At first, I saw this picture and didn't really pay much attention to it. (If you haven't found me yet, look for the bitchin bowl cut and awesome "ugly" sweater). So anyway, I thought about this picture again yesterday and it took me back to a simple time. I tried to think about everything that had happened since this picture, which generally represents carefree "childhood" to complicated adult life. To be brief, I'd like say that we should all periodically look back and understand where we came from and really focus on what got us to "today". Whether you're stealing hand-me-downs from the thrift store or a professional cat costume designer, a series of unique decisions brought you here. I challenge you to take 5 minutes to reflect or meditate, focusing on what decisions really were the deciding factor (when did life get "real"). Odds are, you've done some pretty cool things and have simply forgot or intentionally erased it. Get real with who you are.
The main thought process of this blog is to tell you...."Hey idiot, stop playing it safe and live a little". This requires you to STOP blind following of beliefs! The world is full of trends and guess what most of them want. They want your money and don't care about you...for real. There are countless ways to end your life with little decisions that add up over time....sure, keep smoking, eating processed food, peeing in the street and generally wearing "blinders", it'll get you no where. Fact is, mainstream is typically designed with one word in mind; "profit". I totally recommend doing the smallest amount of research for your own health, maybe even cutting out sugar or fried food. Between yoga, pilates, CrossFit, cave diving, swimming...or even walking, life is full of daily activities and hobbies and KNOWLEDGE. I found a TON for you to check out.
I'd like to highlight a few places stumble upon great meal ideas and breakthrough, life-altering endeavors. Do yourself a favor and check out some websites and podcasts. Get educated and make smart choices!
- Fat Burning Man
- Nom Nom Paleo
- Mind Body Green
- Rich Roll
- Andy Bellatti Nutrition
- Precision Nutrition
So recently I decided to make some small changes to my eating habits. Essentially, no more processed grains (tortillas, bread, pizza crust, crackers, cookies, brownies, muffins, bagels, midgets)...or really any grains. This means, no oatmeal so a substitute had to be found... I found THE BEST breakfast you could imagine and I really recommend you give it a shot. (mix up all the below ingredients)
- 1/2 Acorn Squash (roasted 40 min on 350)
- As much Cimmamon as you like
- RAW Vanilla Protein Powder
- Smashed banana
- Almond Milk
- Light coconut oil
- Tiny bit of almond butter
- Chia Seed
Below, you'll see an amazing salad made by my great Jessica friend at Jett City Espresso...it'll change your life. Also, I spent like 15 dollars on a bison filet and roasted some vegetables...pretty damn good. Either way, eating well can be a very productive and rewarding hobby. Anyway, I hope you all make a small change this week and thoroughly enjoy yourself.
When people ask me how I fuel for races, my answer is pretty darn simple. I hit up a McGriddle every morning, some Popeyes for lunch and I ALWAYS wash it down with Mt. Dew. I mean, Mt Dew is green, right? It must have some spinach or something in it.
- So anyone who knows me well enough, would probably at least smile at that huge lie. I'm not going to go nuts on a food "rant" but I think we should all look into our food. I'd like to simply offer you a few questions. Do you buy foods based on the label on the front of the package or the nutritional info back? What I'm getting as is, industry rides the "trendy" wave of food. Phrases like "Gluten Free", "Natural", "Vegan", "Non-GMO", "Cage Free" and "Grass Fed" are pretty abused these days. They are all there to make you feel better, leading you to make the impulse (seemingly healthy) decisions. The truth is, what you eat plays such a vital role on your future, it's worth your time to research what you're eating AND many times you are intentionally mis-directed. This ONE fact ALONE should make you think twice. IF you purchase "cage free" eggs, make sure the brand actually practices a true "cage free" atmosphere. Sure, you might imagine all the chickens in pasture, laying eggs, chatting about the crazy party last night. The reality is, by definition "cage free" ONLY means chickens have to have "access" to an outdoor area...which means they basically install a door which leads outside to a pen. Chickens are still in a factory setting, beaks cut, freaking out because they are literally living in filth and 1% cage free.
So, that's all I'm going to really throw out there right now. If you care, maybe you'll do some of your own research...otherwise, no big deal, continue doing what you do. Just know, it will all make a difference and you can vote for what you believe in with every dollar you spend.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by FRS Healthy Performance and the US Military Cycling Team to Las Vegas. For the brief time I was there I was able to get a good flavor of the place everyone goes to get hammered beyond belief just so they can say "WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN VEGAS" (even though Facebook pretty much tracks everything you do). Since I don't drink much or ever gamble, this trip was pretty uneventful. That being said, I still had an AWESOME time staying at the Aria, where everything is operated by touch screen. My blinds, music, temperature, alarm clock and tv were all controlled with a tablet! A phone next to the toilet??? I've always wanted to chat with dear friends while I unleash the crackin. None the less, I was amazed with this city. It's like a giant Disney. Working with the FRS team was really great! I learned a ton about the product and was really able to help give back to a company that fuels our cycling team.
Besides working the FRS booth at the GNC Franchisee convention, I was able to get a very hot ride in with some new friends. A fellow team member secured a GREAT Trek Madone 6 with Durace...a sweet demo rig to say the least. Terra and her boyfriend Jason took me to the Red Rocks Canyon for a long ride. Let's just say it was damn hot (110 or so) and pretty hilly. Now for the record, all of you decievers who talk about the dry heat (with a snarl) being more tolerable...you're a fibber. I've been deployed a few times so I already knew this but literally, open your oven when it's on 350 and let the first wave of heat blast you in the face. That's what it's like when it's windy while you're in the dessert. At a certain level, wet or dry heat is just plain old miserable. To summarize, Vegas was great...I was hung over, I ate too much...and I'll never take a "Red eye" flight again.
Ocala Stage Race....My new best friend
I'll keep this brief: Overall I ended up catching up with 20 or so friends and made about 20 more. Since this was my second bike race and I really enjoy the scene and fitness gains, I couldn't have had a better time.
- Road Race Day 1 (50 miles)- Ended up solo in a break away, 2 fellas bridged up. We rode down the Cat 3/4 pack ahead of us, which ended up really slowing us down and screwing up our finish...but of well at least the pack never caught us. Finished second to a very strong "fixie" specialist.
- Time Trail Day 1- It was the first time on the old time trial bike in a month or so...I could tell she wasn't happy with me (the bike). Since I pretty much thrashed my legs a few hours earlier that day, I wasn't able to go sub 10 minute on a 5 mile course, but oh well...I still took second. At this point I had a solid #2 finish in the GC rankings.
- Road Race Day 2 (60 miles)- With the extra 500 ft of elevation and a sudden "pause" mid race (due to a bad crash), this race was pretty rough. No break away today, the legs were wrecked since we had to chase down some fellas. Finished top 10. Either way I took 2nd in the GC so WOO HOO.
The absolute BEST part was racing with some awesome friends. John Hensz won the Master CAT 4 and blasted the Time Trial, Nicholas Sterghos showed his strength and came in right behind me (his first cycling race) and many other team members and friends raced their faces off. Not to mention, I found the ONLY healthy place to eat in the boondocks (thanks Yelp). Beef from a local farm, fresh veggies and brick oven pizzas...everyone was pumped but the celebration ended early when we found out they wouldn't be open on day 2 (sunday).
Before I regurgitate all of the goodness within me for your reading pleasure, I'd like to get my race report out of the way. Yes indeed, the Armed Forces Triathlon took place this past Saturday at Point Mugu Naval Base in Ventura County California. This race makes me feel special because #1 The Air Force chose ME, along with 15 other athletes to represent! #2 I was surrounded by some of the most accomplished people/athletes I've ever met #3 I roomed with a great friend Brad Williams (killer deep tissue massages by the way) #4 Training in California with 1 hour, CAT 1 climbs and 40+ mph descents can't be matched.
In the days leading up to the race, the team all re-unites, attends a few group sessions and delicious meals. We crack jokes, talk about the season thus far and generally kick back. I think I got more sleep in the 2 days before the race than I had in 5 months. Thursday is full of fun stuff like team gear issue (Thanks to our coach), team pictures, dinner at a sweet Mansion with all the competitors and plenty of sexual innuendoes. Apparently, everyone thinks my AF job is a personal car washer for Generals, where I pay special attention to "waxing on" and "waxing off". Friday is a "nothing" day....where we try as hard as we can do to as little as possible. Somehow we manage to do a mini triathlon though. A 60 minute spin, 20 minute run and 15 minute swim starts off the morning. It's all part of the routine for the big day....
THE SWIM: Water Temperature around 62 degrees (Perfect Temperature), calm, clear water. Since last year, this is my favorite place to swim. The lower temperature really allows you to go full throttle without over-heating. It's way better than 86 degree salty whale pee back in Florida. However, dealing with numb toes until the run is to be expected with such low temps. I swam a minute or so down from the lead pack, still have some work to do. Everyone seemed to have a little extra time this year on the 2 loop, ITU style swim. Came out at 23:44, which I'm pleased with. Well within striking distance. Lead swim was 21:18 with the pack around 22 minutes. Blazing fast for the day.
THE BIKE: After a nice scenic beach run to spike the heart rate, transition was in sight. Pulled a great T1 time but didn't really come in with a big enough group to start anything up right away. Pulled a solo effort for the first 2 laps. Lot's of snot and cold toes on that first 20k but I managed to bridge up to a few guys...but they weren't worthy and had to be dropped. A 10-13 man group pulled up (with the guys I dropped), everyone working hard. There were a few attacks by the stud cyclists but a "time-trial" off the front wasn't going to happen. Sadly one of our own Air Force members went down, taking out a possible top scorer out....gladly he's doing well and only ended up with road rash that will most certainly stick to his clothing everyday until it finally heals. (Been there)
THE RUN: Since we ended up catching the lead pack near the end of the 40K, it was an all out foot race. For me, this is when I sorta ended up...falling apart. Started out feeling awesome, even passed a few fellas. Then my body remembered it hadn't really ran this hard for 10k in quite awhile. Being injury free for a few weeks kinda erases the reality, the fitness isn't where I want it to be. I ended up not being able to break up a pack of 4 Navy guys. As I attempted to wish myself into top 10, I was fading. Luckily I didn't blow up and fought until the end....but when is a triathlete ever "really" happy with their results??
The rest of my team performed very well. An absolute honor to be around such talent! Congrats to the champion, Nicholas Sterghos! I'm fortunate enough to be able to train with him in Clermont from time to time. (not to brag or anything)
Speaking of results: CLICK HERE
Goal for next year.....Top 5.....OR I'll retire
Why do I want to live here? Read Below...
Okay...now we get to the good part. The Race is the icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. I LOVE training out there and definitely look forward to the post race party at Chuys. Florida is pretty flippin great, but I've never loved any place more than PCH around Malibu, CA. Sure it's a little chilly at night and in the am, but it's also perfect weather for training. The haze burns off around lunch time BUT if you climb high enough (about 3k ft), you'll be rewarded with an amazing view. This place is magical. I'd consider getting into some illegal sources of income so I could afford to live there (kidding). All in all, the pictures really tell the story. It wasn't until after the race I embarked on the epic definition of a "climb". Literally, a real climb....Take that Florida! I've also never descended around hair pin turns going 30+...BOOYA. However tough a race may be, I always learn and walk away fulfilled. The new certainly took me to the next level, I ate some delicious meals and once again...attended my favorite race of the season!