Rabbit Rabbit

Talked out and now I’m feeling crowded.
All the errands in the world won’t save us now.
Rained in and I won’t come unclouded.
There’s a stillness in the air.
I pray for sound.
We’re too smart to watch TV.
We’re too dumb to make believe
this is all we want from life.
And I’m too dumb to talk to you.
You’re so quick to listen to me.
I’m saying nothing you don’t know.
Nothing you don’t know.
Walked out and I won’t be rerouted.
If I don’t go outside today, I never will.
Too old not to get excited
about rain and roads,
Egyptian ruins, our first kiss.
I love you more than I ever loved
Anyone before, or anyone to come.
Someone said your name, I thought of you alone.
I was just the same, twenty blocks away.
Blew twelve and kissed the thirteenth finger.
“Rabbit, rabbit,” on the first.
I hold my breath.
Did tricks I hoped you wouldn’t notice.
A superstitious hyperrealist.
I’ll make you mine.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

Meh.

This photo is entitled “Meh.”

In what feels like a previous life, say 15-18 years ago, I wrote for various punk rock and alternative music magazines. Like many of my peers and brethren I capped off regular columns with “End Notes,” items I wanted to mention that didn’t really fit in the theme of whatever I was writing about. This post is sort of a version of End Notes for my week.

First off, THANK YOU to everyone that has listened to, subscribed, rated, reviewed, or told a friend about Three and Two and One. I am terribly grateful for all of the feedback I have gotten from the debut episode, which has been overwhelmingly positive. Again a huge thanks to John Holzer for being the first guest and helping teach me the technical know-how needed. The big debate now is how often do I post a new show? It’s looking realistically like the fourth Thursday (evening) of the month is manageable, but a few people have told me they’d like to see two shows per month. That’s a lot of production time leading up to a recording, which in an of itself takes about two hours for set up, record, and breakdown. We will see, but in the meantime please subscribe, listen, rate and review! Thank you so much. Stitcher availability coming very soon.

I’m down only .8lbs this week, but that does put me at 31 pounds overall, and this was the first week in which everyone actually took notice which is nice. 10 more pounds until I get dunked for body fat testing and then recalibrate my weight loss goals. My hunch is I have about 30lbs to go to hit 10% body fat, at which time I will be lean as fuck, but not really skinny like a racing cyclist.  Still, looking forward to it. Despite all the mental shit I am going through, I am totally locked-in and not likely to be derailed this time.

Speaking of cycling, I went out to a cyclocross practice on Wednesday that was littered with Category 1 and Masters racers and frankly, for my first time on a cross course in a year, I felt ok about it. I was a little demoralized initially trying to keep up, but then I realize that that shouldn’t be my goal with this group (I am a category 4/5 racer) and that instead I should be trying to learn, being realistic within my goals, and just trying to soak in as much as I can from both observation and conditioning that comes from hot-lap race intensity.

Now speaking of the mental shit, I started off the week pretty well. This was going to be the first full week without an appointment with my therapist (I go back tomorrow at 9am – she was booked for the entire week). Things began to pile up in my head culminating with a very difficult Saturday. It sucked but it is what it is. I feel a little better today post-training ride and with a run coming up this afternoon, but still not great. Hopefully better after tomorrow’s appointment.

I had started a post about the connection between maturity and sexuality, discussing fantasy and reality and how an adult (me) comes to terms with it all, but it was the first time when I’ve felt a bit too vulnerable and a bit too close to actually discussing some of the topics in therapy publicly, so I am going to shelf that for now. Let’s just say there have been some marked changes in who I am as a person over the last seven or eight months, and this is a place where I’ve had a significant shifting, some might even call it growth. Even journaling this much is stretching me.

I still owe you, my loyal two or three readers, a post about our camping trip a few weeks ago, complete with photos shot on a proper camera. All apologies, but I took about 600 pictures and maybe want to post 5-10. It’s coming soon, I hope.

Progress on my novel has been slowed as I’ve gotten the Podcast business kind of figured out. I am hoping to start picking up on it again tomorrow as it’s a rest day from cyclocross training.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Street Fair Week here in Old Towne Orange, generally my favorite week of the year. I hope therapy gets me off on the right foot for it.

 

That’s it. Currently listening to Ted Leo, about to go for a run, take a dip in the pool, and watch Fear the Walking Dead (and I think I am going to sneak in a Maple Leaf cookie shake) and dream of Autumn.

As always, thanks for reading and listening.

-dg

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Episode 001: John Holzer – Three and Two and One

John Holzer joins me for the debut episode of Three and Two and One and a conversation about songs that make us cry, how the media handled the attack of a homeless man in Boston, and how we handle it when people let us down. John’s a great conversationalist and we could have gone on for hours and hours.

Download Episode 001 here!

Apple should be finished approving and indexing the show shortly, so that you can subscribe via iTunes.

You can find John at Four Brewers or on Twitter and Instagram @johnholzer

The show is available on both Twitter and Instagram @321Podcast, and I’m @dgafterdark on both as well.

Special thanks to my good friend Peter, my dog Ezra, and the Wild Parrots of Orange.

I’ll be back soon with a blog post about sex and love, and details on our next guest.

As always, thanks for reading and listening.
-dg

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Episode 000: Introduction – Three and Two and One

Hey everyone-
Three and Two and One – Episode 000: Introduction is now posted and available!

It’s just a couple of minutes of me discussing the idea for the show and what to expect. Episode 001 featuring John Holzer of Four Brewers (and formerly New Brew Thursday) podcasting fame is the first guest and will be available this Friday, August 28th. All new episodes will be posted early in the morning (Pacific time) on the last Friday of the month.

I owe John a huge debt of gratitude for spending a good portion of his Sunday in my garage helping me setting up and teaching me all of the technical aspects of the podcast so I can work on it on my own in the future. Thanks John, you’re one of the good guys.

You can listen to the show below or subscribe on iTunes! (link coming shortly)


Directly Download the MP3 Here

As always, thank you for reading and listening.
-dg

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We Podcasted!

On Sunday my dear friend John Holzer, he of Four Brewers and New Brew Thursday fame,  came over and helped me record the first two episodes of Three and Two and One. After some minor technical difficulties that resulted in my receiving an electric shock from the refrigerator in my garage and necessitated the rushed purchase of an all new soundboard, we were able to record a short introductory episode (Episode 000) and an hour long discussion with John himself as my first guest for Episode 001. The introductory episode will be posted here and on iTunes mid-week and Episode 001 will be up on Friday. The goal will be to post new episodes on the last Friday of each month. The following week I will be posting a special bonus episode (already?!) of my appearance on KX93.5 Laguna on the Friendship Show on Saturday morning.

 

We discussed the brutal beating and desecration of a homeless man in Boston, songs that make you cry (including Taylor Swift), and when friends (or former friends) let you down.  John was a great first guest; introspective and personal. I think he sets a great tone for what I’m trying to accomplish with the show. What is that exactly? Conversation. An archive of conversations I get to have with people. My goal here is not fame or validation, its the process. It’s the activity in and of itself. The practice of interviewing and talking to people about things that are important to them is important to me, and in my history of appearing on podcasts, I really enjoy doing it.

 

Unfortunately, in the midst of all the setup John took the only pic and it was of me. I have one of John setting up the studio and teaching me how to do it in the future, but the file is too large to get it on here and I am a photoshop idiot.

Episode001DavidPic

Anyway as always, thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

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Update: Projects

Quick note to update my total of three subscribers (in Feedly, at least) on a couple of things I am working on.

 

Last Sunday I went out with Erika Aguilar from KPCC, our local Public Radio Station and NPR affiliate here in Southern California to begin working on a story about the explosion in the Homeless population along the Santa Ana River Trail, a cycling path to the beach that I ride on a regular basis. The idea for the story has changed a bit and we will see what comes of it, but it could be a really, really cool thing for exposure to just how dire our homeless situation is in Orange County and what we can do about it. Stay tuned to that, I will definitely be promoting it on my social media as we hopefully get closer to an idea on what is happening with the piece. We recorded and visited with the homeless over about four hours in 100F+ temperatures.

 

This coming Saturday, August 22nd at 9am PST I will be on Laguna Beach KX 93.5 to discuss homeless issues in Orange County, and the work I currently do around Domestic Violence. It should be interesting as the ACLU just announced they will be suing Laguna Beach for it’s treatment of the homeless.  You can check them out on Twitter at @KX935 or can listen live online here Saturday morning. A podcast of the show will be available shortly after.

 

And finally (no, really, FINALLY) on Sunday I will be recording the first two episodes of “Three and Two and One” the podcast I am starting. More details to come once I post the first show, but you can follow it on Instagram and Twitter for now.

 

And oh yeah, the book is coming along slowly but surely…the camping trip a couple of weeks ago derailed it a bit, but it’s back on and is definitely still happening. It’s a life-goal and now’s the time to achieve it.

 

My therapist is delighted when I can talk about all the exciting (for me anyway) and thought-occupying projects I can get my hands into.

 

As always…thanks for reading.

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Validation

Yesterday I posted this picture across my social media.

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The post was intended to show that I could now fit into a shirt I had purchased in 2010, and never been able to wear before, entirely due to the fact that I have lost nearly 30lbs.

The posts came with praise and kudos, congratulating me for the loss so far, saying I look handsome, etc. To me the most impressive part is that I am actually smiling for once (and that I wasn’t afraid to have a picture taken of me with some sweat stains on my shirt. Sorry, our house is like a sauna right now). Nonetheless, I very much appreciated everyone’s comments.

Later in the day, I posted this:

IMG_3129

 

This was intended to show that not only had I lost weight, but suddenly I was capable of fitting into skinsuits (one piece cycling kits) without it looking completely terrible (although, to me anyway, still fairly bad). Again, this picture was received with lots of “congratulations!” “that’s awesome David!” etc, etc, etc…

 

What’s the point of all of this? Well, when I was younger, I was the quintessential awkward ugly duckling. I was never one of the cool kids. Even as a star athlete in High School, I spent my lunches in the library, and my Friday nights (when I wasn’t playing football) at home. I didn’t seclude myself to study (my grades were shit) or because I didn’t want to be social, but to avoid the inevitable daily embarrassment that comes with failing to be as cool as everyone else in a school filled to the brim with affluent families, while mine was broken and struggling to make it from month to month. Those kids had new Camaros and lifted pick up trucks and went to the River on the weekend. I didn’t have any of that. What I had was a job from the day I turned 16 and the looming reality of having to start paying my Mom rent the day I turned 18, and not having any idea what I wanted to do with my life (other than be a writer, and that didn’t seem to quite work out as I hoped). I couldn’t relate to them, and they couldn’t relate to me.

 

My track record with girls was equally as ugly. I had zero dates and I went to a total of two dances in high school, one was a “mercy ask” to a Sadie Hawkins dance (the girl didn’t even dance with me) and the other was a friend who really wanted to be there with someone else, but they didn’t ask her, and instead we hung out with them all night. I didn’t go to either Prom, any of the homecomings, nothing. My self-esteem was for better or worse, linked to my performance in sports (which was quite high) and my Mom’s opinion of me (equally as high), but that’s it. Aside from that, a massive void.

 

There’s a long story in between then and now. There’s my whole history in punk rock and the people I met, there’s my previous career working in entertainment (at times equally as humiliating and serving as a reminder that I was not cool), my wife who as of this Fall I’ve known for  20 years, been with for 18, and married for 10 and remains the only woman I’ve ever been with. Through that time, I evolved as a person (as is normal, I think) and became smarter, more mature, more connected, more centered, more motivated, maybe slightly more handsome. There’s getting tattoos, changing hair styles, learning how to communicate effectively. All positive changes, in my opinion.

 

Through that comes validation from all different angles and perspectives. People remind you that you’ve changed, evolved, improved. Most of this is probably a typical path of anyone’s life, I am not really sure (I am, to the best of my knowledge, only living one life) but I would imagine this is not totally uncommon.

 

When you start from zero, from the ground floor so to speak, and your self-esteem has been kicked down the street repeatedly over the first 25-30 years of your life, the incoming rush of validation once you start to get your shit together, is like an awakening of epic proportions. You drink it all in, and you keep going back to the well for more. You start to look for opportunities to get more validation. The expectation is that your family, especially spouse and kids, will probably overload you with validation by default, but it’s when everyone else starts participating that your ego starts blowing up.

 

Social Media is the ultimate bastion for this sort of frenetic endorphin-filled rush. You can post a photo of a new tattoo, a new shirt, a new pair of glasses, and its delivered: Immediate gratification and validation. I am as guilty as anyone in participating in this revolving door. As many times as I’ve tried to quit Social Media (and feeling guilty over this kind of attention-seeking is definitely at least partially to blame for repeated attempts and failures) I don’t, for a variety of reasons. Often times its because I simply like a lot of the people I connect with and it absolutely has paid off in the friendships I’ve made and the people I’ve met. I have to go to Sacramento for two days next month, and it took little more than reaching out to a friend I met on Instagram (but added on Facebook later and eventually exchanged phone numbers for texting) to connect me with someone else that could lend me a bike and serve as a tour guide for two days. Remarkable, isn’t it?

 

Nonetheless, the selfies, the bragging about fitness and weight loss, are all about validation, at least for me. My therapist talks about the “holes” I feel in my life and I go about filling them, and that maybe I should focus on what’s around me to fill them, but to be totally honest, I was in a pretty deep hole to start with, and that seemed to start to turn around in the last decade, but where does it end?

At one point will I be truly confident to the point where I’ve had enough?

Is it in addiction that will always have to be fed?

Am I the only one that sees it this way?

 

 

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and their hatred will be perfect.

Yep.

 

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art

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Repost: My Mother’s Eulogy.

I originally posted this on the last version of LivingMinimal.com on December 12th, 2013. Less than a month after my Mother died. I am fortunate that Feedly is still showing my older posts and I was able to cut and paste this here. Thanks for reading. 

 

A year ago today on 12/12/12, the fine Trappist monks of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren decided to grace those of us without immediate access to their monastery in Flanders, Belgium with boxes of their much-heralded and extremely exclusive beer, Westvleteren XII. These boxes were comprised of six basic bottles and two one-time release chalice style glasses to drink the beer from. The monks’ intent was to raise funds (at over $80 per box) to refurbish their crumbling abbey. For one day, beer nerds (like myself), across the US had a single goal in mind; to acquire a box of this unicorn-beer. We were assured this would be a singular unique opportunity to acquire a beer that is typically not sold outside of a few kilometers from the abbey.

I expressed to my wife a strong, near-obsessive desire to acquire a box for myself. She along with a small cadre of my closest beer allies set out to surprise me by not getting me just one box, but two. The first I’d have access to immediately, and the second would be a Christmas surprise. My mother was an integral part of this scam, taking two extra hours beyond her lunch hour, at the drop of a hat, to ensure her oldest son had what ended up being the absolute best Christmas present I’ve received since I was a child. My mother probably bought that present too, whatever it was. My mother was not the kind of person that could truly afford to take any substantial amount of time off of work. Seeing 40 dollars missing from her paycheck would not be insignificant and in some way have an affect on how she budgeted for the rest of the month. An especially perilous proposition around Christmas time. However, my mother, without any coercion from my wife, stopped, dropped what she was doing, and ushered herself off to my house to watch my kids while my wife staked out the bottle shop. Her sole focus was to make her son happy. Work could wait. This was potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity and my mom wouldn’t be deterred from being a part of it. From making her son happy. You couldn’t keep her away.

This is emblematic of the kind of person my mother was. After my parents were divorced or separated or whatever (when you’re that age and someone leaves, your family is simply detonated. Most of the legal details are insignificant formalities) when I was 11 or 12, my mother’s life, which had up until then been about her family, was now about just her children. There was simply one less thing to focus on. Every single thing my mom did for the next 25 years, every moderate to major decision made, was either directly beneficial to my brother and I, or was deemed to have no negative impact on our lives. My mother lived for us. We were her everything. Whether it was the car to purchase, the apartment to live in, the hours/shifts to work, everything was about my brother and I. From keeping us in the same school district and around the same peers (even if it meant a Summer being essentially homeless and sleeping on my uncle’s floor) to always making sure we had anything we needed for school activities (sports for me, I think some art things for my brother) to just general involvement and legitimate interest in our lives, my mother was there, lock step, every single day of our lives. My mom had pretty much morphed/evolved into becoming a part of the fabric of our lives much more than being our mother and us being her sons, instead we became a trio. For better or worse, and despite the roles we had to play (and perhaps some might argue, the unhealthy nature of those roles) we persevered.

Her two sons eventually grew older and made lives of their own. We moved out, spent some time meandering in jobs and sometimes relationships that seemed to face a dead end prior to taking off. Adam would likely agree that our lives were a bit out of focus, but we always had something in us that knew we simply needed to decide how and when to begin moving ourselves in the right direction and things would simply fall into place. I like to think we both had some semblance of faith and trust in our own potential that was instilled in us by the love of our mother. Despite whatever challenges (and frankly, they were of our own making for the most part- the word lethargy leaps to mind) we faced, my mother was ceaselessly proud of something about her boys. I know because anyone I met that my mother knew, had some volume of knowledge about the going-ons of my brother and I. I am fairly confident a mother uneasy with the relationship she has with her children, or truly concerned about who or what they are (or can become) would be disinclined to so loosely convey anything and everything about us. No, my mom was proud. For better or worse. She had faith in us, believed in us, supported us.

By the time the late 2000s rolled around, Adam and I did begin to pull things together. Both of us graduated from good colleges (Adam actually graduated from a GREAT University)  I married my long-time girlfriend, my brother married his, I was able to get deeply entrenched in my chosen career field and go to graduate school. Adam was able to move 400 miles from home with his girlfriend and make it all work, get a good job and finish school. Our lives as adults had really begun to take shape. To put the icing on the cake, I had two incredible children; my mom’s first grandchildren.

If she was initially gifted with the tools of love and support that made her destined to be a successful mother, it was only to hone her skills until grandparenthood came calling.  This is what she was made to do. I’d never seen anything like it. When you’re in your mid-30s and the throes of adulthood’s seriousness, remembering the simple joys of playing with toys and board games with your mother is nearly impossible. Seeing her with my kids, especially my son, brought everything rushing back to me. I began to grow nostalgic for times I could barely recall. I’d get details wrong and my mom would correct me. I became open, willing, and enthusiastic in talking about our past. I felt a responsibility to my son to love and appreciate my mother and our past together even more. Some of this might be part and parcel with general maturity as well. Who can say?

I had always felt my mom suffered from depression after my dad left. She held up the best she could, but like the rest of us, certainly wasn’t perfect.  My feelings on that became exacerbated as my brother and I started to find our respective paths.  The birds had officially flown the coop and I think that instead of taking great joy in the successes (if I may) she had had with us, she instead become a bit more lonely. That is until five years ago when my wife and I announced that we were having our first child. I will never, ever forget the scene of her dropping by our house after work, and she had barely gotten through the front door when we told her and she shoved her keys and purse into my hands without even looking at me and embraced my wife. While they had always had a great relationship up until that point, that day they evolved into something even greater. My wife was going to deliver to her the greatest gift my mother could ever receive: a grandson.

From then on, my mom’s life picked up some steam. The job she’d gotten back in 2006 was treating her very well, even in difficult economic times. There was a new spring in her step. Tons of offers of advice and help, much of which had me rolling my eyes (as only a son can do to his mother) and an enthusiasm I had never seen in her before. All of this came to be in the form of an incredible grandmother that would do anything for her grandchildren, on a scale and fashion even grander than she had for her own children. I think at this stage in her life, she was prepared to go all-in for her grandchildren in a way that wasn’t possible when you’re actually trying to raise children. My kids, born in 2009 and in 2012, became everything to her.

I think that is the main reason her passing hurts so much. Just like when she was diagnosed in July, I am finding it much easier to cry in the shower for 20 minutes, or trying to bury tears amongst the sweat behind cycling sunglasses, than I am around my own family, co-workers, or friends (though over the last three weeks I’ve had plenty of moments of that as well). The raw pain I am feeling is less the selfish pain of wanting my mother back and more the pain of knowing that my children will have a difficult time remembering someone so special, let alone actually have her here for their activities, their prom, their graduations and marriages – their lives, and that my brother’s child will never know her. Flatly, they’ve all been robbed. I hurt for my brother and his wife who were 400 miles away during almost all of this arduous ordeal, and I hurt for my own wife, who created a bond with my mother so strong that they loved, cared, and respected each other in a relationship remarkably similar to the one I had with my mother. I hurt for my mother, who made it clear that she didn’t want cancer. She didn’t want to die. Of course I hurt for myself too, each crying session I had for the first week had somewhere embodied in it, several audible moments of me saying that I don’t want my mother to go. That I am not ready for her to leave. That I love her so much. So much.

We live in a cruel world that I have a difficult time accepting. One that would bestow terminal cancer upon such a loving person. Someone that truly had her priorities in life correct. My mom didn’t care about money, fame, stature, fancy stuff. All she wanted was to be able to drop by our house 3-4 times a week (or every day if we would permit it, but as much as I loved my mom, even that could be a bit much) to see her son, her son’s wife, and her grandkids, and to get the occasional call or FaceTime with her other son. She once had a conversation with my wife that I only learned about earlier this week where she lamented at the idea that I, her son, didn’t think she was happy. Truth is, she told my wife, she was very happy. She had everything she needed. Back in May, prior to my brother graduating from Berkeley and getting married (both events my mother was well enough to attend, thankfully), I had a talk with my brother about our mom, basically laying down my sword and deciding that although I had fought a long, hard battle to encourage my mom to get in shape, take better care of herself, quit drinking Pepsi etc, the truth is she is an adult in her late 50s and had to make some decisions like that on her own. Instead of disliking the things she wasn’t, embracing and loving her for the things she was. I think for all of us, something clicked at that exact moment that I can’t explain. My father was present and for some reason, that particular weekend they were extremely civil and even talked a bit. I felt like after 25 years of dealing with that, I finally had some closure on the chapter of my parents. So many good things were happening, for this to transpire reminds me that this world is unjust, and cruel. I am trying to abstain from bitterness, but it’s hard. Really hard. I try to find small bits of not what I would necessarily call “positives,” but more pain-mitigators. The last things my mom and I ever said to each other was “I love you.” Those were the last words, the last texts, and I would hazard a bet, the last thoughts. There was no acrimony, nothing left unsaid or undone. If anything, my mom had done everything she had set out to do. She raised two successful, happy boys that are doing well and will continue to. I tried to remind her of this every time the opportunity came about through this whole process.

Much like those trappist monks brewing beer and selling it to repair their monastery and support their lives as monks, my mom’s whole life was about doing whatever was necessary to pursue her passion. Namely, spending time with us. We were her everything. She was my everything. We leaned on each other for so much over 37 years. Sometimes me on her, and often as we got older, her on me. We were each other’s rocks.  I miss her so much it feels like anytime I am undistracted by the rest of life, I stand a good chance of feeling, quite literally, like a knife is being twisted into my heart. The stillness is enough to suffocate me. I’ve chosen to abstain from the details in regards to the how, why, etc as they’re totally irrelevant. My mom has passed on now. She had terminal cancer. It was one of her problems that I simply could not fix.

I’ve learned that before this I could never truly relate to someone that had lost a parent young. Now I can, and the only pain I can imagine worse than this is that of losing a child. It’s awful, and I’d give anything to have my mother back. What she meant to me, and to my family is indescribable. It’s a hole that will remain as long as we do.

Thanks for all the love and support through this very hard time. This post is somewhat rambling and not as coherent as I’d prefer but this isn’t about me, it’s about my mom and there are way too many thoughts, memories, and whatever else for me to process right now to make a perfect literary work. Instead, tonight on 12/12/13 I am drinking one of my remaining bottles of Westvleteren XII in my mothers honor.  I love you, mom. Anything I am now, or will be in the future, is because of you. I hope you were as proud of the man I became as I am of the mother you were to me.

-David

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The Thing to Keep Your Mind off the Other Things

I started regular therapy this week. I like my therapist. She and I got on quite well and I left the session feeling better than when I went in. That’s sort of the point, right?

 

I had planned my session for late in the day. Work has been much tougher lately and I wanted to give myself the space to have an absolute melt down if I needed to and deal with it accordingly. Instead, I was able to get on my bike when I got home and have a really good, solid training ride. Granted I was processing everything I’d heard and talked about in therapy, but following up regular therapy with bike therapy was a good move on my part.

 

Cycling, and cyclocross in particular, provides that focus away from my problems and depression and manages to completely displace all negativity, primarily because there is no room for distraction. If you lose focus in cyclocross, you’re done for. To that end, the training build-up to ‘cross season requires a similar amount of focus and determination. It takes a particular level of sacrifice and dedication to make it work. I have tried in the past to commit to a season of cyclocross with proper training and strategy but it hasn’t been until this year when I’ve actually felt that focus. So far I am down nearly 28lbs (the first ten I lost in the first half of the year, the last 18 have been over the last two months), my fitness on the bike has taken off. My power has skyrocketed and my BPM averages to match my power number has come down considerably. After doing some digging around online I discovered that just through general weight-loss your power would increase because your body would have less tissue to circulate oxygen around your body via red blood cells. So in other words, simply losing weight improves your cycling fitness. I would like to lose another 12.5-13lbs to hit my first goal heading into cross season, with the first race being on September 27th.  That’s 51 days from now, and I think I can do it. My face is really starting to show the loss, but I still can’t smile. Maybe when I hit 10% body fat. That’s the ultimate goal, and nothing is going to stop me from getting there this time. Nothing.

Face

 

The other thing I am doing is running, and for the first time since….maybe 2007 or 2008? I am really, truly enjoying running again. I am typically only doing 3k-4k per outing, but I am running consistently and I just feel good doing it. No running pain, no injuries (knock on wood) and as I am losing weight it’s feeling easier and easier.  It’s been hot and humid here in Southern California, but I’ve really been loving and plan to keep it up, even when not preparing for cross season.

 

The biggest difference of course, is diet.  My diet has completely changed, focused on quality and a balance of calories in and calories out. My breakfasts have really come around, no longer am I stopping on the way to work for a breakfast burrito (justified by calories burned on the morning ride) or getting an Apple Fritter (definitely my weakness) I am opting for high-fiber flax seed toast with peanut butter, and yogurt with granola. It sets a good tone for my day. Everything else is about planning, planning, planning, and staying motivated. Using MyFitnessPal is a great tool as well.

Breakfast

 

Finally, I hung up my road bike for the season and switched entirely to my cross bike. This is a big deal for cyclocross riders. You need to essentially be able to “meld” into your bike and become as much of a singular force as possible. What it means, is I will only ride my cyclocross bike for the remainder of 2015 and into the first two weeks of 2016 given the race schedule our promoter puts up.  I swapped over my Power Meter, put together a training map for rides on race weeks and non-race weeks, set up my wheel sets, and I’m off and running. I am taking this seriously. I finished last or second/third to last in every race last year. The goal this year is never get lapped by the leaders and hopefully finish mid-pack. The goal for next year is to make a podium. I can do it. I will do it. One of the few times right now when I am not thinking about how shitty I feel is when I am thinking about cross season. 51 days until the first race. I can’t wait.

 

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