Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"It is not the critic who counts..."

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

-Theordore Roosevelt

The quote above is one of my top 3 quotes ever.  I first discovered it about 20 years ago when I was having a particularly difficult time in my life.  I often refer to it and lately, with all that has happened in my life over the last 18 months, the quote has been on my mind a lot.

You see, I've always feared failure. I've tasted success in my life, so I know what's that's like.  But I've also failed miserably.  For every goal I've accomplished there's an equal or greater amount that were never realized.  I can honestly say though that I have never given up.  Sure, some plans changed and some goals I've had have fallen off the wayside simply because they weren't important to me.  I truly believe when we focus on meaningful endeavors, whatever they may be, the un-important stuff will simply fall by the wayside.

In order to deal with some of my recent failures, I've had to regroup, re-focus and simplify my life greatly.  That's extended into my training as well.  While I've been more focused I've also been a bit more relaxed in what I'm doing.  I'm not weighing myself every morning like I used to.  Yet lately I've had many people comment that I'm looking slimmer.  

I've cut simple things out of my life like my addiction to energy drinks.  I was drinking 2 sometimes 3 cans of Rockstar or Monster every day.  In the past few weeks I weened myself to just one a day and for the last week or so, I've had maybe 2 total.  

My diet has become simpler.  Making meals more meaningful, whether by who I eat those meals with or where I eat those meals. keeping in mind that every calorie counts.  Its not an obsessive but a thoughtful thing.  I still eat bacon.  I still drink milk (In fact I'm drinking whole milk!).  And I still enjoy a burrito.  But I'm staying away from fast food, preparing more of my meals at home and I still have my Mavrick addiction, but I opt for salads and fruit instead of Bahama Mamas and Tornados.  Who knew you could eat healthy at the gas station?

But all of it has greatly benefited my physical and emotional health.  I'm forming new relationships and re-connecting with old ones.  I sleep better.  I wake up refreshed for the most part and I'm extremely motivated to keep going.

In a few weeks, I will race my first real triathlon.  I've actually wanted to be a triathlete for most of my life, but I really hate running.  My body just isn't built for it.  But I'm overcoming it.  With the help of special friends who care about me and my well being I'm able to accomplish more and more each day.  Sunsets are prettier.  Runs, rides and swims are easier to get up early for.  Even my commute to work has become therapeutic.

So what am I doing to train currently?  I had my first brick workout yesterday.  While it was eye opening how difficult it is to go from a fast bike rider to a fast run, it was just more motivation for what's to come.

I've dropped the spin classes and the gym work.  Its all riding, running and swimming now.  

Tue, Wed, Thurs and Fridays are my most structured days with ride/run/swim/run workouts.  Fri, Sat and Sunday are unstructured but I'm getting in at least one ride in and trying to make time for more.

But this more relaxed but deliberate angle to training has done wonders.  

I still feel battered and bruised sometimes.  Its still tough to take some of the real failures that I've experienced.  But none of it has knocked me out.  I may have been knocked down but life ain't over.  If I don't get at it, life will keep moving on.  I prefer to have life keep moving on with me an active part in it.

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