Emotional month!

I’ve been working on my next blog for a couple of weeks. I don’t have writer’s block but I’m having difficulty organizing my thoughts into a blog worth sharing. I’m writing, just not in my blog. I’m looking into a couple of writing gigs and that has me excited. I’ve been writing my experiences and stories into intros, chapters, and outlines. It’s been fascinating. It’s also been an emotional few weeks for me.

I’ve been very emotional. Writing through some of my experiences and stories brings me to tears. Overall, I’ve been emotional thinking about my life, especially recalling the last 2.5 years of sobriety. I’m on a new journey that’s super emotional.

NOTE: My cover image is created using Midjouney Bot. Midjourney is an AI bot for creating images using prompts. I’m playing around with it a little just for fun. According to the Midjourney terms of service, as a paying member, I’m allowed to use the images I create for commercial purposes.

Book writing & publisher

Let me share some exciting news first!

I submitted an application to write 1 chapter in a book with an Alberta-based publisher. The book is Run for Your Life – Lessons Learned From Going the Distance. Submissions close this week and writers will be selected in early October. I’ve been taking notes and writing some content for this opportunity just in case I’m selected. The book will be published early next year.

Through that opportunity, I had a chance to chat with the CEO and Lead Coach of the publisher, Larissa Soehn. Larissa and I really hit it off. I feel a tremendous amount of synergy and comfort with her. Over the past few weeks, we discussed an opportunity to write my own book. This really started with my wife telling me that I had the skills and story to write my own book.

Why do I want to write my own book?

  1. It’s a dream…a bucket list item for me. But I always thought I would try to write a fantasy novel. As a teenager and young adult, I was enamored with the fantasy genre.
  2. At this stage in my life, I think I have a powerful story to tell about my life journey, struggles with alcohol, issues with mental and physical wellness and my recovery in sobriety.
  3. I want to help people. I think there are lots of people post COVID-19 that are struggling with addictions and mental health. I want to inspire people to take action now and change their lives forever!

Without further ado, I’ve signed on with Larissa Soehn and Next Page Publishing to write a book! Larissa will coach and mentor me thru the process. She’ll help me define the parameters for my content and organize my thoughts into a book. A book that I hope to be a best seller! I’ve already started the journey and I’m so happy to have Larissa with me. This is going to be a soul-searching journey that will be emotional for me. I’m looking to publish my book in the summer of 2024.

Continue to follow my blog to follow me on this journey!

L’Étape Canada – Strathcona bike race

In early August, I finished my first bike race. This is a goal that I’ve been working towards for the last year. I’m super proud of my experience. I finished the 135 km race in 5:22. That’s almost 5.5 hours on the bike. My previous marathon experience was 5:02. So this was a longer endurance event.

For me, cycling is the same as running but a bit easier in most ways; at least physically and mentally. I love long distance running and riding. I love the quiet time spent by myself. Time requirements are the same. A long run and a long bike ride is hours.

The biggest difference between the 2 is the complexity of training. I feel running is way easier. Put on a pair of runners and hit the road. Cycling takes at least 15 minutes of preparation and the bike requires maintenance like pumping up the tires, lubing the chain, washing the bike, and charging headlights and backlights. And while you can invest in a cheap bike, to ride longer distances, you need to invest more money than just a good pair of runners.

In addition, running on the sidewalk feels significantly safer than riding on the road/shoulder. I always feel like I’m in danger on a bike. I have to completely trust that cars can see me and avoid hitting me. For a long run, it’s easy to find a 10-15 km loop and run it 3 or 4 times. But for cycling, you have to get out on the highways for long distance training. I’ve had hundreds of trucks and big rigs pass by too closely. One time, I had a truck and trailer cut me off; he literally passed me, then turned right in front of me. I had an oversized load pass me too closely and run me off the road. I was so scared.

All in all, I love both sports. The pros and cons equal out. I enjoy the safety and ease of running. I enjoy the recovery and ease on my joints of cycling. I’m not sure where I’ll find myself moving forward. For now, I’ll continue to run and cycle.

Sports Psychology & Golf

I started working with a sports psychologist this summer. If it’s not clear by now, I’m a fan of psychology and getting help when you need it. The fact is that I’m having my best season of golf in 2023, but I’m not enjoying golf. I was also struggling with the grind of long distance riding but I’ve addressed that in a previous blog.

The grind of improving in golf from a bogey golfer to a single digit handicap is years in the making. I’ve been working with the same swing coach and mentor for over 11 years! My golf game has followed the same pattern.

  1. I have a great lesson. I leave the lesson hitting the ball fantastic. I say “this is one of the best lessons we ever had!”.
  2. I post a couple of great rounds and think “ok, this is it, single digits here I come!”.
  3. I regress and get frustrated over the next 3-4 rounds. I lose my swing in a couple of rounds. I threaten to quit golf. I text my coach with depressing news and schedule another lesson.

This summer was going to be the summer of golf. I committed to monthly lessons with Katrina Kelly. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t cooperated. We’ve had 4 or 5 sessions cancelled due to smoke or inclement weather. On top of that, I had a mental breakdown early in the spring. My swing was completely lost. I was in tears.

Lucky for me, Katrina and I have amazing chemistry and she is the best coach and mentor I’ve worked with in golf. She calmed me down. We rebuilt my swing with some basics in mid-May. And I have played my best golf of the year this summer. My average monthly scores have dropped from 86 in May/June to 83 in July to 81 in August. August was the pinnacle of my summer golf as I won the 2023 OJ Open!

I hit a minor blip in September with a couple of mediocre rounds. But I think I’ve found my swing again. I’m still looking to touch base with Katrina in September since our September lesson got cancelled due to…you guessed it…inclement weather.

Well, I got a little side tracked there. Wait a minute! Aren’t your hobbies supposed to be fun? You are shooting really low scores, isn’t that fun? Yes, it’s supposed to be fun. But with highs come lows, or in golf, with low scores come high scores. No golfer is perfect. There are plenty of blunders for the pros. So that means I have many more blunders golfing. But the more you work on your swing, the more you think blunders shouldn’t happen. Even if you see the pros do it, you can’t convince yourself that it’s okay to hit bad shots. But it happens to every golfer!

It’s hard when you want to be so good at something and then you lose the big picture. Golf is supposed to be fun. So I started working with a sports psychologist. And it’s been emotional. You shouldn’t be surprised to know that I found a sports psychologist, Katie Castle, that I have chemistry with and feel comfortable talking about my inner thoughts.

Anyway, it hasn’t been a smooth summer of fixing my attitude on the golf course. It’s easy to be positive and enjoy golf when you are scoring well. And for a time, I thought the work I was doing with Katie was complete. But as soon as i faced some adversity on the course, I crumbled. I got upset. I forgot the work we put in.

The good news is that I caught myself. I went into my Tuesday round promising myself that I was going to have fun! And I did. But I also hit the ball well. So, is my work with Katie beneficial? Yes, but it’s hard work. I need to stay intentional about my attitude. Golf is supposed to be fun! I’m getting back to my roots and finding the fun in golf! And I almost hit my first hole-in-one on Tuesday. So close!

The other thing that I’m struggling with is commitment or lack of. I haven’t committed to any events for next year. I already completed my goals for 2023 with my big cycle race and winning the OJ Open. I’m a little lost. I’m panicking a little. Without goals, will I continue to train hard?

Katie and I are working through that. I use goals and events to keep myself motivated and on track. It’s not to keep myself busy. But without an event, I worry that my recovery will slide; my fitness will slide. I’m already seeing a lessened desire for long ride Sundays.

But for now, I’m trying to just enjoy running, cycling and golf without any goals. Bring the fun back to hobbies! I’m going to try to enjoy myself through the winter and see what spring brings.

Of course, that being said, see my section above on book writing. I’ve committed to writing a book this winter. It’s going to be a massive undertaking! I doubt I’ll have the energy to commit to anything else.

Comfort

If you’re seeing a pattern, you’re right. I only work with professionals that I feel comfortable around. All of the professionals that I work with are part of team Dennis. I’m an emotional person. I need to work with people that understand that. I need coaches and mentors that understand me. All of them help me with my mental wellness, even if they don’t know it. But I’m sure they do! They are all pretty smart!

My advice to you is find those people that are you comfortable around. Find people that you can be yourself around. Find cheerleaders and make them a part of your life. Find coaches and mentors to work with that you love!

I also have amazing connections with my life psychologist, Dan Cross, and physiotherapist, Simon Cooke. They are great guys and a huge part of keeping me healthy. Go team Dennis!

I’ve shared life stories and tears with each member of my team. And I’m happy to report that my support team keeps growing. Some amazing things are happening right now!

20th anniversary

On September 13, my wife and I had our 20th anniversary. Wow! Married 20 years. It’s hard to believe. We’ve been thru a lot together. And we celebrated our time together with our family and friends with a party!

We hosted a party on September 9. We booked a hall. We booked our favourite local band – The Nervous Flirts! The party was alcohol-free so I booked a Mocktail company and bartender. We ordered pizza from our favourite restaurant Royal Pizza. It was an awesome party! Our bartender Erica was awesome. It was like she was a part of our family!

Our key to a great marriage is communication and supporting each other in everything. Compared to other couples, our hobbies are completely different. But we are always there for each other.

One of the most interesting revelations is that our friend group has completely changed in 20 years. Besides family, only 2 friends were at our wedding and at our 20th anniversary.

It was a great party! And of course, I cried delivering my speech.

Wrap-up

Life has been super emotional for me in the last month. I’ve achieved my goals for the year in cycling and golf. My 20th anniversary party was awesome. I’ve been doing a lot of deep psychology work with Dan and Katie. And I started a writing journey that digs deep into my soul.

I find myself crying a lot. I’m dealing with deep emotions and memories. Some of these are sad, but mostly they are tears of joy. I’m remember the great things in life:

  • My awesome wife and best friend of 20 years.
  • All of the great family and friends that support me and my journey.
  • “The incident” and the recovery journey afterwards.
  • Completing my first marathon. Completing my first long bike race.
  • My long distance training journey with running and cycling.
  • My experience with meditation and mindfulness.
  • My healing journey.

I have a feeling that more healing will happen while I go thru my writing journey. I’m really excited and a little anxious about it. Writing has already brought me to tears, at least once per hour of writing. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with being emotional and vulnerable. It’s part of who I am. And I’m ready to share that in a book.

I hope you are ready to join me on this journey. I’ll be sharing my writing experience and highlighting my journey with this blog as I move along.

I’ve also started a Facebook page to support my blog and my journey. Please follow me along on Facebook as I go through my journey. Search for Dennis on the run in Facebook or follow the link and follow my page.

Dennis on the run.

I hope you had a great summer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *