Category Archives: reaching goals

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

I read a m blog about failing being ok. It got me to thinking when I technically had failed but still learned a lot and was pleased with the result. I thought immediately about the Ogden Marathon that I competed in. It was my one and only marathon. I worked hard to compete in this marathon. It had a cutoff time in the middle of the race. You needed to cross the dam under a certain time or they would pull you off the course. I remember being approached before the dam I I read a fitbit blog about failing being ok. It got me to thinking when I technically had failed but still learned a lot and was pleased with the result. I thought immediately about the Ogden Marathon that I competed in. It was my one and only marathon. I worked hard to compete in this marathon. It had a cutoff time in the middle of the race. You needed to cross the dam under a certain time or they would pull you off the course. I remember being approached before the dam being told that if I didn’t cross the dam in 5 minutes that I would be pulled.
It was hard to coax my body to hurry up. I was already tired.
I remember running across the dam and the same guy approached me. At first I thought it was bad news, but he smiled and said, “You made it!” Tears came to my eyes as I turned down Ogden Canyon to finish up the marathon. I still had a long ways to go.
wpid-IMG_1116.jpgToo tired to even smile.
I was on mile 17 which means I still had 9 miles to go. Towards the bottom of the canyon, a guy came driving up to me offering me a ride to the finish. A little rage welled up as I declined his offer. I felt like if I had run that far I wasn’t ready to give up. At the bike path at the bottom, I was joined by a member of of Ogden Police force who was on a bike. He rode along side me all the way to the end talking and encouraging me along. As I ran down Harrison Boulevard to the finish line, I was joined by the rest of the bike crew as they formed a semi-circle around me and behind them was a line of police cars.
No one was treated better that day than the last place runner. As I crossed the finish line, many volunteers were still around and made a human bridge for me to run under.

wpid-IMG_1119.jpgMaking a bridge for the last place finisher!

My brother, sister-in-law and cousin were all on hand to greet me. I was tearing up as I realized that I had finished something really hard for me. Last place, yes, but I finished. There were many others who didn’t make the cutoff or had to pull out of the race for what ever reason.

I never considered myself the fastest runner on any of the courses that I ran, but I did have a good experience at one race. One year I ran West Jordan 5k. It is an early season 5k. Not many registered so I came in third place in my age division.
It was a cold rainy race, but I stood on the podium that day. Probably not many in my age division, but I still finished in the top three. Another time I finished a 5k at Orem high under 30 minutes. That was a fast time for me and I had to work hard to come under that time. I had a sense of elation knowing I had run my best that day and reached my goal. I ran on the track that I had trained on so many times and it felt good to beat the 30 minute mark.
There was also the time I trained well for a half marathon and I felt strong after. Many friends and family were at this race and I was greeted at the end by my daughter and granddaughter. I wasn’t the fastest that day, but I was pleased with the result.
We can get all sort of satisfaction without coming in first because it comes down to being in competition with yourself. Being able to accomplish a race you have trained for can bring great satisfaction. Knowing that you are doing things that you have never done before is great and most of your friends don’t even attempt to do it. I also enjoyed becoming part of the running community in the Orem area and made many friends and was encouraged by many running neighbors who kept me honest and didn’t let me give up on my dreams. Don’t fret about failure. There is much to be learned on the journey and many opportunities ahead if you are not afraid to try.

Hang in there and I will too

All About Your Heart

All about your heart. Believe me when I say
It’s not about your scars
It’s all about your heart – Mindy Gledhill

Mindy Gledhill

I’ve been traveling the past few days and I heard a song by Mindy Gledhill. The quote above tells us it’s not are scars that are important, but our heart. A physical example is after my surgery for subdural hematoma and having my skull removed and reattached with titanium screws, I was left with 80 some odd staples in my head.
2 years later I still have six noticeable dents and some pretty good scar tissue around these dents. These are battle scars but they haven’t been the defining point since my surgery. I feel like I had a strong will or heart if you will after the surgery. I couldn’t walk, talk or even use the restroom when I woke up 10 days later. I had to have the heart to face these challenges head on. I told myself that I would do what ever was asked of me. With all of my friends and family cheering me on. I was motivated not to let them down.
One event that sticks out was when I was asked to move from a chair to an elevated mat that I could receive physical therapy on. What would be an easy task for me now, took me 20 minutes to accomplish. I kept trying because I had family in the room and I didn’t want to disappoint everyone by asking for help. It took me a while, but it was in my heart to do it.
The idea I’m trying to get across is that it doesn’t matter what you have been through. What matters is how your heart comes out after struggling hard. Try hard not to let past events define you too much. Keep your good heart and try to hang on to what you know is true.
I am cheering for you and hope you will cheer for me as well. We all go through very hard things in this life. Don’t let the affliction overcome your soul. We are all better than that.

         Hang in there and I will too!

Jonathan – Mixing it up

Mixing things up
As many of you know, I have been trying to lose weight. Last time I tried this, I lost 110 lbs. This time around, I am trying to lose even more. My biggest challenge this time around is a diet will work for a couple of days and then I will hit a long and frustrating plateau. I’ve decided to try mixing things up. My wife has been doing a juice cleanse. She has been doing it for over a week now and is seeing positive results. I myself have tried many things, Medifast, high fat, restrictive calorie, but keep getting the same results. Lose a few pounds and then hit a plateau where I yo-yo up and down. I read a while back one if
Chris Powell’s books
where he suggest alternating between high carb and high protein. He likes to mix things up. I decided to do something similar except I am adding one more component, juicing.

I use our local community recreation center. They have a big pool, weight room, indoor track, aerobic machines, racket and basketball courts. Another thing I like about the rec center is I have met a lot of good people. I had a lengthy chat today with Jonathan who told me about the benefits of including pomegranate juice along with pointers on how to use the pool as weight resistant training. He spent at least a half hour with me giving me pointers on how to make the most of my pool time. If there is interest, I will post an entry about it. Just comment or contact me via social media about your interest.

Hang in there and I will too!

Chris Powell

Taper Week and New Goals

I didn’t get much of a chance to rest from my King’s Peak trip.  I have the Hobble Creek Half Marathon this weekend.  This last week of training included my last long run.

I did a 12 miler on Saturday.  It was really a different type of long run for me.  The first few miles were rough.  It could have been due to many factors including, 5 hours of sleep, not the best meal the night before, and being a little wore out.  But I made it!  It helps being dropped off 12 miles away from home and the only way to get back is to put the miles in. 🙂 The middle part of the run went well.  Even though the last few were a little rough as well, I was getting close to home and knew I could make it.  I have found that these long runs are not just important to build up mileage, but also to train how to do nutrition and hydration as well.

This week is a taper week.  It came at a good time.  I need to back off a bit anyway.  The weeks of training and a ton of other stuff going on has wore me down a bit.  I felt pretty good on my four miler today.  I tried not to push too hard and just kept it at a pace that was comfortable.  As a result I was able to finish strong which is always a good feeling.

Now on to another important subject.  Now that I have completed my Three Peak Challenge, I need to have a new goal.  I have given this much thought.  I have toyed with the idea of doing a marathon.  But with training for two half-marathons, I realize that I am pushing myself running longer distances at the weight that I am at now.  If I want to complete a marathon, I need to get down to my goal weight.  So here is my next challenge and the steps I need to take to get there.

Goal – Complete the Ogden Marathon on May 19th, 2011.

Steps I need to take to make it happen.

  1. Get to 175 lbs by December 31st.  If I am not, I cannot run in the marathon.
  2. Sign up for the Marathon.  If I am on track on November 1st weight wise, I will sign up.  If not, I can’t sign up until I am on track.
  3. Start 18 week training on January 16th.
  4. Track everything that I eat from September – December.  This has worked every time I have done it in the past.  It’s a bit of a pain, but it works.
  5. Stay accountable on this blog.  I will post my weight and progress each week until I hit by weight goal and am signed up for the marathon.
It seems funny to me that I am preventing myself from running or signing up for the marathon unless I am where I need to be.  Almost like a punishment!  But I really would like to try.  If I am not on track, it will be a miserable experience for me and I don’t want that to happen.
Getting this written out, has gotten me even more excited about my plan.  I am going to do this!
Hang in there and I will too!

Kings Peak and the Three Peak Challenge!

Kings Peak stands tall at 13,528′ above sea level.  It is the 7th highest place in the United States.  But more importantly for me, it was the last peak for me to climb from my Three Peak Challenge.  Big Baldy was climbed in April 2010.  I hiked Mount Timpanogos twice during the summer of 2010.  Kings Peak was the last of the three I challenged myself to hike.

I was really beginning to wonder if we (my brother Gordon and his nephew-in-law, Evan, from his wife’s side of the family), were going to be able to hike it this year.  When we went up Timp a little over a week ago, the unusual amounts of snow still in the mountains turned us back.  But after a few calls to the Forest Service and online trip reports of groups making it to the top of Kings, we decided to go.

There are several ways to hike into Kings Peak, but the most common is to approach it from the north side of the Uintas at the Henry’s Lake trail head.  This is the most direct approach.  We took off last Wednesday night and stayed at Gordon’s sister-in-laws house.  We really appreciated the hospitality in letting us stay the night and sending us off in the morning with a great breakfast!

We got up early on Thursday and drove for about an hour to get to the trail head.  The lot was full of cars so we knew we would have company.  We spent the most of the day backpacking through beautiful country. 

We didn’t run into any snow along the way, but we did have to navigate around patches of mud here and there.  We talked to many who had already made it to the summit and were headed back out so we were optimistic about our chances of being able to make it to the top.

Our first glimpse of Kings.  Pointed mountain in the distance.

We had planned on camping at Dollar Lake, which is a little over 8 miles up the trail, but we missed the turnoff to it and hiked about a mile further up the trail before we realized we had gone too far.  But it turned out to be a blessing.  We found a decent campsite that was being vacated and they accommodated us setting up early while they waited for the rest of their party to return from the summit and head out on horseback.  We were pretty much by ourselves and there weren’t any Scout troops around for miles.  Being a scoutmaster myself, I enjoy scouts, but only when they are my scouts. 🙂 It was nice and peaceful where we set up.

After hiking with heavy back packs a better part of the day, we were all ready to relax.  It was about mid-afternoon by the time we had set up camp.  We were all ready for a short nap.  After we woke up, I was low on water that I had packed in with me, so we filtered water for our dinner and the next day as well.   Dinner consisted of freeze-dried meals for all of us.  After a day of hard hiking, my lasagna tasted good even though a few of the noodles were still crunchy.  After a cup of cocoa and talking about the day and the day ahead of us tomorrow, we were ready to get a good night’s sleep.

Nice little place to camp.
The view from our campsite.  Note the waterfall in the distance.

It rained quite a bit through the night, but the forecast for Friday was clear weather.  I shared a tent with Gordon and after talking for a bit, the conversation slowed as we drifted in and out.  My body was ready for sleep, but I was thinking a lot about how unreal it seemed that we were actually this close to Kings Peak and I was within reach of this last peak to climb.  I pulled out the iPod, put on some music that meant a lot to me and just tried to take it all in.  I had come so far physically and emotionally to reach this point that I am not too ashamed to admit that the tears came rather effortlessly.  This was more than hiking a challenging mountain, I was also meeting a challenge within that had started over two years ago.

We got up early on Friday, eager to get an early start.  Even with a clear forecast, it is not unusual for afternoon thunderstorms in these mountains.  Kings Peak is not a place you want to be on if the weather is bad.  The skies were clear and the air was crisp as we headed out with our day packs.  We climbed up to Gunsight Pass fairly quickly and had the decision to make of dropping down from the pass and take a well established trail that dropped down and then back up as it wound over to Anderson Pass or take a short-cut across a rock field that would save time and distance.  The rock slide is fairly steep so you need to be careful even under ideal conditions, but this time around, there was a snow field across part of the short cut.  We all decided to take the shortcut, but I chose to drop down below the snow field and then hike back up to the short cut.  It took a bit more effort on my part, but I felt more confident taking that route.  We all made it across in good shape and as soon as we got on top of the ridge, we could see Anderson Pass.  We worked our way across a meadow and rock field and got to Anderson Pass in good shape.

Shortcut with the snowfield.

The final climb to the top of Kings starts at Anderson Pass.  The top of Kings is a bunch of huge boulders that you need to scramble up and over to get to the top.  I had heard how hard this last part was, but we just worked our way up amongst the boulders and other hikers and kept a steady pace.

Anderson Pass.  Just before heading up Kings Peak.

Evan made it up a bit before us.  His twenty year youth advantage paid off on this part of the hike.  It didn’t take us too much longer though before we saw him waving at us from the top.  There it was!  Before we knew it, we were taking pictures, giving each other high fives and just enjoying the view.  We saw numerous lakes and many beautiful mountains that surrounded us.  But most of all, just reaching the summit filled our souls with happiness that is hard to express.

Pretty darn happy!

Evan’s summit pose.
That’s my brother!
The Three Mountaineers!

One thing that got us off the mountain a bit quicker than we might have normally was the wind that was constantly blowing.  I estimated between 30 and 40 mph when we first got there.  We found a place out of the wind for a snack and I wanted to go back up top and look around and the wind was blowing even harder.  I couldn’t stay there for very long as I tried to take it all in one last time.

We made it back to camp the way we came.  We had put close to another 9 miles behind us on the round trip.  We were happily exhausted by the time we got back to camp.  After the pumping water and dinner routine was over, we were ready for another good night’s sleep.

We woke up early again, broke camp and headed out.  We made great time coming back out.  It was such a great trip and we were all happy campers at the end of the trip.

If you read this far, thanks for sticking with me, not only on this entry, but all the support many of you have given me both in person and through the blog.  I count you all as great friends and a great help in me making my Three Peak Challenge!

What’s up next?  I am still training for the Hobble Creek Half Marathon coming up on the 20th.  After that?  Probably a good subject for next week!  Hang in there and I will too!