Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Warrior Dash

First race of 2012.

Dirtiest race of 2012.

I took a trip down to Florida to see some friends and get some Disney back in my life, but the reason why I went when I did was for a little race called Warrior Dash.

For those of you rookies who don't know, Warrior Dash is approximately a 5K race filled with lots of obstacles and even more mud. Only true warriors survive... (Insert dramatic tones here)

Ready... GO!

The massive group started running on the trail until we reached the first obstacle - mud. And we're not talking soggy dirt, we're talking sink to your knees quicksand mud, everybody getting stuck, losing shoes, and trudging their way through. In a couple sections. For about 10 minutes. Easily the most exhausting part of the race, and it came within the first few minutes.

Then came Barricade Breakdown - a series of fences to hop over and barbed wire to crawl under. This was my favorite obstacle of the race!

Then came the Teetering Traverse (up and down balance beams), A junkyard filled with tires and cars to get over...

... giant walls, dirt mounds, ponds, streams, cargo nets, tightropes... all in the name of dirty fun.

The race was difficult, but so much fun! The obstacles were a blast - they gave me a rush that I haven't had since high school football workouts. So many people were timidly approaching each obstacle, eeking their way through. Not me. I went all out and conquered each one, considerably faster than most people. It also became apparent as I tuck and rolled face first into the final obstacle (pictured above). This got a lot of cheers from the crowd! An amazingly memorable day with my great friend Amma.

And yes, at one point my shirt was white.

"Today I will do what others won't
so tomorrow I can do what others can't"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Excuse Me

As I wrap up the first week of 2012, I have been thinking about how rejuvenated I feel. Over the past week, I have gotten back into running routines, reading routines, and had enough time to do some of the the things that I love. Things that escaped me a bit during the latter half of 2011.

As I springboard into the new year, I have chosen the following phrase to live by for the year:

I have realized more and more that I succumb to excuses when things aren't ideal. Here's a few examples:

Fitness: I am a HUGE sufferer of the "my diet starts tomorrow" illness. So if I am not giving my all, I slip up, believing that I can just turn a switch on. To an extent, I can... but it gets harder and harder every time. It's so easy to watch a movie rather than go for a run. It's so easy to run to McDonald's late at night rather than cook dinner or fix a snack. And when I got banged up a bit toward the end of 2011, I was content to just take it easy rather than to find other ways to stay healthy. I've always had this all-or-nothing mentality that seems to trip me up.

Reading: I am "too busy" became my excuse. Granted, I have a lot going on, but if this is something that is truly valuable to me (which it is), I should find consistent time to do it. I have restarted the early morning/late at night routine that allows me to start and end most days with some quality books.

Work: Something I rarely (if ever) write about on here. I noticed as I started this position, I found myself to be content with letting things happen and taking things as they come. There has been some frustration with figuring out a new position and my role in it, and when things haven't been ideal, I was quick to blame outside things. The best thing I realized over the past few months was how much my attitude affected my work, my happiness, and my life. So I made (and am continuing to make) a shift in my attitude, and it has made a huge difference. Instead of taking things as they come and rolling with the punches, it's time to make things happen.

This has become a growing trend in my life, and something that I am not used to. I have never really let excuses control my actions, and this recent string of them has taken its toll.

So as I start the new year on a positive note, I realize there is only one way I can be successful and ride this momentum. And that is by finding the joy every day, and putting all of myself into everything that I do - and not letting things get in the way. No Excuses will become my mantra that I live by. So that way, when either the world ends or we welcome in 2013, I can look back on this past year and truly feel that I did everything I could to make this thing called life a little more special.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

12 for '12

Last year, I wrote down a bunch of goals for myself for 2011.

I accomplished some of them, I did not accomplish others. I'm ok with that. But what it did is cause me to intentionally think about the things I was doing. Not just in January, but throughout the whole year. As I look back on last year's list, the only thing I don't like is how a few of them were simply items to check off. One-time events that crossed off just like a day on a calendar.

Not a bad thing, and most of them were pretty monumental moments of my life, but for this year I want something a little different. So each item is something that takes a lot of time to complete, if not the entire year. So when I look back at this time next year, I can truly be proud that I spent an entire year working at each of these things.

1. Get down to 210, then never get back above 220. I started 2011 at 270. Shortly before that, I peaked at 284. I ended 2011 at 235. This has been one of the biggest focuses of the past year, even with off and on consistency. I am sick of feeling unhealthy, and this is one of the best ways I can do that. To me, the number isn't as important as how I feel and what I can accomplish physically, and this is the first step in accomplishing some of the things I want.

2. Run a race every month. I made the race-every-month goal last year, and the best thing it did is keep me accountable. If I had a bad month, I still got out and ran. And each time it didn't go well, it was a wake up call. Each time it went well, I got more and more motivated. I have to up it from last year's intention to run a 5K every month. For 2012, I want either 5 mile or 10K to be the standard. I will run 5K's only when I want to try for a new PR, it is a really AWESOME race, or (most importantly) I get my friends to run with me, especially if it is their first time.

3. Run a half marathon. If it goes well, run one in spring, summer, and fall. This is to me the most ambitious one. When I set lofty goals like this, they usually happen more slowly than I anticipate. So the official goal is one. Unofficial goal is 3. We will see.

4. Climb 5 14ers. Because once you climb one, you just can't stop.

5. Ski Keystone, Breckenridge, A Basin, Vail, and Beaver Creek. Hit each mountain of my ski pass at least once. Because I can.

6. Go to a Broncos, Avalanche, Rockies, Nuggets, and Rapids game. Sports are my life.

7. Join a sports league. Because they're fun, and there's nothing I'd rather do every week than play a fun sport with my friends.

8. Present at a professional conference. The transition from grad school into year one of my job made it more difficult to participate in conferences and other student affairsy things. I miss it. This technically is a goal for the 2012-13 school year, but let's try to make it happen in 2012!

9. Discover or rediscover a creative outlet. Spend more time doing things that challenge me and I enjoy. Right now, I'm thinking this could be artistic like photography, drawing, or painting, as well as musical, like guitar or piano. Things that I love that I have struggled to dedicate my time to. Better now than ever.

10. Read 50 Books. Same goal as last year. I read 30 1/2. Not even close, but I read a whole bunch of amazing books. Same attempt. Probably same results.

11. Visit 5 new states/countries. The more places I go, the tougher it gets, but it's always exciting to think about new adventures.

12. Smile and laugh. A lot. Because that is what life is really about.

Yes, 2012 is going to be a good year...

That is, until the world ends in December.