"The Hungry Journal. It fits, doesn't it?"
Some folks might call this a blog, not us. The word “journal” seems appropriate considering who we are as a bunch. Well that includes you too! You see, this here journal is all about strength in community, obtaining or understanding perspective, sharing insights, successes, failures, shortcomings, ass-whoopings, and so on. This could be said more eloquently: The Hungry Journal shall serve as a broad exploration into the variety of athletes & their disciplines that makeup our community, individual pursuits, and the commonalities that we share as a Hungry community, and it’s coming at you on a monthly basis.
Please Note: Your level of hunger, and for what specifically, well, that is self-defined. It’s up to you, Hoss!
As we venture into the unknown, the creation of this here Journal, we recall that we’ve written plenty of journal entries in years past. Whether those entries have been made into some OG logbook with a No2. leadstick, or you’re plugged into the latest in wearable technology, the journal serves a higher purpose.
Is it the recognition that a workout has been completed? A baseline established? A barrier demolished? A non-negotiable defined? Or, is it that you are in hot pursuit of the best version of you?
As a breed who embraces continuous improvement, you and I, we’re always looking for areas of improvement. We obsess about the details, for it is the details that are the difference. For me personally, I’m focused on doing a better job with sleeping, especially since “recovery” (February’s topic) is critical for anyone looking to compete at any level.
As we chart forward together, we’ll cover topics such as rest, recovery, rejuvenation, relaxation, so on and so forth. I can for sure think of others R’s to run with, but our ridiculously rad recipes aren’t ready for reading quite yet, so relax.
Here we go.
120bpm is the rate at which the tap on my left wrist snaps me to attention. I quickly exit the familiarity of my lucid morning thoughts as the day is set in motion. I’m already awake, now the body knows it’s go time.
Sleep, it’s something I am going to do better at; I have to. I long for it. Unfortunately for me, it has felt more like a waiting game, something I have struggled with since departing the Corps. I’m determined to fix this once and for all and have made strides in doing so as of late. My training is beginning to show the fruits of that labor. I smile. Imagine looking up at Everest from Base Camp in consideration of all the training required just to get there. That’s how I feel. I’m confident in what I’ve done thus far and my plans from here. With my first race of the season inside of 90 days, I've got a lot of work to put in. I'm stoked.
I pivot from my cozy bed like a skilled vaulter maneuvering from left to right across the pommel horse. Only there’s no crowd. My wife is fast asleep, as are my girls. My feet hit the deck. Thank goodness for warm socks! As I collect myself, I consult the training log on my nightstand knowing good & well what lies ahead. “Here we go”, I say to myself as I arise from bed accompanied by a few audible crunches and pops. Eleven. That’s the number of times I’ve gone under the knife as a result of my "activities". Work Hard. Play Hard.
I glide across the cold, wood floor like a hunter moving in on target. My pup performs his morning stretch and shake as we both descend upon the kitchen to assume our morning mindset. The LED cast display shows 04:50, I love it. Most of the Western world is up by this time, so for us West Coast folks, it’s easy to feel a bit behind the power curve, but that speaks to your level of preparation and mindset.
Here are some things to consider when analyzing your own preparation.
Do you have a plan? Is it detailed? Does someone hold you accountable? Have you made proper preparations? Does your mindset match your desired outcome?
If you’ve overlooked any of the above, we should have a talk about your priorities.
As for my preparation this morning, a solid meal is absolutely critical prior to what we’re going to do. Without fuel in this tank, how can I expect to crush my time objective today of one hour and twenty-seven minutes? You’re right, I cannot. Is it possible, sure, but why short-circuit yourself by skipping only the most important meal of the day. If you’re worried about how many calories you consume prior to training, you and I aren’t in the same sport. I PROMISE!
For my morning pre-training meal, I’m feeling something high in calories, high-glycemic index, easy to digest, and it better taste damn delicious. I used to pay $8 for this a few times a week until I decided to pay close attention to how it was being made. Say hello to “The Nutter”.
A morning shake.
Equipment: Blender of choice (single serving size)
Ingredients: 1 banana, 2 dates w/ pits removed, 1 teaspoon cacao powder, 2 tablespoons nutbutter, 1 cup almond milk, handful of ice, water to top it off.
How to make it: Throw all of the stuff into your blender and then top it off with water.
I’m not a dairy hound, so I roll with almond milk. You can absolutely use whatever milk or nut butter you’d like. The point is, NUTS!!!! Anyhow, blend this trash together and, bottoms up! It usually takes me longer to make this delicious snack than it does to consume.
In the case of training and preparing for something big, you’d better conduct a serious internal assessment of “do I have what it takes to do this?” Second to that, if you have a family or anyone else that you care about, you need to win their support. Maybe that should be first. Otherwise, good luck in achieving your goals without your supporting cast. I’m a husband and father of three, so if I don’t have internal alignment from my fire-team, it’s an absolute no-go for launch. We all have a different situation, just make sure yours aligns with the required effort and support needed to accomplish your mission, whatever it is.
With my internal alignment in check, the supporting cast fully engaged, and breakfast on board, I roll out for what is certain to be a great ride.
Schools out, so it seems. Although it’s been well over a year now since anyone received any education on these grounds. Empty quads, abandoned parking lots, overgrown everything! I nod to the security guard in acknowledgement of his presence. We’ve come to know each other. Maybe if I pull out a skateboard and wax some rails will I get his heart rate going.
I move into the drops as I pipe down the main campus road. Banking into a steep right hand curve my vision is fixated deep into the exit. I’m going fast. Sweat begins to accumulate on the inside of my jacket resulting in a quick unzip for some frosty ventilation. Diamonds. My skin immediately tightens up. I make an ordeal of the steam pouring from my jacket like a freight train powering through the cascades toward some Snowy summit.
As the city fades away with the miles I’ve packed thus far, the temperature gradient feels like I’ve suddenly passed through some invisible gate into a new layer. I’m ready for war! Hell, my bike even looks the part. The morning dew builds on the front of my helmet ultimately releasing icy droplets onto my face triggering warm salty streams from my eyes. “Not tears!!” I laughingly say zooming past a pair of morning hikers.
"Lightly-textured, semi-frozen puddles littering the trail make me think briefly of a properly caramelized creme brûlée. I’m hungry, always!"
Towering into the morning sunrise, the mighty Doug-fir and Western Hemlock serve as a cast of ever present onlookers with their decades, even centuries of experience; if that’s what you call it. They’ve been through a lot. They’ve witnessed this before… or have they? Rock and mud explode under me as the path seems to shift away from my every move. Lightly-textured, semi-frozen puddles littering the trail make me think briefly of a properly caramelized creme brûlée. I’m hungry, always!
An hour and seventeen minutes into this evolution, the gavel drops. My body immediately responds to what the mind has ruled. With only a few miles to go, I drop my entire bodyweight into each stroke… My mind shifts into a quick assessment of my own personal performance. I begin to focus on body mechanics and breathing. I relax my shoulders and focus on rapid exhalation as a way to increase oxygen consumption. My legs are on fire!!!
I’ve all but stopped sweating, a telltale sign that my hydration plan isn’t on point. This also serves as a stark reminder that cramps are a likely possibility from this point on. I push on. This what seems like last ditch attempt to focus my thoughts begins to feel more like an interrogation, as the body screams in response. But wait... I know this place. It’s familiar. We’ve been here before.
The Wahoo’s sweet audible melody greets me at the conclusion of this ride. I feel like a champion. Coming to a halt I mash at the stop Button, clearing the mud from my touch screen to record the ride. Slumping over the bars with a bottle of earth’s finest, I feel content. I’m freaking hungry. Job well done.