Monday, December 31, 2012

#28 Complete a Full Marathon

    Sometimes I see things on this list and I think to myself, dude...are you nuts? Why in the world would someone subject themselves to such torturous things? Well this most recent check off was no exception to said questions. At the end of 2011 I looked around and noticed how unhealthy I was. I had gained 35 pounds since I got married just three years earlier, I hardly ever exercised and when I did I always quit due to a cold or some other pansy excuse. I decided that this was no way to spend the rest of my life.One thing that Dave Ramsey (a popular financial author) always says is "the good news is, if you're the problem, you're also the solution." When I read that quote I decided that he was right. I didn't need to settle to live in a manner in which I was a victim of my daily habits, I could rise above it and accomplish something extraordinary. It's kind of a lengthy story but it changed my life.......

     I started by sitting down and thinking about things that I could work for and one that kept coming to mind was doing a marathon. If there is anything that I hate doing more in this world, it's running. It is so boring and so isolating and is just not something I was ever good at. I decided that this would be something extremely difficult to accomplish but something definitely worth doing, and so I set up my plan. There was no way in heck that I was going to be able to run 26.2 miles with all my excess fat. I needed to set up a work out plan that would optimize my goals and help me to reach this mountainous goal. (side note) One of my favorite shows on TV is extreme make over, weight loss edition. This program is a documentary of a trainer, Chris Powell, helping transform individuals suffering from being over weight to much healthier lives. What I love about it the most is that it's not just about getting skinny and then rebounding. It's about helping that person understand the benefits from being healthy. Chris actually moves in with these clients on the show and helps them transform their lives over the period of one year. One episode I watched had Chris talking to a client who had a goal to lose 250 pounds in one year. Chris said to the client, "losing 250 pounds in one year is impossible, or is it?" That got me thinking, and came to the conclusion that it's not impossible to lose weight and I was going to follow Chris's format and do it.
       On the show Chris breaks the year up into sections and gives the specific client a goal to hit at the end of every section. In my case, I broke the year up into 4 parts or quarters. Each quarter would be 3 months and at the end of every quarter there would be a weight loss goal as well as a personal fitness accomplishment. It looked a lil somethin like this......

Beginning Weight = 195
Beginning Waist = 36"

Beginning Bench Press = 110 lbs
Goal to reach overall= 160 (loss of 35 pounds)
1 quarter = lose 15 pounds (180) and finish P90X
2nd quarter = lose 12 pounds (167) and start doing crossfit
3rd quarter = lose 5 pounds (162) and complete a 50 mile bike race
4th quarter = lose 2 pounds (160) and complete marathon

     When I first sat down and surveyed the landscape of what a huge thing I was taking on I got pretty overwhelmed. I mean, on purpose I had never lost more than 5 pounds before in my life let alone ran farther than 3 miles. Throughout the year I came to know myself a lot more than I had ever known before. I came to  struggle with mental discouragement. I hit so many plateaus and came to question my whole goal and came pretty close to giving up. However, I was determined to never give up. I took a Nutrition class at UNLV and came to understand my enemy, food. I quickly came to understand why I had ballooned up to the point I had gotten to. An individual cannot live on a 4,000 cal a day diet with little exercise without expecting to gain weight. All of the extra large combos, biggie sizes and calorie heavy midnight snacks added up over time and totally destroyed my body. No more of this was allowed. I tamed the beast and figured out exactly how much to eat and what to eat every day to make the pounds start coming off and they did. I started keeping track of everything I ate on my 'Loseit' app on my iphone. This ultimately helped me figure things out. There is a reason every weight loss website tells you to write a food journal and keep track of everything you eat, it just works. After about a month of working with this, things finally started to click and the pounds started to come off. The scale started to be my friend and I began to conquer my bad habits every day. As each quarter came and went I hit my goals and I can't even begin to express how awesome it was to finally have some success.

    About half way through the year I began to train to do a marathon. I called my brother up who had done cross country in high school and asked him for tips. He set me up with a running schedule that helped a ton. I ran 3 times a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, for 12 weeks. Tuesday and Thursday were considered my short runs and every Saturday I did a long run. With every progressing week and month each run got longer and longer until eventually I felt confident that I could tackle the 26.2 miles of a marathon with little to no problem. This whole process was tough. It's never easy to give up so much of one's time to dedicate it to something like this, especially on the long runs. Every Saturday I was gone for 2-3 hours just out running. The great thing after a while though was that it got easier. My lung capacity grew and I began to enjoy running. Sure there were a few set backs like a stress fracture in my foot and shin splints like you wouldn't even believe, but overall it was great to again see that I could tackle this goal no matter what.

    After many months, I had hit all of my weight loss goals and the day of my big race finally came. Months previously I had signed up for THE BIG FREE MARATHON in Las Vegas. It's kind of a cool concept that I should give a plug to while I'm writing about it. Normally marathons have a huge (well huge to me) entry fee like $100 per runner or something like that. With this new concept of race, you pay a $50 entry fee and then as soon as you cross the finish line they refund your credit card and ultimately makes your participation in the race free. Free is always good. Anyway, back to where I was....the day of the big race. To say I was nervous was a huge understatement. I had never participated in something to this scale before. I got to the race at 4:45 in the morning and there were thousands of people there. My dad came out to the finish line and hooked me up with a hydration belt to wear throughout the race #lifesaver.

    When time came to start the race they asked everyone who was planning to run a 5-6 min mile to start first. I figured no way would I be able to do that but hey why not start first? I hopped up to the front of the line and the race began. Immediately afterward people were passing me like crazy but I had read somewhere to just run your own race and tune out the racers around you. As each mile passed I tried to stay as hydrated as I could. I kept about a 8 min mile pace and high fived my dad at the first few pit stops that he drove to to take video for me. When I got to the 9 mile mark things got tough. The hills got higher and higher and I had thought I had trained enough for them, not true. I eventually got to the hardest part of the race, 22 miles. It's hard to explain what happened at this point. Never in my life have I experienced so much pain.

    I got to 22 miles and my legs stiffened up and began to cramp so much so that I had to sit down, then walk 10 feet, then sit down again. Many times I thought to know, you could turn around right now and no one would know. Crazy how temptation hits you like that.I didn't succumb though, I conquered the pain. I finally got to the last three miles and it was weird, my legs were totally fine out of no where. I then figured, sweet....3 miles ain't nothin now. Little did I know that my chest and lungs thought otherwise. It became extremely hard to breathe all of a sudden. What the heck, my entire freaking body was shutting down. I became pretty emotional at this point....I know right, what a girl. Seriously though, it was just so ridiculous but I was going to FINISH come death or whatever was around the corner. Luckily the only thing around the corner was the finish line. There was about 100 yards of open land at the end of the race for the finish. I was all alone giving everything I had left to cross that line.

    They announced my name as I crossed the line and oh man what a moment that was. I had done it. I had actually done it. Danielle, Laila (in Danielle's belly) and my Mom were there to support at the line. It was so surreal to finally have finished what I set out to do a year ago. Amazing. I spent the rest of the day with family and recovering.


     There are few things on this list that will be as hard as this one was to cross off. But ya know what, after this year, anything is possible. I can truly accomplish anything and am so grateful for the people who help me to do so. I encourage anyone who is currently in a similar spot that I was in a year ago to choose to better your life. You can do it. It sucks, it truly does...but you will never regret it. Trust me, you a year from now will have wished that you had started today. I am grateful for a loving family, an iphone that helped me every step of the way and for Chris Powell for giving me the motivation to start this whole crazy thing.

So at the end of all things here are some fun stats from this year....
Ending Weight = 160
Waist = 32"
Bench Press = 210 lbs

Experience this whole story with me in the video below......


Monday, September 10, 2012

#50 Ride in a 50 mile Bike Race

One of the greatest things about having this bucket list idea is that I get to go out and experience new things that I have never tried before. I get to push myself to new limits as I try to reach goals that I set for myself and then tell you all about it. This past week I marked off another thing on my list as I competed in the annual bike race called "Pedal to the Medal." It is a race to benefit the athletes in the local special olympics. My dad is recently very big into bike racing. He and his road bike have reached goals and destinations that I only dare travel by car. A few weeks ago he asked me if I wanted to participate in the Pedal to the Medal race. Though I only have a mountain bike and don't have any prior racing experience on wheels I told him I'd join him. He gave me fair warning that this race was shorter than the usual races he participates in but to make up for the shorter distance there was going to be a massive hill climb. I figured no sweat, I can do anything. I learned that it would be a bit harder than I previously imagined.
 My dad picked me up early in the morning on the Saturday of the race. We got to the starting line just in time and started at the front of the pack. As the race started off I did okay and only got passed by a few people. Eventually though I found myself alone and pushin to get to the hill climb. I would say I was crusin at about 10 mph and feeling great. However, as soon as I hit the hill climb I came to find out what endurance really means. The climb didn't start off too bad and was pretty gradual but as soon as I got out of the valley and into the mountainside it became utterly ridiculous. I honestly have never pushed myself to that kind of physical exhaustion before. It was a good thing that I kept myself hydrated and downin 100 calorie packs because there seriously was no end to that stinkin climb. It was a beast. Eventually I found my way to the half way mark of the race. My dad got into the pit stop just a few seconds behind me. While we rehydrated and got ready for our descent I was talking with an older woman racing. She told me that last year she felt so stupid because she had done this race on a mountain bike. She went on and on about how dumb she was for doing that. I quickly chimed in that I indeed had done the race on a mountain bike. I felt sheepish as she told me I must be dumb too. I had a good laugh about it as I passed her later though.

Coming down the hill was pretty intense. I was not able to pedal as I ran out of gears but it felt so good to be going down and not up. I think at this point was the hardest part of the race. After I soured down the pass I got back to the 12 mile stretch before the hill. Previously, this was a piece of cake but boy did that change. I had the hardest time getting back to the finish line. I passed numerous people reliving what they had for breakfast and I felt their pain big time. As I got to the end I thought of the many metaphors I would use this race for in future sacrament talks and soap box speeches for my kids. It was definitely rewarding to get to the finish line and seeing Danielle and Mallory there with my dad giving me the thumbs up as I finished. They were so nice to come and support and wait for the probable 4 hours it took me to get my butt up the hill and back. We enjoyed cheeseburgers together after the race and my dad even won the most spirited uniform award. He was pretty stoked about it as his jersey he was sporting made the Steeler Nation proud.

I was so happy to get this checked off my list. I think in the future I am going to train a bit more before I take on such a daunting task and probably will be taking on the 100 mile mark soon enough. Thanks to everyone who made this possible and for everyone in my life that keeps me pushing up the tough hills of life.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

#152 Learn How to Boogie Board

You ever have a guilty pleasure? Mine is boogie boarding. From the first time my parents took me to the beach and I got thrashed around in the waves until now I have always spent hours and hours in the water having so much fun at the beach. I think out of all places in the world, the ones I love the most are the beach. It's on my bucket list actually to retire to a beach some day so that I can be a bum and just chill allllll day. On a recent beach trip I took with Danielle's family....and by recent I mean a year or so ago I went boogie boarding with some of the family. It was a blast. I had learned to boogie board previously but it was the first time I actually got it on video so I thought it was worthy to throw up on the blog. Boogie boarding is definitely not as exhilarating as surfing but hey for guys like me who have a deep water complex along with being completely afraid of sharks, it hits the spot. I have been to many beaches and seen some guys do some crazy stuff on a boogie board. Normally the guys who cut into the swells with fins on are the dudes that make news for catching 10-20 foot waves. For right now, I think I'll enjoy bein' an amateur wive diver. If anyone is looking for a fun activity to learn, I definitely recommend boogie boarding. There's something about being out in the surf and getting caught up in a swell that pulls you to the top of the wave and then riding that sucker all the way back to the sand on the beach. I think that when I'm 99 years old I will be that crusty old grandpa man who loves to be out in the surf. Glad I had an opportunity to learn something new and to cross it off my list.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

#112 Learn How to Snowboard

There are few action sports that I don't obsess over and dream that one day I could do what I see people in the X games do. Snowboarding is one sport that I have always wanted to try. Ever since Shawn White made his way on to the scene and made snowboarding the cool thing to do I have always wanted to try it. Every year for our guys weekend we head up to Utah to ski and that's a blast. Definitely makes me wish I lived somewhere near snow. Alas, being in Las Vegas we don't see a lot of the white stuff. Danielle and I decided last year that we were going to be brave and both try to learn how to snowboard in Brianhead. We have very generous in-law friends who own a condo there and they very very nice to offer us a bottom low rate to stay the weekend. We had a blast. Snowboarding it definitely not for the faint of heart or soft of bottom though. Upon arriving we assessed that before we got overwhelmed with going off of jumps or doing double blacks that we would first take on the daunting task of simply getting on the ski lift.

With skis that is a 0% big deal because you hop on and you go, skis attached and everything. Snowboarding, not so much. We learned that one foot stays in the binding of the board and the other hangs free (causing much tribulation in tripping repeatedly). Eventually we tackled that monster and made our way to the tip top of the bunny hill. We were among the elite and experienced 5-10 year olds learning for the first time themselves. Our first run down we learned that this was going to be ridiculously hard and that we needed to learn how to laugh at ourselves in order to get through the day. Our 2nd and 3rd run got smoother and smoother as we went. All day we got farther every time we tried. At the end of the long mess with our wrists practically broken and our tail bones bruised beyond belief we mustered up enough strength to take on a green run for our last run of the day. For those who are not familiar with the skiing vernacular, a black is the most difficult color of a run and represents "advanced" skiing. The color blue is for those who are more "intermediate" and the color green represents "beginner" or "for pansies" as I like to call it. It was sad that a green was what I was going to finish the day on but to be honest I don't think I would have been able to handle much more than the bunny hill anyway. We slowly progressed down the mountain managing only to get in a few tiffs with each other and eventually we made it out alive. At the end of the run/day we were both exhausted but were so happy that we had conquered a new thing that we had never learned before. I look forward to being able to go back someday and learn how to get better at snowboarding. By checking this item off my bucket list I learned that I can accomplish anything I put my mind and bruised up body too. Glad I got to do this with my best bud.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#108 Be a DJ for an Evening

Okay, I admit, this is a pretty silly thing to put on a bucket list. After all, how many people want to play music and have people dance to it. That's right, at least one...this guy. Recently, my sister-in-law, lexie got married to her missionary who she waited for. They asked me to DJ their wedding. Originally, I thought this would be a total disaster and wouldn't be very easy. Everyone has been to a wedding when the music just didn't motivate you to show off your inner Kevin Bacon or John Travolta and the guy behind the mic seems to think he is the funniest person alive. I have been to many and I did not want that to end up being me. In preparation to be the anti-"that guy" I did a ton of research on music to get down to and ways to get people involved. I remember when Danielle and I got married we loved our DJ's and their biggest thing they did for the wedding was to keep people involved, that when things died down they had a "group participation" dance. I threw some stuff together and all in all I think it turned out really well. After the wedding was over I had several people come up and ask for me to come to their upcoming events and I thanked them for their compliments but reluctantly informed them this was a one time thing. It was a ton of fun to get a party jumping and I couldn't have had a great time without my worker bee Danielle. She worked the crowd as I played the music and if there was any success at all, it is all due to her. It was a great night and I had a lot of fun crossing this one off the list.

#134 Own Up to A Lost Bet

I am pretty embarrassed about this particular installment and am still confused as to why I even added it to the list. I guess it's because I know myself too well. I am always trying to make everything epic by hyping things up way beyond they're supposed to be. One of the methods I usually use to make things is exciting is making pretty outlandish bets. Normally, I never have to worry about the outcome of the bet because I never lose. I always make sure it's a pretty much sure thing before I extend the bet to my victim. Alas, this time it was I who had to own up to my shortcomings. For fantasy football this year, my cousin Michael and I created a league together hoping to make things interesting during the football season. On the last game of the season we met in an epic battle as we jockied for position in the coming playoffs. So, to make things interesting I extended a bet to Michael knowing that I would probably win. The loser would have to wear a penguin suit to our annual family function of 5 dollar night at the mall. Every year our families meet at the mall and everyone gets 5 dollars to go to any store and get the coolest thing for the 5 bucks. This is a fairly respected event that people dress up for and it would be a huge deal to have to show up in a penguin suit. The day of our match came and I was glued to the results of every down of every play to make sure that I won and avoided the penguin suit. Alas, at the end of the day I did not come out as the victor and ended up having to show up in the suit. Upon arriving at the mall I went with my head held high and decided I wasn't going to be afraid and that I would embrace my new webbed feet and pointy beak for the evening. However, mall security had other plans for me. If you have ever seen Paul Blart mall cop, you can understand where the gentleman who tried to arrest me was coming from as he thought he was prrrettttyyyy cool with his plastic badge and can of mace. Officer chump as I like to call him came up to me and got his face all up in my beak and asked me what I was doing. As I was holding a sign stating "I LOST AT FANTASY FOOTBALL"

 I thought it was obvious of why I was doing what I was doing. Hence, I mouthed off to Officer chump. He didn't think that my words of encouragement about his current status as a rent-a-cop were very nice and he attempted to escort me to the prison that they have at the mall. No joke, they really do have a mini prison at the mall. I always envisioned myself in this sort of situation as being stalwart and true to my cause and not going down without a fight, I definitely was not. I gave in and left the mall and removed my suit like a pansy and continued on with 5 dollar night dressed as a civilian. It was a pretty funny outcome to an already embarrassing night. I think that from this experience I will make sure in the future to be more mindful of the odds when I make a bet and always make sure they are strongly in my favor. Fun thing to check off the list.

#75 Play Pinball at the Pinball Hall of Fame

A great blessing that I have that I think I take for granted a lot is that I have a great job. When returning home from my mission, my dad offered me a job to work at the fmaily business. It has been a great blessing in our marrried life to have me employed at AMG and to be able to work with family. One of the perks of working with family is sometimes we get to do some pretty fun stuff that others wouldn't have the opportunity to do. On a random day my uncle Paul (my boss) came into my office area and invited me to go with him and the rest of the guys to surprise my dad (my other boss) by going to play some pinball at the pinball hall of fame. Danielle told me about this place a while ago and I added it to my bucket list because I really wanted to go and I absolutely love pinball. It's seriously addicting. So, when Paul told me we were going there I was more than excited. My dad tells this story of when he and my mom were first married. He had like a pocket of quarters to his name and played asteroids at the local Reams grocery store and got the high score. By breaking the high score he scored himself like $80 of free groceries from the store. He was especially happy to play some of the old games. The warehouse where this is located in vegas isn't as high class as most hall of fames are but it served it's purpose. They had everything since ever! There was pac man, teenage mutant ninja turtles and even paperboy. It was a blast spending time there are to check this off of my list. If you've ever got a free hour or so I recommend going and checking this place out. Disclaimer though, go during the day as it's a 6 out of 10 on the sketchy neighborhood meter.

#132 Ride the World's Tallest Roller Coaster

Okay, so I stretched it a bit on this one. I'll explain why..... For Danielle's 25th birthday we decided that it would be so much fun to go to Six Flags. I had done some research to see if there was anything there to check off my list while we were there. I read that Six Flags had the tallest roller coaster in the world...'GOLIATH'. However, I failed to see that it was the tallest in the world in the year 2000 and is now #7 on the list at 255 feet and the #1 coaster in NJ is over 400 feet tall. Fear not though, at the time I was riding it I thought it was the tallest and so I am counting it! Anyway, this ride was a hoot, that's right a hoot! We had to stand in line for the ride forever (2 hours) but it was well worth it in the end. There's no real way to describe how awesome it was in words so I have included a video of our highlights from the trip at the
end of this post. While riding Goliath Danielle had a Fabio moment. Fabio is a famous model/actor/tool who got hit in the face by a bird while riding a roller coaster. Though Danielle did not reach the same demise as Fabio did, she did get hit in the face with a pair of sunglasses from a guy who was sitting about 8 rows a head of us. It was really funny and luckily we got it on tape with the GoPro. Added to the fun of the day. Anyway, to anyone who is looking for an amazing way to spend a Saturday, Six Flags is the place to go. Especially if you're looking to ride the World's tallest roller coaster (in the year 2000). So happy to check this off my list and to have such a fun time celebrating Danielle's birthday.

#69 Be a Best Man at a Wedding

Last summer my best friend growing up, Greg Krause, got married. We had lived next door-ish to each other since I was 7 and he asked me to be his best man. Danielle and I thought that it would be great to go to Texas and be apart of the wedding since he extended me that oh so coveted title. My whole family decided to piggy back and go with us to the wedding. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We stayed in a hotel that had it's own water park which definitely did not disappoint and had so much fun being there at the wedding. Apart from all the other fun things that we did like the bachelor party, ditching our tube in the water slide, and going to buenos tacos, the best thing about being in Texas was being at the sealing of my best friend. It was very surreal to be in the temple with him and to see how far he has come. To say I was proud of him would be a huge understatement. It was a big testament to me of answered prayers and never giving up on the people that mean everything to you. I wish both him and Katie the best and Danielle and I thank them for allowing us to be apart of their special day.
 "Brethren and sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever. No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. To qualify, one needs only to deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the ordinances of the temple. By making and keeping sacred temple covenants, we evidence our love for God, for our companion, and our real regard for our posterity—even those yet unborn. Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life." - Elder Russel M. Nelson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

#121 Visit a Mayan Ruin

Having a great family is a blessing that I was privileged to receive in this life. When Danielle and I were first married my parents took the whole family on a vacation to Cancun. To say it was a blast would be one of the greatest underexagerations of my life. We spent a week at an all inclusive resort. Yup, one of those places where everything is free if you have the right color piece of plastic wrapped around your wrist. We did so much while we were there. We learned how to wind surf, rode atv's, went parasailing, went snorkeling, played poolside waterpolo, saw Michael Jackson in concert; it was nuts. One of the coolest things that we did while we were there that I have always wanted to do is visit a Mayan ruin. For those of you who haven't heard of this famous ancient civilization, they are the people who's calendar ends in 2012. As reference, go and watch the movie '2012' to better appreciate the levity of the Mayans impact on society. In Cancun we left on an excursion early in the morning to go and see Chitchen Itza. It is a really famous ruin that had all kinds of fun stuff to see. Now, I'm not technically inclined on the phrazing of each individual ruin but in lamen terms there was a huge ancient soccer field, a place where the mayans would star gaze and perform spiritual rituals and even a place where a certain tour guide said that it is
believed that Christ appeared to the people in 3rd Nephi. Needless to say there was no shortage of pictures or fun things to do. It was amazing to see how well preserved the ruins were. It is also definitely a place that I recommend everyone go and check out. I am very grateful that I was able to check this off my list with all of the people who I love. I am very grateful for my parents' generosity to take Danielle and I along and to plan yet another epic Davis vacation.