Money, clothes, cars, houses… I need, I want, I have to… It is toxic. Everything goes in and nothing comes out from living a such self-centered lifestyle. Dude! The world does not revolve around your persona. No one cares about your looks or possessions. All the people care is themselves and how they feel around you. Thats the way things are and that’s how they will always be, with or without you. Stop chasing your tail and trying to impress others. How much do you need to fill that hole inside of you? How much do you need to say – enough? Me-me, more-more…
The more you take, the less you get. The hole grows and sucks everything in and leaves you unfulfilled, at the minimum. Continue down this path and you will end up with depression. “Cranky train” will take you places you don’t want to be in.
Turn the tables. Pull emergency stop handle.
What if instead of taking, you begin giving?
Run the experiment. No matter what you have or where you at in life – start giving. “I don’t have anything to give” – bullshit. At the minimum you can give a smile to a stranger. You don’t need to wait until you make a billion of bucks to start donating money to charity. The life is short and most likely you will never hit that threshold for money where you say – enough, I don’t need anymore. You will never be enough.
Giving is receiving. However giving to receive is stealing.
Give unconditionally. Give without expecting anything in return. However if returned – don’t shy away from it. Learn to accept.
COPE Mental Health Program of Community Care Durham is a community-based program that supports mentally challenged adults. I volunteered my time to go through eight week training program and became certified to work as a group facilitator with emotionally and mentally challenged adults. Considering my passion for active lifestyle and interest in yoga, me and another volunteer developed the 8-week course which is aimed to help mentally challenged community members to become more mindful and healthier through the body movement and exercise. Every Saturday we meet for two hours, where we volunteer as yoga instructors. Each class is broken down into two parts: first hour is physical health through yoga practice; the second half is the mindfulness piece. I put together the slides and present the information about the nutrition and healthy living. We just finished our second week out of eight and I think we’re doing great! People are engaged, they show interest in doing different yoga poses that often seem to be challenging. During my presentations they often ask questions and make the discussion flowing. I feel that I am doing something really meaningful and valuable. I’ve been challenging my class with the balancing yoga pose – the tree. Only few people got it in the first class, but more than half of the class got it as soon as one week later. They were excited to see that quick improvement and I felt fulfilled, because I contributed into this. I felt fulfilled when the lady came up to me after my presentation and genuinely said: “Thank you Sasha”.
“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”, Winston Churchill.
Past Saturday I decided to bring Mr. Blake with me into the class. I thought he would be a great addition to my yoga teaching and indeed he was! Everyone absolutely loved him and couldn’t help but smile seeing Me and him doing our yoga tricks.
In fact, this wellness program is doing so well that got so popular that community center hit attendance threshold. 27 people step into our center every Saturday for a yoga class and wellness talks. It is really nice to see people coming back. I look forward to the next week’s session and excited to share with others my time and energy. I never felt comfortable talking on public and giving speeches, but now I am even looking forward to giving presentations on the subjects of health & wellness.
I wonder what will come out of it? There is only one way to find out…
Stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone other than yourself. In return your stress levels will decrease. You will be more satisfied with yourself and your life.
Dealing with a mix of personalities you step outside of your comfort zone. You improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills.
Volunteering, gives you the chance to contribute to the community and world you want to live in. It gives you the opportunity to be apart of something bigger than yourself and use your own skills and knowledge to empower the people you serve.
Volunteering shifts your lenses and changes how you see the world. This shift in perspective opens your mind to what is truly important, and helps to become more empathetic.
Every person volunteers for his own reasons. No matter what the reasons are for you, remember this: Giving is receiving. However giving to receive is stealing.
“…he lives the same day again and again while retaining the memory of each iteration that he has lived before…”
He feels like every other day is just like the previous one. Life loses its colors. His energy level go low. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. He falls asleep. He forgets what’s important, he gets snappy at the people around. His life gets automatic, just like machine – he responds to the world. He starts moving in the rhythm of the crowd. He gets hypnotized and falls asleep… deeper and deeper.
NO, Stop! Wake up! Shake up! You need to break free, at any cost. Move. It’s time to change the patterns. Hypnosis holds you so strong that you barely can move or think. You need someone to wake you up, grab you over the shoulders and shake up! BOY WAKE UP!
Search for the eyes that still have that spark of life. Who’s not asleep here? ANYONE?! Silence… No-one. People around are deep asleep. They fell asleep a long time ago and it’s almost impossible to bring them back. Only a few ever felt what it’s like to be truly awake. You are in a desert.
The tension builds up. You feel uncomfortable. You feel helpless. You need to get out. NOW! There is no one to help you, and you need a plan. You will find a way to escape from this black’n’white dream. You will, you always do.
Toronto -> Cozumel, Mexico. Departure in 36 hours. Hesitation… Click -> Booked
Hey, wait. Who pressed the button? What have just happened? Why? To escape? Escape from what? Escape from life? Not to escape, rather search. Search for peace, search for growth… Less speaking, time to pack.
Do you travel solo?
“Do you travel alone?” – the Uber driver has asked.
“Yes, I always do”
“I can’t travel by myself.. I get bored. Do you ever get bored?” – He continued.
“No, I truly enjoy traveling solo. Only by being alone, you get the pure experience of travel.”
Uber driver got silent for a moment. Then he said:
“You are the most interesting customer I’ve ever met during the four years of driving people.”
“Why do you think so?” – I was surprised to hear.
“I don’t know, I just feel it. I think one of my strengths is to “read” people, to see them for what they are…” – he replied.
Checking my bike in was a breethe. A gentleman at the check in didn’t charge me extra $50 bike fee, so all I had to pay for my bike was $30 USD. He also even didn’t put the giant bike box on scales. He asked what kind of sport I am into and wished good luck. Gratitude – is a warm feeling inside.
4 Hours into the Summer
Only 4 hours of flight, but the difference in weather is dramatic. Went through the customs with no problems. It was interesting to learn that Mexican immigration officer didn’t even ask for the VISA I filled out online, and took my Canadian documents to let me in. He said that having US or Canadian VISA is enough and you don’t need to do anything else.
Upon exiting the tiny Cozumel International Airport you have two options for transportation.
Rent a car. The rates are ridiculously high – USD $55 per day for economy class vehicle.
Take a shuttle. There are two shuttle companies that offer cab services. COZY shuttle & Flex shuttle. You need to buy a ticket at the stand inside the terminal. No fixed rates and depending on where you go the price will fluctuate. I pointed at the map on my phone – 305 pesos ($21)… That did not sound right, considering that the place I was staying at was within walking distance from the airport. I turned around and went to their competitor – Flex Shuttle. I told them what I’ve been quoted for and asked if they can do better than that? Sure they did – 100 pesos less. It was challenging trying to explain my cab driver where to go. He asked for the host’s phone number, then he called the host to get directions from his cell phone. During our 1 5 minutes drive he mentioned that he works part-time for the scooter rental company and if I want to rent a bike, he will get me a good price – $20 /day… for a scooter… Okay. Got to my Airbnb safe and sound.
I was staying at Airbnb, hosted by a gentleman named Ellias. He was extremely welcoming and went above and beyond to accommodate me. Also while planning the trip I was looking for pet friendly places. No matter where you go, usually there are not too many pet-friendly places. Even if you find a good one, prepare to pay… I don’t like paying more than I should. Here is a hack: contact the host directly. Don’t worry if description of the place says no pets. Just let the host know you will be traveling with your fluff and you’re wondering if they can make an exception for you. 4/4 places I contacted agreed to take Blake on board with no extra charge.
On my first day I went on exploratory bike ride around the coast. East side of the coast has absolutely gorgeous beaches. The biggest hotels and resorts are outside of town about 20 km away. If you don’t like cycling , rental car or scooter are your only opportunities to get to downtown. Along the road I saw a lot of Jeeps and VW Bugs with convertible tops for rent. If you choose to rent a car over the bike, prepare to get lighter for several hundreds of US dollars. It’s cheaper to be fit and healthy.
A lot of scooters. Honda Dio seems to be the most popular make among wide variety of scooters.
Poverty. Comparing to the world I came from, Cozumel lives really poor. Poverty is in everything: cars, houses, clothes, grocery stores etc.
Crazy driving. There are no rules – only suggestions. The only rule is no matter what, you should never ride a scooter without a helmet. Some crazy administrative fees are associated with it.
Currency exchange. Upon entering any grocery store you will see the sign that displays current currency exchange rate. Don’t get confused as I did. It doesn’t mean you can exchange your dollars here, but instead you can pay for your groceries with dollars which will be automatically converted to pesos (using the number you saw on the sign). Also, at the checkout you will see two prices on the screen: one in USD $, another in MXN Pesos. This tells me how much Cozumel is dependent on tourism.
Grocery shopping. There are few decent size grocery stores, which are located in downtown and million convenience stores around every corner. I was hoping to see some local “fresh catch” or exotic fruits, however the produce variety is not much better than the one we have in the US or Canada. In fact it’s lesser. Prices are cheaper, but not a lot. In regards to costs of products I can compare shopping in large Mexican grocery store with shopping at economy class markets in Canada. What surprised me was a very poor selection of canned beans and legumes. It confused me as I thought Spanish people are all about beans and rice. Maybe it was only my misconception or it’s just the way it’s here, in Cozumel.
Obesity. A lot of people are overweight. Of course, I understand that the level of life here is way lower than up north, and people simply can’t afford to go the extra mile to pay and cook healthy meals. When you barely make ends meet and you work really hard to put the food on a table, healthy eating is the last thing to worry about. Unfortunately this is a reality that I also see in my home country and the rest of the world. Traditions and cultural preferences also add to the problem.
Stray dogs. A lot of homeless dogs are wandering around. Not aggressive, but who knows…
Alcoholism. Grocery stores are filled with tequila and beer. Empty bottles cover the sides of the roads. I see people drink on the streets, at the beaches, at the restaurants… Beer floats like a water. This is especially dangerous when it comes to driving… on a scooters.
No billboard signs. Not a single one.
Also this time a year seem to be not the busiest time of the year. I don’t see too many tourists in downtown. Rental car companies have their parking lots filled with empty cars. Well… better for me and others who came to visit.
Sea Walls, Beard & Haircut
Morning swim was challenging. Not sure how many kilometers I swam. felt like 2-3 km along the shore. Water temperature can not get any better and it’s really warm even early in the morning. I spent quite a bit of time working on some things and even got a chance to take a one hour nap by the pool. Later in the evening I took the scooter and headed out to the beach. Right by the Turquoise Beach Bar there is a little wooden pier where people go snorkeling.
That’s where I met a group of people from Ottawa. Three men and Kim. Older folks seemed to be really interested in my persona and I willingly accepted all the attention. One of them works remotely, as a zoo inspector. He’s making sure all the animals are being treated fairly and facilities meet all the criteria. He was pretty happy to be able to work remotely from Mexico. Indeed it’s something to strive for. Kim told me about a great place to scuba dive, called Scuba Mau Cozumel. $75 an hour, and she reassured me that it’s well worth the money. She also told me about this thing called Cozumel Seal Walls. This is a program that brings the message of ocean conservation into streets around the world. Graffiti on 20 walls around town – is what this is. There is a map, where each of them is located so you can go on a walking tour around town, collecting pictures of them. Link to the Google map. The Cozumel Sea Walls are amazing!
I chatted with these folks for about 40 minutes and they all seemed to be really open and nice people. They said they come to the pier every day at 5:30 pm to see the sunset and I should come too. I might.
Haircut at the local barber shop cost me USD $2. That’s versus $25 + tip in Canada. Three young guys work at the salon. Not older than 20 years old, I would even say 17-18… I used google translator to explain what I needed and landed in a seat. Young gentleman took great care of me and I really liked my new haircut. This was the best $2 haircut I ever gotten. Gracias!
I haven’t met too many locals who speak English. In fact, almost no-one does. Only a few young folks did. Hearing me speak English some younger folks got pretty excited. I guess it’s a good practise for them.
Overall most of the people I met so far, were nice and friendly. I haven’t felt offended or defencive. I guess, you find what you’re searching for…
The day had started with a bike ride around the island. 60+ km I enjoyed the beautiful morning sunrise. First 20 km I rode with Roberto. He works as a captain on the car ferry which takes cargo to and from the mainland – Cancun. One day he dreams to visit Canada and US, however he needs to save up some money first. He cycles just to stay in shape and thinks that Ironman racing is only for crazy people. He did not consider himself crazy, therefore he was just a spectator on those races.
” You know, there is a group riding every Tuesdays and Thursdays. “They gather at the stadium around 6:30 am and ride around the island. Those guys are pretty strong and maintain the speed of ~40 km/h for the entire duration“, he told me.
Came back home and it stoned me. The rest of the day I suffered from pretty bad episodes of anxiety and stress. Every time like a first time. It was also raining pretty bad and I got completely wet that day. At first on the bike riding home, then on the scooter in the evening. Mentally it was a hard, really hard day. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t enjoy my life… In Mexico, under the sun, but still hanging out with my old stupid friends. Glad it’s over…
Walking & Watching
Ocean swimming. Dark blue skies, really windy – high waves. Should I train at the pool today instead? No, it’s a great chance to practice swimming in less desirable conditions. While changing into my swimwear, a guy came down to the pier and closed the gates. Of course it didn’t stop me, so I went and opened the gate back again. Funny enough, while untying the gate chains, I got stabbed by a bee in my left hand. It hurt like b*tch for a while.
“It must’ve been a sign that I shouldn’t swim in these weather conditions” – I thought to myself. “Bullshit, get to work” – Ego replied.
Right from the beginning I felt like crap, floating on top of the water. 15 minutes into the swim I got stabbed again, this time right into my face. It hurt pretty bad and I got worried that my face can get swollen. I didn’t see what hit me, however it was not a jellyfish and I did not see any other living organisms around that could get mad at me.
“It was another sign! Get out of the water until you get yourself in trouble.” – I did.
Because I wasn’t able to complete the ocean swimming training, I felt that I needed to compensate for that. I went to the local pool, where I put in an extra 1 km. I also me a guy named Jovanni. He was a swimming coach, training a group of young kids. After a brief chat with him we set a meeting for the next day at 2 pm. I said that I would like him to assess my swimming technique and give me some tips to work on. We didn’t discuss the price, but he agreed.
I went for a walk in the evening. Going down the streets I noticed one interesting thing. Just for a brief second I noticed a huge flat screen TV shining through the rusted window grill. As I kept on walking through this post apocalyptic view streets, over and over I continued to discover new shades of poverty. At one point I realized: the worse living conditions – the bigger TV screens are. The ugliest houses have the most expensive TVs. The more disappointed people with their lives – the louder the music plays in their houses. The less people have within themselves – the more makeup on their faces. The less people have in their heads the shinier their cars or scooters and the brighter color clothes they wear. It sounds like a well known fact, but at that moment I realized it as clear as never before. What followed is realization that I was just like that, with gadgets, clothes, cars… you name it. In fact, I still am, just choosing different methods. The principle is exactly the same, the mechanics are the same. Ego, I suppose is in control of all this madness. People just try to numb their inner disappointment, mental pain with possessions, alcohol, stimulants, sex. They fool themselves that the things are not as bad as they seem. It could be worse they say. They are so deep asleep. I am asleep too. We all live in our imaginary little worlds that our minds created for ourselves. Those worlds have little to do with the actual reality and it made me sad. Really sad to realize that.
What do you try to compensate for? What type of anesthesia would you prefer? How long can you survive without it? How the world would look like for what it really is?
Don’t Drink Mexican Water. Hot Tub Geographical Idiot.
For the past few days I’ve been feeling discomfort in my stomach. It was getting worse and worse as the days went by. Not sure if I just ate something my body couldn’t process, climate change or some sort of bacteria. I needed to help my body to cleanse itself. I went from one pharmacy to another, searching for enemas or something like that. Nothing… Not kidding, I went to about 5-6 pharmacies on the island and none of them had anything that could help me. Finally the body said f*ck you Sasha and blew out the plug. The entire night I spent sitting on the white rock. I might’ve lost half of my body’s weight that night.
Despite or I would say thanks to my night’s adventure I woke up feeling light in my stomach. I felt relieved. It was a really windy morning and I had to fight it for about 20 km along the east side of the island. Considering the lack of sleep and gastrointestinal issues, I felt unusually strong on the bike. I think that because of carb rich breakfast (oatmeal, snack bar, pineapple) and coffee. Also I fueled my ride with two protein bars, which also helped. Haven’t met anyone new on the road and almost felt like at home, navigating throughout the island.
After lunch I went to meet with Jovani – a swimming coach I met yesterday. Got to the local pool on time – at 2 pm, however the guy never showed up. No blaming, life happens. I swam for 1 km and went back to my place. The pool is clean and warm. It is also free, however if you ever accidentally swallow a drop of water from that pool, boy you will regret you were born. Not sure what chemicals they use, but it tastes and smells absolutely disgusting. What if this water caused me severe diarrhea last night?
Spent the evening walking and riding along the beach. Chilled for an hour at the hot tub in Cozumel Hotel & Resort. In hot tub I joined a group of American people who came from Chicago. A family of four seemed as a nice people, taking about stupid things, making smart faces and looking cool.
“ Where you’re from?”, they asked
“ I’m from Toronto, Canada”, I replied
“ Is it in Montreal?”, a young guy about my age, has asked
“ No-no, I’m from Toronto”, I repeated
“ Yeah, I heard. But is it in Montreal?”, He asked me again and I realized that he was not kidding. His geographical idiotism put me into a mini-shock.
“ You seem French, this is why I’m asking if you’re from Montreal?”, he added. I had literally nothing to reply, so I just smiled.
Then his mother asked: “Is it a Russian accent?”
“ Yes, it is!”, I replied.
“ I knew it!”, the guy said and exploded my mind. Wow, I’m sorry, but what an idiot.
Came back “home” and met my host Elliot with his wife doing the laundry. We had a nice 30 minute chat about different things and planned an activity together. I learned that they go to church every Sunday and I asked if I could keep them company. Elliot said they go to Jehovah’s Witness church and took a pause. Great! I said. I have never been to Jehovah’s Witness church and would love to learn more about their religion, meet new people and see the church. 3 pm on Sunday. I also offered to take them both out for a dinner somewhere at the local restaurant. They gladly accepted the offer and Elliot said he knows a good place – their favorite bar by the beach. “From church – to the bar”, I smiled.
Mainland: Playa del Carmen
Barely lifted my head off the pillow and went straight to the local pool. It’s really windy and I don’t feel like fighting the ocean waves for an hour. I was able to cover exactly 3 km during one hour of continuous swimming. It was hard, but as usual – hard effort pays off with a burst of endorphins, when you hit the stop button on your watch. Left the pool satisfied and relieved.
Quick breakfast and headed to Cozumel Ferry Dock. $20 USD costs the ferry to the mainland. The ride takes about 45 minutes on a fancy, air conditioned two story ship. Purchased the tickets online, which saved me time and $2. Felt sick. Keep in mind that if you decide to chill on the back of the ship, you will have to sacrifice a beautiful view for poisoning yourself with exhaust fumes that come from the diesel engine.
Playa del Carmen is a popular tourist destination with a beautiful sand beaches and countless shops. I really enjoyed those two hours at the beach. I read the book and watched the people. There was an interesting guy who was sitting nearby and caught my attention. He was a really skinny guy, with long hair that was going down all the way to his hips and a long beard. He was meditating. Everyone who passed him looked at him as he was an alien, sarcastically smiled and kept on walking. He was around my age, which made him so interesting to me. I wanted to come up to him and have a chat, however he looked so chill and in piece that I didn’t want to disturb him. He opened his eyes and pulled out a huge papaya from his backpack. With his fingers, he cracked the fruit in half and began eating it with a spoon he also kept in his backpack. Papaya – is what I want!
I left the beach and walked around for a bit. Hundreds, hundreds of cafes, shops and malls stretch out along the beach. A lot of action, a lot of tourists. A really loud place, where from every corner someone yells at you to buy his merchandise. Without any concerns, people drink right on the streets. Surprisingly, despite the crowd and noise I haven’t felt uncomfortable. The rain has started and I went my way back to the pier, to go back on the island. You will need an entire day or two to cover just the beach area, without stopping at the shops or cafes. I will come back.
While walking through the city it began raining really bad, so I started to look for a place to hide. I jumped into the closest restaurant, it appeared to be the winery. What a great wine tasting experience I’ve had! Lois is the owner of the wine store, told me more about his wines than I ever known up to this point. “Off the Vine” is the name of the place, which is located on the Main Street of the Playa de Carmen. About 90 minutes I’ve been drinking different wines and listening to Louis talk. He had the answer on every single question I’ve asked. I left the place with expensive bottle of Shiraz and a load of knowledge.
There is a local gym called an EGO gym. 5 visits cost 400 pesos (~CAD $30). They’ve got some good equipment there – as good as it can get in Mexico. For some reason I’ve attracted a lot of attention, however not the kind I would like to. I caught a few weird looks on me, coming from the guys. Whatever! I love the weigh training for it’s mind cleansing effect on me. Had a good pump and a great workout. Tired.
So many police cars around the town this evening. Several marine trucks fully loaded with soldiers on the back. Guns and strobe lights. I guess there are a lot of crime issues, comes the weekend. If they freely drink during daylight hours on weekdays, I can only imagine what’s happening on the weekends. I better be careful on my bike or scooter. Don’t want to be hit by a drunk driver.
Met a mother and her young daughter at the hot tub this evening. The lady was bitching about the cold ocean and chilly weather. I have no idea what she was speaking about because both the ocean and weather could not get any better for me. They’re from Houston, Texas. Maybe that’s why.
What a great day…
Catherine from London. Alternative Lifestyle.
Cathy – an older lady, in her 50s. Damn, is she a fitness model? Nothing sexual, but I have never met anyone so good looking and fit at her age. Right after my morning run along the shore, I stripped down and jumped into the ocean to cool off. This is where I met her. She was swimming there with her mask and (!attention) – headphones. We chatted for a while.
She is also from Canada. London, Ontario is a city about three hours of driving west from Toronto. She lives what I call the 6/6 life. Six months out of the year in Canada, other six in Mexico. While in MX, she rents out her London house and has the tenants pay the rent. In Cozumel she works at the dive shop called Tres Pelicanos. She cycles, swims, dives and does yoga on a daily basis. No wonder she’s so fit! I learned later that she is not the only foreigner who keeps the 6/6 lifestyle…
In hot tub, two days ago, I witnessed a conversation between two families. They talked about an older couple whom they both met at different times. The mutual friends they met spend the winter on the Mexican island every year. My ears opened up… Three day earlier, I also met a Canadian guy who was spending the winter under the sun here. He was working full time as a zoo certification officer. I was really interested to learn how those people manage work and life with such an international lifestyle. What sacrifices did they have to make to live such life? Talking to these folks made me think…
How much do you need to be happy? Really, how much money will make you happy? Now imagine you have all this money, then what? Will you buy everything? Ok, you will buy a better car, maybe a jet, a yacht, a mention… whatever. Now what? I know for a fact that material things won’t make me happy. For so long I’ve been made to believe that I NEED that car, I NEED that latest gadget, I NEED to wear specific brand of clothing to be happy, I NEED to be accepted and validated by other people, I NEED to meet their expectations to be loved, I NEED to look this and that… HAHA! Smile, I smile right now. With a genuine smile on my face I say Fuck it! Fuck it, and fuck anyone who judge people by the car they drive, brand of clothing they wear, pictures on social media they post etc, etc,… I have wasted so much energy and time worrying what others thought of me, how many friends I’ve had or had not, who liked or didn’t like me. Gosh, how stupid I was. How deep asleep I was. Not even funny.
A lot of Mexican people want to live anywhere in the world, besides Mexico. In particular, they dream about moving to USA, Canada or Europe. The zombie-boxes they have wasted their money on, made them believe that there is a better world where everyone is happy, fit and healthy. F*uck that! People! turn off that shit-boxes and wake up! Look around. Why do you think so many Canadians and Americans make Mexico or other “third world” countries their second homes? Would anyone want to leave the paradise and move into the dirt? Of course not, however I hear more and more about people who escape their American lives and move to Cuba, Mexico, Thailand, you name it. In fact, those people are often the ones to be considered “successful” in modern world – in terms of money. They’ve had strong careers, profitable businesses, big comfortable houses and fancy cars. Now they live in Mexico, in a middle of nowhere, in one bedroom apartment homes, ride their bikes or scooters and work at the local shops. They didn’t bring their “success” with them, but left it behind as a heavy luggage to carry. Some spent decades, working their asses off just to become free. Society made their EGOs believe that they NEEDed material attributes of “successful” life to become happy. The EGO then pushed those folks to set goals, and achieve, achieve, achieve, achieve… Like hamsters in a wheel they spin their tiny legs faster and faster. They did not even have the time to slow down for a second, look around and freaking ask themselves where are they running? 90% of the goals you set for yourself at the end of year – are not your goals! How many times have I told to myself: “I don’t know, I am just tired… I am depressed. Why do I live? Why do I do what I do?” Don’t worry buddy, we’ve got your back. Want some coffee to energize or maybe another pint of beer? Wait look, a stranger on Instagram just posted a picture of his/hers recent trip to Bahamas. Look, here is another one – bought a car you can never afford. They are better than you, they are smarter, they are fitter. You need to work harder – get up and go back into the wheel! Ego. This is what the Ego is.
What made those people whom I met to wake up? At what point did they realize that it’s all fake? I want to take a pic at the world through their lenses and learn how they broke free from the ugly “successful” world. I want to hear what their favorite part about such lifestyle and will they ever go back to living 5-8 life?
Cycling Buddies: Father & Son. Cathy from Montreal. Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As always I began the day with a workout – bike ride around the island. About 10 km into the ride I got passed by a car with a young cyclist drafting on the back of it. I speed up and jumped on the tail of these folks. 10 kilometers further they stopped and I got a chance to introduce myself. Father – the driver was training his son for the triathlon, specifically – cycling. Also on the passenger seat there was a lady an a cute little dog – their mom and wife. We continued riding together and had a loooong conversation with the man. He is in Mexican military, serving off the mainland. He came to the island to enjoy his Christmas vacation and trains his 14 years old son. The son is eager to train and already achieved quite a lot as a swimmer. Where, when, with whom to ride? I got a lot of useful information from this man and enjoyed his company. I also learned about the best places to snorkel and the cheapest diving store to buy the gear. He also introduced me to his cycling buddies that we caught down the road. We exchanged phone numbers and he promised to put me in touch with a local cycling team. Arrivederci amigo! It was nice to meet you.
Later today, at the beach bar I met Catherine. Woman in her 40s, came down all the way from Montreal, Canada. It’s unbelievable how many Canadians I’ve met here so far. She decided to drop her job in Montreal and move to Mexico. In exchange to security and well paid job back at home, she was hunting for a employment here on the island. She’ve had several interviews, however none of them ended up being successful for her. She discovered that despite her education and work experience, her main asset was the fluent French. A lot of people can talk English, even more Spanish, however only so few speak fluent French. This skill is valuable to have, particularly in Mexico. A lot of tourists come from Canada, a lot of them speak French. Anyways, the job hunt was not really successful for her and it made me reevaluate my perspective on availability and demand of jobs on the island. She seemed to be a very opened and talkative person, maybe a bit too hyper for me. She mentioned that she’ve spent about a month on the island and wants to try scuba diving. Well geat, I want to Scuba too. We went to the nearby diving center and signed up for the scuba diving the next morning. Approximately 40 minutes of scuba diving will cost us $106 USD including the introduction class at the local pool.
As I learned few days ago, my new Mexican friend – Ellias was a member of Jehovah’s Witness church. I’ve never been to one and asked if I could come to the church with him. Ge seemed to be surprised to hear the interest from me. It started raining so bad, right before I had to leave for the church. No car, no umbrella, no nothing. Two choices: stay dry at home or get wet and walk under the rain to the church. If I set my mind to do something, I will surely do it. Took off my sneakers and started walking barefoot under the rain. It was a 30 minutes walk. Several times I got passed by folks on scooters, wearing some type of plastic covers against the rain. I stepped into convenience store no my way and asked if they have an umbrella. “No, Senor”. I pointed outside on a guy wearing that plastic rain cover. A lady behind the counter said no problems – 10 pesos. My money went towards purchasing a black trash bag. She said hold it here and there, pulled out the sizers and cut the holes for hands and head.
30 minutes later I made it to the church. Church service was in full blast so I tried to sneak into auditorium as quiet as possible. People almost broke their necks when they saw white Gringo, wearing black trash bag opened walked in. I felt my face set on fire and I almost burned down from shame. I set quietly and watched. I had no idea what they were talking about, so I just repeated the movements after them. They clap – I clap. They stand up – I stand up. I felt guilty, so tried to blend in, to get accepted… Old habits. Unlike me, everyone in the church were really-really nicely dressed. Looked nice, smelled nice. Different than in Orthodox churches – women did not have their heads covered. After the service has ended, I met a lot of new people. There were a lot of hand shaking, touching and smiling. People seem to be genuinely interested in my persona. With all my questions about their religion, they simply forwarded me to Jehovah’s Witnesses website and said I’ll find there all the answers. I have not felt to be pushed on with their religion of beliefs. Shortly, I felt comfortable, but it was time to leave.
Hot tub is my socialization spot. You never know whom you will meet this time. For the past several days I’ve been coming here to meet people, and there always been someone in it. Every time – different people, from different places. Tonight was not an exception and I had a different experience. Very drunk obese people occupied the tub. It was interesting to watch them interact with one another, listen to their talks. Their laughs sounded like a cry. It seemed like they were competing with one another at showing who can seem the “happiest”. Happy people don’t get drunk, happy people don’t need to prove others they are happy – it was ugly to watch. They were not welcomed and pretended I was not there. I felt slightly uncomfortable. Interestingly, I spotted the feeling of guilt arise in me. I was not like them, I was not accepted, there must be something wrong with me – I am guilty. Old demons, old habits. Normally I would initiate the conversation, however I did not feel like doing so this time. We would simply not understand each other. I just sat and watched… We walk on the same planet, however live in totally different worlds. Not good or bad, just different.
Open Water Swim. Punta Morena with Cathy. Double Date.
Clear sky in the morning made me excited. It meant that the go scuba diving today, however it did not happen. I got a text from Cathy saying that despite the clear sky, Scuba diving is canceled. Because of the strong winds coming from North the port got shut down. No Scuba today… Stand by.
My new friend suggested we go on the other side of the island – explore Punta Morena beach. She invited me to her place for a tour. What a beautiful apartment! Top floor, patio, grill, windows all around, a kitchen, a big TV, internet… all you need.
She jumped on the back of my steel goat and I opened up the throttle. It took us about 40 minutes to cover 35 km on a scooter. I got complimented for my driving skills. It was nice to hear that I am a good driver and she felt safe with me.
$25 USD to rent and umbrella and two chairs for a day. I quickly changed into my swimming clothes, or to be exact – the absence of them. Inflated my “toxic orange” swim buoy and headed towards the ocean.
“If I don’t get back, the scooter is yours. Keys are in backpack.” – I told Cathy and dove in.
Despite strong winds, waves were not as high as they were on the south side of the island – where we came from. I was not feeling particularly good, however I remained myself to be grateful for relatively still water. The water was really, really clear and every time I swam in the ocean was as I went to aquarium. Water clarity allows to see 20-30 meters deep. All kinds of fish, corals, white sand and beautiful rocks. Somewhere in the middle of the swim, 1-2 km away, I saw something unusual on the sandy bottom. A stingray was laying still, covered with sand so you can barely see him. I stopped and continued watching him. With a side view I spotted some movement on the left of the fish. $20 US dollar bill folded in half was floating on the bottom on the ocean, in the middle of nowhere. I wondered if I could get it. I unstrapped myself from the buoy and went head down 4-5 meters. I felt really strong, uncomfortable pressure on my nose and ear drums. The bill was about 6-7 meters down the bottom and I was so close to getting it, but the pressure caused so much pain in the ear drums that I worried I could really hurt myself. I attempted three-four times to dive deeper and deeper. I also tried to dive with my lungs full and empty – same deal, too much pressure. I was so close and was not going to give up so easily. I started thinking and quickly came up with a solution. I dove down with my feet first and grabbed the bill with my toes. Still hurt my ear drums, however I GOT IT! I was so freaking proud of myself that the rest 1000 meters swim was just a breathe. I realize how ridiculous it was to risk my health or even life over a stupid piece of paper, but I promise it wasn’t about the money itself. It was more of can I get it or not? Yes, I can! I always do!
I exited the water and began walking back towards the starting point. The beach I exited at was crowded and Indian lady rapidly approached me. “Are you a lifeguard?” – she asked. I smiled and said I am not, however did not hesitate to ask if she needed help. She said not, however she would appreciate lifeguard assistance at the beach, just in case. Well, I used to work as a lifeguard in my college years. Funny.
Cathy met met at the beach with a bottle of water, She seemed anxious and stressed. As I swam approximately 1 km away from the shore, she lost me out of sight and couldn’t see me any longer. Of course, she got worried and went for help. Military people were walking along the beach, so she asked for help. They spotted me with their binoculars and reassured he I was still alive. I laughed. Now all the military personnel and the beach restaurant staff knew me.
Me and Cathy snorkeled together for a bit and went back to the town. On the way back I stopped at Tequila Tour shop. I knew my buddy was working there, so I went to say hi. He was glad to see me and gave us a free tour around tequila plant. This is what he was doing for the living – Tequila Tour Guide. I learned about the history and process of tequila production. At the end of the tour, guests are offered tequila tasting session. I rejected the offer right away, as I don’t drink, however I encouraged Cathy to give it a shot, literally. She said tequila was really good.
Later same evening we went to a dinner with my tequila-buddy and his wife. We called it a “double-date”. I told him I like seafood, so he bought us the place seafood restaurant called El Coctelito. I didn’t like the place, however it didn’t matter as I went there to talk, not to eat. He and his wife are 32 year old, young and pretty.
“So, what’s the plan?” – I asked them. “The pan?” – Ellias. “Yes, the plan. What’s you plan for the life? What do strive for? What do you dream about?” – I don’t like shallow conversations. I wanted to get to know them better.
They both want to travel abroad. She wants to go to India, he wants to see the Alps. Also, he would like to open several fish pedicure spalocations on the island.
“We want to live a quiet, simple life. We want to serve our church. We want to be good people, nice to others and others be good to us.”
It was beautiful. However it was hard for me to accept such answer… Was it my Ego again?… I almost said something like “Is this all…?” Thank God I didn’t, I killed this impulse and stopped right there. This is their lives, this is what makes them happy and neither me or anyone else has the right to judge their choice. In fact, they seemed to be truly happy together and it was beautiful to watch.
I finished my cheap red wine and fish with rice. I enjoyed the company and liked the people. I wanted to show my appreciation and offered to cover the dinner. Everything has its price and I payed for the good times spent. I will probably never meet these people again, however I am sure we will keep good memories of one another.
Christmas Eve: Santa is in Town
I woke up this morning feeling absolutely horrible. Fever, ear infection, sore throat and beautiful racoon circles under the eyes. To make me feel better – tree hours bike ride on the schedule for today. I never skip workouts.
Mental masturbation lasted the entire morning. On the bike ride and even after I got back home, I couldn’t decide. Few days ago I found this cool place called Tulum and made a plan to go explore it. The place is located about 75 km from the ferry dock, so you needed some tipe of transportation to get there. I booked a rental car on the mainland and set my plans to get there after my training this morning. I would arrive to the mainland by ferry ($20), pick up the rental ($30 /day) and head towards Tulum. I would spend a day and night there and come back the next day. Drop off the car and return to the island for the Christmas Day/Evening celebration. I was not feeling well, but that wasn’t the problem. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go or not. Why? Where are you running? Why won’t you just slow down and take a breath? You can’t see everything in one day or week. Two different voices talked to me. One said – go, another said – don’t, you need a rest. It was interesting to observe two completely different perspectives within one mind. “Go explore. See new places. Meet new people. You are here only for so long. Don’t sit on your butt, pick up and go!”. The other side of Sasha said: “You’ve got a fever, sore throat, ear infection. You are weak and exhausted. Even if you go, you will not enjoy the trip. You need to rest. You need to train. Where are you always running? What are you running from? You will just waste the money. You already spent much more on this trip than originally planned”. Each side had legitimate points, which drove me crazy. I realized I was wasting so much of my energy on this mental masturbation, trying to decide. Travel is so selfish. You are hunting for new experiences to feed your forever hungry brain. More pictures! More action! The more places you visit, the more new ones open up. More, more, more… Me, me, me… Something’s not right. You can only take so much, until it stops satisfying you. Maybe instead of getting, you need to start giving…
All of a sudden I got an idea. More about the crazy idea and execution I wrote here:
The day was FILLED with new experiences. By the end of it I went to bed exhausted, completely drained. What a day!
Christmas Day: Santa at the Beach
Christmas in Mexico is a big deal and people party all night long. They go to church around 8 pm, then come home for a family dinner and go party from midnight till sunrise. Similar to out New Year’s celebrations. All night partying was not in my plans and I went to bed pretty early. Loud music was blasting through the night. It was a bit hard to fall asleep at first, but once I did, you can not wake me up even if you shoot from the gun next to my ear.
In the morning I went on a 10km easy run with my new Mexican buddy. It was obvious to me that he was a gay, however it did not change anything. I truly enjoyed his company and we decided to spend the day together.
Today Santa operates at the beach. We went to the beach called Punta Morena. As expected, Santa on the beach attracted a lot of attention, not only from kids, but from adults. Even the owner of the beach club came up to say hi and thank me for engaging the public. She thought it was a great idea and asked to take a photo with her. Not only the business owner, but a lot of other people wanted to take a selfie with Santo Clós. It was a lot of fun, however hot! Santa stripped down into his red speedos and dove into the ocean. Mission complete.
The rest of the day we spent driving around the island, stopping at the beautiful places and having drinks. Bar tenders offered free drinks for Mr. Claus, however too bad that Santa doesn’t drink, otherwise he could’ve gotten pretty fucked up for free. For the first time I’ve tried drinking the coconut water out of the fruit. I took a nap at the beach and soaked in as much sun as I could. It was a great day, in a great company.
Last Day: Scuba Diving
Today was my last long bike ride, before returning back to Canada. 4 hour – 108 kilometers around the island. The weather was perfect, no wind. My buddy Beto desired to join me for the ride and I did not resist. I was in an interesting state of mind that morning. My head was spinning and I felt like “out of body”. Sleep deprivation, too much caffeine and wine play ugly games with my mind. We rode in silence, only having a few brief conversations from time to time. I was not in the mood for chatting and was quite struggling on such an easy-effort ride.
Beto went home after the first 60 km and I continued solo. Completed the ride and headed straight to the SCUBA diving center, where I’ve had made a reservation.
Hungry, tired and “out of my mind” I found myself in a wetsuit and other scuba equipment, floating in the nearby hotel’s pool. Everyone at the diving center are french: instructors, owners, even the customers are all french people. They barely spoke broken english and all the training was in french. Sometimes instructor would turn over to me and attempt to translate the important things in English. 90% of the time I had no idea what they were talking about, however it didn’t really matter to me – I was too tired to get mad. In fact I was still deciding if it’s something I want to do and spend my money on… Several times I almost said f*uck it, I am too tired, but something stopped me. Realization that if I don’t do it now, I won’t have a chance to Scuba Dive for a while.
About 90 minutes training in the pool, one hour break and into the ocean.We loaded onto the boat and headed towards the “spot”. Eight people got divided into three groups, with separate diving instructor for each. A big step forward and you’re flying. Only from the second attempt I was able to begin the descent and start equalizing as we went deeper and deeper. Holly shit it was cool! I have never seen the water so clear and the fish so close. I am glad I didn’t pull the plug and went scuba diving even when not feeling like it.
Another story of alternative lifestyle in action. On a way back, on a boat I’ve had conversation with my diving instructor. He was a young man, bartender in the past. 32 years old, originally from France. I learned from him that you can travel and work as a scuba instructor. Once you went through the lengthy and expensive certification process you can find a job in some really cool places around the world. The guy truly enjoyed his lifestyle. “You won’t get rich, working as an instructor” – he said. However, the job brought enough food on his table and allowed him to travel the world. Another story, another traveler… Would I enjoy doing what he was doing…? Will such lifestyle suit me and make me happier than I am now?
Later in the evening I invited for a glass of red dry my Airbnb host and now a friend – Ellias. Before I left, I wanted to chat once again and say a proper goodbye. It was really nice of them to get me a present – photo frame “With Love from Cozumel”. We had a nice chat and went to bed. It was a nice ending of the day and I literally crashed in my bed. Exhausted again, I gave today’s day all my energy. It felt like I’ve been driving my body on overdrive for the past several days and soon something will have to give in.
Final Thoughts The Crash
Three accidents this morning. I’ve witnessed three pretty bad accident on the road at different spots in the town. I realized that despite the crazy local driving I haven’t seen a single crash or even a minor road accident. Today I’ve seen three…
The flight back wasn’t too bad. To get to Cozumel Airport I had to take a cab -> ferry -> bus. I felt exhausted and lethargic.
For the past few days I’ve been in a weir state of mind. “Out of body” – as if I would be looking at the world through the third person eyes. I feel out of reality and it makes me worried. It’s an uncomfortable feeling – the unknown.
I am exhausted. Every part of my body is tired. The battery is in red zone and I slowly shut down from the outside world. I am tired from extra attention I’ve been getting since I landed in Mexico. People look at me with the interest. An alien landed on their land. I could not escape curious eyes in the neighborhood I stayed at . Something in me attracted people’s attention and they often would just stare at me, looking from the bottom up. It’s neither good or bad, I am just tired from it.
While in Mexico, I let myself loose and broke my usual routine. Instead of usual bed time around 8-9 pm, I would often stay up till midnight or even past that. I could not force myself go to bed and I would always find something to do. Write, research on business, social media, read, plan for tomorrow etc. If I was not doing anything, I would eat. Same mechanism – trying to change my state with external stimuli. I’ve had a lot of wine, I have eaten too much sugar and fruits I would not usually eat, I have had unhealthy high doses of caffeine, I haven’t slept enough, I have eaten too much garbage, I have often overeat right before the bedtime… Why keep up the usual routine if I could simply continue living like that? No planning, no diets, no schedules, no training… Why all this? Why do I do what I do? Again and again, I question myself: Why?
Ferry to the mainland. ADO bust to Cancun airport. I am here, I am present and I am not… What is this “out of body” state of mind is about? Is it how the exhaustion feels like? Is is mental of physical? I remain in this bobble.
Plane to Toronto got broken and flight is delayed. Switch gates and wait… Even after all passengers took their seats, we still remained motionless for an hour. Something’s also wrong with this plane. Captain gave the green light and commanded flight attendants to prepare for departure. Cabin lights got dim and belt signs lighted on. Annoying beeping sound won’t stop and the guy sitting next to me got nervous. The plane slowly moved along the runway to take off. Something inside of me started to worry. What if the road accidents I saw earlier today were the sign? What is this weird state of mind I’m in, is the sign? What if the flight was delayed for a reason?… What if my plane will not land?
The plane speed up and everyone got quiet. Several seconds later we lift off and left the ground. What if today was my last day living? I felt asleep…
All of a sudden I woke up from the people screaming. The horrific scream I never heard before. People were screaming out of animal fear that strike them. The plane was streaming heading towards the ground. Do I accept my death peacefully or in agony? Do I regret of anything or being grateful?
Death would feel like a relief… My mind has finally found a piece. My body completely relaxed and soft. I am completely present and I am smiling. I am not afraid. I am grateful for a beautiful journey that my life been. Grateful for absolutely everything that have happened and did not happen to me. Not to me, but to him – to Sasha. His is the one who is going to die in a few moments. Out of body – I now watch the catastrophe unfold in front of his eyes. His eyes are wide opened, adrenaline rush is pumping in his ears. This is it, the game is over. I always knew that my presence in this world was meant to be short, however I did not know how and where it will end. This is it boy, this is your station. It’s time to make the room for the next passenger. The only thing I wished for is a chance to experience being a father. Enormous amount of love for my kids will not find the use in this world, however it will not be lost. Nothing gets lost and knowing it makes me calm.
I don’t breathe. I don’t move. I don’t resist. I just watch…
Bed and Blake
I was happy to come back to Canada. While standing in line to immigration checkpoint, one the officers came up to me and opened the gate. He said I can go and pointed towards the exit. I got really confused, however I was too tired to ask questions. I went the way he showed me and ended up at the terminal exit. Wait! Not VISA and Passport check? Why? Why me? I have no idea what happened there, however I was grateful for such a gift. From the plane, through the customs and immigration security check in 10 minutes… This is the record.
Blake was really excited to see me. I was happy to see him too, he is my buddy. People who watched him, while I was gone said few days after I left he’ve been howling at night. I felt guilty for leaving him at home, when I could’ve taken him. I never heard him howl. That night I slept so deep, as never before. I was happy to be “home”.
Why didn’t I take Blake?
Not to justify my decision, but to give you an idea of what it takes to bring your pet with you to Mexican vacation. To do so you have to jump through several hoops. The good news is that it’s possible and there are options. Some more expensive, some less, some free.
Free: Collect Required Emotional support documents and submit to the airline
Paid: Pay $210 fee to Bring Blake on the plane
I hate paying extra. To bring Blake on the plane and because I am so cheap, I had to jump through three hoops:
1. Confirmation of animal training – to be signed by the owner/trainer of the animal.
2. A letter from medical/mental healthprofessional – to include your medical professional’s license number, type of license, jurisdiction in which the license was issued, and jurisdiction of practice (which must be where you reside). Must be signed by your medical professional (e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, general practitioner).
3. Veterinary health – to be signed by the animal’s veterinarian or, in lieu of this form, a copy of the vaccination records which include vaccination dates and veterinary office information.
Called the office and found out that to bring Blake back to Canada I need only the raibie certificate. That’s all!
I was able to get all the pieces of this puzzle, however Blake stayed at home. As always, I was a tough decision whether take him or not. I’ll be training A LOT. I won’t be able to take him with me so he’ll have to sit at home. While traveling I have to carry my bike, backpack and duffle bag. Having to carry him would add me so much extra stress. However I realize these are only excuses… not sure if I did right that left him at home. He would definitely enjoy the beach.
Today I met with my surgeon to see how the recovery is going. I was secretly hoping to hear it goes better than expected and I can return to my training.
X-Ray pictures, then range of motion assessment… impressive! What?
Indeed, I’m healing really fast and haven’t lost any mobility in the shoulder. In fact I am moving so well, that when I asked about physiotherapy he smiled and asked Why? He said I already do the things people usually can’t in this stage of recovery. He also allowed me to slowly get back to the training, however warned me about lifting weights and stay away from it. Swimming, Running, Cycling? Yes, Sir!
What contributed to such fast recovery?
1. Continuous movement. I haven’t stopped moving and every day I would find a way to keep the blood flowing. My arm can’t move, but the legs can. Walk, walk, walk… a lot of walking. Blake might’ve cut a few pounds from putting so many steps.
2. Nutrition. I always stay on top of my nutrition and closely look what I put into my body. Clean, nutritiously rich foods sure helped with recovery by delivering all the necessary building blocks.
3. Attitude. It was not always bright and positive. In fact, I went through a lot of frustration and it got pretty ugly at time. During those time I haven’t stopped reminding myself that it will not last forever and it’s a good mental training.
4. Support. Mental support from the people around helped me to see a better future and find the positives in situation. Knowing that there’s is someone you can ask for help gives hope.
Would I do anythingdifferently?
This is a tough question to answer. I don’t think I would do anything differently… Maybe just working on cutting the negative thoughts and emotions. However without having those dark periods I won’t feel so good right now. No, I won’t change anything. All was good! Couldn’t get any better.
I am so happy and grateful for recovering so fast, so well. I am grateful for everyone who helped me along the way. A huge Thank you!!!
It’s been though, it’s been painful, but it was a good mental training. Time to roll up the sleeves and get back to business! Watch me evolve…
– How you been my friend? Haven’t heard from you for a while! – Doing great, better than excellent? That’s Awesome! Glad to hear. – What you been up to? Wow, you achieved so much. You accomplished a lot! Congratulations!
You try so hard to sound happy. Don’t, or you will start shooting rainbows out of your ass. I don’t believe you. I know you too well to recognize the bullshit you try to feed me with. I see a tired person in front of me. Dark circles around your eyes tell the truth. Shaky voice and hectic body language proves the opposite. You are tired, you are exhausted… You desperately need some rest.
You learned how to push yourself pretty hard. You are the overachiever – “A type”. You mastered the skill of setting a goal and going after it. You are self-motivated, disciplined and hardworking. That’s all great, but there is no balance to it. All your achievements come with tax. What is your tax? Sleep deprivation? Poor blood works? Constant hunger and overeating? Anxiety? Moodiness? Loneliness? Muscle pain and constant soreness? Or maybe even suicidal thought from time to time? Tell the truth, let it out. What does it cost to live your lifestyle?
You need to rest. You have to take a break.
Sit down and listen to a little story about magical place – a Place of Power.
There is a place in Canada that has tremendous healing power. It is located in Huntsville – a small town, about 2.5 hours driving north from Toronto. This place is unique with its nature and people.
Two young birds live side by side in Muskoka woods. Megan and Sequoia live off-the-grid in a tiny cabin, right by Muskoka River, on the edge with Heaven.
Ask Sequoia about his plants. Feel the passion person has to his green friends. Feel the bright energy he projects out of his blue eyes when holding his tiny cactus. Don’t interrupt and listen. He thinks of himself as introverted person, but I promise, you never met more extraverted introvert before. He keeps a baseball bat in the forest washroom in case of bears. He own his second world war survival kit in case of zombie apocalypse. He is thoughtful and takes a great care of his partner – Meagan.
Let Megan be your guide into the world of Yoga and meditation. Don’t try to understand or rationalize the things she tells you, but sit back and let her explode your mind. A wise and strong woman lives in tiny body of hers.
Both are rare and unique species among human beings. Open minded, kind and bright people. Vegetarian, they will teach you simple meal recipes that not only taste great, but make you seriously consider going plant based eating.
Wake up in the morning and instead of checking your phone, go check the river. Celebrate new day by meeting sunrise at the beach. Take off you clothes and jump into the river from the tree.
So many things to do here So much to explore
This is the place where not only your mind finally gets rested, but also your body releases tension and stress that it held for so long. Your mind slow down, yous heart slows down:
Only one night of deep sleep in the tiny house will significantly drop your resting heart rate (RHR), and switch your body from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode.
Acupuncture. Begin with x1 a week for 4 weeks. The session is typically 45 minutes long and the price is around CAD$100 for Toronto GTA area.
Nutritional Corrections & Recommendations
Increase daily caloric intake. Begin increasing the amount of food you eat on a daily basis by 200-300 calories a day. Pay attention to your weight and body image. If you notice a rapid weight gain, cut the increase to 100-200 calories. If there is no weight gain, increase caloric intake by another 100-200 calorie a day, totaling at about extra 400-500 calories a day.
Increase the frequency of the water consumption. Instead of drinking more water in total, make the emphasis on drinking it more frequent with little gulps. Drink the clear water, consistently and frequently throughout the day. Reduce water consumption 1-2 hours before bed.
Consume protein from clean animal sources. The list below is organised in order from most nutritiously rich foods to least:
Raw pork belly fat (30 grams a day)
Eggs & Plant based proteins
Chicken (The least nutritious. Nutritional value = 0)
Marbella race completely destroyed my expectations, flipped everything upside down. For about 3 weeks after the race I suffered from depressing thoughts and emotions. I got locked up in my head. I almost dropped out of sport of triathlon…
It was dark and I searched for help at different places. I was looking for someone to help me to stop my mental masturbation and make a sense of my thoughts and emotions.
My swimming and triathlon coaches, Bruce and Renee, my father – were able to find the right words and grounded me and kept me away from mistakenly turning my back on the sport. Thank you! I’m am grateful for you.
You can only lead the horse to the water, but you can’t force him drink. Still, all the mental work needed to be done. I had to re-evaluate and reassess the mindset I bring into the training and racing.
What role does the sport play in my life? What function does it have? Whom am I competing against? How do I see myself as an athlete, but more importantly who the Sasha is as a person? How do I evaluate my athletic performance? What expectations do I have for my body and how are they linked to the feeling of self worth?
I had to destroy and rebuild myself as an athlete. I bring a different mindset to this race, my expectations are different.
My goals for this race were:
SWIM: under 30 minutes BIKE: no specific goal here. Just give it all and see how it goes RUN: 1/2 marathon under 1:40 hr
3 day before the race, starting Wednesday, I increased my carbohydrate consumption from typical 300g/day to 300g+. Wasn’t tracking anything so it’s hard to say what the actual amount was.
I give preference to low glycemic, complex carbs. I like to have my foods simple and I get most of my carbs from:
Previously, for Ironman Marbella, I was carb loading with solely with oatmeal. It’s a great option, however due to the high fiber it’s not the best option for a day or two prior the race. This time I am loading with brown rice. I am hoping that low fiber content will make it easier on my GI and prevent digestion issues on the course.
A day before, on Friday afternoon suddenly felt really bad hunger. Ate a lot of rice, oatmeal and chicken.
Opening a can of peanut butter was a mistake. After I got a taste of it, I literally lost control… I ate the entire jar myself. (About 3000 Calories). I wasn’t tracking anything, however my curiosity took over and I threw in some numbers into MyFitnessPall to guesstimate the amount ate.
This is almost triple the amount of food I usually eat. Damn, I’m so full! I hope this extreme caloric excess will provide by body with the energy to unleash on the course tomorrow. Stopped eating at 6 pm, went on a 30-40 minute walk around the block. Planning to wake up at 4 am, which will give my body about 10 hours to digest all the peanut butter I ate 😅 I hope I won’t feel this full tomorrow morning.
Did not sleep well 😔 Had night sweats and woke up to the restroom 3-4 times. My usual resting heart rate went up from 40-41 to 55 bpm. Really bAD headache upon waking up.
Breakfast: Sweet potato (~300g) Oatmeal 50g 4 tbsp of peanut butter 1 tbsp of honey Banana Coffee
RACE VENUE: T1
T1 transition opened up from 5-6:15 am. I arrived at 5:30am and faced a huge line from cars. We were not moving at all. I heard one of volunteers saying that they’re already full and there are no parking spots left. Well, great! People were leaving their cars everywhere, on the side of the road, on the hills, anywhere they could find a spot. I was not an exception and left my car on the side on the road. I had 20 minutes left until transition is closed.
Clean transition. This means that you can not leave anything on the ground. All your bike gear has to be off the ground.
Walking down the isles of bikes with my wetsuit hanging over my shoulder I’ve been getting weird looks from other athletes. I a few minutes I realized why. My bike rack neighbor, when saw the suit on the ground, said: “Nice wetsuit, man! Is it legal to swim in suit?”
This is when I realized that NO ONE had a wetsuit , besides me 😆. Went back to the car to drop it off.
I was very disorganized. I couldn’t focus, I could think straight. I felt I was in some sort of mental fog 🌫 On top op it, since waking up this morning I had a REALLY BAD HEADACHE.
slow but enjoyable
Idiot brought a wetsuit.
My wave, 25-29 was starting 25 minutes after the official start. First, they let older folks get wet and slowly moved downtown to the younger athletes. Each wave was separated by one minute time.
10 minutes before the start had a half of Cliff Energy Gel.
Despite headache, felt ok through the swim. It was not as crazy as Marbella start and I found out that I was competing with only 42 athletes, my age group.
It was hard to sight. Because of waves and small size buyees. Another thing was the sun. Being a left side breather I was constantly blinded by the sun, zigzagging throughout the course.
There were a lot of space between athletes. Because of wise separation between age groupers, there were enough space for everyone to swim at the comfortable pace without getting kicked in the head or pulled by the feet.
The swim course was absolutely beautiful. The water was so crystal clear, that you could even the tiniest fish swinging around the corals on the bottom. Turtles foot steps could be seen on the white sand. I almost wanted to slow down, just to watch the wildlife.
The last turn, straight to the finish line, sun was hitting right in the face. Couldn’t see anything, so I was jut following other folks.
Exiting the water, you’ve got to run up the hill to T1. It was about 2 minutes run that would bring your HR up.
Approaching the bike, I had a volunteer by my side offering to hold transition bag and help to lift the bike. The young kid was really nice.
Headache is getting worse.
challenging but fast
At the *mandatory pre-race meeting, organizers made a big emphasis on drafting rules and penalties. At least 6 meters between front wheels. Two penalty tents on the course. Yellow card – 30 seconds, blue card – 60 seconds if I recall it correctly.
T1 was quick. No need to take the wetsuit off, just put your shoes, helmet, sunglasses on and fill your pockets with nutrition, previously prepared.
First 20 km flew by fast. It was a bit windy here and there, but nothing crazy. Approaching the hill is when the wind started to pick up. The higher we went, the stronger the wind blew. About 10 km to the top of this monster hill the wind was BRUTAL. Rocks and sand flew into my face. Along the route I’ve seen quite a few flats and respectively frustrated athletes. Unfortunately you can not prevent it, but you can prepare. “Every hill has a downhill”, I kept repeating in my mind and oddly enough this hill was not an exception. Halfway through the course, on top of the hill you turn around, grab your G2 and fly downhill. I felt I could use a higher gear ⚙️ but my cassette did not carry any. With gravity and wind working for you, not against, second part of the ride was definitely more fun and enjoyable.
Nutrition: Aid stations were offering Gatorade Endurance at each tent, so I planned to rely solely on it. Brought only one bottle of electrolyte solution, leaving the second bottle cage empty for G2. Also only aid station#3 had GI gels.
Planned to consume & Actually consumed:
Pretty close to what was planned. Sugar in Gatorade accounted for the rest. Also G2 endurance tastes good. I loved it.
Headache continued chasing me through the entire bike leg and followed into the run. I could feel the veins pumping on the sides of my head.
Quick Tip: in hot climates like this, solid foods most likely will melt. If you don’t want to drink your protein bar, pack gels or liquid sources instead.
hot and painful
REALLY-REALLY HOT🥵 is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the run part. Right the second I dismounted off the bike, sharp pain 9/10 hit me behind the left knee. I could not even walk…
“The race is over!”, flew through my mind. Somehow I limped up to my running bag and put on my gear. Again, volunteers were really helpful and helped me with my bike. Thank you!
First 5 km were painful to even step on the leg. However I felt a little bit better 30-40 minutes into the run and slightly picked up the pace.
We were running along the golf course, often on the grass. Wild goats were starring at people from the side of the road. They were more confused than us, having no idea what was going on.
Two loops with 7 aid stations on each. Gatorade, water, coke and ice. In addition there were ice sponges, GU gels, oranges and bananas. Very well organized and setup.
Planned & Consumed through the run:
Twice as much as planned.
15 km into the run, really fast and sharp pain hit my knee again 8/10. Ever since it never went away and rapidly increased to the point where I could not resist it anymore… I suffered each step I took. However I did not walk. I was slow, really slow, BUT I did not walk! and it took a lot.
Dropped my race belt, which I later lost. I also found it much more painful to run downhills rather than uphills.
Suffering was real, especially for the last 5 km.
“It’s all good mental training Sasha!!!”, I keep repeating in my head. My mind crossed the finish line, not the body.
Total consumed through the race:
According to carb consumption formula (0.33 x body weight (150 lbs)) x 5 hr 40 min = 277 grams of carbs were required to cover energy expenditures.
Looks like I’ve done a pretty good job with my fueling and it’s almost gram to gram precisely close to what formula suggests.
I tend to binge eat the night before race. I don’t repeat such behavior during regular days. Could be due to stress and anxiety, could be out of fear of coming into the race under fueled and bonking, could be because of deeper psychological issues I am not aware of.
Overeating before bed will not fuel up your glycogen stores, but will compromise your night sleep. You will wake up exhausted and feeling like crap.
Do your homework and carefully research on race rules, requirements and regulations. Failing to do good research made me bring the wetsuit into the event where it was not permitted.
Rice and sweet potatoes are better alternatives to oatmeal for pre-race meal. Consuming low-fibrous foods reduce the chance of GI distress during the race.
Gatorade Endurance G2 is a great hydration tool. If possible, use it in the next race or hard training.
Some gels can cause your liver to spasm. Don’t experiment with unfamiliar fuel on the course. If got a spasm, deep balled breathing: in through the nose, out through the mouth.
Absolutely gorgeous race course!
This is definitely the race to remember and experience worth all the money I payed.
I did not perform as I wanted to. I suffered a lot.
I trained my mind. I experienced 50 shades of pain and will be more appreciative of pain free body.
I enjoyed the race!
I’ve been there, I’ve seen the fish and felt the warm water on my skin. I smelled the melting road and enjoyed the cool breeze of salty air on my sweaty face.
I put my all, physical and mental. It’s all that matters.
Special thanks to Volunteers along the course! You guys were EXTREMELY NICE AND HELPFUL! You were one of the highlights of my experience.
REPEAT AFTER ME:
You are doing triathlons because YOU CHOSE TO, not because you have to. Don’t forget that!
You do it FOR YOURSELF, no one gives a f*ck. Don’t forget that!
NO ONE FORCES you to train every damn day. No one, besides your ego or whatever motivation you have.
You can quit anytime you want. No one gives a fuck!
It’s your life, it’s your decisions. Don’t forget that!
There are so many ways to loose weigh: fast & slow, simple and overly complicated, cool and “sexy” & long, boring… People find motivation from all sorts of things and reasons that are uniquely different for each individual. We are not going to explore the infinite world of weigh loss psychology, dietary restrictions or any other topics of such matter in this chapter.
Being an athlete, you are motivated more by performance rather than just the looks. It’s obvious, the lighter athlete is, the less weigh to carry, especially in sports like cycling or running. The ideal weight is the weight, where you perform at you best, WHILE staying healthy. “Race weight” is not to be kept year round and achieved only for short periods of time during competition season or major athletic events.
In this post you will find the information with real life examples to teach you simple and basic approach to a short-term weigh cut. This technique is slightly adjusted to meet demands of high energy expenditures of endurance training, however it can also be adopted by non-athletic population.
This example uses 150 lbs athlete who tries to loose few kilos to meet his/hers ideal race weight prior to major competition.
Starting Weight: 68 kg Goal Weight: 65 kg Time: 3 weeks Loss Rate: 1 kg/week
1. Determine your Energy Intake
First of all, you need to determine what’s your current energy intake level or “maintenance level”. To do so, you will record everything that goes into your mouth for one-two weeks. There are numerous phone apps and online calculators that will allow to pull up foods nutrition data and estimate energy equivalent of the foods you eat. You need to have a very good idea of how much you eat on a daily and weekly basis. Below is example of 150 lbs athlete daily energy intake:
Such energy intake allows this athlete to maintain his current weight with current level of activity. Multiply by 7 and get the following number:
Weekly Calorie Intake : 21,042 Calories
IMPORTANT NOTE: Calories consumed during exercising (sports nutrition, energy bars, gels, chews, isotonic drinks etc) are not to be included in energy intake calculations.
2. Determine you Energy Expenditure
Now that you have a good idea of how much you eat in terms of numbers, next step is to calculate how much energy you expand. Modern fitness trackers, such as FitBit, Garmin, Apple Watch etc. allow you to guesstimate your energy expenditures during your trainings. Keep in mind that this number is far from being precise, however is used consistently it will allow you to get a general idea of what your body expands and have a rough number of calories used to fuel your trainings.
The example below used Garmin Fenix 5 watch and Garmin Connect App to determine energy expenditure:
Average Weekly Expenditure: ~20,500 Calories
Because the athlete consumes about the same amount of energy as what he expands, he is able to maintain his current body weight. To loose weight he needs to create energy deficit.
3. Create Appropriate Deficit
It is estimated that 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat. Therefore we can make an assumption that you need to burn about 3,500 caloriesto lose 1 pound. We also assume that cutting about 500 – 1,000 calories a day from your maintenance level, will make you lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week. Sounds simple, isn’t it?
Below is example of adjusted energy intake with a goal of loosing 2 kg of body weight in three weeks.
Adjusted Daily Macronutrient & Caloric Intake:
Because of very active lifestyle and a lot of aerobic type training, given athlete needs to make sure he maintains proper glycogen stores in muscles and more importantly – in liver. The goal here is to keep eating as many carbohydrates as possible, while loosing weight. Therefore fats – is the first macronutrient that will need the adjustment.
Healthy fats are really important for proper body function and hormonal health. About 10 years ago a healthy fat intake was suggested to be 1/2g per 1 kg of body weight. This is when “fat free” products became popular. Modern guidelines suggest the minimal fat intake to be around 1g/kg of body weight. For 150 lbs athlete, minimal dietary fate intake should be no less than 70g of dietary fats per day. It is really important not to go below the minimal amount as it can harm your hormonal health!
Healthy protein intake for active people is suggested to not exceed 2-2.5g/kg or 1g/lb of body weight per day. For the athlete with weigh of 150 lbs (70 kg) its 150 g of protein per day.
The rest, half of your calories, will be coming from carbohydrates. Again, such high carbohydrate intake is necessary to fuel athlete’s trainings. Ideally carbohydrates will be coming from complex and low glycemic load sources. This is necessary to keep blood sugar within healthy levels.
Energy deficit of 576 Calories/day made our athlete loose 3 kg in one week. Not all the weight loss came from fat, partially it’s a water weight. Anyways he reached his “ideal race weigh” three times faster than expected. This is a very rapid weight loss, not ideal scenario for long term health and performance. Such fast results could also have an impact on nervous system, making the person apathetic, demotivated to exercise and pessimistic about life in general. In case if you loose more than 1 kg a week, you might want to slightly bump your daily energy intake by 100 calories. This will not stop the weight loss, but it will make it healthier and more sustainable in long run.
Below are few examples of complete meals designed to fuel athlete’s body post-workout with weight loss goal in mind. These meals come from organic and “clean” foods and contain proper amounts of macronutrients to fuel athlete’s body post exercise activity.
More detailed nutritional guidelines to proper fueling, types of foods and timing discussed in section solely dedicated to Sports Nutrition.
On May 19th I am doing the SPARTAN race near Montreal, Quebec. A day before, I’ve got scheduled a long bike ride which I planned to do in Mont Tremblant. Why there? This is where one of the most popular IRONMAN races take place in June. I am not doing that particular race, but since I’m in Quebec, it’s a great opportunity to ride along the bike course. Mont Tremblant bike course (100 km).
Arrived to the Mont Tremblant at 8 am. Had no specific agenda for the ride. The only plan I had is that the ride had to be no longer than 3.5 hours. Studied the map, packed the pockets with protein bars and headed out on the course by myself.
Leaving the parking lot I noticed two guys with fancy TREK bikes, getting ready to head out. I started the conversation by asking if they’re going to ride to IRONMAN course and what should I be aware of, going into such a long ride.
I learned that they came to Mont Tremblant for a training camp. And they, along with the group of other athletes are going to ride the full course. They also said that the group will be heading out in an hour and invited me to join them for the ride. I was hesitant to agree for two reasons:
I haven’t payed for the training camp;
One hour wait seemed like forever.
However since I haven’t done the course before and wasn’t familiar with it I decided it will be a good idea to follow the group so I don’t get lost and it’s always more fun to ride together. I agreed to wait and I am glad I did.
One hour later I met the rest of the team on the main square. There were about 20-30 athletes all excited and ready to roll. Everyone seemed to be talking French – the foreign language to me. I introduced myself to the coaches and asked for permission to join on which I got a positive response. Great!
Athletes were really nice and welcomed me into the group. I met a lot of cool guys and made new connections. Thank you for being so nice and accepting a random guy off the street to your group.
At the beginning I got assigned to the slower group, however after the first 10 km I was suggested that I go ahead with 3 other faster riders. Christopher and me went ahead and were cycling side by side for the most of the time. Two other guys couldn’t keep up so we just dropped them. Sorry folks =)
At the beginning I was worried it will take me much longer than 3:15 hr, but now I am really surprised to see how perfectly the time aligned.
How me being here at that exact time, that exact parking lot allowed me to meet all this people and cycle with the group for free. WOW!
It took me 3hr 16 minutes to do the full IRONMAN course. Have no idea of how good or bad, slow or fast this is. Moreover I don’t give a crap.
The question that matter is: Did you ENJOY THE RIDE? Yes I did!
Could I’ve done it faster? You bet I could, but this was not the day and time to give my all. Hawaii 70.3 will give me the chance to push the pedal to the metal.
We had a support vehicle and a mid way fueling station with bananas, oranges, Gatorade and this “Fruit” bar:
They are 25g pure sugar in a form of jelly worth of 100 calories. I loved it. And what a boost I felt after just taking one. Felt the warmth in my stomach and the power in my already pretty fatigued legs. Rocket Fuel! Unbelievable!
Note: Don’t be afraid of sugar while racing or training.
Fuel: 145g Carbs 30g Protein 21g Fat Total: 822 Calories
I don’t think I am consuming enough calories.
The nature at Mont Tremblant is so beautiful! Woods, lakes, mountains… Being an outdoorsy guy, I can’t stop enjoying the scenery along the course.
There are IRONMAN signs along the course, which makes it easy to follow and not get lost. They look like this:
It was a great ride! A challenging one.
Training 95% solo I made a new discovery and learned the lesson: it’s much safer and enjoyable to ride in a group of like-minded people.
Since the Paris marathon which I did on January 6th this year I decided to focus entirely on triathlons. Despite my coach’s concerns in regards to racing frequency, I set myself ambitious goal to do 5 IRONMAN Races this year. Four of them are 70.3 and one full distance, to close the season.
4 months I’ve been training specifically for the first race of the season – IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella. It’s also my very first IRONMAN Race.
Pre race 1-2 days:
This crazy trip didn’t allow me properly eat prior to the race. However I am really happy that I was thoughtful enough to bring three lunch boxes with food. No problems with security checks at the airports. Just make sure there is no meat and it’s secure in transparent container.
Night before the race I went nuts and really overate going to bed stuffed like a pig. The reason of such overeating is partially due to my exhaustion from the trip. It was really, really stressful and I used the food to comfort myself. Guilty of that.
I had a lot of oatmeal (250-300g) + 1/2 cantaloupe +3 bananas + 2 sweet potatoes. 1 scoop of protein and some BCAAs to sprinkle onto the oats. Listening to my friend’s suggestion, I totally eliminated any sort of meat or fish.
Oatmeal before the race is a good choice. You can find it at any grocery store around the world. I actually like the way it tastes. It doesn’t spike your blood sugar; slow burning carbs. It fuels you with glycogen and does not cause diarrhea or any GI problems. The only issue I see with it is that because of high fiber concentration it takes a while to leave the body. Don’t eat too much of it right before the race or exercise.
Try not to overeat, especially before the bed, especially the night before the race.
Have a gel 10-15 minutes before the swim.
Take at least 2-3 lunch boxes with you on a trip. Plane and airport foods are horrible. You will thank yourself later.
Don’t leave your nutrition in transition area, you will have access to it in the morning. You can then throw all extra stuff into transition bags and setup bike water bottles.
Coke might cause the liver to spasm. Drink, but be careful. Not a bad choice for the last 5 km.
15 Minutes before the swim found 1 gel laying on the sand. Ate it =)
Overall pretty happy with the swim.
Right from the beginning felt strong, however remembered Renee’s guidelines and pulled myself back from going too hard.
The crowd was crazy. Got hit in the head 3-4 times. Some people were literally pulling me back by the ankles. Drank a bit of salty water, however didn’t panic and stayed calm throughout the entire swim. Didn’t sight at all on the beginning, however began to close to the end. The ocean was cold, so my feet almost cramped 2-3 times… reduced kicking, focused more on a stroke. I found it to be really hard to keep good technique in such crazy environment.
Came out of water feeling strong. Got pleasantly surprised with the time. No dizziness or fatigue.
Don’t swim in the middle, stick to one of the outer sides.
Blue Nike googles are good, don’t switch them. Wear them under the swim cap.
Have a gel 10-15 minutes before.
Don’t underestimate your swim time and instead of 40, go into 30 minutes swim wave.
If the water is cold – less kicking, so you don’t cramp.
The course was absolutely amazing. Views from the top are outstanding.
A lot of climbing. A LOT. In addition, strong head facing and side winds made the bike part a real challenge.
Dropped one of my water bottles right on the beginning. I was surprised of myself that didn’t get upset or mad and simply let it go a second later. In fact, loosing a bottle was not such a bad thing. Isotonic drinks at the aid stations were pretty good and I had an empty bottle holder to carry them in. Also they didn’t taste like they had any calories in them.
Found myself being pretty good climbing the hills. I was rarely passed while going up, however I felt like I could’ve used a higher gear on the downhills and flat segments. Fighting the hills I was constantly passing guys on fancy aero bikes, catching their eyes on me. However when the downhill time came they would fly by, leaving me in th dust.
I didn’t eat as much as planned, however it didn’t affect the performance. I stopped once just to pee. I also saw some guys pee on a bike, right in front of me. Because of the winds urine would fly right on the people behind. Disgusting.
Last 20 km were really fast, all downhill. Trying to be as aero as possible I was even passing folks of carbon bikes. Strong side winds and sharp turns made it pretty dangerous to ride at such high speeds. By the end of the ride I felt pretty fatigued, however not too much.
Expensive, carbon/aero bikes are worthless on a hilly course. Hold on to buying a new bike.
Take only one bottle on the bike. Keep the room for on course hydration.
Adjust the speeds on your bike so you can switch the highest gear.
Wear the race belt right away, underneath the wetsuit. Less hustle putting it on while transitioning into the run.
Bike position felt good. No need to change anything.
Right off the bike felt a bit dizzy.
First 5-7 km were a struggle. Wasn’t feeling strong and the distance ahead of me set the fascination in my mind. I did not feel like I could do it.
I was surprised that I didn’t have any GI problems up until half way through. Even when I did stop to use the bathroom, it wasn’t bad. It’s just the amount of food I ate days prior. Right after the bathroom use, the second breath opened up. I felt stronger and wasn’t struggling that much anymore. In fact 30-40 minutes into the run is when I began feeling better. Remaining half of the run I got to truly enjoy it. Loved it! Towards the end had some liver spasms, but nothing too painful.
Increased my pace for the last 4-5 km. Finished strong.
The course along the beach was fantastic. It was really, really cool and I got a lot of joy running through it.
Right off the bike you might feel dizzy. That’s normal.
First 30-40 minutes you will feel like crap. Push through, you will feel better as the time goes on. Focus on technique and pace. Visualize the finish and appreciate a chance to do what you do and to be where you are.
Update (May 13):
I’ve had some time to think and this are the thoughts & conclusions I came up with…
Is it so much about the race and accomplishment or about the experience? Is it about the medal 🏅 or the person you’ve become to get the medal?
It’s about the lifestyle you’ve created to achieve your goal.
Training for triathlon makes me better not just in one but three spots: swimming, running and cycling. What other sport develops the athletes so broadly? How about the mental training I get during the process? How about invaluable lessons I learn from this sport that applicable to my work, business, life and relationships? Only so many people gained access to this knowledge and you can connect with them through the sport.
I know I won’t be doing triathlons for the rest of my life. However, when I decide no longer continue with the sport I will have a solid foundation of endurance, strength and health to bring into another pursuits I will choose to follow in future. Just think of all the adventures you can go on with your skills and fitness. You can follow a swimming path, and challenge yourself to do a cross lakes swimming or something that makes you excited.
You can go on multi days or weeks of ultra endurance running trough the beautiful forests of Canada or USA. You’ve got cycling fitness that will allow you to become professional cyclist or go on a crazy adventurous cycling trip across the state or country.
Essentially, triathlon opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for me. It give me options to choose from.
You are doing triathlons because YOU CHOSE TO, not because you have to. Don’t forget that.
No one forces you to train every damn day. No one, besides your ego or whatever motivation you have. You do it because you chose to do it.
You can quit anytime you want. No one gives a fuck!
It’s your life, it’s your decisions. Don’t forget that!
A brick workout is any workout that combines swimming, biking and/or running into a single session. The most common example is the bike to run brick, where you go for a run immediately after finishing a bike ride.
Today I pushed myself above my physical limits. Today my mind won over my body, forcing me give everything I had. It’s all good Mental Training. IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella
Warm-up: 15 min easy
Main set: 3.5 hours @ 200 watts At the top of every hour, ride x 10 mins @ 275 watts with 3.5 min easy riding after each interval.
Cool-down: 15 min easy
Using the sweat rate and fueling data I’ve collected over the past few weeks My strategy is following:
Goal: Prevent loosing more than 3% of weight through the fluid loss. In my case 68 kg (150 lb) = 2.1 kg
As I recently found out, Lionel Sanders has exactly same Sweat Rate as I do. We both sweat at approximately 1400 mL/hour. Another question is how much sodium each looses?
Sweat Rate (SR): ~1400 mL/h Liquids Required: Exercise Duration x SR = 4 hr * 1400 = 5600 mL x 1.06 (to convert in grams) = 5936 g Carbohydrates Required: (X g carbs / 5936 g) x 100%; X = 5936 x 0.05 = 296.8 g (5% Solution) Sodium Requirements: 0.5 x 5.936 = 2968 mg
Gatorade G2 (591 mL) x 5 bottles = 2955 mLx 1.06 = 3132 g Bio Steel (500 mL) + Karma (532 mL) = 1032 mL Coke x 2 (355 mL) = 710 mL Aloe crap = 500 mL Smoothie = 450 mL Sodium: 1685 mg Carbohydrates: 231 g (890 calories) Total volume: 5647 mL x 1.06 = 5986 g
Pre-Exercise: 30 min Before
As usual workout is done early at 6 AM. After the night fast.
Two bananas + cup of coffee. That’s it
50 g of Carbs = 192 calories
Formula: Low End: 0.25 x 150 = 37.5 g/h x 4 hr = 150 g High End: 0.33 x 150 = 49.4 g/h x 4 hr = 198 g
Fueling & Bonking Calculator
Calculator suggests I take in 60 g/h x 4 h = 240 g of carbs It also predicts the calories burnt (from fat and glycogen), distance covered and training stress score (TSS). Let’s see how close those predictions are…
As I mentioned before, I would like to experiment with liquid sources of carbs, so here we go. When thinking about sugar, the first thing that comes to mind is Coke. In addition I threw in a smoothie or “natural” juice plus “Dena Aloe” drink. All the carbs are coming from liquid sources today.
Taking peppermint TUMS prior to hard efforts to decrease stomach irritation and diarrhea. Here’s how TUMS may help with your symptoms: – Calcium works with the neuromuscular contractions and muscle metabolism – Carbonate helps to coat the intestinal cells, reducing endotoxin release and the ensuing symptoms – Peppermint is a homeopathic remedy for GI disturbances
Pre-Weight: 68.1 kg Post-Weight: 69.5 kg Liquids Consumed: 5647 mL (5986 g) Weight Lost: 4.6 kg Sweat Rate: 1080 g/hr
Weight Loss: 6.6 % body weight
Bad job Sasha! That’s waaay too much…
First hour felt ok holding 200 watts, however I sensed something’s not quite right, wasn’t feeling particularly strong. Shortly I understood why…
10 x 3 at 275 Watts Intervals:
F*ck it hurts! Can’t hold 275 Watts going down 10w. Lasted 6 minutes, dropped down to 260 W.
Lasted for about 2 minutes, then – BONK. Dammit I can’t believe it, again. Couldn’t hold 275 W any longer, gradually reducing power… Went down to 240 W – it’s the maximum I can squeeze out of my body right now. SO MAD! I am not going to give up! Slowly increasing wattage… Last two minutes of the interval ramping up to 260 Watts. F*CK IT HURTS! HR stays low. 2 hours to go… not sure if I can do it. I might just drop out right here. No sense to continue after I hit the wall.
I continue. It is no longer physical training – now it’s a mental training. Let’s see how far can I push myself mentally.
Suddenly after I opened the second can of Coke I felt that strengths comes back. I thought, once you bonked, there is no way out of it… Jogging down on soda. Feeling stronger.
Held 276 W for the entire duration of the interval!!! So damn HAPPY and PROUD of myself! I pushed above my limits here. My mind won over my body. Sweat is so acidic, and it burns my eyes. My legs are hurting like bitch. It took me enormous amount of effort to push through. I left nothing in me…
My legs are numb and heavy. Really hard to keep up with that pace.
Distance Covered: 170 KM: 168 on bike + 2 by feet Time Elapsed: 4 hours 15 minutes Energy Expanded: 3106 Calories
I am not eating enough. With my current load I need to be eating more carbohydrates.
I prefer taking in solid carbohydrates, instead of liquid.
You CAN get out of bonking hole. It took me 2 cans of Coke (90 g of sugar). However don’t expect your performance to be the best.
Even consuming the right volume of fluids, I finished seriously dehydrated. Probably due to the low glycogen stores, as it holds the water in the body.
Fueling & Bonking Calculator suggested that I am in the very high risk of bonking. How right it was!
Sanders has very similar sweat rate. I might look into his sodium loss to guesstimate mine.
What will I do Differently?
Increase caloric intake few days before big training session. Make emphasis on carbs!