Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Balance of Life...

Balance Grasshopper!....Balance! My friend John says….clean living and moderation in all things. My personality does not know moderation. I never have done drugs…never been an alcoholic…but I am here to tell you that if I didn’t have intense focus on other things…who knows…but for the Grace of God go I!!! It is just how I am made…and my wife Bren knows this…

I have to be honest; the past month has not been great for me. I continue to train…but have backed off…nothing more than 2 hours at a time. Started riding my bike…continued with boot camps…training on weights…but there was always angst. Mentally, I didn’t have it in me to run all night long if my son had an early Saturday morning baseball game….Running or riding for 5 to 6 hours. The paradox? I didn’t want to train for an ultra….and I didn’t give myself permission not to train for an Ultra Endurance event. I remember sipping a cup of coffee one Saturday morning. I should have been enjoying my kids…and their upcoming events, baseball and softball games. My wife comes out and looks at me and knew immediately that I had a war waging inside…I was stewing…mad….frustrated! Over the past 3 years, Saturday morning was hard corps training time. I loathed where I was!

The following week, I got an email from a bud…it was a partial list of all the events I have done in 3 years. At the end of the email my friend basically said….you need to chill for a few months…really! “For over 3 years you have pushed your limits were most cannot comprehend…with a family….and a packed schedule.” Within 3 days I had 2 other of my inner circle tell me the same thing. I came into the gym at 5:15 one morning, and a training buddy looked at me and said, “Give yourself permission to take time off from endurance events.” “You don’t have to stop completely…just enjoy some time off from the crazy stuff for a period ….till it becomes fun again.”

The past 2 weeks I have had a peace about all that. Oh, I have climbed back on the bike…and we have hammered some 40 mile rides out…but nothing over a couple of hours. I have started studying magic again (slight of hand.) I have started writing…and reading. I got my spiritual life back on track a bit. I have focused on my kids more…working with them on their baseball/softball skills. I have spent more time goofing off with my 5 year old, Hope. My wife and I have always made it a priority to go out…and that has been fun…and I am content. No angst. I believe God uses others in your life to show you things…and I am thankful for buds who help me grasp what I really need to know.

So what’s in the future? I honestly don’t know…I probably will ride Hotter N Hell 100 miles again this year…but who knows.
Press On!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What is Next?

Saturday morning I woke up at 6:00AM…grabbed my Nook…started a cup of Coffee…turned on Sports Center….and pondered things in the still quiet of the morning before the chaos of the Elliott Cat 5 hurricane awoke from peaceful slumber. Macy had a softball game at 9:30, so I had talked myself into taking it easy…and not get up at an ungodly hour to go run. By 7:00am, I was stewing…and although things were peaceful on the home front, my mind was reeling…thinking…my spirit was anxious. It was a total paradox within my soul. I had no motivation to go run…and yet I was self loathing for not lacing up any running shoes. I was restless…and angry…more with myself. For 3 straight weekends in a row, I had done nothing on the exercise front…mainly from sickness. When my wife woke up she could tell things were angst ridden in my psyche. She looked at me and said…you don’t have to go run tomorrow…but do something…you are miserable.

Why the misery? Because I really don’t know what to do next….what I want to do next. The cancelling of the Grand Canyon run had done more to me emotionally than I wanted to admit. I wasn’t pouting or feeling sorry for myself…but I lacked any motivation to get out and train for another ultra.

Macy played a great game…she has laser focus for an adult…let alone an 8 year old. When she steps up to bat…she is intent on hitting the ball…and on Saturday’s game went 2 for 3…and got robbed on the third at bat.

Before the game, Bren tells me…get on Stubhub….and get tickets for you and Luke to go to the Texas Ranger’s for the Saturday afternoon’s sold out game. The weather was perfect…72F….clear skies…just Perfect! I love the Ballpark in Arlington. I look over at Luke, my only son, eating his ice cream and ask, “Has it been a good day?” He responds between bites of chocolate mint, “Dad, more than you know!” All of a sudden, my morning workout didn’t matter a lick…not one bit.

That evening, I was watching to New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox…and Jorge Posada had pulled himself out of the line up only an hour before the game. Normally that would amount to a hill of beans when a player does that…but not here. First it’s the Yankees…and everything makes headlines. The crux…Posoda who was batting a 0.180 was moved to 9th in the order…yep…5 time all star…instrumental in all 4 World Series Championship wins and 5 time Sliver Slugger Award winner was getting old…and his skills seem to be slipping. I think that is the hardest part of being an aging athlete…knowing when to say when…and frankly, Posada is struggling with that.

I related to the Yankee catcher that night. No…I am not an elite…and no, I don’t have to say that I quit…but that morning I was struggling with what to do next…in training…in endurance realm...and yes I was frustrated.

Sunday, I vowed not to sleep in. I lined up a buddy that had just finished a ½ ironman in epic fashion in April. “Chris,” I asked, “What are you doing tomorrow morning at 6:00AM?” “Let’s get in a strong 40 miles on the bike,” I add. So on Sunday…we pounded at 40miles…it was literally the 2nd time I had been on the bike since last Augusts’ Hotter N Hell 100 mile ride. The first 20 out was strong…18 to 22 mph…I didn’t eat anything before or during the ride and the last 8 miles back in were not good….like bonking not good. But when it was over…I felt good to have gotten out on the road.

I still have no idea what to do next…I really don’t know what I want to do next. I at least plan on staying in Marathon shape…but right now…going out for a 2 to 3 hours on Saturday is really all I need…or want for that matter.
Till then…we will enjoy Macy playing softball and Luke playing baseball…and the Rangers…well lets hope they get things shored up...relief pitching and the bats need to wake up.

Press On!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What Is In a Name?....That Would Be the Elliott Name! we go with something quick. My only sibling and younger brother is a cyclist...and a full time pastor. So this week he is riding from Beaumont to Texarkan...375 miles on his raise money for Hunger.

Yep...another endurance event....5 days. I talk to him every day this week...I mention, "think about those guys in the Tour de France!" His comment....doping or not they are some of the best athletes on the planet.

This event is tough for the sole purpose of the day to day hammering of the body. It's not like an 24 hrs your done...but more like a mind thing....of climbing back on the saddle the next day....whether you feel like it or not.

You can follow him here: Sammy's Blog

and if you want to donate for the cause...go HERE and put it in Sammy Elliott's name

Press On!...and BIKE OUT HUNGER!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Hard Decision!

I woke up Friday morning, April 29, thinking to myself, “This time next week I will be on a plane to Arizona…to Run that Big Hole in the Ground.” The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim…start on the south rim at Bright Angel Trail…down the 4500 feet….across the suspension bridge at the Colorado River…up to 5200 Feet…along the North Kiabob Trial to the North Rim…touch the fence….and come back…all 48 miles…at one time. I was also thinking to myself, “Did I eat something bad as my stomach was aching a bit.

So on that Friday, I go on to work…come home and get ready for the weekend…a Y Princess camping weekend with my 8 year old daughter Macy. We were staying at a place where a lady insisted we call her Muddy and who ran a water ski camp for 30 years. That ought to tell you that the cabin was on the lake…and lake activities were required. We fished…and Macy caught a fish…and Muddy taught Macy how to water ski. There were two boats going…one skiing…one tubing…and Macy did both…and I was told by another dad on the boat that Macy was fearless…at the got the boat up to nearly full speed with her signaling for “FASTER” while hanging on for dear life to that tube. Her dad went tubing as well…and when the 25 year old, alpha male from that lesser Texas university whose mascot looks best served on a plate as a medium rare steak for a boat driver learned that the 41 year old, slightly cocky dad with a mouth was an Aggie…did everything to shake me off that tube…at one point another Dad said I was about 4 foot airborne. When I climbed back into the boat…he grinned and said, “Not bad old man.” Overall it was a great weekend…with my daughter…and bunch of great guys with their daughters.

Saturday my stomach still continue to hurt…and the pains were coming more frequent and with more intensity. I wasn’t nauseous or had bowel issues…just pain. By Sunday when I woke up…ready to pack up and go home…I now had gone from mild discomfort to actual pain…and on the 2 hour drive home downed an entire bottle of Pepto Bismol. I get home…unpack…shower…and went to bed…now the pain was constant…and 2 hours later, texted my boss saying I would be going to the doctor on Monday morning. Two hours after I penned that text…I couldn’t stand up straight for the pain…and told my wife to get me to the ER. Four hours, a CT Scan and two shots of narcotics later, I learned that I had severe inflammation in the small intestine…probably caused by a bacterial infection. The doc prescribed 2 antibiotics…and I left the ER thinking that after a couple of days on the antibiotics I will be good as new…in hindsight that was probably the pain killers talking.

I stayed home all day on Monday and rested. I told my wife that by Wednesday I would assess how I felt…after all on Saturday I was to go for a little run in Arizona.

Let me take a moment here and express the gratitude I have for my wife. She looked at me and said if there is anything she can do to get me ready for the trip let me know. She said that she trusted my judgment completely…and whatever decision I made, she would support me completely. That’s a good woman.

Wednesday rolled around…and I was getting better…but now I needed to start thinking about running 48 miles the coming weekend…and access my body…honestly…with my mind…not my heart. I was far from 100 percent…this was evident out at Luke’s baseball practice that evening. I knew what it was to be…and I despised it. You have to get into the psyche of an endurance athlete to completely understand. A person who sacrifices so much to push his body…many times past discomfort into pain. Where tenacious, bull headed determination when most others have decided, “NO MAS!” is more common than not. The hours in the weight room...literally thousands of reps…waking up at the most ungodly hour to go run…ticking off the miles…the hours…the back to back long days…the tearing down of the body…the building up of the mind…where quitting simply isn’t an option.

I made a handful of calls to some of my inner circle…all endurance guys…and received confirmation. It didn’t sweeten the bitter pill.

So here I sit. I just prayed for Marlee, Jenn, Char, and Fred…they are probably over half way…descending down the North Kiabob…reveling in the glory of the creation.

It was the right decision…I don’t have to like it…the last thing I wanted was to have things go south…being medivac’ed out…ruining the trip for everyone else…and never living it down with my bud Clive. Clive told me, he was putting it on the calendar next year…the trip to the Grand Canyon…and Marlee told me if I run it…she will run it again too. Those are good friends. My wife, Bren, has already started looking at dates…did I tell you that she is a good woman?

Press On!