Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet emotions

Holding on to the memories
Of when we were younger
I can't forget
Cause when we were together
That's when I was at my best

And would you know me now
Would you lay me down beside you
Tell me all the things I long to hear
Like that was your favorite year
Like that was your favorite year
Cause that was my favorite year
The Dixie Chicks

It's fairly easy to know what stands in front of you as far as work when you come to Fitness Ridge. Do a little research, read about the hikes, read about the classes, and know that you are in for full day after full day of exercise. You can prepare somewhat for what lies ahead of you.The ridge is happy to tell you all about the pain and blisters and how the altitude may effect you. Can you replicate the experience at home so that you are completely ready for how your body is going to feel. No, but you can start to get yourself ready and at least understand what lies ahead.

What you can't really prepare for is the emotional roller coaster that awaits you in Utah. A big component of the program, and one that doesn't get much talk of before you walk through the doors, is how this place effects your emotional state. There is a ton of time during your day for self reflection as you go through feelings from self loathing to internal bliss. It's really as big a workout on your psyche as it is on your body.

They have started to address this portion of the program when you are in Utah. A day doesn't go by when someone isn't crying. And that's just the people that we see. The rooms are where virtually everyone has moments of doubt, moments of fear, moments of loneliness, and feelings of betraying those at home. And for many of us this is the time where we most want to reach out to our friend food and comfort our worries. That friend is not there for you at the Ridge, So if you tend to medicate feelings with food, you are going to be without your medication when you are here. It's a good time to work on that aspect of your life. because yes the ridge, will make you believe you can exercise much more, it will make you believe you can subsist on healthier food and a whole lot less of it. Will it help you pass up cake when you feel like celebrating, or grabbing a tub of ice cream when you are depressed, or some pizza cause your bored? Not unless you actively identify the issues and seek out some help.

So where do you turn for help. First and foremost you lean on your friends that are here. They are the greatest resource that Fitness Ridge has. You are not going through anything that a dozen other people here haven't gone through as well. Don't be afraid to ask for help, don't be afraid to say your struggling, don't be afraid to say that you feel that you are letting people down by being here or spending all this money on yourself. We all feel that way at times. It's easy to feel depressed when you are here, and it is just as easy to feel like you are on top of the world and in control of everything.

Fitness Ridge has a full time life coach on hand named Jen Morton. She has gone through the program, she has faced every fear we have, she has left behind family to be in Utah. She wants to help you, and she will. She is trained and has been successful in a corporate setting with helping people achieve goals. Like the rest of us she is a work in progress, and she would be the first to tell you that everyone struggles. She will help you. I spent an hour with her yesterday, left with some self reflective homework, and really addressed some fears and worries I have that accompany every trip to the ridge. I really recommend using her, She is a huge asset to this program. And she is the reason I signed up for my first triathlon and made sure I was ready to do it. I'm not giving her credit for me finishing it :) but I never would have started it if not for her.

So what can we can we do to alleviate some of the emotions that we feel at the ridge. I wanted to talk a little about the feelings a lot of people have here. People miss their friends and family at home. That's fine. On top of that I really miss a lot of the campers that have walked, and swam and hiked and motivated me on my previous trips. They miss you too, but they really are your biggest fans. They want you to succeed, they want you to work hard, they are proud you made the commitment to come. Honor them not by missing them, but by doing all you can for them. This place is a very expensive undertaking. A lot of people struggle not with spending the money but with spending the money on themselves. A common trait that I see is the selfless, giving, put everybody first except yourself trait that many people share here and whether it is an overwhelming need for approval or a sense of unworthiness, neither is correct. Everyone who walks through the door deserves to be there. You will be better for your trip here, and the help you are seeking here is well deserved. Don't dwell on what you have given up to be here, relish in the fact that you have decided to seek help and you are becoming better for yourself and for those around you.

There are going to be some really good highs here as well. You do things you forgot you could or never imagined you would. You start to believe in yourself. You start to motivate those around you. I have had a really hard time feeling worthy of the people who tell me that I inspire them, but I'm glad I do, because life really is a team effort and sometimes you lead , sometimes you follow, and sometimes you just get dragged a long for the ride. I really am someone who tends to celebrate with food. I give it as gifts, I like to reward people and myself with it. It's not here to celebrate your highs with. You learn that you can celebrate and be happy without it. It doesn't make those highs any less high.

Fitness Ridge is a wonderful journey. You will experience things you thought were not possible, you will see people that will amaze you. Your body will be pushed. But the one thing you are not prepared for is the flood of emotions that you have during your time here. We have all heard the term emotional eating. Many of us know it all too well. There is no emotional eating at the ridge and emotions tend to really be prevalent without our favorite medication. There may not be a great way to prepare for what your emotions will be, but they will be ever changing and you are not feeling anything that someone else hasn't felt before you in that same spot. The experience here isn't in any way just about your body, it changes, but so do your emotions and so will the way you feel about yourself. That being said it's Wednesday of week one and I'm sore as can be. There is nothing right now that doesn't hurt, well except my knee.... it feels pretty damn good. Hope you have a wonderful week. Peace and Love, Jim

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carne Ostrichada

Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found

Taking the long way
Taking the long way around
The Dixie Chicks
I'm back. :) Sunday night hasn't changed much at the ridge, but Monday morning sure has. The stop sign hike is gone. It is still available during the week for one van load of people. On Monday, you go on a preassigned assessment hike and then you are assigned a group with which you will hike the remainder of the week. Before I talk about my Monday hike, let me explain a new sort of philosophy that exists at the ridge. They not only will accommodate your needs they encourage you to discuss with them any fears you have. I had one.
I was afraid I would get 2 miles into the first hike, have an unhappy meniscus and not be able to walk out. Paige suggested stop sign, and I took her up on the offer. So the Monday stop sign party of one headed out to the hike. I didn't go to the top. I had to drive myself back and I was not walking back from the top ever. So I went half way out and turned around and walked back. I wouldn't have been happy anyway on the main incline. But all things considered it was a fine first day. My knee cooperated fairly well. It was sore, it hurt at times but it never inhibited what I wanted to do. I rewarded it with ice bag after ice bag. And so far so good.

So they are handing out a trophy for winning the calorie challenge. This weeks question involved food from Outback. Don't get the quesadilla!! 2200 calorie appetizer, or the bloomin onion. :)

You know I wouldn't be talking about the trophy unless f course my team brought it home. We didn't actually take it home but we did hold it for the time it took to take the picture

Got a Tuesday morning visit from Pam Rush who came up to say hi from Mesquite. And while a few f the curses have changed Sharon is certainly a constant. Apparently John took my dreadfully hated step class with him to Malibu as it was replaced by a core class on Monday afternoon. Other than that and Zumba instead of Disco the class schedule is virtually unchanged.

Some new food on the menu as well. This is a sausage english muffin sandwich. They have also worked a snack into the schedule. You may have one hard boiled egg or a handful of almonds as a mooning or afternoon snack.

Speaking of new food, a first for me...Ostrich. This was called Carne Asada Tacos. It tasted fabulous and was easily in my top 5 meals served at the Ridge. Ostrich? who knew. I d kinda want to put my head in the sand, and by head I mean feet and I mean feet with a volleyball.
It is really good to be back. I am sore as hell. But no more so than a normal 1st day. There are only 2 of the 70 campers that have been here before with me. There are a few that gave some credit to the cnbc piece for having them book. It's all good. The next blog is going to be about emotions and emotional eating and the best way to prepare for the onslaught of emotions that comes with a trip to the ridge. Hope all's well with you guys. Peace, Jim

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Next Stop BLR@FR

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by
The rules of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap...

It's time to try defying gravity
I think I'll try defying gravity
And you can't pull me down


Let me just start with what was the most outstanding night I have had in awhile. WICKED, the musical was amazing. I loved it. I loved the fact I didn't know the story going in. I loved the fact that they put a wonderful spin on the story. I loved the music, I loved the humor. But most of all I loved the message. And especially in this time when people are being bullied into suicide, and members of congress think it's okay to send out derogatory hateful message, and equal rights are still a dream for many. The message of Wicked was it's okay to be different, you can't judge a person by how they look, and, of course, it's okay to be green. This play was near perfect and if you have the chance please go see it.

New movie opened last weekend about the greatest horse ever to look through a bridle. Now, I debated this with someone very wise who didn't know the story of Secretariat and really enjoyed the movie. We both agreed it was exceptionally well acted. I didn't like it. It missed the story of Secretariat's impact on the country. Failed to capture the sheer brilliance of the horse. And misled as to the struggles of the female owner, whose farm was "saved" by Secretariat according to the movie. Miss Chenery/Tweedy is a wonderful lady and a huge advocate for horses. She is also a two time Kentucky Derby winning owner. The first time she won the race was the year before Secretariat with a brilliant horse named Rive Ridge. Somehow this was omitted from her story. I know that the sports movie formula demands an underdog, but this story in no way called for an underdog. Secretariat was never an underdog, he was the greatest who ever lived, and there is no need to do a story inspired by him when the real story is so much more fascinating. Check out ESPN's story called Sports Century and learn why this horse made grown men weep and why his Belmont race is in the very small group for discussion as the greatest athletic achievement ever.

Here is the country's reaction to Big Red's Belmont:

I went to see Farm Aid, the day long concert to raise awareness about the plight of the family farmers in the country. It was a very fun day spent with the girl I married and the couple I married. I love music, I don't love a format like this that has people on stage for a few songs. Neil Young is truly amazing and I was happy to take him off the list of people I had never seen. Another I had never seen was John Cougar and I thought he stole the show. Also enjoyed Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, and Dave Matthews.

More good news. I have been really pain free this last week playing volleyball. A little sore in the morning, but I have been a little sore virtually every morning for 3 years :) I'm hopeful that my upcoming trip to the Ridge will not be hampered by the knee and still very hopeful that I will be able to compete in the Nov. 13th triathlon. Looking forward to seeing lots of old friends. The mixture of fear and anxiety on the competitors faces the week leading up to the tri is always fun to share, but as I look back last year, it was clearly one of my favorite weeks ever. My goal for this trip is to concentrate on making sure Jimmy gets the most out of his 3 weeks. I have the tendency to lose some focus at times as to what is best for me and am promising myself not to let that happen this trip. I'm excited to see how the program has changed. Excited not to have a camera following me around, and of course excited to spend my first Halloween at the Ridge. Although the trick or treating is going to suck. I already have my costume... Preppy guy in a sweater vest. Just for the record I don't really post pictures of myself that make me look fat. And believe me I have plenty. Hope everyone is enjoying their fall. The Wisconsin fall weather has been nothing short of amazing.... scares me because I know what's coming.... The Wicked Winter of the West... Peace and Love, Jim