Friends and Family,
2015 was a roller coaster ride of changes for me and I am certain you experienced something very similar.
Life is full of ups and downs and I accept that, as a result I am now seeking answers to some very complex questions…--->
Train Your Brain Daily
G5; a digital marketing company in Bend, Oregon that I work with gifted us a daily “Train Your Brain” journal that is really simple and provides positive results…
I now practice this daily with a little salt and pepper.
What the heck does that mean?
In addition to the five tasks listed above I feel it is critical to review your vision, objectives, goals and values on a daily basis to start training your subconscious mind to take action even when everything seems to be working against you.
I typically end my morning planning session by drawing something… Anything… A cloud, sun, rain drop, house, treehouse, mountain… something beautiful or sloppy… it doesn't really matter… What matters is the fact that you draw something to get your creative mind going...
Set Goals That Matter To You
Sometimes we have to lose ourselves to find a better piece of ourselves that we never consciously knew existed. We lose track of what matters most… family, friends, co-workers, happiness, things that really make a difference in the world. When this starts happening we need an e-brake in our back pocket…
For the past several years I have used a goal setting framework created by Scott Dinsmore’s team at Live Your Legend. The framework rocks. Why? It works. It empowers us to set goals that truly matter to us and begin executing on them now.
The framework takes some serious time to complete, but I guarantee you with 99.9% certainty that you will achieve everything you could possibly imagine. However, I must warn you - Your success will simply take work. Like me, you will fail your way to success; meaning you will stumble many times on your way to the top. When you are on top it will feel like your whole world is resting in the palm of your hands. You will have aligned your purpose and life; something you could have only dreamed of in the past.
Start your planning today by reading this post written on LiveYourLegend.Net ---> 2016 Goal Setting & Weekly Planning Workbooks – Free PDF Downloads to make 2016 the Best Year Yet!
Good luck on your journey… ---> ^*^*^
Our ability to create positive change without willingness is effectively pointless. We are forcing an unnatural and undesirable change that could otherwise be simplified and made much more enjoyable. Willingness is your level of preparedness and desire to change.
I would have never stopped drinking alcohol had it not been for my willingness to create a better way of life and find a way to live without drinking on a daily basis. I did not want to become willing to live without the use of this potentially deadly (if abused) substance let alone commit to working a program that would transform every aspect of my life.
The good news is that I did become willing to listen to others, take direction and so can you. You can become willing at any moment of any day for any reason. This small change can open the door to making the once impossible now possible.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” - Jim Rohn
Steps to Become Willing for Change
Prepare yourself for your new way of life by emptying your mind of your limiting thoughts. These are thoughts that disempower you and make you feel as though change is not something you are capable of. Again, if I can make positive change so can you.
Do not spend too much time worrying about what could go wrong if you do change. Focus on what will go right and you will likely create that as an actual outcome.
“If you want something you have never had, then you must be willing to do things you have never done.” - Thomas Jefferson
If you really want to change then you will be willing to go to any measures to make a change. A lack of willingness is a lack of ability to truly change. After you have have become will then you are ready to break your habits that are no longer serving you.
Summit as friends!
Addiction is a powerful word full of emotion.
To me it is any unhealthy habit we do for a short term relief or pleasure that in the long term weighs negatively on our lives and despite this result we continue our active addiction.
I am by no means a doctor, clinical specialist or anything of the like. I have however lived with an addiction to alcohol and marijuana for several years and understand how powerful addictions can become.
Six months ago I had an epiphany while climbing South Sister in Central Oregon that has literally redirected my life.
Life had gotten out of control and I was falling deeper into my addiction. It was miserable, unbearable and I felt alone in a crowded room. In the days, weeks and now months that followed I took action to create a more fulfilling life. A life that I had only dreamed of.
I am here to give you some hope. Whether you or a family member are struggling with an addiction to drugs, sex, shopping, consumerism, video games, TV, food or anything else; freedom is possible.
My goal is to help you create healthy habits and break the pattern of unhealthy habits in your life so you can begin truly experiencing your full potential.
I have begun to understand what led to this horrible but necessary life experience and more importantly how to replace my unhealthy habits with healthy inspiring daily habits.
Remember, we are trying to retrain our brain to follow healthy lifestyle changes in an effort to replace unhealthy habits. These are some but not all of the steps I have taken to manage this deadly, draining disease known as addiction.
"The secret to changing is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." - Socrates
Start with the Five I’s
Additional Tools to Create Positive LIfestyle Changes
There are other things I have done to overcome my unhealthy addictions. Many of which Leo Babauta wrote about in his article The Habit of Change Cheat Sheet. The ones that I have found most useful and imperative to my success are the following:
“My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.” Dr. Steve Maraboli
If we truly want to stop an unhealthy habit then we must begin paving new neural pathways in our minds one small step at a time. Start today by taking the first right step. Identify what you want to change.
This is by no means an exhaustive article on how to cope with what you may be dealing with, but I hope you found it enlightening and inspiring.
Fear not change, fear no change at all.
If you are struggling with an addiction at this time and would like to talk then please feel welcome to contact me. I would be happy to share more tools that might be of help to you.
Summit as Friends!
Simplicity is having the ability to be fully present in whatever you may be doing. Your mind does not wander to the past or future. You are living in the now! This makes simplicity a key ingredient to your health and happiness.
Often times our mind wants to control everything at once and we become so clouded with what we would rather be doing that we fail to be grateful for what we are doing. This results in unhappiness, low quality outcomes and a mind that is running in a rat race.
Epicurus, an ancient philosopher once wrote - “Pleasure is the end… freedom from pain in the body and trouble in the mind.” I could not agree more.
If we could just slow our minds and focus on the now we would be able to enjoy more of the simple things. Life is full of simple pleasures that can bring us to a state of peace and happiness. The problem is our minds are often too clouded with future or past thoughts to appreciate these present pleasures. I speak of simple pleasures such as breathing, walking, listening to the birds chirp or waking up early enough to truly enjoy a sunrise. The simplicity of your feet driving your body down a lightly traveled trail. The sound and feeling of the wind. Take a moment to silence your mind in your current environment. You may surprise yourself with what awaits.
We often overlook these simple pleasures as a result of extra baggage in our minds and everyday lives. We think and act on things that are really quite unnecessary and often bog down our happiness, time and relationships because they provide an instant gratification or escape. Our minds are filled with consumerism, TV, radio, Facebook, financial worries, alcohol, what others think about us and more. I am a victim of all such mind states and believe we can create a better way of life by changing our perception and daily habits.
For years I lived in the guilt and shame that came with being an alcoholic pot addict and thought someday this would be enough for me to quit. However, I did not slow down. In fact my problem progressed to the point of depression, a feeling of uselessness and utter despair. Until one day I had an epiphany on a mountainside. In the days that followed I began changing my environment and taking small steps to become a better person.
These kinds of problematic patterns seem to repeat themselves in many peoples lives until they have some kind of life changing experience. Many of us live a cyclical life that includes sleep, work, eat, drink, rinse and repeat. We forget about the simple pleasures that really make us happy including health, family and friends.
I am certain we have all used the excuse “I am too busy for that.” My life is too busy to make any changes. In reality there are simple changes we must begin making today that will make us happier and healthier friends, fathers, mothers,co-workers etc.
Too often we get so busy that “you time” is overlooked or pushed aside. We have a voice in our heads that says “there will be time for me tomorrow.” What we fail to recognize is that you time is vital to your success, happiness and balanced life and must be created on a daily basis. We all have 24 hours in a day and it is often absorbed by 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, 3 hours of prepping food and eating, which leaves you with 5 hours for whatever else may be important in your life. Take some time to reflect on what you do each day. Is it all really necessary? Does it all make you happier or does some of it complicate and clutter your life
So, now what?
Every day we are faced with a choice to either simplify our lives or continue racing down the road of ever growing complexity. Sadly, many of us will continue the race and either end in a very unhappy place, or hit a roadblock, take a detour and realize how simple life really can be.
Below are three easy things I have done to simplify my life, create a mind-state of happiness and become successful each day.
Please share with me your thoughts to the following questions:
What do you do to simplify your life, free your mind and live in the present?
What simple things in life do you enjoy most?
If you found this article of value then please do share it, take action to improve your life starting now and most importantly pass the message along to someone you love.
Thank you for reading!
Summit As Friends!
Training That Changed My Life
My marathon training and recovery journey started roughly four months ago. My mind and body were in a dark and disconnected state. To put it honestly; addiction was killing me on the inside in more ways than one. I was spiritually dead, my health was suffering and my mindset was poor.
I have come to realize that there is so much more to life. I started running again, really laughing, learning who I am and loving me for me. I am truly grateful today for having an epiphany on South Sister in May that has literally turned my life 180 degrees.
It was June 2nd 2013. I had been sober for 23 days and my energy level was powering up. I knew deep down my spirit for the marathon and dream to qualify for the Boston Marathon was still a smoldering ember. I was not willing to let that ember die.
To me, the marathon is a 26.2 mile run that provides a testing ground for the human minds physical, mental and moral strength. It is a confidence builder that teaches the individual to dig deep inside for energy stores they never thought existed. My desire for another test began burning hotter with each passing day.
I made the decision June 2, to sign up for the Sunriver Marathon for a Cause. This time I am running with clear purpose. My mission is to get healthy, run strong, fast and free and ultimately qualify for the Boston Marathon. I call my dad "one of my biggest fans" and share my latest goal.
I am going to run a marathon in three months and put forth as much effort as I can to qualify for Boston. My dad and others have their doubts: bearing in mind that training for a marathon is generally a six month endeavor. Not to: mention I have just given up a very unhealthy addiction that was controlling my life.
I pick up my marathon training book written by Jeff Galloway and turn to the training plan for a goal pace of 2:59:00. I have had this page bookmarked for years, but always failed to follow it due to a serious lack of commitment and perseverance. The plan started 14 weeks ago and I now have 12 weeks before Sunriver. I hit the fast forward button and start my training according to week 15 of the plan. I do not advise anyone take such action.
Training goes quite well for the first 2 weeks. I ease into running 10 miles, go to yoga classes regularly, cross train and lift weights. Sunday June 16th calls for a set of 10-12 one mile repeats at 6:45 minute / mile pace. My mind and body are yet to become interconnected again at this point and I fail to realize that my muscles are still far too weak for this pace.
That days training results in a strained and highly inflamed knee that will take weeks to heal and set my training back. Or so I thought!
The next week all of my runs are replaced with aqua jogging and cycling. I was not mentally prepared for the set back caused by the knee injury and really needed a long run to build my confidence. The day before IRONMAN Coeur d'Alene I manage to convince my body that a 22 mile training run is going to happen despite picking up my training only 3 weeks prior. This utterly pissed my knee off. I now know something is really wrong and cannot help but think of the worst case scenario. MRI's, surgeries and months of rehab continue to run through my mind during the next few weeks.
In the weeks that follow I take my standup desk down at work, stop running and supplement every run with an aqua jog session in the pool, ride my bike more and start swimming. Miraculously, I come to enjoy swimming, something that I truly disliked up to this point and my knee begins to feel better.
Injury provides athletes with a great opportunity to learn and grow or be defeated. If we choose defeat we will either lose out on a miracle or repeat the same mistake later in our career. It is entirely up to our mindset and actions that follow whether we thrive off a set back or allow it to ruin us. I took this as an opportunity to stare my fears square in the face, adjust my training program and push on. Several weeks later I was able to ease back into running on trails, pavement and building my mileage.
July was a month filled with amazing experiences and key training sessions. On the fourth of July I was blessed with the strength to run Mt Bachelor and Tumalo Mountain in Central Oregon. This training day set in motion a huge confidence booster that would guide me in the weeks to follow. My knee was no longer in agonizing pain and things were moving back on track. Two weeks later my friend Lucas and I slept on the summit of South Sister and awoke to a truly magnificent sunrise. And, the following week I soloed Middle Sister via the Pole Creek Trailhead after a 10 mile morning run that was just under goal pace. Mountain climbing was just icing on the cake to a month of perfect training. Each footstep was strong, healthy and brought me closer to the starting line.
August was a reflection of July with more energy, strength and faith in my program. My training called for a run of 30 miles, which was just not enough for me. I had to follow that run with a a climb of Mt. Adams in Washington at over 12,000 feet. In just under 48 hours I completed a 30.33 mile run and summit of Mt Adams. This provided a huge sense of accomplishment that I do not think I have ever experienced. The human mind and body a truly capable of amazing things we just have to set them in motion.
After this run my training program calls for weeks of taper. This is a period in which I ease back on training and let my body prepare itself for a race. The weekend following my 30 miler I set out on a short afternoon trail run in a thunderstorm that spirals out of control. I ended up taking a wrong turn and running 20 miles down the Horse Creek Trail in Central Oregon. After this screw up I take a few days off of training to reflect on what I learned about myself and determined that this was just one more step on my journey to the marathon.
With each passing day my anticipation builds. At this point I have done all I can to best prepare for a race that will change me forever. I try not to build doubt into my mind, but a piece of me knows that three months is simply not enough time for the human body to go from running 0 miles to 26.2 at a 6:52 minute mile pace. I adjust my goal accordingly and set zero expectation for myself. I simply have a goal to run the best marathon I can and enjoy every moment.
Scott's 2013 Sunriver Marathon Experience
Marathon day is here! I awake at 5:30 to a star filled sky, cycle through my hydration and nutrition routine. Read literature that sets my mind in a positive direction and affirm myself that I have taken all the steps and done all the work to get to the starting line with confidence.
My kind girlfriend Nicole and her sister drive me to the start line. We arrive 45 minutes early and I use this time to warm up. I run 1 easy mile, 4 * 200's and do some light stretching. The morning is crisp, beautiful and full of positive energy. My family and some friends wait at the start line and I have friends afar cheering me on.
At the start line I look around at the 200 some participants and realize our stories of what brought us here may differ but at this very moment we share one common goal of finishing the marathon. As the minutes shrink to seconds before the start my mind fills with an overwhelming sense of joy. The announcer starts counting down from ten and we are off.
I start running at my goal pace of 7:00 - 7:15 minutes per mile. I plan on walking for 15-20 seconds at the beginning of each mile after the first. Mile one ticks by and my sudden stop clearly shocks the group I am running with. I pick up my pace again to 6:40 minute miles. This pace will ensure that I stay within my target mile pace range. My 5K split is 22 minutes. I am right on target for today's goal. At 10K, 13 Miles and even 16 miles I am still on target, but I feel the great marathon wall approaching.
As I near mile 18 my body begins screaming at me to stop. Just walk for a mile! You can give up now!
I see Nicole and get a short stint of energy that carries me through those negative thoughts. As I near she begins screaming words of encouragement, tells me I am doing great and that my family is just around the corner. Despite all the moral support my body was not taking it. My muscles were begging for a slower pace. With an ever climbing heart rate and sense of pain my body's physical ability to maintain 7:00 - 7:15 minutes per mile pace begins slipping away and quick.
I share a smile with myself as I settle into an 8 minute mile pace and begin thinking back on all the work I put into get here. I have worked as hard as I can and am going to continue at a pace that keeps my body happy, healthy and free. Each passing step gets harder, but brings me closer to the finish line. I think back to a chapter of Jeff's book titled "Magic Marathon Words". I am truly thankful for this section. I continue uttering words like relax, power and glide that are followed by positive affirmations.
With each passing mile I come to peace with a little bit more pain. I am in a true state of zen. This time allows me to reflect on the miracle of the marathon and how it can really transform an individual. How it has transformed me.
"These last few months have taught me some pretty serious life lessons that have completely changed who I am as a person. If you knew me before I was sober then you would know both sides of my personality. One of the biggest things I have learned is that failing to reflect on our mistakes will almost certainly ensure that we repeat them until we take a moment to stop. Injuries are part of being an athlete and simply part of life. They create opportunities for us to learn and grow as individuals. With a positive mindset almost anything can become reality. Even a marathon in three month's time! And, freedom from unhealthy addictions is possible. I am living proof."
At mile 26 part of my mind is telling me to walk to the finish. This thought is quickly washed away with a feeling of the finish line so strong that I feel it pulling me along. I can hear the announcer and screams of excitement growing louder as I feel my body moving closer to the finish line. I feel a sense of accomplishment blowing over my shoulders as I approach the finish and my family and friends come into view. Their excitement flows through me and creates a huge sense of energy.
I cross the finish line in 3:15:51, just short of my personal record by 10 seconds. My friends and family congratulate me and I share with them my gratitude for them being present. I spend the next hour nourishing my body and nursing my muscles back to normal function. I can say the Sunriver Marathon was beautiful and a huge success for me. I will be back again.
I really want to thank my mom for her patience, love and kindness through this, my dad for his support at every marathon Iv'e set out to run, my brother for his guidance, lessons and wishes, my sister for her positive energy and happiness, Nicole for her loving heart, smiles and non-stop energy, Bobby Lindstrom for guiding me on this journey and everyone else that supported me and continues to support me to this day.
I still have my mind focused on running a sub three hour marathon in 2013 and completing the Flagline 50K on September 22. This journey has only just begun! My mind and body feel interconnected again and I have a true sense of purpose. I am certainly not the best person I can be, but as I strive for excellence each day I get closer.
Thank you for reading!
In the face of fear we cannot give up, for that means we have succumb to that fear and fear is the root of evil.
My girlfriend, her friend Jessie and I cruise to Elk Lake late Friday afternoon where we plan on a relaxing afternoon with her co workers, followed by an evening of camping at Wikiup Reservoir. I save my marathon training run for this afternoon so we can leave town a little sooner. My intention is to run an 8 mile loop through some beautiful forests and past Horse Lake (a place I had visited last summer).
Prior to departing on my run I meet Nicole's coworkers whom are kind, welcoming and eager to convince me against running in a thunderstorm. Unlike most people I love the rain. It refreshes my life, washes away some of my craziness and reminds me to be grateful. Today's, storm had my name all over it. I share some last words with everyone, they think I am crazy and i'm off with no more than 16oz of water, my GPS and the clothes on my back.
My run starts in a thunder, lightening and rain storm at the Horse Lake Trailhead across from Elk Lake Resort in Central Oregon. My feet carry me down the trail to a trail junction. One of the trainers told me I should turn left here. This left turn would have welcomed me with an enjoyable 5 mile loop and beauty. However, I followed the voice in my head that wanted something more. I continue down the trail to Horse Lake. The feeling of rain, thunder and lightening is all around me. At times the thunder is so fierce that I feel it pounding inside me like a second heartbeat. Miles of the trail soon turn into a creek that is 1-6 inches deep at times. The longest creek section I ran must have been a continuous 1/2 mile. I remind myself of a backpacking trip through the Olympic National Forest years ago in which it rained for three days straight. Although, I am soaked this current experience does not compare to the prior.
By the time I arrive at the lake my body has experienced natures bath. I had been running for just over 40 minutes and was eager to get back to the company of others, warm food and a relaxing couch. I recalled the loop that Nicole and I had ran the summer prior being just over 8 miles. Perfect, I thought! What I failed to recall was us running back to the trail T and taking a right. I continue running around Horse Lake and down the Horse Creek Trail, unknowingly towards HWY 126.
I feel a growing sense of being lost and lonely that I cannot seem to escape. The miles tick by and the forest environment changes. The trail slowly disappears for longer and longer sections and it is vaguely defined in the thickening, moist forest floor. During a 1/2 mile section I feel totally lost. The trail looks like nothing more than an Elk herd had recently walked it. As the trail fades back into one that is well defined and highly traveled my mind returns to a state of sanity. Any normal person would have turned around when they realized they were not on the same trail they recall. At this point I am 10 miles down the trail, my mind begins to fill with thoughts of others and how worried they must be. Turning around is not an option. That means I will have to run 20 miles which is not on the agenda. Or is it?
My feet continue to carry my body downhill towards an un known destination. At mile 11 I see a sign pointing towards the Horse Creek Trailhead. This sign is a motivator for me that soon drives me insane. Often times seeing trailhead signs means you are within a few miles of your destination. Today, this is not the case.
My GPS ticks 12 miles and I make a joke to myself that I just might run a trail half marathon today for the first time in my life. I hit 13.1 miles and a trailhead is nowhere in site. 14 miles, I scream vulgar words of anger. I can't help but think of the others that are stressed and worried for my safety. The resentment towards myself builds as my mind fills with the poor decisions that brought me to where I am now. Mile 15 , I continue telling myself that despite being in a beautiful place I have the right to be just plain pissed off. I YELL! I WANT OUT OF THIS DAMN FOREST. Mile 16, finally a state of relaxation. This is the mind state that I am usually in during adventures when myself and others are not worried about my safety. Mile 17, I cross the Horse Creek foot bridge and feel that the forest is controlling my mind. I am going crazy.
Finally, mile 17.09! I reach the trailhead only to be met with an unfamiliar gravel road. Where the hell am I? I quickly decide to start running down the gravel road. I approach a T in the road after a 1/2 mile and a sign that says "HWY 126 - 9 Miles". I SCREAM! At this point my emotions are out of control. I know Nicole and her coworkers are worried sick and likely soon to be calling Search and Rescue. After all, I was only going on an 8 mile run. My mind wants me to sit down and cry. My body and strength continue dragging me down the road. I cannot expect anyone to travel up this random road at 7:00PM this evening.
I must come to terms with the fact that I will be running a full marathon today, in wet sneakers. All of my prior marathons included plenty of water, fuel and support from others. Today, I have 16oz of water, no food and no cheers from others to power me along. My body is tired and depleted of vital nutrients, but I find the strength to keep moving forward.
Mile 18, my water is empty and the sound of Horse Creek makes me want to just run down and fill up. I envision myself puke sick as a result and start telling myself that I am not thirsty and I am not hungry. It works, at least for a little while.
Mile 19, my stomach begins to cramp reminding me that I have not eaten anything for more than four hours. During runs of this length I start fueling after the first 45 minutes. Not today! I reaffirm the thought that I am not hungry.
Mile 20, I approach a bridge where the gravel road turns to pavement. I still have 6 miles before reaching the highway. I can't even begin thinking about what I am going to have to do to get home to Bend.
Mile 20.08, I see a Jeep heading towards me. A rush of happiness and gratitude fills my body. The driver stops and I tell him I have been running in an unknown direction for over 15 miles. I ask the driver for a ride. He replies yes I am willing to drive you back to the McKinsey Bridge. I hop in! He introduces himself as Herb. He was heading up the road to a fire lookout for the evening. You are far from where you started. You know? Yeah! Roughly 25 miles as the crow flies Herb says. Wow! I really got myself in a pickle. Herb asks what my plan is for getting home. I am going to call Nicole and try my luck at a hitchhike. He laughs, still amazed at my recent adventure.
Herb drops me off at the town store in Mckinsey Bridge, I thank him and he drives off. Again, I am alone. I ask a lady for 10 cents to use the pay phone, which by my luck does not work. Great! What is next? There are no cars coming and I need to make contact with Nicole to let her know I am ok.
I start walking across the highway towards the Inn. There is sure to be a phone there. As I start crossing the highway I see a car traveling in the direction I need to go. I throw up my thumb and by faith they stop. A car full of three girls returning from Eugene ask me where I am headed. I tell them my short story and they welcome me in. There names are Tammy, Faith and I do not recall the third. Faith lets me use her phone. I call Nicole and she is in tears. As I tell her I am ok, I can't help but choke up a bit myself. She tells me Search and Rescue is on there way to the trailhead and she has been talking with the Sheriff for some time. I ask her to please call off the rescue. I am safe and found! We tell each other we love one another and and hang up the phone.
Words can hardly express my gratitude for this ride all the way to Bend. I was provided with a sandwich, soda, tea and fruit snacks. I begin to feel alive again. Tammy and I share a spiritual conversation and she helps calm my mind and forgive myself for my mistake. The girls read some poetry and sing music as we travel into Sisters. Tammy offers to drive me back to Bend and I happily accept. Nicole and I agree to meet at her sisters house.
I arrive at Elena's home around 9:15PM where I am welcomed with dinner and a warm shower. These girls are amazing and I thank them for all there help and acceptance.
I can honestly say that I learned some things about myself and life in general during this awesome adventure.
A huge thanks to - Nicole for her patience, care and action, all the trainers from the Athletic Club of Bend for their patience, help and acceptance of the situation, the Search and Rescue team that did not have to rescue me, Herb for saving my legs an additional 6 miles, Tammy and her daughters for driving me back to Bend and Elena for hospitality at the end of the road.
At the end of the road we are faced with a choice to learn from our experience or hold a resentment which will prevent our growth. I choose to learn!
Thanks for reading!
"Summit as Friends"
Scott Link to GPS stats - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/356560262
Mt. Adams Summit
A 30 mile run and climb of Mt Adams in less than 48 hours would be the ultimate test of my current physical and mental endurance. The early morning runs, mountain climbing, cycling, swimming and weeks of aqua jogging through injury had prepared me for what I was about to embark on. My anticipation for this training weekend had been building over the course of the last several weeks and it was finally over.
Prior to departing for my run I shared a conversation with my mom and a few texts with my mentor. They reminded me that all I had to do was put one foot in front and enjoy each mile of my journey.
The Run Begins...........
My feet hit the pavement and the miles begin ticking away. My mind and body melt together into one cohesive unit. I reach the 9 mile marker in Mosier, Oregon where I stop at a small market to fill my water bottle. I waste no time and quickly get back on the road.
Rowena Viewpoint is my 15 mile turnaround that provides a breathtaking view of the Columbia River. At this point I am feeling very confident and begin filling my mind with affirmations that the next 15 miles are going to be easy and enjoyable so long as I take them one step at a time and keep a smile on my face. Moments later I am hit with a 25 mph head wind that that make my 9:30 minute pace feel like a standstill. I come to peace with the wind that visits me over and over as my body travels through the wine country back to Mosier.
I reach the Old Columbia River Hwy and my breath continues to flow with the beat of my feet right on through the 26.2 mile mark. I feel my pace start to slow and everything gets much harder. Voices in my head tell me that it is quitting time and I should give up. I battle the demon voice in my head for an entire mile. I keep battling the negative thoughts with positive energy. I would rather suffer through the pain of persistence now then suffer the pain of regret later. You have come so far. What is the point of quitting? Accomplishment awaits! Do not give up before the miracle happens.
I break each of the next four miles down into a single step. I drop roughly 350 feet down to Hood River, cross the bridge into town and am met with a 1.5 mile hill that I will have to travel in order to complete my goal. Each step brings me closer to 30 miles. I keep telling myself - One step at a time! Before I know it my watch ticks to 29.9 miles. At this point I feel a rush of accomplishment. The final 1/10th of a mile is like a party in my head. Just as I turn onto my parents street in Hood River my watch ticks to 30 miles. I throw my fists in the air, smile and yell with excitement in a neighborhood that is otherwise peaceful.
I arrive home, share a celebratory conversation with my dad, stretch and relax for the evening. Tomorrow is a new day and a mountain awaits.
Previous to Friday I had never ran more than 26.2 miles nor fully understood what it would take to keep running past this point. Now, I truly feel the sky is my limit.
30 mile training stats - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/352408080
"In order to succeed your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure." - Bill Cosby
The gallery below is a documentation of my third summit trip up Mt Adams. Enjoy!
South Sister from Camp Lake
I arrive at a road closure sign 5 miles from the Pole Creek Trail head. My excitement quickly turns to a feeling of defeat. The Forest Service is working to improve the Pole Creek access road after a fire from last summer that consumed over 26,000 acres.
My mind fills with thoughts of quitting. After all, this closure will add 10 miles to my round trip adventure. I can turn around and go somewhere else. But, where?
I begin filling my mind with positive affirmations to combat the bad thoughts. “This is an opportunity for me to follow the rules and obey the closure.” You are prepared for this.” “You will be stronger for making it through these extra miles.” “Just pack up your bag, eat some food, lace up your shoes and start walking.”
I accepted this as an opportunity to test my mental, physical and spiritual strength. The walk started at 6:00 PM.
The next 5 miles gave me a chance to respect what had happened last summer and the work that others were doing to restore this beautiful place.
I see four deer as I near the trail head around 7:15 PM. My feet transition from gravel road to ash covered trail. I start noticing the small ounces of life among an otherwise dead environment. Baby pine trees are sprouting through what looks like a battlefield. Bugs, birds and a cool breeze remind me that this is life after death.
As the next few hours pass the sun begins to drop down behind North Sister. My feet take me from a blackened forest to one that is green and lush as I leave the Pole Creek burn zone.
As darkness sets in I pull out my headlamp and the sounds of of the forest come awake. I hear crickets, mosquitoes and the crackling of branches. I cross a stream and nearly lose my way, but manage to get back on track.
Around 10:30 PM, I walk over a hump and drop down into a glacial pond. This will be camp for the night. I am exhausted from my 11 mile run that morning followed by an unexpected 12-13 mile hike. I feel a sense of peace and happiness, my eyes and mind melt into the stars as I drift asleep. This is life!
Day 2: Summit and Beyond
I awake at 6:45 AM with the rising sun. Today is a new day to reach the top of a mountain. I cook some oatmeal, pack up my camp and walk to Camp Lake where I will leave my pack.
I mentally break the 3000 vertical feet into three different sections. It is much easier to tackle a large goal if you have small goals along the way.
I reach the summit two and half hours after departing camp, phone the parents, snap some photos, take in the panoramic view of the Cascades and beautiful forest below and mentally prepare myself for the 15 mile hike I have to get home.
The first thousand vertical of my descent was plain sketchy. Every six or so footsteps a rock would roll out from under my feet and I would have to catch myself. No wonder more people get hurt on the way down.
When I reached the snowfields my shoe ski skills got put to work. This was the fun part of the descent.
I arrived back at Camp Lake around lunch time, relaxed for an hour and took my favorite photo from this adventure of an Indian Paintbrush with Camp Lake and South Sister in the background.
During the hike out my mind was filled with positive reflections of the great people, places and things I have in my life.
To say the last 5 miles of gravel road were easy would be a complete lie. My feet hated me for travelling roughly 42 miles in the last 36 hours. I could feel two new blisters forming, which means there was four or five. The mountain bike tracks in the road made me wish I had mine. If only the road were open.
I had to snap out of these “what if thoughts” and just enjoy the fact that I was walking through time. I was in a beautiful place and had just conquered another mountain that taught me priceless lessons about life and myself.
When at the end of the road I feel overjoyed with a sense of accomplishment. One journey has ended and another will soon begin.
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