to flooding, all I could think about was writing this blog. Not so much to complain and bitch about how bad I did or the “whoa is me mentality” but to remind myself to not do this again. Never take injuries for granted and think you can just power on through them (mind over matter, sometimes is not wise) and I learned this lesson again.

Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Proper Planning and Preparation

I have no one to blame but myself. Basically if you stop running and sit on the couch, do not expect to have good results. My previous race before this, I actually did pretty well, Battlefrog Austin on 10/3, I felt good and redeemed myself from that disaster in Chicago. I finished top 10 and didn’t really think I was injured. But I have been having this nagging back problem since February and going to my chiro is what fixes it.  Well I was in pain a few days later and I decided to do nothing. I had also been experiencing what can only be described as a pulled muscle in my hamstring, which ran down behind my knee.  I also tweaked my groin or something in that area or maybe my labrum is acting up again, either way it has been painful at times. Of course my infinite wisdom told me to sit and rest and not do a thing. Well the week of the race I went and tried to get fixed 3-days before the race.

I also didn’t get in my flow of pre-race rituals. I didn’t get sleep, I didn’t hydrate on Friday and I didn’t get my pre-race meal right.  So basically noting seems to be in my favor driving down to the race.

Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Well piss poor performance is an understatement. This race sucked, I was in pain after about 5 miles in (10 mile race) and struggled to keep a pace, I walked some and my leg was bothering me a lot. I felt like I had absolutely no energy. I failed the spear throw and that pissed me off and then I failed the rig at the end. I was just so over this race, I was ready for it to be done, I never fail the rig, man that pissed me off.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t whine, I am sure my results were still pretty good to some people.  However, I hate it when I feel like I did bad and especially when I know there is more I can do to prevent it. So note to all of you out there, sometimes you can’t just show up and be your best. No matter how great you think you are, training and nutrition have to be on point.

Okay this is the end of my rant…I was disappointed, but this made me realize my injuries maybe more serious than I realized and I need to go get fixed.

Who Motivates the Motivator?

I Cried Today

What happens when you trip and fall and land on your face? When you are the motivator, the one everyone turns to for encouragement? Who Motivates you? Yes I cried today and that is okay, because I am human.

Every once and awhile you get to a point where it becomes hard to stay as positive as everything thinks you are all of the time. Sure you can keep posting Motivation Monday posts knowing that others depend on your inspiration and motivation to get their own lives in check. But what happens when you are not motivated? How do you get motivated? Does the exhaustion of trying to constantly motivate others ever wear you down?

I don’t try to be an inspiration or motivational cheerleader to others, honestly I don’t. I started this year documenting my life more and some of the struggles I go through with my running and activities. Somehow it transformed into how I live my life, my free spirited attitude towards everything and my travels. I get emails about how others live vicariously through me and to keep it up. I started posting #MotivationMonday posts on facebook and instagram and relating my sport activities to life experiences and if I can run a stupid race, then you can do whatever it is you need to do in life. The problem I find is that I feel like I am boasting or bragging and saying “hey look at me”, which is the farthest from the thing I want to do.

So I stopped going into detail of my races, I stopped posting deep motivational posts and I went generic if I do them at all. I mean who am I to try and motivate others? I am pretty good at it in person, after all I am a damn good wrestling coach if I do say so myself.

Back to my original question, how do you get motivated when you are supposed to be the one motivating others? Lately I have not been motivated to do much of anything. I stopped working out, stopped running, I barely sleep and I just lay in bed watching TV on my days off.  I know you may think this does not sound like the guy you know, but sometimes you don’t post the bad things on Facebook and other social media, because to me it just looks like a cry for attention. So all you really see are the great, life is good type stuff. But I have a ton of work related items weighing me down, personal life decisions that need to be made and it feels like a new path to take.  Scary stuff for most people and admitting failure is a hard thing to do. So how does one stay positive? I see my peers posting positive motivation stuff, but to me it just comes off as BLAH…I see them post the same type of pictures and the same type of messages and it does not make me want to run through a wall.

I had a surge of energy today, I actually got some motivation from a place I least expected it, but should have known all along. Then like a punch in the gut, I learned that not only did I not know about one friend passing away in May, another closer friend lost a battle to pancreatic cancer and passed in April of this past year. I broke down, I feel like a horrible friend for not paying closer attention and staying in contact. So I snapped back and trying to not be depressed I started writing this blog.

I know what I need to do, I need to get off my ass and get moving. I need to get the mindset that I had during my UltraBeast and 26 mile tail run, that never stop until you are dead mentality. I need to work harder and out work everyone. I need to go for a run and clear my mind because that is where I think the best. I need to stop worrying about failing, bills and what may or may not happen in the future and start taking it one day at a time.

Sometimes it is harder to take your own advice then you may think.  I find comfort in knowing my friend Michelle made the most out her final months in life and chose to live it to the fullest.  I am drawing strength from her.  Her final video I had to share and post below. I miss our lunches and long talks of her and her husband Mr. Wonderful. We shared the love of Harleys and touring the country and how we were going to change the world. She did change the world, she wrote her book, she created an amazing business and her outlook on life is amazing.

I wanted to find how you get motivated when you are the motivator? Well I found it, you take the cue of someone who no matter what they are going through, makes life just a little bit better for others. Rest in Peace my friend, thank you for changing my life for the better. I raise my glass of your elixir of life.

 

I need to go do some handstands and eat some pie!

 

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers

How one month has changed my life

One Month, 4 States, 8 Races, 89 Miles, Life Changed Forever

I was going to write about all of my recent races in detail and I still may, but after this past race I had some time to reflect on what I just accomplished as I prepare to take some much needed time off from racing. So I started thinking and wow…I just did a lot of running, probably the most ever and I loved every minute of it!

So this journey of me all started on July 25th. Why is this important? Well it really isn’t except for the fact that I had not really been running. You see in May I rolled my ankle so bad, then attempted to still run on it, I had to do the smart thing and take the entire month of June off.  Sure I raced once in June and it was horrible. I started my rehab running on July 1st. To see where I was at, and knowing I felt like my conditioning was still off, I raced my first race on July 11th in PA.  I felt tired, but I did well all things considering. But afterwards, I feared I fractured my foot, took some time off and eventually went and had x-rays. They were negative so more rest for me.

As I am in rest mode I get an invitation to join a few friends at this Fossil Valley 6 hr trail night run. I originally went to cheer on my friends and spectate. But unfortunately that is not in my DNA.  I brought my gear “just in case” and the foot was feeling good so I went for it. This started a domino effect of what the next month was going to be like. Okay, here is a recap of the month that changed my life.

Race 1 – Fossil Valley 6-hour (26.9 Miles) 7/25/15

I already wrote in detail on this Race, but this one has to be the defining moment when I learned the most about myself. I discovered  can do anything, my mental toughness will get me through the physical pain my body endures. I ran for 6 hours, did 10 laps of a 2.69 mile course.  My first attempt at anything over 16 miles and no obstacles. This was such a challenge to run trails with a headlamp on in the summer Texas heat, in the middle of the night! I loved every minute of it.

Finish – 5th AG, 9th OA

Race 2 – Trinity 5000 5k (3.1 Miles) 8/6/15

I stumbled upon this 5k summer series purely by accident because it was across the river from the float the river night in Fort Worth. So I thought what the heck! It was 100* at 7:30pm when the race started and it was glorious! I was excited to see how my pace was on concrete. I have not run on the road race since January, and seldom train on the road. This was really my first run since the 6-hour too.

Finish – 1st AG, 20th OA

Race 3 – BattleFrog Pittsburgh (9.66 Miles) 8/8/15

Battlefrog has become one of my most loved/hated race series to date. I love it because it is so challenging and the mandatory obstacle completion actually give me a chance against the faster guys. I actually don’t hate it all, it just makes me the most nervous of any of the races I do. The DNF possibility is always there lingering in the background.

Pittsburgh was no joke! I mean I heard how great it was from the cave swim to the terrain. It did not disappoint at all! I crushed the first lap, took me 1:30 and only one repeat on the monkey bars. Feeling confident, running in the top ten, I had a mental and physical break down on the RIG. I spent an hour trying to get through it on lap two, then the rest of the race was cake.  I tried to make up some time on the runs, but the creek runs were brutal and I couldn’t make up the hour. Still I finished with my band. Mission Accomplished.

Finish – Masters Elite – 13th place Male, 13th OA

Race 4 – Spartan UltraBeast Hawaii (26.2 Miles) 8/15/15

I went to Hawaii to earn my Hawaiian Trifecta. Three races in two days…no problemo! Then an unexpected turn, peer pressure. Who would have thought at my age I would get peer pressure to run an UltraBeast? I mean I am not a distance guy, I don’t like distance, I like the shorter Sprint type courses, that is my thing! Nervous about the if you don’t complete it, you get nothing and worried about making the check points I was very concerned. But I threw caution to the wind and I went for it.

Running this race I definitely took my time, worked on a slow and steady pace, I knew I wanted to stay in the 15 minute mile running pace if possible. Well I was doing great, I finished the first lap of that tropical hell in 3:30. Half way done! I took a 15 min break, tried to eat PB&J but that was not going down too well. So I went back out on the trail, I didn’t want to lose anymore time than necessary. The second lap I did slow down just a tad, it was hard to get going again after the break. But I already knew I had this, I figured I could have walked the rest of the 2nd lap and still made all of the cutoffs. I was pretty stoked at this point. I continued going, into the tropical jungle hell of 85* and 80% humidity, where many people were suffering, I did not. I guess the Texas heat had me prepared.

What a feeling, tired and exhausted once I finished the second rope climb which was the highest I have ever seen, I knew I had done it, just the spear throw and rig left. I ran into the festival area to the spear and I see my good friend Laura Messner standing there and cheering. I nailed the spear and as I ran to the rig I remember giving her the “double check discount” motion. I am sure she has no clue what I was talking about, but I was referencing to the fact that I am about to get a damn belt buckle! I smoked the rig, over the non-slip, slip wall, nailed my epic fire jump pose and crossed the finish. My time was 7:49 for the 26ish mile race. ZERO burpees, yes I ran a burpee free race!

Finish – 15th OA

Race 5 – Spartan Super (8 Miles) 8/16/15

The start of a two race day. I wasn’t out to crush this, just complete it so that I could get in the sprint also. Feeling the full effects of the day before, blisters, sore feet, tired calves, slow and steady was the objective. Basically as a group effort, we jogged and walked and did all of the obstacles.

Finish – Yes I did!

Race 6 – Spartan Sprint (4 Miles) 8/16/15

Yes I am exhausted, but sadly I am refreshed also. Unfortunately I don’t leave a man behind, no matter how much they beg me to “just go on.” So there is no running even though I swear I could have done it. At this point a lot of people are just trying to finish. This meant strictly walking the final 4 miles to my Ultrafecta glory.

Finish – Yes I did!

Race 7 – Dirty Rock Triathlon (Swim, 6 Mile Bike, 2 Mile Run) 8/23/15

I know its not even a real sprint TRI, but I was itchy watching everyone else race all weekend so I found something to do. It was literally Saturday afternoon and seeing all my friends post about their Spartan races, made me want to do something. So I looked at the local race calendar and boom here I go! Since I only have a mountain bike, this was perfect. I did pretty well considering I have only ridden my bicycle once this year and no trail riding at all. The trails slowed me down, but I was able to make up for it on the run.

Finish – 3rd AG, 18th OA

Race 8 – Battlefrog Cincinnati (10 Miles) 8/29/15

I have to admit I was somewhat intimidated just by the location and after seeing first hand some of the obstacles, I knew I was in for a true test. The running was never a worry for me, it was basically two obstacles I had in my mind. The Rig and the monkey bars from hell. I shouldn’t worry about the rig, but second laps tend to have a mental block on me. The Monkey bars on the other hand, were just plain brutal for me, no strength left in my grip or forearms on the 2nd lap had me hanging on for dear life to not fall. I knew if I did, then I would be done.  Once I got past both of them on lap two…I knew is was over, I did it once again. Now I was just running for time. Trying to catch the ones I let get by me from the rig. Lap one was 1:50 with no failures, lap two with a 45 min break at the rig came in at 3:06. Granted I took my time on the hills and my watch died so I had no idea about time and pace…ugh. I was shooting for the 3:40 mark (total time)…which in the end was the difference between 5th and 8th.

Finish – Masters Elite – 8th Place Male, 12th OA

 What I have learned

When I had my summer schedule out, there were no intentions of running the equivalent of a marathon, much less two. What changed you ask? Well, for starters I stopped thinking there was something I couldn’t do just because it was out of my comfort zone or I thought I would be in discomfort. All year I said I was never doing an Ultrabeast…too much running. Then people began inspiring me, actually watching others go out and do things they had never tried before was exhilarating to me.  It was like I drank some hypnotic love potion, this lust with wanting to challenge myself in a new way.  I mean seriously watching someone nail 50 miles…its just awe inspiring. Secretly observing friends race everything from 10k’s to triathlons to OCR, at all ages, but especially people my age, motivates me to do epic things. This whole thing started with the 6-hour run and just showing up on a whim, no training for distance, no clue of what I was doing, just some good friends doing it so I thought why not. Once I did it, as difficult as it seemed towards the end, I knew from that point on I could do anything. Sure I will admit I was up in the air about the UB in Hawaii, but not because I didn’t think I could do it, I knew I could do it, it was whether or not I could do it in the allowed time frames.  I knew once I completed the first lap of the UB that it was mine. The whole second lap I just smiled and laughed and knew I had a buckle.

My mindset has changed over the past month too, now I want to run the 9-10 mile distances, I love the two lap Battlefrogs.  I am thinking what the future holds and honestly, I have to say I want to try new things, push myself more. If that means less OCR races and more trail running or adventure racing, then so be it.  I’m still skeptical of a real marathon, I think it will be too boring, but you never know.

I posted this phrase the other day which pretty much sums up my last month.

Sometimes

it’s the very people

who no one imagines anything of

who do the things

no one

can imagine

I think I absolutely fit in this category, I have never been a great athlete, I was an average wrestler, I didn’t start running until late in my 30’s.  But I am competitive and everyday I want to get better to be better. So I never imagined in a million years I would be where I am right now, doing the things I never thought I could do.

So the real realization…I am a distance runner.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

My First Marathon – Kinda

30 Miles, 6 hours, No Problemo

So here I am sitting in my doctors office, I am getting my foot x-rayed  and I casually reach out to my friend about going to our local brewery to get a new pint glass they are giving out. During the conversation he tells me they are running a 6hr trail run on Saturday. He then asks me to come, even if I can’t run to hang out with them and be the pit crew. So without hesitation I say yes! I figure even if I can’t run, being a part of someones pit crew for a long event like this would be awesome, especially for good friends.

So the good news was that my foot was not fractured or broken as I had feared, just a bruise they thought.  So by the time Saturday came, the foot was feeling awesome, I had stayed off of it and rested and it felt like I could run.

Saturday comes and I decide that I am going to run if they still have race day registration. Since it was a small event, it was limited to the first 200 runners. Good news when I arrive, they allow me to sign up and I went ahead and signed up for the 6-hour run, I mean hey everyone else did, so I couldn’t not do it.

So not ever having done anything like this before, I was not sure what to expect. I knew the loop was 2.69 miles and the object was just to run it as many times as possible. For me, I initially set this ridiculous goal of 30 miles, I mean I was thinking If I could run two loops per hour and times that by 6 hours that would be 36 miles. But that was unrealistic, so I wanted to factor in stops, water breaks, eating, etc. So I lowered that goal to 30 miles. Which mean I just had to average 12 min miles. In my mind that is doable, I mean I usually can slow down to 10 min miles if needed on my training trails. Plus having this at night and running by head lamp was something new. So in my mind it was perfectly doable. I guess I never thought that I have never in my life run past 16 miles, much less for 6 straight hours.IMG_6096

Lap one

So of course I toe the line at the front, I mean that is what we do at all of the OCR races right? Well apparently everyone else wanted to get in the back and try to avoid the mad rush and just pace themselves. For the first time I thought to myself, this is a long ass run, maybe starting slower would be the way to go.

So off we go, the herd rushing off to the trail and into the wilderness and darkness. Yeah now that you have that picture in your head, change that to nothing but dust and people everywhere.  There was so much dust in fact it was actually hard to see, all the spot lights did was highlight this damn dust. Then the “hey let’s stay in the back” lasted about 30 seconds as Maynard takes off like he was shot out of a cannon. So of course I follow. We kill the first mile and start the first ascent and the running becomes a walk. Thankfully this was not that tough, we were still passing people left and right. Then May-May got caught behind some girls and I made an “On your left” pass and I thought he was behind me, I didn’t see him again until my 3rd lap.

The best part about the first lap was seeing the photographers. So thinking that they were going to be there for several of these laps, I did the serious run by on the first lap. I wanted some good running action shots! ha ha ha…then I learned my first lesson of trail racing, you need to bring your own bottle or you don’t get water. Of course I left mine on accident in my car so I just took off, getting no water. Lap one done. Watch said 2.5 miles, pace is right at 11 min/miles.

Lap Two

I can say I don’t really remember much, more of the same, passing people hear and there, found some guys who were running pretty good and I stayed with them. On the photo op station, I did the running Messner this time. Completed the lap and finally got some water. Lap two done, just over 5 miles, pace was still under 11 min/miles.

Lap Three

The funny thing about these early laps is that all I was really thinking about was the photo op near the end of the loop. What is the next pose? Will I have to slow down so there are no other people in the way? The first thing I had to do was turn my hat around and hope that my light would illuminate the trail better, nope no such luck. All I could see was white dust. So I just kept running, waiting for the next photo op. I ended up doing the Usain Bolt point to the heavens pose. Nobody was in my way, so it was a good little pose down. I ended up staying with some ultra-guys; they looked like they knew what they were doing so I just stayed with them. During the transition after lap three, I actually stopped and rested. I told myself no more than 5 minutes. During this time I had some PBJ and a lot of water. I also lost my shirt and decided to run the rest of the race without one. Lap three complete, over 8 miles done and maintaining an 11 min/mile pace.

Lap Four

Here we go again, there was really no thinking involved with what I was going to do for the photo op on this lap, it was straight up going to be the “Fire Jump” pose. Boom! Nailed it! The Photographer even gave me a high five as I went by, I think they were just happy to see someone having fun on the trail. Finished the lap and decided it was time to take in more. I consumed a bunch of water, dipped into my pedialite, more PBJ and took a gel and a salt tab. Two hours down, 1/3 of the way there! Lap four done, 10.3 miles and I am now at an 11:30 min/mile pace.

Lap Five

By now the trail is pretty much the same thing over and over. Flat, downhill, flat, uphill, downhill, flat, uphill, flat and on to the finish. I was wondering what to do on this lap. It seems even though I am jamming to my tunes, the only thing at this point on my mind in what to do in the pictures. Well, okay, there were a couple of conversations I had from time to time with people I need to have them with, you know like practice if you will. Should I do a cartwheel? Maybe walk on my hands, no I was too scared for that, I was afraid my legs would give out and I would look stupid. I ended up just doing the “Jet” pose. If you are a Dallas Maverick fan you remember the jet and his pose after a 3-point basket. Oh well, it wasn’t that exciting. Finished the loop and I was starting to get tired. My feet were starting to hurt some. The downhill pounding on the rocks I think was starting to take its toll. Lap Five complete, 13 miles in and now around a 13:30 min/mi pace. The stops at the transition were adding time.

Lap Six

What can I say about lap six? Really nothing I remember other than, now what am I going to do for a picture? It seems kind of stupid they are in the same place every lap and three photographers at the same spot? But no worries because they were not there this time, I guess they just were going to do the first three hours. Kind of a relief but then again, it was a great land mark because they had a light and it wasn’t much further until the festival area. So my feet hurt a lot right now. It feels like there is no padding in my shoes. I tried to think of running on pillows or clouds, I’m a cat, YES! I am a cat, landing soft on every step, no pain here. Well crap, I am more like an elephant and every step feels like I am clodhopping my way through the dark. When I get to the transition area I decide to switch my shoes. I am going to put on the ones with slightly more cushion to see if they help. I am half way there, not really tired at all, but things are starting to hurt. Lap six complete just over 15 miles, pace is dropping, now at 14:30 min/mile. This is also factoring in the transition stops.

Lap Seven

Well it was bound to happen, I could feel my feet dragging slightly and I had tripped over several roots, I started thinking of how great it was that this lap was almost over and then boom, I rolled the bad ankle. It wasn’t a huge deal, not a bad roll, I actually caught myself and I was able to avoid putting any weight on it so it didn’t hurt at all. Just as I wipe my eyebrows with a “whew” moment, I hit a stump right in the center of my foot. I came down on it so hard that it felt like my toes touched my shin. It was like a reverse hyperextension. That smarted some. It felt like everything popped and stretched at the same time and of course it was my bad ankle too. Lucky for me there were just a few more turns and then the straightaway to the finish. Lap seven complete, over 18 miles complete, pace is dropping to the mid 15’s. Took a good 5 minute rest at the aid station and I did what I thought you should do, I started taking in sugar. I took two glasses of Coca-Cola, water, pedialite, PBJ, gels and salt tabs.

Lap Eight

So I have to admit I am effing tired. I have never run this far in my life and everything hurts. I mean everything. My feet, my knees, I think if you took video of my I would look like an old man hobbling around. So I start off on the next lap. I have been walking for the first ¼ mile on the last couple of laps to start the next before the big downward descent. So I am going along and something is not feeling right. I get to the bottom and it is the flat part, usually where I make up my time. But I’m cramping, seriously I am cramping? I never cramp, OMG the sharp pains shooting through my stomach. Is this what you women go through every month? Holy crap I love all of you then for putting up with our shit when you are experiencing this. Wait, what is going here, do I need to take a dump? I can’t do that out here, what if it is diarrhea, I can’t wipe, I am going to have fire ass the rest of the race, I can’t run with fire ass. OMG this pain hurts and I stop and I am doubled over in the trail. Now that I am bent over my back starts hurting, yes my low back. Now everything is failing…WTF!! My groin hurts in the creases so I start stretching that area out, I then do some lunges because my legs have joined this pity party and while I am there I might as well crack my back. Ahh okay better. Okay the cramps are going away, thank god.

Okay T (that is what I call myself in my head), you have to get moving to get the laps in, you can’t quit yet. So I start off and instantly I feel this fire in my crotch. Okay no sugar coating it, my balls are on fire. I don’t know what the hell is going on, but it is like they are rubbing against my legs and trying to start a fire. The pain was like a 7 at least. Holy crap that is not the burning sensation a man ever needs to feel period. No clue at this point what that is but it slowly goes away. Then I start with the gas. All I can think after the cramping is oh God please let these be farts and not sharts. I don’t want to be like that guy who has shit all over his pants during a race. I think it is just gas, it must have been, because I have to tell you, this lap my times were back in the good. The mile after all of this was a 14:35. Those had to be my jet fuel farts!

So I come into the aid station again and basically collapse. I am taking on all fluids I can and trying to get stuff in me to live. I tell Mike (Mike Boone saved my life by giving me a water bottle and then having it filled on every lap! Thank you brother!) this is going to be my last lap, I don’t think I can physically do it. I drink more Coco-Cola and a handful of M&M’s, more pedialite, water, salt tabs and gels. Oh yeah and then there is Maynard sitting in a chair cheering me on. “Good job” he says, “you got this” he mutters and then as I am drinking and eating, he asks me if I want bacon and pancakes. Oh yeah, he is there with a full plate just mowing down. He stopped at 6 laps because he was cramping. Good thing we have this love/hate relationship because I wanted shove that bacon down his pie hole!

We are over 4 hours in; I have 21 miles down and averaging about 15 min/miles. Once again I head out into the darkness.

Lap Nine

You know that saying “The Struggle is Real”, well it was absolutely real here. Lap nine I am barely upright, my knee hurts so bad I think that something was terribly wrong with it. My feet are killing me, my left calf is starting to twinge a little, not cramping yet but it really wants to that bastard. So I start moving again, I have to get back closer to 5am then to 5:30am if I am going to have a shot at two more laps. I know, I know, I said I was done, but screw that I set 30 miles a goal, “go for it fucker” you are so close. I start my run hobble, and then no shit, like ½ mile in it all hits me again. The cramps, this time it is worse, I actually fall to my knees on a bench on the trail. You know I haven’t even pissed since I started this, which I thought was odd, but dang it, why didn’t I try to crap back at the bathrooms at the aid station. Seriously I can’t go in the woods. Okay I am a dumbass, it’s the Coca-Cola. It didn’t start until you drank that crap. So I started breathing to myself and it went away last time, you just have to move no sitting. Then the fire balls decided they wanted back in on the action. I mean how can you only hurt part of the time? I seriously think I could start a campfire with the heat down there right now.

Onward damn it! We have to get back, have to steal the last lap. If nothing else I want to get that damn 26 miles in, it would be a marathon…kind of. So the rest of the lap is my hobbling around in the dark with a shitty headlamp, going extremely slow downhill because if hurts to take a step down and trying to just keep moving on the straightaways and power walking up the hills.

Thankfully I had plenty of motivation. No need to give shout outs, but there was someone who I wanted nothing more then to make them proud of me. I was inspired to do this just because it is way out of my comfort zone and sometimes you need to do that to prove to yourself you can do EPIC shit. So I had to finish what I started even if it killed me. I make it back to the aid station, it is 5:25 and I slam a water bottle, grab a second headlight and I head out into the darkness. Lap nine completed 23 miles down, still working about a 16 min/mile pace.

Lap Ten

The rules are if you are out of the aid station area by 5:59:59, then that lap will count. So All I have to do is get back quickly. I was watching my pace I was watching my pace a lot and it varied from 14:30 to 15 depending on which section I was on. So I had already done nine stinking laps, I grabbed the extra headlight because I wanted to light up that damn trail because I was tired and I knew I was going to push it, I was going to give it all I had to get back to get the bonus lap which would get me 30 miles. Guess what no cramps! Eff You Coca-Cola!! Never drinking you again!

At this point all I can say is that everything is mind over matter, pain will go away and I am not going to die so I need to do this. I have to do this. I put down the first ½ mile and I was feeling good considering, I was at my target pace and then the wheels fell off. My right foot slammed hard into a tree root stubbing all my toes seemingly at the same time. Then the left foot followed suit right beside it and slammed hard into the root. Somehow I didn’t fall but it was a good trip. The pain was so intense I took a knee. It was here that I knew I was finished. I couldn’t run, my toes were not working, and the pain was so much it hurt to just take steps. I told myself to just move, so move I tried. I wasn’t going to make it and I was extremely bummed. I felt like I had a chance.

Now my music is telling me to “don’t give up”, “One more, just one more”, “you’ve got to move it, move it” oh hell shut up already, if I could move it, move it, I would damn it. Now the burning balls are back. Apparently they only burn when I am walking or moving slow, so the last two miles sucked righteous ass. I hobbled for two miles, until I got to the road, then I decided to run, it had to be about ½ mile left but I was tired of walking and I wanted this to be over. So I did my best and it was ugly and painful.

I finished at 6:16:10 and officially ran 26.9 miles. I should take pride in my accomplishment, but I still shake my head thinking about what could have been if I would have been able to go for it. I learned a lot about myself, in the dark running on a poorly lit trail with a crappy headlight at 3AM. I would not trade this experience for anything either, I ran farther than I have ever done in my life and it felt good.

IMG_6105Injury Update:

Toes – So I ended up draining my ring toe on the right foot with fluid under the nail, on the tip of my toe and on top of the toe. That little guy hit hard.

Fire Balls – were a result of extreme chaffing from the mesh in my shorts. So yes, I won’t ever wear those kind of shorts ever again. Some lotion and the boys are all fine.

Knee – resting it for a few days seemed to do the trick.

Feet – I learned to not wear two pair of socks, I think this caused my feet to cram into my shoes and made the whole experience hell in the later miles.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers

 

 

Things I Think – Thursday July 23, 2015

Lost Stars

Today I struggled to think of something to write about. There is a ton of stuff going on right now and most of the time I feel like I may sound like a broken record. You mainly get to see all of the good times going on, the world traveler, the obstacle racer and the motorcycle rider. It is rare that I let down the veil and show you my feelings, if I do it usually revolves around a woman, or seems to be that way to me. Ain’t nobody got time for that, seems to be the thought that comes to mind when I want to rant about my issues.

So my original post was going to be titled “Is life really too short?” and I was going to write about how everyday I see people posting about living life, enjoying life and life is short so live life to the fullest. Because this has been my motto since 2009 when my best friend committed suicide. It was then that I decided I was not going to just sit on the couch and miss life, miss the things I loved doing and the adventures I wanted to have.

But while pondering this topic and everything I would want to say, I couldn’t get this song out of my head. I first heard it last week and I immediately loved the music aspect of it. Then I watched the movie over the weekend (Begin Again) and I can’t get this song out of my head. No matter what I do, every morning this week I have woken up singing this song. No matter what I dreamed the night before, it doesn’t matter…I am singing this song to start each day.  With that I decided since it was on my mind so much I was going to dissect this song lyrics and see why I relate so well.

So now you have watched it, what you do think? Some of the words don’t make sense to me, but most of them do and it is pretty scary. Of course I had to GTS and see what I could find out regarding the true meaning of this song and as I thought, astrology comes into play.  I am not going to go line by line but the main first verse and a couple lines in the second. So lets go!

Please don’t see just a boy caught up in dreams and fantasies

So here I am basically asking you to look past my immature side and how I dream and fantasize all the time. I want you to see the real me.

Please see me reaching out for someone I can’t see

Well, obviously you couldn’t see past my dreams and fantasies and left my ass. So now I realize what I lost and I want you back, so I am reaching out to you and I really want you to see that.

Take my hand let’s see where we wake up tomorrow

Best laid plans sometimes are just a one night stand

My favorite part of the song, because this is truly how I am, I want you to take my hand and lets just go have fun. Sometimes we don’t need to make a ton of plans, wing it. Although that is newer to me, I do like that too.  I definitely want someone to just take that leap of faith and have an experience with me. This truly is the “Living in the Moment” type of thing we all need in our lives.

I’d be damned, Cupid’s demanding back his arrow

So we all know cupid shoots only arrows of love and when hit, you fall in love with the next person you see. So if he is demanding it back then that means what? Does it mean that love has deteriorated for one of us? It seems like it is just one arrow he is wanting back, seeing as it isn’t plural, and the “I’d be damned” line, I can only conclude that its my partners love which is slowly dying away. I think it also implies that I am scared about the whole losing my lover and feeling like I will be damned when she leaves.

So let’s get drunk on our tears

I think this refers to the enjoying each other wholly. Acting crazy, being silly, getting past the sorrow and just getting drunk from taking in every piece of sadness you have had together. Creating new happiness and putting everything behind you based on the adventure which was asked to be had earlier.

circle-lightbulbSo that got real deep real quick. How do I relate all of that to myself? Well maybe there is someone who didn’t see me as I wanted them to and as a result they pulled away. They may have no clue that I am really standing here reaching out for them. But I know that they know, I am the adventurous type and maybe all we need is a live in the moment adventure, something we both love to do, to get this back on the rails. No itineraries, no made plans, just get in the car and go. It could be a race, a road-trip or something we just always wanted to do. I understand you may have given cupid back his arrow but I have not and I’ll be damned if I am going away without a fight and trying to win you over by getting “Drunk” on our memories (tears), they all were not bad you know.

Verse Two

Who are we? Just a speck of dust within the galaxy?
Woe is me, if we’re not careful turns into reality

So the ole “woe is me” line, yes we all feel sorry for ourselves from time to time and if we are not careful, we will start believing it and then you are screwed.

Don’t you dare let our best memories bring you sorrow

We all have memories with people we love or loved. But it is obvious here, don’t let the best ones you have make you sad. Embrace them as happy times.

Yesterday I saw a lion kiss a deer

I think this is one of those “hey anything is possible” statements and don’t give up just yet, you should believe in anything.

Turn the page maybe we’ll find a brand new ending
Where we’re dancing in our tears

Going along with the previous line, I really think that if you believe in the “anything is possible” then why can’t you believe that we may have another shot at love? Maybe it was just the end of a chapter and not the end of a book. So turn the page and we can start a new chapter. A new chapter where we are dancing in our memories, the good ones and create new ones.

circle-lightbulbWell not as deep as the first verse, but here is my take on it.  I can’t sit here and feel sorry for myself if you don’t want to be with me or my whole life will turn into that type of mindset. And while yes I am probably looking at pictures and videos and thinking of all of the great times we had, I shouldn’t let that make me sad, I should rather remember those times and cherish that I was able to have them at all. But I should also realize that anything is possible and just because we are not together today doesn’t mean our story is over. It just may not have been our time yet, but I have hope that maybe it was just the end of a chapter and not the end of the story.  So we should be dancing in our sadness and rejoicing at the possibility of a new beginning.

I found this synopsis by another person and I thought I would share because they went way deeper than I did. So here is another version of what this song means:

The obvious symbols in this song are stars, constellations, astrological signs (Aries and Leo). I think this is a story between a sheep and lion representing two lovers. Their love seemed ideal, as compatible together as Aries and Leo in horoscopes, but this song is more about separation of two lovers when they were young (“I thought I heard you out there crying”). The singer now wonders if there can be reconciliation, as he is also feeling regretful (“Just the same”).

The song poses a question: No matter the differences between two people, can it ever be that they can still love each other? As it alludes to the Bible, that a lion lie down with a lamb? (“Lion kiss a deer”) There is a similarity here.

The answer: Young love can have partners that are selfish, too idealistic, and believing in fate without compromising. Partners break off their relationship then and there.

Now when he is older, the singer realizes that the relationship he had before was great, and that a truly ideal lover is rare to find. If fate comes once in a million years, the YOUNG lambs who are “searching for meaning” are wasting their youth trying to find it. They are running from the differences (running from lions in the “hunting season”) when they should actually not run away, and make compromises.

In conclusion: Have a little give or compromise in love. Otherwise, it is the common mistake that people make, and become like lost stars. Only a few people will click 100%, like lucky stars in the sky belonging together in a constellation, and who have met fate. The numerous rest of us are just shining.

And does it really matter? You can barely tell apart a constellation from the rest of the stars. The lesson is that there is happiness in love even when it’s not perfect.

I was going to go on about the chorus to, but I think the song is pretty clear after all of this…we are not together and we should be. We made mistakes, maybe we were young, maybe we were misunderstood in how we expressed ourselves and made a poor choice or maybe we got cold feet and ran away. Needless to say, maybe there is always hope in round two and the “Next chapter” in life can be better than the first. Oh yeah and I see you, seeing me, seeing you and I hear you calling my name and crying…could just be the smoke in your eyes and all the loud music playing in this bar. Just sayin’…but wouldn’t it be nice if life were like the movies?

Or if it is like the movie and their was cheating involved, then you are the guy who cheated and now realized that you had something awesome and you pissed it away being a rockstar. In that case, yeah it is going to be hard buddy. So good luck with that!

Here is more music I found that talks about living life. So give it a listen and enjoy!

Music

Greg Holden – Hold on Tight

Zac Brown Band – Tomorrow Never Comes

By the way, click the link on the song to watch the video.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers

My Life, My Loves, My Adventures