December 22, 2008

plan to survive

Saturday night I was going in to work. I work at night. Before I left for work I pulled my road bike in the house & prepared it for my ride to church in the morning. I had to get my bike prepped before I left for work because by the time I get home at 6:15 am I only have 15 minutes to get on the road . If I get on the road any later than 6:30 am I'd be late to church.

Sunday morning as soon as I got home I threw on my cold weather riding gear, filled up the tires with air & went on my way. The temp at the start of my ride was 20 degrees. I had on my Gore-Tex cycling gloves, which unfortunately does not keep my hands warm in temps under 30 degrees like they claimed. So I put a thick pair of wool socks on top of the gloves. My hands were still very cold on the ride. But hey, if I don't mind it don't matter.

On my feet I had on a pair of socks, a grocery bag on top of the socks, my cycling shoes, another grocery bag, & lastly a pair of cold weather booties (my cold weather boots were to small so I returned them to Performance bike). My feet felt great the first 2 hrs of the ride, but since the grocery bags don't allow the sweat from my feet to escape, after 2 hrs my socks were soaked which made for feet that felt like blocks of ice. Made for a miserable last 1hr 20 minutes.

As I had said, I pumped up my tires in doors & my bike had been indoors all night. This created a problem. The temps in my house was just shy of 70 degrees, the temp outside was 20 degrees. Its common knowledge that air expands when it warms, & the opposite happens when the air gets cold. When the air in my tires went from the 70 degree temps & 120 psi, to the 20 degree temps outside the air pressure gradually decreased. It decreased a lot! So much so that the rolling resistance went up dramatically! Within an hour of riding I was struggling to keep up a speed of 11 miles per hour on the flats where I'd normally keep up over a 16 mph speed rather easily.

The other part of the ride that I struggled with was staying hydrated. My water bottles froze. Kind of hard to drink Gatorade when it is in the solid form. I know, sounds horrible. & although my decreased speeds & thirst were frustrating, I had a blast! This ride was very uncomfortable, perhaps even dangerous. But not my worst days training condition by far. My most uncomfortable day of training was 2 years ago when I went for a 45 minute run in 4 degree temps with the wind-chill it was negative 11 degrees. When I got back from my run my stomach & the top of my head were a purple-blue & completely numb to the touch. I was in beginning stages of frost bite.

Why train in such harsh conditions? Simply put I want to live. I have the will to survive. The will to fight through situations others wouldn't even think of being in. The drive to not give up when most people would curl up into a ball & hope for mercy is not accidental. It is a mindset. The will to fight is not something people are born with. It's something that has to be harvested. It takes conscious mental training. After 13.5 years of working at the penitentiary I have learned what it takes to live. It takes mindset to survive no matter what the conditions are.

There was a case in California where a teenage kid was shot in the bicep by the cops. It was just a grazing shot. Not at all life threatening. The police told the kid out of spite, knowing it to be untrue, "I don't think your going to make it kid." The teenager died right there. The kid wasn't mentally prepared to fight for life. He heard something he wasn't expecting. He gave up.

There's been numerous times where I've seen inmates stabbed. But they rarely die. I've seen first hand where inmates were stabbed 20-30 times, & they lived. One time in particular an inmate was stabbed over 45 times with a rusted nail in the the face, eyes, neck, & chest. In less than a week he was out of the hospital & back in his cell. Why can they live getting stabbed numerous times, but an average Joe on the streets dies from one or 2 minor stab wounds? Mindset, inmates expect it to happen & are mentally prepared to fight & survive. Most people hope bad things don't happen. When something traumatic happens they go into shock. Shock is more than a physical condition. It has to do with a persons mindset. Along with the physical trauma, shock is determined also by how prepared you are mentally when your put into a position to fight or give up.

How often do you hear of a person curling up in a ball when they start getting beat up. Why did they curl into a ball, stop fighting & hope their attackers compassion saves them? Mindset. They should know they're going to take punishment once they go down to the ground. The attacker will start kicking & stomping them, regardless of whether they curl into a ball or if they roll onto their back & try to kick the aggressors knee caps through the back of their legs. So why roll into a submissive position & give up all hope? Mindset.

Giving up is more than just becoming submissive. Giving up effects the body in ways the average guy could never know. Why does one person fight through & beat a cancer that Dr.'s gave a slim chance of beating & a person who is healthy dies shortly after their spouse passes away? Mindset. You are either prepared to survive or willing to die. There's no in-between.

I have learned to constantly imagine myself in certain situations & think how I will respond. If an inmate jumps me & I'm suddenly in a fight for my life that I was not expecting to be in what will I do? I constantly go through that situation in my head. What will I do if he has a knife? If I get stabbed? If someone comes after me in front of my family on the streets? What will I do? I mentally train myself to fight with every ounce of strength I have in me until I win. No other option. Until I win. There's no surrender or submission. There's no shock, only attack back. Fight! I will use my fear, my strength, aggression, my love, or my anger at being in that situation. I'll strike with my fists, swing my radio like a ball & chain, I'll stab with my pen, gouge eyes, break knees, crush wind pipes, what ever it takes to come out that situation the victor. I train myself mentally to be prepared to win by ANY MEANS. & I've prepared myself to keep fighting no matter what kind of damage I sustain. I'll make them realize they are no longer the hunter. That person WILL think to themselves & very quickly, "oh crap, what have I gotten myself into. I don't think this was a good idea." I train myself to continue the fight for life even after the conflict is over. The fight for life doesn't end with the conflict. The fight continues all the way until I'm completely healed from whatever damage I sustained.

I never allow myself to think, "I'll react this way- but I hope it never happens." I have learned to expect it WILL happen. & when it does I will respond with overwhelming force & determination. & there's no situation I haven't already thought of & put myself through in my head over & over again

Before I married my wife I took freezing cold showers before work to put myself in an uncomfortable situation. To start a certain mindset. Daily I cultivated a mental toughness & will power to over come & expect uncomfortable situations. Now, I take warn showers, just in case your wondering.

A few years ago I went to go on a bike ride & it ended up getting very cold very unexpectedly. It was a miserable ride. I got home & sat in the bath tub filled with warm water trying to stop shaking & attempting to regain the feeling in my hands & feet. It hit me then that I could use triathlon training as a tool to build even more of my will to fight & survive. The will to fight through situations where most people wouldn't even have attempted. Winter is the best time to combine triathlon & building mental toughness. From here on out as long as the roads are dry, I will continue to ride the 40 miles one way to church on my bike this winter. But from now on I will remember to leave my bike outside in the shed & in the cold. I'll also pump up the tires outdoors in the cold. I'm training my mind to be tough yes, but not at the expense of speed!

Thanks for tuning in. I'm out.


Duane said...

Well after reading that I'm ready for the hot tub! :-)

skoshi said...

Whew! With mind set like that Cody-you could do anything!!

Duane said...

Merry Christmas!