Adventures in life and photography out West

Archive for February 28, 2016

Not easy

Today is the last day to sign up for RTR, my family is great and I have been a butthead. Not much of this is related to any of the rest. 

Today, in fact, for only a few more hours, is the last day to enter the Ride the Rockies lottery. Unlike RAGBRI, in Iowa, the Ride the Rockies is limited to only 2,000 riders. It is such a popular event that a lottery had to be created to handle all of the entries. I hope, by the time my readers have received this post, all have had the chance to sign up. If you are one of the folks who read my last post, you know I’m a big fan and have figured out why. Good luck and I hope to see you out there. 

I feel strongly that part of my job as an instructor, a generally fit guy and a father, is to set a good example. My friends and my family know I’m not perfect, but that does not excuse me from putting in the effort. So I get extra happy when my wife and daughter come to the gym and even ask for help. It’s fun having them around, even when I’m doing stuff that they would consider a bit crazy. The best example would be today’s workout; the CrossFit Open WOD 16.1 – overhead walking lunges for 25 feet with 95 lbs, eight burpees, another 25 feet of overhead walking lunges and eight chest-to-bar pull-ups. The fun part is that I had 20 minutes to do this over and over as many times as I could. I got through six times, by the way. 

What my daughter sees is a man taking care of himself. What I explain is that it is also so I can be around longer and be able to do more with her and my lovely wife. I have been lucky to have this life. I didn’t realize just how much so until today. 

We traveled back to Omaha over the New Year holiday to see my family and one of my oldest and dearest friends. While there, I thoughtlessly made fun of an ad for a gym that promotes itself with the tag line Lunk-free Zone. I had called the gym “Planet Fatness”. My buddy challenged me on this. He pointed out that I don’t know what it’s like to walk into a place and be intimidated by athletes and fitness fanatics, people who look like the people in the fitness magazines. He was right. 

I don’t know what it’s like to truly struggle with weight. When I was young, I was a little chubby. When my father remarried to a very health conscious person, she adjusted our diets and made small tweaks to what we had around the house. Eating healthy was just how we ate, for the most part. 

Meanwhile, my younger sister was living with our mom and her second husband, none of whom put the same sort of thought into what they ate. I actually looked forward to visiting as I got treats that I wouldn’t normally. 

My sister got neither the habits nor the support that I did. Quite honestly, I didn’t think of it as support at the time. Perspectives change. 

So in college, like many, I gained weight. I lost some good habits and explored some very bad ones. After some years of what I euphemistically called competitive drinking, I found myself nearly 50 pounds heavier than when I started college. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my big push to drop that weight took a relatively short time. I suspect, between my genetics and the things I was taught as a kid, it was pretty easy. 

I realized, after watching the outstanding PBS documentary, “Fat,” that the cards were actually in my favor. And worse yet, I didn’t understand or appreciate  how lucky I was and how oblivious I had been to the struggles of others. The irony is that I’m a recovering addict. You’d think I would have some compassion for folks who suffer from a condition from which most can’t recover and society sees as a will-power issue. I did not get it until today. 

I’m going to try to be less judgmental, more compassionate. I’m going to work toward being more supportive and encouraging. I’m going to ask how I can help rather than assuming I know what works. One more thing I need to work on to be a better human. I’m also going to be more appreciative for what I have. 

Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding.