HIV Longevity Still Fighting…


The Cowboy-up Workout

Today I am back in motivational mode. We are going to learn what Cowboy-up means to me.

No, I do not wear cowboy boots and a six-shooter during my workouts. These are merely props to demonstrate my euphemism. Besides, they look cool next to the iron.

I must start this blog article with a disclaimer—Actually two of them. First let me tell you that if you came here to whine or expecting me to let you cry on my shoulder, then you came to the wrong rodeo. I'm going to get a little ugly in this one, so you might wanna seek out a bleeding-heart pansy blog if you need someone to baby you and tell you that you do not need to work hard or Cowboy-up.

My second disclaimer is my standard one I give before recommending working out or fitness to anyone:

WARNING: Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. The opinions, stories and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctor's approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain!

Now, to quote Albus Dumbledore, “Let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

Start by telling me (honestly), are you planning to just pony-up and maybe complete your fitness goals, or are you going to cowboy-up and break past the barriers? Me ... I'm a cowboy.

This article is not designed to teach you proper technique, or even discuss what exercises you need to do. You can find that somewhere else. I wrote today’s post for one reason; to motivate those of you who want deep-down hardcore inspiration!

Back in 2005 I ran the New Orleans marathon

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. That by itself isn't that big of a deal. Tons of people run marathons every season. What you might find a little inspirational is the fact that at the time, I had been HIV+ for around 20 years. Also, I'm a hemophiliac and my left knee and right ankle (my “target joints”) do not have much cartilage left in them because of bleeds from my childhood (blood wreaks havoc on joints). Also (prepare for a few more “also's” people) I have peripheral neuropathy; which is nerve damage in my feet that makes me feel like my toes and sometimes feet are being stabbed with each step. On top of all that (okay no more also's), during my training I had burst the sheath of my Achille’s tendon. For those of you who don't know, that is bad … Especially for a runner. When my injury came, many of my friends and family said, “Well … You gave it a good go. And, you proved that you are capable. But, you really shouldn't run this race now.” You guys have all been around people at some point in your life who have said the same thing about something similar. Well, I filed that horseshit right where it belonged; in the ignore pile. I followed advice on healing, climbed back in my running shoes, and then did my thing, finishing the marathon.

Last year, I damaged my plantar fascia in the middle of the Army ten-miler. Do you think I quit? Nope. I hunkered down and ran my run. Not only did I finish, but I also ran a PR (personal record) and finished in 82 minutes! Now don't get me wrong ... I'm not recommending that you guys run or workout through injuries. I’m simply saying that I have and do. Frown if you like, but I choose to live my life. As a matter-of-fact, I've always lived my life. As a small child I had no illusions. Back then, easy bleeders (hemophiliacs) did not live as long as clotters (normal folk). I didn't worry about it and lived. Same thing when I found out I was HIV+ and my doctor told me I had fewer than two years to live. Ask anyone around me and they will confirm ... I'm not only a survivor. I’m a liver (I know that last word looks like an organ in your body, that's because I think I just made the word up) too.

The last thing I will tell you might be a bit shocking for some. Every workout that I do ... Every single one. I experience pains, troubles, and issues that most mortal men would cry about. My peripheral neuropathy has brought me to my cartilage-free knees in the middle of a workout. Before, during, and/or after almost every workout I am dealing with Diarrhea. I can’t remember a three-day period without diarrhea in the last fifteen years. My body itches (everywhere). My eyes burn. I deal with and have aches that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies (if I had any). All of this has been despite using supplements like yk11 to mitigate pain and deliver strength to the body.

Did I tell you all of that to get sympathy or make you guys and gals feel bad for me? HELL NO! I told you because the next time your punk ass is whining about how tough workouts are, I want you to think about me and thousands like me who have it tougher and workout regardless. Speaking of which, my buddy, Barry, has peripheral neuropathy too. His feet hurt so bad a few years ago that he couldn't get into his bike shoes, let alone ride.It's always better to make rides more safer and less strenous by a careful evaluation of things to consider when choosing a recumbent bike.Did he throw in the towel? Nope. He’s a cowboy like me. He cut the ends off his bike shoes, let his toes pop out, and then saddled-up. How many of you would be willing to do that? BTW – I should mention that Barry, a severe bleeder, has had a couple of knee replacements among other things. Despite (or maybe “to spite”) these issues, he rode across America on his bicycle last year. How many of you could do that even without having a bleeding disorder? Cowboy-up!!!

You know what to do. You know how to do it. Now ... Do it!

I’ll leave you with my favorite fitness quote:
“If you like exercise, you’re doing it wrong.”
—Arthur Jones

Your faithful friend and motivator,

Please comment. And, if you dig, share this article:

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I like. Funny thing with fitness goals – the path to success is usually pretty simple. Most people, though, make the mistake of confusing simple with easy.

  2. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


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