How the battle is won…

“The battle is won twice – the first time in your mind”

I can’t take credit for the above quote, but it is so freaking profound and it applies to absolutely everything in my life.    Literally, every time I start a workout, I have to battle my mind, multiple times, for different reasons throughout the entire process.  The first group of battles occurs before the first step of the workout…

THE BATTLE OF THE FIRST STEP

  1. The first battle is TIME..    I know this workout is going to take 50-60 minutes… that’s an HOUR of a day…(not counting stretch time, which I cheat sometimes, and shower time after the workout) and in the life of someone ridiculously busy, that’s a long time, so I have to battle myself.  It’s easy to an outside observer to say, “easy… all you have to do is look at it like a 60 minute investment in your health”… ok, I get that.. but (just being honest), in real life, that isn’t necessarily the argument that wins the battle.
  2. A split second behind TIME is, COLD.    Since my bike trainer and bike are in my garage, and, in western PA, it’s winter (and a very cold one at that), there’s something unappealing about being cold..  but the truth is, when I wear a hoodie and leggings, I’m chilly for the first .5 mile and then I actually get hot biking, so it’s an invalid argument that my mind tries to make up.

So how do people combat these battles to get started?  For me, it’s simply brute force…. just do it.  Don’t think too long about it, just do it…

THE IN-PROCESS BATTLE

  1. The next battle is perhaps FATIGUE? It usually occurs about 20 minutes in… on about the 4th song of my playlist if I’m listening to it (sometimes when I ride the bike, I listen to podcasts instead – to kill two birds with one stone).  It’s about this point that I start to think, “ok, has it been long enough…really?”  The weapon I use here is to trick myself into just listening to one more song… and then about the time I get to Anitconformity, my mood changes – probably because of the pace of the song.   After the song, then I’m in “I can do this” mode, and I’m usually good for the remainder of the workout, until..
  2. The last in-process battle occurs in the very last .25 of the workout…  especially when watching the computer on the stationary bike or treadmill.  I can’t explain it, but for some reason, the last quarter mile seems to be so much longer than all of the rest, it literally feels like watching a pot of water boil.  Probably only my doggedness gets me through this battle.

When I’m finished, and I can chalk some miles up to my journey, I’m always glad I did it.

THE BATTLE OF PROGRESS

On a larger scale than the daily workout, if I am honest, there is a longer-term battle I fight with myself that asks, “is what you’re doing even making a difference?”  It’s difficult to see daily progress, not only in physical workouts, but in other areas of life as well.  Sometimes it’s necessary to stop what you’re doing, look around and see how far you’ve come.

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They say (whoever “they” are) that it takes 4 weeks of working out for you to notice a difference in yourself – 8 weeks for close friends to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of world to notice…   so keep at it… Rome wasn’t build in a day.

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When you’re thinking about quitting, just remember this…

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The journey -the US tour and century ride

Hey, guys! Just a refresher about my fitness goals for the year…. to exercise enough miles this year to virtually tour across the US… NYC to LA.. accompanied by my playlist, I cover 4 miles on a treadmill in just under an hour. At that rate, it’s going to take a long time to travel across the US.

At the suggestion of a friend, I ordered two bike trainers from Amazon (one for me and one for my daughter). This adds biking at home to my repertoire since recent life events prevent me from spending quality/quantity time at the gym.

The trainers came with a quick release axle to mount my bikes axle to the trainer. The problem was that we don’t have quick release axles, so I thought I had to convert my bolt axle to a quick release. Turns out I don’t. I was able to simply take my back wheel and mount it right into the trainer and ride! (Not that I learned this after taking our rear wheels to the bike shop….;-)

So in the same time I can cover 4 miles on the treadmill, I can cover 16 miles on the bike. This will not only help me rack up some miles, but get the “seat” time my friend told me would be necessary toward my second goal… the “century” ride.. (or half century ride as is my current goal).

The Century Ride is a 100 mile bike ride we’re doing as a fundraiser for an upcoming missions trip to NYC this June. The ride is on June 8, my daughters birthday (she’s pretty excited about it. 😂). While I think 100 miles in one day may be a bit out of my league, my goal will be to join the team at the 50 mile mark and ride to the end. Others may join at the 25 mile mark if they want, and all the missions trip kids will join at the 10 mile mark if they haven’t joined before.

We got our bike trainers set up on Saturday and I rode the first 15 miles! I will say it’s pretty chilly in my garage right now as our temps in Western PA are below freezing. We’re expecting an arctic blast this week to take us below zero. (Yay!). However, with the right gear (which is more than a t shirt) and a few tenths of a mile and ya warm up!

I’m expecting to finally get off of me “Allentown” page this week. There are 81.76 miles on the page itself which will bring my total to about 182.71 by the time I finish the page.

And… as one who remembers when MTV first came out, I was super excited to find this workout T shirt at Walmart a few weeks ago!

I have 34 miles to go to get to Harrisburg. Hopefully I’ll get there by Tuesday or Wednesday.. I’m somewhere around 150 miles of my 2700 mile goal… on page 5 of 42 pages of google map printout.

Here’s to another week at it.

Just a couple of side notes I’ve observed… the whole workout thing generates more laundry… helps you sleep well (unless your dog wakes you) and leaves you feeling better overall.

Be blessed, my friends!

SB

The Journey 1000 miles and 1000 lbs

Hi guys! Still making progress, though slow. I mentioned I haven’t been able to get to the gym to get a good bike ride in, BUT! I’ve been consistent on the treadmill all week. Four miles (at least) every day.

I completed over 25 miles this week but the page I’m on in my google maps printout has 82 miles on it. At this rate I’ll be here a while…

Couple small wins this week:

1. I consistently keep pace for ALL on Anticonformity (my 3 minute 5 mph song)

2. Several times I replayed Anticonformity at least once, one time twice, for a total of 9 minutes at 5 mph

3. I bought a bike trainer to mount my hybrid bike to so I can ride at home. However, I have to make a few axle adjustments to make it work. Plus it’s darned cold in my garage now so I haven’t ridden yet but hope to sometime this week!

4. Raspberry banana smoothies

5. Eliminated excess cardboard to the recycler.

be blessed my friends!

SB

The Journey – the virtual US tour – first stop Dorney Park

Okay, folks, here it is.   I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to figure this out, but ya’ll know I set a 1000 and 1000 goal for the year (1000 miles….  followed by a long term goal to virtually travel across the US…   and 1000 lbs of clutter removed from my house).   Last night, I was playing with Google Maps and mapped out the route from NYC to Los Angeles, both walking and biking.   Believe it or not, there IS a difference.

To WALK the US (via Rt. 40), Google Maps estimates 913 hours of walking 2,763 miles.  To bike it (on official bike trails), Google Maps estimates 256 hours of biking 3,031 miles.   I mapped and printed both.  (I’m a total geek, I know!)

Because the route literally takes me through the smallest towns in the US, I had to do some work with Google to identify recognizable landmarks along the way. I’ve made notes on my printout so I won’t forget. It’s almost comical, but since this route doesn’t include interstates, it’s made up of short distances on dinky roads, sometimes marked in feet not miles. I love how most of the landmarks noted are food places! Appears that I just passed Rita’s, one of my favorites!

As of now, since I started my journey, I have traveled approximately 100 miles.  According to the route, I am approximately near Allentown, PA (technically, a little west of Allentown, more near Fogelsville or Hamburg).

Being from Pittsburgh, I have many experiences traveling across the state of Pennsylvania, usually via the PA Turnpike (Rt. 76).   In the recent past couple of years, I have two experiences specifically with this area which I appear to be traveling through virtually on my US walking / biking tour.  The first was a visit to Dorney Park. The second was the Cracker Barrel we dined at after my son and his girlfriend completed the Spartan race in Palmerton, Pa. Famished by the time we got there, they were tempted to order one of everything on the menu.

Dorney Park:

My kids and I love to experience amusement parks – and by experience, I mean EXPERIENCE.   We all love thrill rides, and we all have tremendous stamina for fun – we usually do parks from the time they open to the time they close.  We only allow fellow park enthusiasts to accompany (and trust me, it’s a very, very select few who have passed the test – nothing worse than being at an amusement park with someone who doesn’t ride everything!)   Several years ago, we created an Amusement Park Bucket List Challenge for ourselves – specifically to visit as many amusement parks as possible (Usually coupled with a meal at a Cracker Barrel… and we put pins on our Cracker Barrel map to show where we’ve been).  Our loose goal is to visit 3 new parks a year – parks we’ve never been to.  Being from Pittsburgh, of course, we’ve grown up going to Kennywood Park, usually multiple times a year (and frequently been to Hershey Park and Idlewild Park and Sandcastles). Of course, we’ve also been to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH,  which, in our opinion, so far, is our favorite.  We decided we’d like to experience other parks, though, so made a list of all of the Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks and have somewhat systematically been checking them off of our Amusement Park Bucket List.

We visited Dorney Park a few years ago.  It was probably the 3rd or 4th of the Cedar Fair Parks that we’ve visited.  It’s approximately 4 hours from our home near Pittsburgh, so we left early one Saturday morning and drove straight to the park.   We purchased our tickets on-line, and arrived at gate opening.  Since it was so near our home, we were undecided about doing a day-trip, which we’ve done for other parks such as Hershey, Cedar Point, Kings Island, so we didn’t make any hotel reservations beforehand.

We found the park to be very clean, with decent organization (we pay attention to things like line organization, etc).  There are eight thrill coasters there. For the early part of the day, the lines were relatively short – we typcially use this time to ride all of the thrill rides – we map them out in an order that makes sense, and try to cover all of the thrill rides or unique rides (that we haven’t seen at other parks) before riding any of the standards.   On this particular day, we had probably covered all of the thrill rides by 4 pm, even though it was a Saturday. Incidentally, there were several Rita’s stands at Dorney. 🙂

We noticed when we bought our tickets that there was a discount price offered after 4 pm.   We also noticed that, after 4 pm, many people took advantage of these tickets.  The park got significantly more crowded after 4 pm, and the clientele changed significantly as well.  We noticed several times where an individual would stand in line and essentially “hold” a spot for 20-25 of his friends to join at the very last minute – despite signs all around the park indicating that line cutting was forbidden and violators would be kicked out of the park.  Several times, this happened right in front of us.   Typically, if someone held a spot for a friend, or someone in their party joined, I wouldn’t make an issue of it – but to have 25 people jump in front of you in line is beyond rude.  What was disappointing about Dorney Park staff, however, was that, although they were very much aware of the line violations, they did precious little to address.

By 8 pm, we had ridden and put up with all the crap from other patrons we wanted to, so we left the park. We’d certainly been able to drive back home that night, but at some point in early afternoon (before the crowd changed), I had made an on line reservation at a local hotel, so we set out to find it. Although it was a chain (that I won’t name), it was different than we expected. Run down and a bit sketchy, my daughter remarked that she’d seen the room before on an episode of Criminal Minds. We noticed a police car a few doors down and figured he wasn’t just visiting. Always up for an adventure, we stayed the night! We got up the next night and ate at the Cracker Barrel in Fogelsville before heading home.

Overall, our Dorney experience was ok, although not as good as some of the other parks we’ve seen. I’ll sure more about them as we travel across the country!

Be virtually blessed from Dorney Park!

SB

copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

The whole playlist

Hi, friends! For those who have been following me, you may have seen individual posts on the songs that currently make up my gym playlist – you know, the songs I play super loud through my earbuds while I’m walking / jogging on the treadmill. While they work really well for my feet to keep a steady pace on the treadmill, I have discovered that they don’t work quite as well on a bike (I guess because the more steady you pedal, the faster you go, which messes up your pace… or maybe I’m just less systematic on a bike, I’m not sure). Whatever the reason, the list is probably most appropriately titled the “Treadmill Playlist” Be that as it may, it was already named when I began the series, so it sticks.

Here it is in its entirety:

Gym Playlist # 1: Walk This Way (Aerosmith)

The Gym Playlist # 2: Back on the Chain Gang

Gym Playlist # 3 – Sweet Dreams are Made of This

Gym Playlist # 4 – Monster (Skillet)

Gym Playlist # 5: Back from the Dead (Skillet)

Gym playlist #6 Burn it down (Skillet)

Gym Playlist # 7 – Anticonfirmity (Krystal Meyers)

Gym playlist #8. Walk. (Foo Fighters)

Gym playlist # 9 I ran (flock of seagulls)

Gym Playlist # 10 – A Thousand Miles (Vanessa Carlton)

Gym playlist # 11. Rio (Duran Duran)

Gym playlist #12. Everlong (Foo fighters)

 Gym playlist # 13 Meant to Live (switchfoot)

When I keep pace with the beat on all the songs in my list (even Anticonformity), my pace ranges from 3.8 to 5.0 mph, and I finish at 3.564 miles and 502 calories burned.

I’m not sure if it’s because of OCD or I’m just strange, but I like when things end “evenly”. It would be nice if exactly 50 minutes would be exactly 3.5 miles and exactly 500 calories. I’ve discovered that there is always a compromise as the workout never worked out exactly evenly. In my mind, I struggle with this: which number is most importantly even: the distance? The calories? Or the time?

And then, of course, I feel frustrated that I spend nearly an hour of my crazy-schedule life and have ONLY progressed 3.5 miles. Sure, it’s 3 miles more than before I tied my laces, but it’ll take forever to get to 1000 at that pace.

The struggle is real, my friends.

By the way, over the past few weeks, I’ve had quite a few distractions in life which are trying to get in the way of fitness progress (and, in fact vying for my attention on many other ways, too). I refuse to let them win, and am working to reprioritize / juggle some things in order to continue the workouts.   Although I have continued hoping on the treadmill, using my recumbent bike and rower, and taken a few “long” bike rides at the gym, I’ve been less good about actually tracking my total mileage.  Ive honestly lost tract of my total mileage. One of my 2019 presents to myself is a wellness journal, though, and I’m hoping to get meticulous about tracking immediately.

Keeping it real, my friends.  

 Copyright 2019 Journey For Life all rights reserved

Gym playlist # 13 Meant to Live (switchfoot)

The very last song on my playlist is Meant to Live.   In one of my past employment lives, I worked for a company that, ahead of its time, had a gym for the convenience of its associates.   In addition to the gym, they had full cafeteria food court and free soda all day every day for its associates.  TGIF parties, complete with beer kegs and wine bottles were frequent at this entrepreneurial company that was, at one time, voted the best place to work in Pittsburgh.   I consider myself lucky to have worked there, and have many contacts from there with whom I am still in touch.

I was in my twenties then, and had two tiny tots at home, who were born 11 months apart from one another (yikes!)   I really appreciated being able to use the gym at work.   One of my gym buddies at the time was Peter (you may remember a little story about his dog in Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana…. part 3)

Peter was an avid runner, and would often occupy the treadmill next to me.  Sometimes while he would run beside me, I’d peak over at his MPH – it was not uncommon to see him run for long periods of time at 8 or 10 MPH. I recall this song being one of the songs he would listen to (this was long before iPhones and earbuds, and the gym had a stereo system that its users were actually free to use, subject to learning how to work together to agree on music selection). The music was generally cranked super loud to be super motivating – the louder, the better.

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(Just a quick humorous aside (sorry, I digress – look, a puppy!): One of my most embarrassing recollections of using that gym occurred the day I forgot to bring my work clothes to change into after my workout – and didn’t discover until AFTER I had worked out AND showered.    Luckily, the company had an on-site store and I was able to purchase a shirt (although it was a size 2X because they were going through a clearance) to wear with my sweats that day at work….  memories ;-))

At any rate, I learned this song long before I learned anything about Christian music.  I knew that Peter was a Christian and often went on missions trips with his church.  I liked the music of this song, but paid little attention the lyrics at that time.  As I read them now, however, there are so many that I connect with – “fumbling his confidence”, “failed attempts to fly”, “Have we lost ourselves?” (often, I’m afraid, we lose ourselves), “whether mice and men have second tries”, “We were meant for so much more”, “We’ve got more than this world’s got to offer”, and I could probably go on to recite the whole song.

More than any of the other powerful lyrics, however, are two lines of the song that stand out among the others.

“Maybe we’ve been living with our eyes half open;

Maybe we’re bent and broken”

bent and broken

Some of us are bent and broken.  In fact, if you aren’t bent and broken to some degree, I would think you haven’t truly lived.  To be daring enough to live life to the fullest, we are bound to have some bumps and bruises.  As a parent, one of the hardest lessons to learn is to allow our kids to get some bumps and bruises – to figure out life on their own.  Being bent and broken is neither a badge of honor, or a sign of shame – it’s simply a tool that God uses to shape us into what He wants us to be.

Often taken out of context, this reminds me of the verse in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and are called according to His purpose.”

God never wastes a hurt.  God never wastes a bruise.  He uses them all to shape who he wants us to be.

What hurts have you experienced?  What have they taught you?   It’s a good day to reflect on how they have helped to shape who you are…   and think about who God wants you to be.

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

BTW – I just want to thank all of you who have emailed me, texted me, commented on various posts you’ve read, letting me know they’ve encouraged you.  You can’t begin to know how much that encourages me – thank you for blessing me!

 

Meant to Live:

Fumbling his confidence

And wondering why the world has passed him by

Hoping that he’s bent for more than arguments,

And failed attempts to fly, fly

 

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

Somewhere we live inside

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

 

Dreaming about Providence

And whether mice or men have second tries

Maybe we’ve been livin’ with our eyes half open

Maybe we’re bent and broken, broken

 

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

Somewhere we live inside

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

 

We want more than this world’s got to offer

We want more than this world’s got to offer

We want more than the wars of our fathers

And everything inside screams for second life

 

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

We were meant to live

We were meant to live

Songwriters: Jonathan Foreman / Tim Foreman
To hear more of my story, (fiction laced with reality), please pick up a copy of Masquerade, (also available on Amazon).   If you’ve read it, and liked it, please feel free to leave a review at amazon review)

Gym playlist #12. Everlong (Foo fighters)

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you may remember a post from a while back about my gym playlist being adulterated somehow (probably during phone upgrades or what have you), leaving only FooFighters’ Everlong. On my re-entry to workouts, I played it on repeat for a whole 2 miles.

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I’ve kept it on my list as I recreated, and it now occupies item #12.

You have a choice today. Get out to the gym today, or at least off your couch. 😉

Be blessed, my friends.

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.