Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bear Grylls on "Dreams"

Bear Grylls said, "Dreams are great, but they have a price. Dreams are made possible in those dark hours...the unsung hours behind the scenes and if you want them, you have to pay that price." He said this after paragliding higher than any man - up to Mt. Everest breaking the world record by over 5,000 ft. He also raised $1.7 million for charity through his Everest effort. What dreams do you have? Are you willing to pay the price?

This was something I just posted on my facebook page. I just watched a one hour special on Bear's attemt to fly as high or higher than Mt. Everest with a retangular parachute / sail and a motor strapped to his back for power. Pretty amazing story. It was a dream that he and his buddy carried in their hearts for months and months. In 58 minutes I saw the dream fulfilled. I didn't see all those "dark hours." I didn't see those unsung hours of preparation, trial and error and training in freezing conditions to ready themselves. Bear hit the nail on the head. Dreams are made possible by all the behind the scenes stuff one sees. Champions are made when no one is watching them train and practice. People watch and applaud the end result...but no one is applauding during the unsung hours.

Dream fulfillers are those who only need the dream, not the applause to move them forward. That picture of their prefered future motivates them, not man. What dream do you carry? Are you willing to pay the price to see it through the dark hours? I love that Bear raised over a million and a half dollars for charity through this event.

Bear, good for you and for all those who benefitted from your amazing effort and world record. To those the something to benefit others...learn from Bear.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fear Of Failure

Portland, Oregon - 1997. USA Triathlon National Championships. What... in... the... world was I doing there?? I'm the guy who never played a varsity sport in high school. I got crushed in my one 8th grade wrestling match in Jr. High. I scored 1 point the entire year on the 8th grade basketball team. I got in about 5 plays my entire ninth grade football season. So, again, what was I doing there?

I had done pretty well in local races in the Phoenix area, but talk about taking it up a notch! Needless to say I was pretty scared to book the tickets to fly up there. Why? Fear of failure. I needed to be in the top 16 to make Team USA and race in Germany 8 weeks later at the World Championships. Jen was going to go with me to Portland, and then my folks said they were going to fly in from Omaha to watch the race! Pressure? Yes. But much more than that...fear of failure! On steroids - the fear that is, not me. I lined up on the beach along with 60-70 of the best triathletes in my age group from around the nation. Fear of failure closed in on me. Some of these guys had been pros back in the day. One had been a great swimmer for the University of Michigan. One had won the Atlanta marathon five times! Fear of failure. For a moment, I wanted to just forget this and go home. Why? Fear of failure.

Is there anything in your life that you shrink back from attempting? Something you've always wanted to try but that you think you'd fail if you did? Got anything in that "bucket list?" Or, perhaps you did try that "something" but failed at? I once heard of a book that was titled, "Failure - The Backdoor To Success." Never read the book but always remembered the title.

Life is short. Live it to the fullest! Scripture says that God gave us all things freely to enjoy, 1 Timothy 6:17. He's given us gifts, talents, abilities and interests. We should develop them, explore them and use them. If you fail in your what? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. You've heard this stuff before but what are you doing with it? Go for it. Superstar Michael Jordon did. Yet, check out his quote: “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” So, go ahead, take that shot!

Portland - I came out of the water almost 2 minutes slower than I had hoped for. Lousy start. The bike/run course was super hilly - monsters! I'd trained very hard on hills and hammered that course. Later that day, with no advanced results being posted, they announced the top 10. I just wanted to be 16th. Was very scared of failing... They announced the top 10 who got to go up to the stage and recieve an award. 10th place was called out, then 9th place, then my name! Shocked. Overjoyed.

If fear had kept me from going to Portland, I would have never made it to Worlds in Germany where, by God's grace and through His strength, I finished 20th out of 99 men from almost 30 nations.

Don't fear failure. Instead, be afraid of living a dull life, imprisoned by fear, bound by being worried about something that may never happen! Be a difference maker. You'll have to risk and get out on a limb but, man, is it worth it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So, You're An Endurance Athlete...and...Your Spouse Isn't - What To Do?

So, I've asked Jen for her input here. I've been a runner for the last 30 yrs. doing races up to 50 miles long. Been competing in triathlons for 18 yrs. Jen is one of the most amazing, talented people on the planet. She's selfless, generous and kind and I love her...but...she is not an endurance athlete.

Over the years she has put up with water bottles all around the kitchen sink drying out, sweaty running and cycling clothes laying around, my bike IN the living room for a few years (no time for that story now), listening to my woes about injuries, aches and pains, not to mention splits, pacing, race reports and how I should have beaten so and so. I once even burned a hole in the family room carpet cycling indoors (no time for that story either.)

She had been incredibly supportive of my training and racing and they've never been a sore spot in our marriage. How have things worked out this way when, the divorce rate for triathletes is much higher than that national average, which, is about 50%? Here are a few things we came up with:
1. Jen just informed me that the reason this has worked is because I'm married to an amazing women who has the patience of Job. OK. Agreed...for sure! Jen, you rock!
2. She said I was good to not let my training and racing get in the way of our children when they lived at home.
3. Based on # 2 - I've tried to always train when it doesn't effect the things in life that are really important = faith, marriage, children, work, etc.
4. I've worked hard at becoming really good at time management. I don't waste time and I multi-task whenever possible. Like doing core work on the floor while watching the news with Jen on TV (this is where her patience comes in.) OK...she's laughing right now as I just read this to her.
5. Jen understands that this is a gift and a passion that God has given me. Just as I support her in what she is "into" like real estate, so she supports me in my endeavors. I believe in her and she believes in me. We're each other's biggest fans - a mutually supportive relationship.

6. Jen just said that she thinks that due to my priorities, I'm willing to train far less than other guys that race at the same level as me. If I put in the hours some triathletes do...well...things might not be going so smoothly on the home front.
7. Jen just said that she knows that if something comes up or she needs me, I'm there - planned workout or not. I'll drop a workout in a heartbeat if she needs me - that sends an important message to her for sure.

We've been married 33 yrs. and they've not all been smooth sailing. Don't want to give that impression. Marriage is hard work. Being married to an endurance athlete...makes it even harder. But, every married person must send the genuine message that their spouse is the most important person in the world. When that message is sent...and and racing can work quite well.

Finally, when Jen comes to a race I'm in, I tell her that I race faster, feeling like I'm back in high school, trying to impress my girlfriend. I think she likes that. OK, she's now telling me to get off the computer and grill some Little Red Barn Beef steaks. My response? "As you wish." (A great line guys - happy wife, happy life :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Injuries Stink...What To Do...?

Injuries are part of sports and particularly endurance sport due to the same motions/movements taking place thousands of times. Injuries stink because they take you out of your normal training routines, which effects your racing, which messes with your mind even bringing on mild depression. If the injury is severe or long-term or reoccuring, it can take some people into more serious depression and a loss of identity.

Food for thought about injuries from a guy who's had 'em all and is now dealing with heel pain that's gone on for 9 months.
1. Let injuries help you to remember what REALLY matters in life. Running, triathlon, cycling, etc. are hobbies for 99% of us. Let's not take ourselves too seriously.
2. If an injury won't let you run, then put in extra time in the pool. If it won't let you do that. Focus on some other stuff while you heal up. Volunteer at a race instead of competing.
3. If it hurts to do it...probably shouldn't do it - let it heal
4. No athletic activity or performance defines anyone. Your value isn't found in your performance even though our society says it does. Your ultimate value is found in the fact that God created you and loves you.
5. Study your injury and the best treatment for it. EASE back into things. Often, ice, ice and more ice can be a great, free therapy along with The Stick - see list on left side of blog.

Hang in there. Very few injuries last more than a few weeks or a month or two. Injuries do stink, but they can be a valuable part of our life-learning experience and can develop a gratitude for the health we do enjoy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Season - Toughest Time To Gear Back Up - Motivation?

Some athletes stay in top shape year around. Not me. Since moving back from Phoenix to Omaha two years ago, I've taken a serious "off-season" each fall. This year I gained 12 lbs. since my last race in August. Now, the tough job of starting to get that off begins. Indoor winter training for me never matches what I do outside in the Spring and Summer so it's tough to see that scale move much. Skipping workouts don't seem to matter much since my next triathlon is several months away and oh, those holiday goodies...they're still around.

Motivation - What has to motivate me from this day onward goal for 2011 which is, to qualify at US Nationals in Vermont in August for the World Championships next year in New Zealand. What I do EACH day, from now on, will have either a positive or negative effect on THAT day. Each day...that day. It's how it works. The small choices we make every day, effect who and what we'll be 6 months from now or a year from now or 10 years from now. What goals do you have? How would you like to see your life change? It'll only happen day by day, choice by choice, keeping that goal in mind. You've got choices/options. I've got choices/options. What choices will we make?

I love the Kia car commercial on TV with the hamsters rapping, "You can go with this, or you can go with that, or you can go with this, or you can go with that" So true. Choose wisely today and you'll be glad you did on THAT day.