My Spartan Race

Now that I’ve had two weeks to reflect on competing in a Spartan Race…my thoughts.

The Sprint is advertised as a 5K, which is 3.1 miles but it varies. My race was 4.1 miles with a 1000 foot elevation change. You run for around 1K before a series of wall vaults and wall climbs including an inverted wall, then a rock wall that’s transversed laterally. These were all super easy, next came my unexpectedly hardest obstacle…The bucket carry, picture a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket that’s weighted at 77 pounds that you carry up and down a 300 foot steep hill. I tried carrying on my back, on my should and cradled in front of me, if there was anytime I wanted to quit, this was it! Once down, I had to walk for a few minutes just to get my breathing under control. Lots of up and downhill running followed until I came upon the rope climb, super easy to climb up and down a 16 foot rope. Next was the spear throw, never had I thrown a spear and it showed…30 burpees. The rings were easier than expected, shorter and closer together than the rings at my Ninja gym, did them like monkey bars…Waiting for me next, was the Atlas ball carry, a 125 pound ball halfway in a hole that had to be carried about 30 yards out and back and laid perfectly in it’s hole…so so hard. Next were a serious of cargo nets, easy. I knew I was nearing the end of the course, I was pretty fatigued when I got to the monkey bars, they large and wet and had some give. You have to jump to the first bar, I spun right off and headed to the burpee pit for 30, lol. In hind site, I should off tried a two hand grip and transversed sideways..next were a couple of mud pits filled with water, followed by another one except this one had a barrier that you had to dive under. I left some stuff out and probably have somethings out of sequence…Just remembered the slip wall, a slanted metal wall with water running down and a wet rope, I was up that wall in a flash….

After the race, I had a two hour drive to San Jose, when I got to the hotel, I could barely get out of the car, my lower back was severely inflamed. This was Sunday, took until Thursday when it didn’t hurt.

In training for this, I never ran more than 6K at a time, should have had some longer runs. The heavy lifting wore me out, I’m only 154 pounds and my training focus had been learning the technical skills required for the obstacles. I placed 7th in the over 60 Men’s age group, I was not a threat to the men ahead of me, couldn’t run as fast as them. I’m undecided on competing in Spartan Race again, I’ve fallen in love with Ninja Warrior training and that’s going to be my focus.

After the race, I had a two hour drive to San Jose, when I got to the hotel, I could barely get out of the car, my lower back was severely inflamed. This was Sunday, took until Thursday when when it didn’t hurt, still is a little tight. My right arm was pretty bruised from the heavy carries.

Huge shoutout to my personal trainer, Cameron Gurule @parkour_ninja975 at NinjaForce Gym, http://www.ninjaforcegym.com

He did a great job improving my shoulder mobility and upper body strength, pulling myself up walls was easy. I was able to hold on to the grips, use my feet and maintain my balance when needed, and figure out the best path to take, how to control my breathing.

I want to complete in Ninja Warrior, I think it will take about two years……

7th Place, Men’s over 60 Age Group, Monterey California 2021

Life’s Surprises

I have not blogged very much since the pandemic began, I supposed it’s time for some updates.

I started my blog, with the intent that I would document moving to Italy but a lot has changed in the past two years. Two years ago we found out that both of my daughters have a genetic disease from their Mom’s side of the family called CCM or cerebral cavernous malformations. It’s a collection of small blood vessels (lesions) in the central nervous system that is enlarged and irregular in structure. In CCM, the walls of the capillaries are thinner than normal, less elastic, and are likely to leak. My oldest has had spine surgery and brain surgery to remove leaky lesions. My youngest has multiple lesions but no symptoms thus far. Needless to say, I’m no longer planning a move to Italy because I’m need to be able get home within a day, should there be a medical emergency.

In other news, I’m still training for a Spartan Race, cancelled once then delayed due to the pandemic. Looks like it’s finally going to happen August 22nd in Monterey California! I’ve been training at a Ninja Warrior gym, learning how to do all kinds of crazy stuff. I drastically increased my mobility and balance and the skills I’m learning should improve my health span and quality of life as I age.

My most exciting update, is that I recently met a Filipina on a dating site named “Boo”, that matches based on the Myers Briggs personality test…INTJ, INTP, etc. This was a total surprise as I had previously not connected with anyone I met on other dating sites. Her name is Gloria and we really seem to connect and we plan to meet in Kyoto Japan, whenever they open their borders for tourists. This was completely out of the blue and unexpected but that’s what makes life exciting. What a surprise!

Until next time!

Al

Just an Average Man

I am not an anomaly or outlier ….Just an average 62 year old man on zero meds who is learning Parkour, lifts weights and runs a couple 5Ks a week. If you feel old, it may be because you’ve stopped playing, stopped having fun…..and let your fire go out!

#love #mentalhealth #fitness #wellness #learning #unstoppable #kal-el #spartan

Spartan Race: It’s Official

The race will be at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, Larkspur Co on Sunday August 23rd. I explored racing in California, the Carolinas or Virginia as to be able to visit family but in the end chose the race with the easiest logistics and with a single goal, to podium.

Please note that I make public my fitness quests, not to boast but to hold myself accountable and to encourage others. It’s easy to say I’m going to this or do that but officially entering an event puts you on a timeline and requires your resources, important keys to success!

Three Odd Health Hacks

Competing in a Spartan Race at age 60 requires one to train smart, I can no longer rely solely on brute force and iron will. At this age, recovery is far more important than my training sessions, and sleep quality is more important than sleep quantity. To prevent injury, I need mobility, I need to be able to twist and contort my body into positions that it has not seen in 35 years.

To top that off, my goal is not simply to finish a Spartan Race, my goal is to podium! Here are three odd health hacks that are part of my routine.

1. Floor sitting, something I picked up living in Asia. This increases movement and effort every time I get up or down. It also allows me to stretch, get into a plank or yoga movement. So when I’m home relaxing, the floor trumps the couch. Every minute not sprawled out on the couch, is a minute where I’m not weakening my spine, tightening my hips and hamstrings and ruining my posture!

2. After 6:00 PM, when I’m home I wear blue ray blocking glasses. Blue light is very important in regulating circadian rhythm — the body’s natural wakefulness and sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light during daytime hours helps maintain a healthful circadian rhythm, but exposure to blue light at night, makes it harder to get to sleep. You want to get your blue light from the Sun as opposed to artificial lighting. Inline with this, Night Shift is on 24×7 on my Mac, iPhone and iPad. Most mornings between 10 ana 11, I take a 20 minute walk without sunglasses or sunscreen, you don’t want to block Vitamin D production. Sleep is crucial to health and more important than diet and workout!

3. I finish every shower with five minutes of only cold water. This helps with balancing hormone levels, improving sexual performance and fertility, lowering blood sugar, cutting food cravings, improving adrenal function, fixing thyroid issues, enhancing immune function, improving deep sleep quality, increasing pain tolerance and reducing inflammation.

What are your hacks?

Where has Socialism Worked?

There’s a school of thought, popular among millennials that suggests that sacrificing your personal freedom and liberty is required in order to guarantee the freedom and equality of others, usually under the pretext of it being for the common good and that common good being socialism.

This approach was common in Socialist Russia and is still common today in China, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela where the government plans every aspect of the economy; the results have been shoddy goods, nuclear disasters, long lines and a demoralized workforce. You see, the socialist governments of these nations simply can not predict economic supply and demand and the result of that is lack of needed products and an abundance of unwanted products.

Know this: your outcome is mostly determined by merit, by your hard work, studious study and application.

The Scandinavian countries and Denmark are often touted as socialist success stories however these nations have had to back off of full scale socialism as they found it was not economically sustainable. Today, the Scandinavian countries and Denmark provide a social safety net based on a capitalist economy in which free market economics works and most ownership of goods and services is in private hands.

What about the social democrats in Western European? Take for example the United Kingdom, France and Germany, all who have elected socialist governments who implemented national health care and other government entitlements. Well from 1947 until 2017, the United States paid for the defense of Western Europe, remember that the U.S. funded the Marshal Plan that rebuilt these war torn countries after World War II. So in essence, the United States funded the social safety net of Western Europe!

How’s that working out now? Western Europe is now having to pay a larger share of the NATO defense budget and because of their open border policies, African and Arabic immigration is out of control. The end result is an economic drain! Wait times for medical appointments are months and surgeries are delayed forcing people to pay out of pocket for private doctors!

I lived in the United Kingdom when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister and led a socialist government. I lived in Forest Hill, a little village outside of Oxford where the teenagers could not wait until they turned eighteen because they could go on the “dole” (welfare). I often heard young women say that they were having more kids because the government increases their entitlement check for each child they have.

If you are talking about government top down socialism with full nationalization of government resources and industry it looks like Venezuela, Cuba, China, Soviet Russia and Cambodia under Pol Pot. In other words think secret police, re-education camps, confiscation of personal property, lack of due process, travel restrictions and mass starvation.

Socialism says that you owe me simply because I exist. Capitalism, by contrast, results in a sort of reality-enforced altruism: I may not want to help you, I may dislike you, but if I don’t give you a service or product you want, I will starve. Voluntary exchange is always more moral than forced redistribution!

My question remains unanswered, where has socialism worked? 🤔

Goodnight Venezuela! 😴

Found my Spartan Race!

After months of learning how to run and sprint again, I’ve signed up for my first Spartan Race! I now have ten months to hone the skills I need to conquer my first obstacle course race.

My confidence is high, my fears are few. I shattered my right ankle on a military jump forty years ago and ankle and foot and never been the same. Still, I’m only 60 and in the best shape of my life so bring it on.

See you soon!

Emotional Intimacy Equals Connection

Why is the perfect relationship so allusive? A relationship that ends, ends because it’s not perfect.

Our pursuit is binary, taking the friendship route or the lover route.

It’s easier to gain a lover than a friend so that’s where we usually start and that’s where it usually ends. If your lover is not your friend you don’t have emotional intimacy, a healthy relationship is not sustainable on sex alone. Sooner or later we bail.

Then we try the friendship route thinking how the lack of such, has doomed pass relationships.

So we build a friendship, many times an emotionally close relationship but are unable to transition to being a couple.

Trying to introduce some sexual tension to a friends only relationship is just about impossible. It’s also awkward and rarely successful.

Whatever route we take, we all have an innate need for friendship and closeness. I am convinced that emotional intimacy is the key to successful long term relationships.

Training for a Spartan Race at 60!

In training for a Spartan Race I am constantly in awe of the capabilities of the human body, mind and spirit. Sure, I had placed in two Classic Physique shows in 2018 but I had not run or trained in this fashion in over 30 years. I started slow, learning to run again and improving my mobility, not wanting to pull a hamstring or tear an achilles. Now at 60 years of age, I can consistently run 2 miles in 20 minutes and handle any combination of sprint intervals. With that I’m targeting May of 2020 for my first Spartan Race.

I will not be denied!