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My Journey

Posts in Health & Fitness
I Am My Fiercest Rival and My Own Worst Enemy

I went for my first run in almost a month yesterday and it tore me to bits.

The sad part is I’m not particularly out of shape. In fact, I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard in recent times. and I’m at or very near the peak performance of my life, though I’ve been slouching in the cardio department.

I took the scenic route for my run as it usually tends to kill two birds with one stone; I get my adrenaline fix and simultaneously experience unparalleled peace of mind. It’s exhilarating running along the cliff edges while bursting through the salt-filled ocean spray kicked up by the waves crashing below.

True to tradition, I was timing my run with the Nike+ Run Club app on my phone. Even though I knew I’d be taking it pretty easy, I can’t help but measure my effort against a known mark as a determinant of success or failure. About halfway into the first leg, I was falling flat. I was way off pace, way off what I thought I should feel on an “easy-going run” by my standards.

I have the utmost difficulty seeing only one side of any experience in my life. This scenario was no different.

My modus operandi is to compete with myself; to improve a little more each day; to grow a little more each day; and by design, not succumb to the plethora of issues that arise from constantly comparing oneself to others.

As in many aspects of life, it’s really not that simple. I had one of my all too familiar lightbulb moments; I realized how I have allowed myself to be absorbed into my own bubble. I created a facade of progress where there was some but not as much as I perceived—a Reality Distortion Field (RDF) if you will. This wasn’t about running anymore. This was about self-actualization.

There is an inherent danger in veering aggressively from one lane to another; the risk of overshooting the balanced path. In my bubble, I buried myself in work (still do), let friendships wane and abandoned relationships. Eventually, those decisions (and their consequences) catch up. Even Usain Bolt can’t outrun fate.

This, more than anything, is why I enjoy the outdoors. Gyms are great and all, but outdoor activities are boundlessly restorative in mind, body and soul. No matter where I go, It’s always great to come back to the place that is not only my physical home, but my spiritual home as well.

As I mentioned in my related Instagram post, many great things are coming before the end of 2016 and into 2017. I’m strapped in for the ride. I’m ready for all the challenges and all the adventures that await.

Lessons from Learning to Snowboard and Falling Over 300 Times

I’m happy to be able to put another notch on the ole belt.

Last week I visited Lake Tahoe with friends I haven’t seen in 5 years. The reunion was long overdue.

I was especially excited about this trip because, 26 years into this journey called life, it was the first time I’d see snow. Hardly an accomplishment for anyone living outside the tropics but, after more than a few near misses, it was finally going to happen for me.

I usually research the activities I’ll be doing when I travel beforehand but the habit somehow eluded me this time round. I did absolutely no background investigation on snowboarding; a complacency that proved painful once I hit the slopes.

On day one I found myself absolutely terrified looking at the slope ahead, and frustrated by the board’s tendency to take off down it with a clear disregard for whether I was prepared to go or not. There are hardly better examples of what one can describe as a crash course. Two runs (and lots of tumbles) on the beginner slope were all I got before we began our ascent to the summit of the mountain—my much more skilled peers weren’t in the mood to babysit all day.

We had to take 4 lifts to get there, and by the time I made it onto the second, I had broken one of the straps for my right foot binding. Things would only get better from here on.

Just when we reached the summit, strong winds snd snowfall engulfed the mountain—complete whiteout conditions.

There I found myself experiencing my first snowfall in stormy conditions on a snowboard with a broken binding at 10,000 feet with only one way down. Oh, and I should add the dehydration and exhaustion of traveling 18 hours to get there and having had drinks with the guys the night prior.

It was the recipe for disaster.

You could easily guess that I spent most of my time on the way down picking myself up off the ground and crawling out of the path of other boarders and skiers.

At the close of day I was battered, bruised, cold and deflated but I had made it. And that alone was immensely encouraging. Despite all the falls, harsh conditions and exhaustion, I fought it through to the end.

I was convinced it could only get better from here and so it was. On days 2 and 3, I felt much more confident and most importantly I picked up a lot less bruises. Beyond that, I had this gorgeous reward waiting for me on the final day out:

Every step of the way, I used the challenge of snowboarding as a metaphor for other aspects of life.

There will be trying times. Giving up always seems like a rational and painless solution but I'm one of the crazy ones that believes that without risk there is no reward.

If I gave up on the first day when my binding broke, or after my first 100 falls, I would have experienced a lot less pain but I would also have missed out on all the experiences that followed.

Anything worth pursuing should be done relentlessly and it’s value determined rigorously because that’s the only way wishes become reality.

"Success is getting up just one more time than you fall."
2016 Wish List

Now that holiday festivities are winding down and we're all awakening to the fact that there's work to be done, I'm taking a serious look at what I want out of 2016. It'll certainly take some work  outperform the feats of 2015 but I think I'm up to the task. This is  my 2016 wish list:

Body & Mind

2015 was the year of strength. Calisthenics, lots of hours in the gym, plenty protein shakes later, I've added a few pounds in muscle mass.

While I'll be looking to continue to make strides in this area, I'm turning my attention a lot more to building endurance. To get this process kickstarted, I've been following the Spartan Training program to add variety to my training.

Just a few days in, I can feel it paying off already. I'm looking forward to what those results will look like by year-end.

It was also a year in which I think I truly embraced "living in the moment." Noise and distractions are abundant, and I've made every effort to see through the fog and pay attention only to things conducive to reaching my goals. This has meant trimming the fat and shunning immediate rewards in favor of long-term targets.

In 2016, I'm aiming to further improve my focus. I've come far but there's still a long way yet to go.

Tech

Apple Watch 2
iPhone 7
MacBook Pro 15" (Retina)

I've painstakingly held myself back from buying the first version of the Apple Watch with the expectation to see vast improvements in software and hardware performance in version two. According to the rumor mill, an announcement is only a couple months away and I'll be among those staying up until midnight when pre-orders usually begin hoping to be among the first to get my hands on one when it's released.

My iPhone 6 Plus still holds up exceptionally as my daily driver but it'll be 2 years old in the Fall and lacking the latest innovations in hardware, so chances are I'll upgrade if there are compelling enough reasons when the next iPhone is announced.

I've been able to accomplish a surprising amount using the MacBook Air as my development machine. After 2 years, it's beginning to show it's age. I could really use the extra performance, especially because I've been doing a lot more video editing with all my GoPro footage. An upgrade to the Pro line likely won't arrive until March/April if Apple follows last year's release cycle and it won't at all be painful to hold out until that time comes.

Travel

Lake Tahoe (California), U.S.A.
Kingston, Jamaica
Cali, Colombia
Fort Lauderdale (Florida), U.S.A.

I'm really excited to have ended 2015 on a high note, confirming my first trip for 2016 on New Year's Eve. I'll be headed to the mountains of Lake Tahoe for a ski-trip reunion with compadres from university.

I expect to touch down in Jamaica once again to continue the expansion of MediRevu and take the business to the next level. Somewhere in the rest of my year I'd then like to fit in a another trip to South America with my sights set on Colombia, and with the recent launch direct services (and cheap airfares) to Fort Lauderdale,  it'd make another excellent year in travel.

Fashion

T-Shirts, shorts and sandals. People expect nothing else when I arrive on scene and are nothing less than shocked if I do anything more. It's what I'm most comfortable in but I feel like the time has come for fashion makeover.

I won't make any revelations of what that will look like but the world will be impressed when it comes.

This Workout Kicked My Ass and It Was Incredible

Yesterday my workout kicked my ass and it was incredible.

I signed up for Reebok's Spartan Workout of the Day Training newsletter a few days ago after watching the races on TV, and I'm not one who's particularly bent on New Year's resolutions, but the timing could not be more appropriate. I couldn't be more excited to add a new dimension to my training.

Today was my first day and here was the plan:

Warm-up:

Dynamic warm up
Run/cycle/row/jump rope 5 minutes

Main set:

75 burpees
30 squat tosses (vertical or forward) with sandbag or medicine ball
5-30 bodyweight squats
5-30 pull-ups
5 rope climbs (or 5 x 25' bear crawls)

Repeat main set 1-4 times, depending on ability

Cool down:

Stretch

To be completely honest, I barely made it through just one round of the main set, and in the back of my mind I took comfort myself with the thought that my diet has sucked for the past week (Christmas holidays), and I've basically taken that time off to recharge the batteries a little. I don't like to make excuses, so I take no solace in the thought. 

I relish new challenges and keeping up with these daily workouts will be a great way to kick off 2016. Here's to reaching the next level of performance!