May 15, 2015
I had what I would consider a most humbling experience earlier this week. Amanda and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do some volunteer work for a good cause on a beautiful day, for some wonderful people. I received a text from my friend Brandon Reilly, who shared with me that he was beginning to get a little nervous about the Memphis in May Triathlon coming up this weekend. He informed me that he was in need of some inspiration, as well as a little humor, so he was going to spend some time reading about my last two triathlons, among other things on my blog. The reason that this was so impactful, is the fact that Brandon is half my size, lifts twice my weight, and can run bike and swim circles around me. This moved me on a number of levels, but primarily the fact that I could be anyone’s source of inspiration for anything was quite humbling, let alone in an area where I am not even remotely competitive. This meant a lot, and was a good reminder that people are watching and listening, regardless of how ignorant or brilliant we act, people are watching. Brandon reminded me that I was coming up on the one year anniversary of my blog, and recommended a post reflecting on the lessons learned, where I had won, and where I had failed.
I started this blog upon the suggestion of Von Ralls through his “Lift Heavy Run Long” running and lifting program as a way to journal my progress. It has morphed into more like a confessional/therapy session, where i can just kick around ideas and speak of events the way that I see them. I have received a great deal of positive feedback, rivaled only by strange looks and pats on the back as if to say “bless your heart”, both of which I am more than willing to accept. Having lived life life on a steady diet of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and gas station food for about a decade prior to attempting to “gather the proverbial sh*t”, it is hard to believe that three years ago my best effort towards fitness was a 20minute walk with my dad, while ripping cigarettes and wearing blue jeans in 90 degree temperatures. I remember trying to jog from light post to light post…and I remember crying because I failed, because I was fat, and because i was embarrassed; I was also very goddam*ed tired. However, I also remember how many friends and family members assured me that things would change, if I continued to do things different. So, in honor of my “close to one year blog-er-ing”, I want to share with you what I have learned. Shall we?
I have learned that I really don’t know sh*t, but have lots of beliefs. I have learned that what I believe I can do is a small fraction of my potential. I have learned that there is a tremendous amount of power in positivity; optimism might make you wrong, but never miserable, assuming you remain optimistic. I learned that I like cat posters, and accept the motivation they offer. I found that CrossFit won’t kill me, but I often wished it would. I learned that I consider walking to be running, so long as its in between runs. I learned that no one cares about your race time, and everyone cares about your desire to get better. Ive learned that the really fast triathletes have lungs made of balloons, asses made of lead, and balls made of steel, because its just not human to do all that mess. I have learned that no one looks cool in a tri-suit, goggles, and swim cap…and I mean no one. I have learned that self doubt, insecurity, and fear of failure can suck away every bit of my happiness at any given moment. I have also learned that the best response to those things which make me feel doubtful, insecure, and fearful generally require a “hell yes” and a head butt. I have learned that the only thing harder than doing it the first day, is doing it again the second, but there is also nothing more rewarding. I’ve learned that it takes a f*cking village…and I have a great village. I’ve learned that my language is awful and offensive, but have little desire to change it. I have learned that I will continue my streak of saying “thank you” to every volunteer possible during the course of a race. I will never be the fastest, but I can be the most courteous. I’ve learned that if you don’t accept the high five from the child spectators on the race course, an a*s whoopin is easily justified. I have learned that if given an unlimited budget in which to construct a panic room to prepare for the apocalypse, I would get the blueprint for Dodge’s Chicken and Pizza. I have also learned that there is no diet that I cannot out eat, as I am perpetually hungry. I have learned that the cure for aching muscles usually involves more exercise. I have learned that lifestyle changes will change your life. I learned that diet and exercise have more of an effect than any pill…but I still eat like sh*t. I have learned that people who do not exercise hate the people who do, which I totally understand. I have learned that there is nothing sexier than a woman lifting weights. I have learned that the goal in life is not to be the best, but to be awesome; awesomeness cannot be measured in weight or speed, but how you approach life (Paul Pinckley taught me that). Ive learned that people gravitate more to my insecurities, more than they admire me for any accomplishment. Ill take the humbler over the better in most instances (I have NOT learned if “humbler” is a real word). I learned that I ask for a lot of advice, and listen to almost none of it. I’ve learned that I make a screeching, girly sound before posting every blog for fear of humiliation and rejection. I learned to do it anyway. Ive learned to keep trying. I have learned that there is no ache that I don’t turn into an injury. I have discovered that I can turn a canker into cancer, an ingrown hair into a wheelchair, and a strained ligament into a lost limb if I google my ailments. I have learned that if I voice my concerns, I seldom stay concerned for long. I have learned that Brian Williams will accept all excuses…provided you give them while moving forward. Ive learned that everyone needs a friend named Too Tall. Ive learned that a funny story while waddling on a trail can get you far more winded than any sprint ever could. Ive learned that a desire to laugh and bullsh*t can get you through a lot of running and lifting. I’ve learned that I would rather risk injury doing something I enjoy, than relish its absence while doing nothing. Ive learned that I give the best advice on diet and exercise while I am laying down and eating, and for some reason, no one seems to listen. I have learned that a big steak and a beautiful woman can satisfy whatever is bothering me. I’ve learned that a full court and a basketball can make a bunch of “athletes” look like dipsh*ts. I’ve learned that good friends don’t easily give out pity, and no one wants to hear what you “can’t” do. Ive learned that practicing an endurance sport helps you endure much more than just sports. Ive learned that for me the term “I will never” is valid until the end of the day…tops. I’ve learned that people appreciate an honest failed attempt as much as a successful one, they seem to embrace and understand it. I’ve learned that my best, and most consistent advice is usually “go for it”, and “f*ck em”, so it’s probably best that few people listen. Ive learned that my always being hurt while never being injured is also referred to as being a titty baby.
Most importantly, Ive learned that it feels good to just keep inching forward, one foot in front of the other. As I place fewer and fewer expectations on myself, I find myself accomplishing much more, while expending much less energy. The truth of it all is that my life is significantly easier because I don’t try nearly as hard. I discussed with a friend of mine that my general happiness has a lot to do with my overall laziness. He suggested I substitute the term “enlightened” for “lazy”, and that might work. However, I have found that in the past year, that the less importance I place on the results, and the more I focus on the enjoyment, the happier I am with just about everything. Life is only as hard as I choose to make it, and that’s the both the good news and the bad. It has been a great year, and I have no reason to believe that it will not continue to get better. Good luck to all of my peeps doing the Memphis in May Triathlon, BBQ fest, or whatever you are doing this weekend; I hope you do it loudly. Thanks Brandon for nudging me into this rabbit hole of reflection, as it is one of my most enjoyable places.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related.