Why would this busted up retired firefighter and former SEAL commit himself to a physical endeavor that most sane people would never consider at any point in their lives?
Simple answer – One of my fellow BUD/S Class 98 graduates ask me to.
Situation: I was sitting there having dinner with my wife and BUD/S classmates on the last night of our reunion thinking that after four decades that these men are still among the best people I have ever encountered. That’s when Charbo walked by and said, “Hey Doc, what are you doing next year about this time?” Knowing just a few months earlier that Charbo had completed a ride from San Francisco to San Diego for VIP Neurorehab, I responded with a rhetorical question, “Riding with you?” All he said was, “YES,” with a fist pump …………… Uh oh, what was I thinking? Oh man, it’s on!
Dilemma: I am the proud owner of an artificial hip (that took three surgeries and a struggle to beat an infection that had me hobbled for years) and a new artificial shoulder. I had also collected three additional orthopedic surgeries. I did not even own a bike.
So here I am about half way to the goal. I had to start out slow, two hours per week on a lousy stationary bike at the community gym. I added 15 minutes per week, acquired a nice spin bike needed for training during the cold days of Colorado, and purchased a fine mountain bike to train heavy and hard until I can work a road bike into the financial picture (thanks Manny for selling me your bike then becoming a generous donor).
My regimen is three days per week up at 0345, on the spin bike by 0355, one-hour ride, shower for work, half mile power walk to the bus, and then a ten-hour shift mostly on my feet and moving fast. Part way through the split shift I hit the gym to cross train the other parts of my body. My wife complements my workouts with short yoga sessions in the evening. Working four ten-hour shifts allows me three days per week for the two to four-hour bike sessions on the roads and trails. I am going to be adding in swimming 2-3 days/wk soon. Like Conrad, I am busting through 11 hours per week on the pedals. My intention is to complete three days in a row of century rides a month before go time.
Make no mistake, this is not about any of us. We are giving up our relative anonymity for a larger cause – to help those in need. We cherish privacy and relish only in serving silently but if it takes hard work from a handful of former SEALS to draw attention to a greater cause, then so be it.
Please do not hesitate in joining us by supporting Beyond The Teams’ efforts with whatever you can to help those less fortunate.
The alarm goes off – early … really early! Reminiscent of a time long past when most things required rising early. But that was then.
My mind turns on … why? Why did I set the alarm to go off at this hour?
OH … time to train. Or do I hit the snooze button? (Tempting)
My old body awakens, albeit slower than years past.
Medical devices need to be turned off; other medical hardware needs to be attached.
Now my joints are waking up. So, it begins … time to train.
Training has always been a part of my life; to a greater extent in some seasons than others. I had primarily done classic frogman workouts: swims, runs, some calisthenics, and no stretching. 🙂
Biking, my current focus, has not been a part of my routine, not in years – well over 30 years.
Last year, my old swim buddy, Charbo, told me of his plan to ride for VIP Neurorehab, a clinic which solicits donations to provide scholarships for patients unable to bear the financial burden of ongoing care.
Charbo’s ride was from San Francisco to San Diego; he went solo, with little fanfare. He kept asking me to join him, but life, work, time constraints did not allow me the time to train at the level required.
But I said that if he attempted another ride, “I’ll do it with you”.
Well, he did it. He successfully completed last year’s California ride. When our BUD/S Class reunion was held at UDT/SEAL Museum annual muster it was a topic of discussion among our classmates.
I had to do my part …
The temptation to hit snooze is suppressed. A few cups of coffee, a moment of quiet time, and the day begins. I had a ready assist from Charbo, when I arrived home from the reunion, he had shipped a brand new bike to my house. I got the message …TRAIN!
Coming from a cold start on the bike in November, I used the rule of thumb that running 4 miles is like biking 10.
Having maintained some run/walk activities I used that as a baseline. Going from 30-minute rides to 35, then 40, then 45, now much longer … And from 3 days a week on the bike to 4, then 5, now 6.
I’m slowly conditioning my body to awaken muscle groups that had been slumbering for decades. Still swimming to help maintain the upper body with added stress of riding mechanics – things have been going well.
Light stretching, even a yoga session (thanks Connie)
Slowly, methodically, with intent to avoid injury – weekly time on the bike has steadily increased. The most recent milestones met is training more than 10 hours a week in the saddle. That’s a benchmark I plan to more than double by the ride in late October.
Looking at future milestones, sharing our hits and misses with teammates, working on various facets of the ride, praying for an outpouring of support.
But the WHY is answered: why get up? … why not hit snooze?
I want to give back – to help those in need. I’m grateful to possess the mental and physical tools needed for this 1,000-mile ride.
Hopeful for success in an endeavor that’s really about something bigger than me; my teammates and me partnering with non-profit organizations serving those in need.
I do not hit snooze … I TRAIN!