by Jonnie James on May, 24, 2009
hello everyone, this post probably isn't going to be very long, but i thought it was important from a training perspective. a.) i am not a runner. b.) i actually kinda hate running. c.) i do it anyways.
so... it's memorial day weekend, and that's all i really have to say about that...
yesterday, i managed a training day, which has left me quite sore today, a "good" sore i might add. with a little help and encouragement from a 'frequent fellow female friend' - haha, that sounds funny, she likes training just has hard as i do, which is good. I can't stress to everyone out there how important it is to have someone to train with, and i'm not just talkin' about anyone! you must enjoy this persons company, with reciprocation just as important. I can guarantee you there's 'no way jose' i would've run 8 miles yesterday with out someone by my side. why you ask ? "self-doubt", how does someone training for Escape Alcatraz, so close to their event (20 days) exhibit feelings of self-doubt ? the answer to this question may be loaded, just like the question, but here goes.. "self-doubt" is contagious in all aspects of your life, and it's all connected i notice. Most times, i see that finish line in the distance, and i'll just let it sit there, i don't even really care sometimes whether i'm inching closer or further away. when in a real life situation, i usually battle through to the finish and feel much better about that mini milestone. the more time i have to contemplate my options, the less likely i am to accomplish that option. finally, as ridiculous as it sounds, the more erratic my decisions, the more likely i am to be happy or content about the final result, whatever it may be.
so, i rambled enough about my self-doubt issues. i ran 8 miles yesterday, and swam 1600m. i've never ran 8 miles, so that, for me... was an AMAZINGLY INCREDIBLE accomplishment. I had someone by my side the whole time, which helped immensely, not only with the finish, but keeping that self doubt on the outer rim of thought.
Escape Alcatraz Triathlon, t-minus 20 days, and i'm ready.
A Mini Tri
by Jonnie James on May 9, 2009
so.. what a shock, i'm posting something within five days of my last post, remember this folks! really, the reason(s) for today's post. a.) Escape Alcatraz is 36 days away! b.) it's saturday night, and i'm exhausted from training all day! c.) because i had another breakthrough! and, d.) because i know there's at least one other person beside me reading this!
and we're off... i decided this morning was going to be mini-triathlon day. usually, i will commit to a swim + run, or swim + bike, or maybe even a bike + run, today was so special though, i said why the fuck not, Swim + Bike + Run. Not only did i take part in a fun filled day of multi-sport endurance, i did so with a purpose. seriously, i'm only 36 days from my triathlon, do i really have what it takes ? this was an opportunity for me to put everything on the line, and go the distance. i always hear people talking about how they'll only go their event distance on event day, and how important is to have a peak on the week / day of their training leading into their event, i think that is the most giant crock of shit i've ever heard in my life. so, here's what happened... I got a fantastic 10 hours of sleep on Friday night, this never happens! usually because i'm still at work, but alas home by 8, in bed by 9, in a coma by 10.
rise and shine, wakey wakey... i wake up all natural and full of energy at 8am, i sit around ridiculously lazy for while, wondering what i'm even going to do today, Saturday, May 9. well, it took me about an hour to realize i hadn't done any endurance training for at least week, and this is no good! so, i said.. "okay, you lazy piece of dog shit, time to get moving, at least get to the pool, 'don't want those sharks feasting on the 14th'". so, what the heck, i swam my distance 2400m, which i may add, i don't even flinch at this point, i think i'm going to start upping that distance considerably to prepare for race day. swim was all done, i walked all 3/4 of a mile to my place, as i walked in the door, my bike was looking all lonely and said in the nook, so... i took 'er out for a spin, all 22mi, ended up in Portland's NW hills on Skyline. On my way back, got a txt message from my friend, who happened to be indulging the farmer's market, and it's many delicious treats. i got off the bike for this part, but i txt'd her back, and said.. "ahhh, don't go anywhere, i can be there in 15 to 20" that was seriously ambitious to get from the NW hills of Portland to SW downtown Portland. yes, okay... i made it, while i didn't see the actual final time i pulled in to the hippy filled jungle, it's okay, that was the least of concerns. just happy my friends were still in attendance! after a brief meet, i thought to myself, i'm still actually feeling okay, i rode the ole' duster back home, threw on the running shoes, and drove back into those nearby NW hills of portland, Forest Park, which is just off Thurman. Forest Park is the most fantastic place to run, wish i could explain for those who've never been. Just close your eyes, 'dramatization' begins - "a somewhat rocky trail, mostly dirt, friendly chipmunks, squirrels, mountain bickers, birds chirping/swooping around you", now that you can picture the scenery, think of that once place you would be willing to run with our your ipod (impossible, i know), until you run Forest Park. when you pull up to the trail, and start running, it's all up hill on the way out, you realize this quick, adjust pace accordingly, it flattens out every now and then, but usually for one bend and then back to the gradual incline. from my exercise this day, i cramped for about the first 2 miles averaging about 9min mile, i was then able to pick up the pace slightly, though my muscles were quite fatigued. i hit the 3mi marker, and decided it was time to turn around. lack of hydration, lack of strength, lack of clarity, lack of nutrition, at this point i was pretty damn exhausted, though pushing me, the reward of knowing i seized the shit out of my saturday morning/early afternoon. i finally made it to the bottom of the hill, had a banana and a tall cup of water waiting in my car, what a delight it was to enjoy them.
tell me, please.. if you're Saturday even comes remotely close to mine!
A Month Later
by Jonnie James on May 4, 2009
It seems every time i post a new story, the distance between them grows. April 3rd was my last post, exactly a month ago, definitely too long. I need to stop coming up with excuses and dedicate one hour of my week to a thoughtful, representative post. I ask my self, "where am i going to find the time ?" averaging 12/14/16hr days at the office, i am really beginning to understand "my time", or "down time" or dare i call it "free time". regardless, those few weee hours, i want nothing at all resembling my work, whether it be my actual job or my web designing hobbies. i could complain and complain until the end of time about how i want things to flow in my life, but that will get me know where. I realize i need to resist the "i am a passenger" mentality, and really focus on taking control of whatever it is that needs direction. One interesting question i continually remind my self to answer "What's important to me at this moment in time ?" This question may seem very selfish and might seem like i'm not looking at the big picture, this is not my intension. I am one to take full advantage of opportunity, whether that opportunity is in the moment or that opportunity is the bigger picture. Presented with a precarious situation, i ask everyone reading to think, what if there's an opportunity to seize a particular moment in time (the variables don't matter "what/when/where/why/how"), though this opportunity can only be pursued at a distance, while in your heart, 100% is invested. thoughts, anyone?
okay, enough rambling of my thoughts come out and i can finally focus on the good stuff, my training. as i'm about 40 days out from my event "Escape Alcatraz", i have been increasing my duathlon type exercising. Often i combine my workouts. Last saturday 4/25/09, i swam 3000m, then ran a 10k. This was quite rewarding, and i actually felt pretty decent afterwards. what would've happened had i ran that extra 2mi and maybe 20mi on the bike ? So, this past Sunday 5/3/09, i took on another challenge, mixing up the workouts a bit. I went on a 20mi bike ride in the NW hills of Portland, OR, and followed that up with a 24oom swim. As a reminder to all of you "Escape Alcatraz" 1.5mi/2400m swim, 18mi bike, and 8mi run. I believe my next step in the training process is a mini tri to get my race legs under me. the bike to run transition is the one i need to feel, completely different leg muscles kicking in after barely being used is one hell of a shock to the body. your overall flexibility index and stretching you do before the event starts will make the difference when you get to this stage of the race. a trainer of mine long ago told me one of the number one preventers of injury is proper stretching / flexibility. My last event, when i got off the bike and laced up the sneaks, i cramped for about 3mi before i was able to break through my sluggish 9min/mi pace. that's embarrassing.
open water swimming, much more taxing on the body / endurance than most realize. i keep reminding my self i need a few open water swims before my event. I'm going to attempt putting in a bit of effort this weekend, journey to Haag Lake, Oregon. apparently it's a pretty popular open-water swimming hole for triathletes, not only are their tons of bike and run trails, but the water is refreshingly crisp, sure to compare nicely to the expected 55 degrees the San Francisco Bay will deliver. right now, my distance for the swim, 2400 meters is a pretty daunting task, i'm averaging about 50 minutes in a pool. Is this good enough for the bay ? i've talked or met 5 people that have already competed in "Escape Alcatraz", which have all yielded different experiences on the swim. 2 of the 5 say, "whatever you do, you better be ready for that fucking swim, it's intense". another 2 of the 5 say, "you're going to be fine, you have nothing to worry about". and 1 of the 5 gets into some serious detail, "make sure you're checking landmarks every 10 strokes, depending on how strong the currents are will depend on what landmarks you use, and whatever you do don't follow swimmers off in the distance". Like, seriously... what the fuck ? all that detail, might as well bring my fucking algebra book and do a few math equations while i'm at it. Thanks for all the detail, but really i prefer either "you're going to do fine" or "be fucking ready for the swim".
it's crunch time, i know this... time to go out and giv'er'
A Balance In Need
by Jonnie James on April 3, 2009
It's definitely been way to long since my last post, I believe i was in San Francisco for a work/pleasure trip. Mixing those two are pretty important for me. It keeps me honest about my responsibilities, and then i can let loose and have fun. This particular weekend was quite groundbreaking for me (or) my training, I finally found the confidence i'll need to pass the test. This is a reasonable enough recap from my last post, anyone wanting to dive more in depth into his/her training/nutrition, please give it a read, i put a lot of thought into it.
Since my last post, i have been completely inundated with work, absolutely buried in a shit storm of confusion. While i'm at about 75% threshold in keeping up with my training, i know i can do better. A week straight at 14hr days put a minor kink in my training schedule. This all while on a business trip as well, took me off my regimen completely. Reflecting back on my trip, i think the long days were great, when the "Work Comes First", and you truly love your work, there isn't much room for complaint. The motto "The Work Comes First" i learned when i took my current job, at Wieden + Kennedy, the advertising world sure is bizarre. I was on the publisher side before working for an agency, at "VeloNews & Inside Triathlon". I've been on both sides of the law, and truly feel the side i'm no now will always win. why ? because we have the $$. While publishers do have some leverage, we're engaging with their audience after-all, taking advantage, blowing the minds of their users every and any fucking time want. Being part of a process that is innovative, crazy, fun, confusing, and sometimes full of shit, they always seem to keep me on my toes. I can't say i've ever been so passionate about anything in my professional life, as short as it's been up until this point. Clients projects i've worked on up until this point (Career Builder, Converse, EA, Laika's "Coraline", Nike, Nokia, Old Spice, Starbucks, Travel Oregon) - seriously? Everything i read this, i'm saying in my head "no fucking way!" I've been given more opportunity in my 10 months than i could've possibly imagine, a new department in the making. After 10 months, the department of "Interactive Traffic" has blossomed into not only 1 addition but 2, my buddies Matt & Chris, my reinforcements. As i guess i am now the head of "Interactive Traffic" at Wieden + Kennedy, Portland. My cohorts Matt, dedicated traffic on all brands, and Chris, dedicated to EA only "Analytics Reporting". I am crazy stoked to have these two guys, i can now occasionally leave the office before the sun goes down, and also occasionally remove the shackles that are found around my ankle from 8 to 8.
I decided it was time for a paragraph break even though it might not be proper. Another beauty of the above work i do, is my boss, he goes by LTA, is the man! He manages a department in the ballpark of 50 employees. I appreciate the fact that a.) he trusts what i'm doing is good work, and b.) he's not the babysitting time. "He ain't got time for that shit!" I stick by my rules "The Work Comes First", and it's great fucking work. My team and I basically service the entire PDX media team, which is awesome. We keep them happy and content, for the most part, and things are good as gold. I would love to go into more detail about my ultimate vision of where this department could lead, but i don't think it's appropriate to assume certain things that may be out of my control. Though, with that said, i'm really excited for the future of my team, my position, and the overall success of our kick ass media department.
As this day comes slowly to an end, another TGIF moment. As i sit here, and see the all agency/department happy hour emails go flying around, i realize there are some other important things to think of. a.) still waiting on a meeting that keeps getting fucking delayed, for the 3rd time! b.) Chances are this meeting doesn't even happen, and that would be best case scenario, even though it's really really important before our client meetings next week. c.) while i'd love to get drinks, i feel i trained to hard today, and would rather treat my self to a good dinner. The darkness is coming, the clouds are coming, jamming out work, headphones in, passing the time, waiting for this weekend to consume me. On another exciting note, i'm going to be participating in "2009 De Ronde van Oeste Portlandia" tomorrow. I'm really excited about riding in this race. From what i've heard, it's one of the most difficult rides you can do in Portland. Check this fucker out, Bike Portland.org, and the crazy MapMyRide. This guy i work with is a stud on the bike, and said it's going to take him 4hrs+ to finish the ride, 50ish miles, i'm probably looking somewhere in the ballpark of 5hr+
Wish me luck tomorrow, and thanks for reading...
Progress in the Fast Lane
by Jonnie James on March 15, 2009
So, it's been about 10 days since my last post, and i think i'm ready to provide my next nugget of goodness. This is going to be much different than my first two posts. I'd like to talk a little bit about the progress i've made in my training over the last week. Mainly my progress in swimming. It's important for me to note the thought "Swim/Bike/Run", all at the same time doesn't necessarily appeal to me in any way whatsoever. I am more interested in the challenge of completing this feat than the actual partaking of multiple activities at one time.
The Swim - this is definitely the most important part of my training. I realize if I can't make it out of the water in the alloted time, i'm pretty much fucked. With that said, i have been working extra hard on my swim. I am not necessarily trying to perfect my swim, mainly because i know that is an unrealistic task at this time. Considering only months ago, i couldn't swim more than 100m without being completely exhausted, i've made some serious progress. I've been a fan of the 2,000m distance as of late, in all different forms (20x100s, 8x250s, 4x500s, 2x1000s) you name it, i like this distance, and feel it's a pretty good for training. I'm going to use my latest training regimen as an example of how far i've come. Normally, while swimming, i have a hard time consistently swimming freestyle through my full workout, so i alternate 50-freestyle/50-breast stroke. I know some joke with me that this is practically cheating/lazy and you're not really swimming unless it's all freestyle, let alone wasting time. I am in total disagreement, while using this technique, i have become accustomed to long distances, which is my inevitable goal of 2,400m from Alcatraz to wherever the current takes me i guess. So, back on track to my latest training, it was this morning. I have been in San Francisco since thursday night, staying w/ friend in the Marina, who also conveniently has a membership at the "San Francisco Bay Club". This place is truly amazing, one of the nicest gyms i've been too in a long time. This is my second visit i've had the opportunity to enjoy this club, but this is the first time i've swam in the pool. Before going to the gym this morning, we had stop off at Sports Basement. In much need of a new suite and goggles, i settled for some new gear, and off to the gymbo we went. I got 30min of cardio in before my swim, but i finally hit the pool, and was really only planning on swimming 1,000m, little did i know, my body had some alter ego michael phelps living in it today. So i started off w/ my first 500m, in a 20m pool, it's kind of annoying for training, so i thought. This 20m pool actually makes you decide whether you're going to suck it up and do that extra length in the form of Freestyle or Breast Stroke. Okay, so finally, my first 500m, i would swim the first 3 lengths Freestyle, then the 4th and 5th lengths breast stroke, kind of like a rest to get my next 100m w/ the same sequence. I used this first technique for my first two 500s. I then said to myself, "hey, i'm really not that tired, i could probably swim more Freestyle if i really wanted to". With that said, my 3rd 500m distance, i trimmed one more length of Breast Stroke off, which basically boiled down to 80m Freestyle, 2om Breast Stroke, per 100m in my total 500m distance. Again i said to my self the same thing " i bet i could do a full 500m Freestyle". And so, my final 4th 500m, and at the end of my workout, i decided to go for it, sure enough... i swam the entire 500m in Freestyle form. This was a HUGE LEAP in my training, and can't speak to how great it makes me feel, knowing i'm on the right path. What i did different - basically i slowed down my pace slightly, probably 5 to 10 seconds slower than i would normally swim a length, really focusing on my breathing/form technique, and turned out to be a success. Even though i slowed my pace, it actually ended up yielding a faster overall time than having rest laps via Breast Stroke.
I don't have much to say about my "Bike/Run" at this point, i feel good about them. my philosophy right now is.. If i survive the swim, and get out of the water with no shark or sea lion attack, i will be feeling pretty confident and be looking to finish the race from that point.
Until next time, get out there and get er' goin'
by Jonnie James on March 4, 2009
i was sitting here thinking about my day, the in and out of my daily grind. I wouldn't quite call it a grind though, it's much smoother than that. I would relate to a coffee grinder that has somewhere in the range of 8 different grind settings. Every day differs obviously, which is why i chose the coffee grinder comparison. while we would like for every day to be our most silky smooth blend, this is often not the case. Not every day has to be great, but a.) How to avoid those chunky grinds b.) finding a happy medium with balance and texture.
some mornings, i wake up and think to myself, what am i doing? almost every morning actually, "What am i doing with my life ?". My thought process is quite neutral, and very quickly, i exile any negative thoughts or intentions. after the exile, i realize how well things are actually going for me. i'm not trying to sound like a cake-eater right now, but i'm in a good place. I could spin this post so many different ways, but am going to try and veer back on course towards the title "Lifestyle Change"
So, what does it take to make a lifestyle change ? i will speak from my personal experience and hope it relates to your situation. Rule # 1: "you need a base" - i have a strong base of athleticism, motivation, and support. nothing's going to be accomplished unless you have key ingredients to follow. Rule # 2: "you need goals" - i have goals, aspirations, challenges, both short and long-term to keep me excited about new endeavors. These are some of the most important to have otherwise you wake up one morning and give up because you don't understand purpose. Rule 3: "proper nutrition" - this can often be the most difficult to follow. Depending on how your current diet is treating your body, you can expect to make considerable changes in this department to get on track and stay consistent. Rule # 4 "focus" - can be tougher for some than others. While this rule relates back to all rules #1 #2 #3, you have to stay strong through your process and decision making.
getting into the nitty gritty with more detail, Rule #1 "you need a base" - i try not and focus on the big picture, more importantly focusing my strength on the small battles. Whether I'm improving technique on my swim stroke or stretching properly pre-workout, it all adds up to success. Also, growing up (for those that read my previous post) you'll know that i was quite active in my youth, and will continue to pursue an athletic healthy lifestyle. Rule # 2 "you need goals" - whether you start out by creating goals for yourself in every day life, athletic/competitive life, or your nutritional choices, you need to start somewhere. Personally, i have life/professional goals related to my work and aspirations on where i see my self at the end of the ball game. Same goes for my athletic and nutritional goals, more incremental though. I chose to compete in my first triathlon because it seemed like a challenge (even though the thought of run/bike/swim all at the same time seems completely ridiculous/worst nightmare). after i finished, i said to myself "hey, that wasn't that bad at all, i want another more challenging goal", sure enough Alcatraz came a knockin'. Not getting ahead of myself, but one likes to think, what will be next ? Ideally, conventional thought would say, "I want more", which has lead my thought to challenging my self at Half-Ironman. all will come in good time though, i don't like to get too far ahead of myself without actualizing current challenges. Rule # 3 "proper nutrition" - don't be afraid to eat your heart out, but do so properly. i love food, and love eating, and have my own rules. The toughest thing for me to avoid a few months ago was wheat, turns out a gastroenterologist found traces of celiac, along w/ a hiatal hernia, and diagnosed me w/ IBS, (totally B.S. as far as i'm concerned, sorry sir, we don't know what's wrong w/ you, how about some IBS). It's been many ears in progress, probably 6 now and i've finally learned my lesson of eating healthy and treating my body the way it should be. in the last few months, i've taken a drastic step in cutting my consumption of wheat by 2/3. I recommend this to absolutely EVERY person out there, you will notice an immediate difference within 2 weeks. So, essentially, i've created a 2/3 gluten free diet, because there's "no way jose" i'd be able to give up the occasional brewhaha that i love so much. also the occasional situation that doesn't allow a gluten free diet. I'm totally fine w/ this, as i realize and accept the fact that not everything is 100% in my control. Last but not lease, i made it, Rule # 4 "focus" - also incredibly important to me. When i look at all my rules (#1 #2 #3 ), i see a very refined determination and focus which will help me stay as close to on the course as possible. Often, i think about everything i'm doing between my training, my nutrition, my goals, and wonder to myself, "how the fuck do i manage stay consistent through all this ?" Everyone has their own answer to this questions, mine is "FOCUS", a detail oriented process, which i'm so used to at work, and am able to translate to other disciplines. don't forget though, while focus is a mainstay, it's almost just as important to have fun, let lose of your structured confined rules. (ex. i love all my rules, but i also love doughnuts, and cobbler, and ice cream, and all forms of drinking excessively from time to time).
as long as you stay within the vision of your end goal, everything is going to be fine, just keep on keepin on.
My Journey Begins
by Jonnie James on February 27, 2009
I ask myself constantly, do i have what it takes? This is a loaded question, as i recognize it crosses over to many other things. A few things to straighten out before i get too head over heals, a.) i don’t care about grammar, sentence/paragraph structure, and for the most part spelling. b.) my documentation of this journey is not only for personal satisfaction, but also to help others out there. Whether this little venture be a guiding light of inspiration or my pathetic attempt at translating a fit lifestyle filled with great nutrition and focused training goals.
I guess that’s considered my opening statement, and suppose i should tell you a little bit more of my actual purpose. Right down to it, i was lucky enough to have been selected to compete “escape alcatraz 2009″ - this scares the shit out of me, seriously! It took me 3 weeks before i officially signed up and chose a more narrow focus for training and nutrition. i will be documenting my journey through it all, the ups and downs, my training goals, my nutritional insights/thoughts, the gear that’s helping me achieve success.
I could dive pretty deep into the why’s/how’s/what’s/when’s/who’s right now, but that would require something resembling a short novel being published (for future consideration). so in stead, i’m going to give the brief synopsis via typing.
The Beginning - growing up in Annapolis, Maryland, i was involved in athletics sports/water sports/beach sports from the start. I think i played T-ball for 2 seasons, this is where i learned my first team building skills, (why not to swing aluminum bats at my coaches knee, or teammates arm, it was so satisfying though). Then Lacrosse, living in MD of course, it’s this ridiculous right of passage type sport that every family has to take part in, or your basically an outcast. So, i endured for 3 or 4 seasons, i really don’t remember. I played basically every position, once in goal, which was the worst experience of my life. This painful memory of a dense rubber ball hurling towards me at speeds 60 to 80mph, i honestly can’t imagine anything worse, aside from maybe having to use Windows Vista.
More Beginning/Crossing Swords - while still involved w/ lacrosse, probably after the 2yr mark, my older brothers (brian & mike), i probably owe much of the credit for my choices in life as a youngster. I think the only habit of theirs i didn’t really pick up on was the skateboarding thing, that was really bizarre! So they played lacrosse, then i played lacrosse, they would do something, then i would do something. I seemed to follow their every choice in life, or at least the ones i was enlightened enough to be aware of or weren’t kept from me. My dad tried to get us all to play basketball 1 summer, i think i participated in 1 camp, and that about sealed the deal for reminding me to never play basketball ever again in any competitive manner.
Blissful Symphony - and alas, the sport of ice hockey, watching it on TV was absolutely “Mind Bottling” ~ will ferrell, watching it in person was extremely exhilarating, and i wanted more more more. At the young age of 6 or 7 or 8, it’s pretty foggy, i again followed in my older brothers’ footsteps and partook in this glorious sport. Hockey began about 2 years into my lacrosse, amidst many other experiential activities. This story is too long to wrap your minds around at this point so, that will also be in consideration for my short novel. (future consideration), but if i may allow an abbreviated synopsis once gain, a synopsis w/ in a synopsis 20yrs later, the teams i played on, chronological of course, (Chesapeake Bay Chiefs, Bowie Bruins, Washington Little Capitals, Stanstead College Spartans, Washington Jr. Capitals, Chicago Freeze, University of Denver). It all really started going downhill after playing for the Jr. Caps. This is when i first realized all the politics involved in sports that your parents used to talk about becomes reality, and the game is no longer a “FUN” game. It’s transformed into this business of sorts, where nobody really cares about anyone but themselves, and those few close life long friends you make are the only thing that makes any sense. But, you continue to purse your dream of playing in the NHL even though you know that’s not going to happen, and even though everyone around you also knows this, and still continues to push you on that path.
Opening finale - this is the end of the beginning, a summing up of who i am, and for the most part my experiences as a tyke, youngster, young adolescent, teenager, young adult, and what some maybe have considered an actual adult.
do i really have what it takes?