The joyous weekly ritual of Taco Tuesday has arrived! Yum.
Madness is once again filling our lives. Russia and Ukraine are butting heads, Daylight Savings Time is fast approving (thank goodness), and we are bombarded more and more each day with media, social or otherwise, and news channels full of crap. It’s an interesting time to be alive, isn’t it?
The theme surrounding my life, and that of my friends, is that of great uncertainty and WHAT THE DEVIL ARE WE DOING WITH OURSELVES?! Everyone’s perspective seems to be skewing, mostly as I have hypothesized because we are entering our late 20’s, and the relationships that were so sure and stable in our early 20’s are changing in drastic and sometimes unrecognizable ways. College is officially a thing of the distant past, and although our foundation remains, change is a comin’.
As any good optical illusion will teach you, there is always more than meets the eye, and even the slightest change in perspective can impact the entire picture that you see. For me, the illusion is that everything will always stay the same. I expect change in careers and life but it is always friendship changes that sting the most. Not all changes are bad and some are necessary, even critical, but it always feels difficult as people ebb and flow throughout one’s life, sometimes passing through in the blink of an eye and other times lingering like a massive ocean.
I keep in touch quite regularly with one (1) single friend from 1996. Prior to that, not so much. It’s a joy to see him kicking ass in law enforcement, growing and developing as a human, and making the effort to stay in contact with me as well. High school buddies have come and gone, although they are all technically within reach of the interwebs at the flick of the wrist, but it is so easy to let those relationships slip. Even from my college days, people have moved, gotten married, had kids, done all three, and just spread out and away from my normal communication circles. I don’t think that I resent the changes, but I would argue that no one has really figured out how to adjust.
So the moral of the story is I am learning to change my perspective. Instead of things being great or awful, lame or wonderful, I’m aiming more for just enjoying it all. I seem to tackle these great revelations in waves, and often three or four times a year, which simply means I either A) I am a slow learner or B) I haven’t actually understood how to implement this in my life. I suppose both are equally viable.
Perspective is one of the most powerful tools one has in their possession. An IRONMAN is simply a combination of swimming, biking, and running, work is a combination of tasks, projects, menial and high skill items, thinking, and communicating, and hobbies consist of a shared activity that lights up your creative juices and gives you insight into a realm you aren’t normally exposed to. In the blink of an eye your perspective can swing like a crushing pendulum, but it’s important to keep it as aligned as possible. Ups and downs are normal. A life full of change is normal. Growing up is normal. Feeling confused is normal. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! Outbursts from the Lego movie are normal.
A life full of high hopes and big dreams is one worth living. I hope you’ve got at least a few huge goals for the next year or two. It makes life so much more… refreshing.
Oh, it’s Friday and the rain is coming down! Hip hip hooray! Friday, in and of itself needs no introduction, and we have arrived in fantastic style. Here are some reasons today is just phenomenal:
- There’s a dash of rain that is providing some hope to the parched northern Nevada/California area
- The new “300” comes out in exactly one week
- U2 is playing on the bloody radio
- Everything feels sexier on Friday
- My huge project at work is off to a flying success
- I broke 37 hours of triathlon training for February
- My peanut butter and jelly sandwich is delicious
- Volbeat is only 40 days away
- It’s Friday
- You know you have a loyal companion when you’re in the kitchen stuffing your face with a midnight snack out of a Tupperware and your furry friend is right along side you mopping the floor with their tongue. Ahhhh, it was meant to be :D
Enjoy your weekend people! Stay safe. Don’t do anything stupid. File your taxes on time. Play video games with your friends. Take naps.
Happy Hump Day!
February is rapidly coming to a close, and yet there are still no signs of February type weather. It was 67 yesterday for heaven’s sake! Ugh! This probably means it will be snowing smack dab in the middle of peak triathlon training. Great…
It’s been a big week at work with the production release of our six month project, and it’s been quiet. Almost too much so for my taste but I guess that means things are going well. I suppose I should be taking notes from last week’s blog about the journey being more important than the destination, and what a path it has been. For those of you not familiar with insurance, it’s freaking complicated! If you are familiar with insurance, you know just how incredibly complicated! ACK! It’s enough to drive someone insane. Regardless, here are three key factors of successful teams.
- Synergistic Team – I would not be a good insurance IT worker on my own. Frankly, I would probably just end up inadvertently lighting a system on fire or melting down a server somewhere, but the teams you are surrounded with are often the gateway to our successes. There are colleagues who know about 75,000 years more insurance knowledge than I do, and I have a different approach to problem solving than some of them may. It’s a wonderful approach and one which spells success in an organization.
- Enthusiasm and Passion – In my experience, it’s not what you know (or don’t) it’s how you approach those knowledge gaps that defines the outcome. A team without enthusiasm or a desire to learn may not fail outright, but their successes will be far less reaching and impactful. A team that explores, brainstorms, and compares notes together in a passionate way may fail at first (in spectacular fashion) but their outcomes are nearly guaranteed to be greater, more powerful, and longer lasting. There’s nothing that kills a work project buzz like someone who just doesn’t care.
- Willingness to Learn by Making Mistakes – I am a huge proponent of learning from botching tasks in a royal fashion. Note: I don’t encourage you to intentionally drop the ball, eff up, or do something stupid and then play it off as learning a lesson; however, the intent of this idea is not to be afraid of making well-thought decisions for fear of messing up. EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES! Everyone! 100% of the entire population blows it time and time again, but it’s the method of your madness and how you recoup your sanity post error that defines A) what you’ve learned B) the responses from others around you and C) what you take away. There is nothing more humbling than timorously slinking into your bosses office to admit you blew it… it burns for a bit but if you come prepared to not only admit what you messed up on but how you have begun to fix/address the problem then you are a step ahead of the rest. Perhaps my favorite quote from one of my supervisors is this: “Everything is able to be fixed, short of loss of life or limb.”
We are over the week hump! Crush it for the next two and a half days and maintain these three principles for team success. Teams surround us, and penetrate us… it binds the galaxy together.
It’s almost the weekend. Whoohoooooo! I was digging back through old content, after taking a well-deserved week off from my blog to celebrate three years, and stumbled upon this great graphic. I used to own fancy rats, yes, they’re fancy and that’s what they’re called, and returning home to their enthusiastic shenanigans was always the highlight of my day. This picture not only reminds me of them but also brought fresh ideas about great things coming to those who wait (or simply outsmart the mousetrap puzzle).
Life is a grand puzzle, one of those 5000 piece monstrosities where the mountains are reflected in a crystal clear lake – you know what I’m talking about. The puzzle that causes you to pull out your hair, jump up and down, and lock yourself in your log cabin for a long weekend just so you can conquer the taunting pieces and chant your battle cry up and down the campground while pounding your chest. Sigh…
There’s nothing more rewarding than getting all the pieces placed precisely. It’s not so much the excitement and thrill of being able to hang the puzzle (if you choose) on your wall in permanent, glued glory, but it’s the process and the experience of tackling that obstacles with friends/family while drinking hot chocolate, telling stories, and developing an experience around something as simple and rudimentary as a puzzle.
I think of the most rewarding moments in my life, and not only has every single one of them zipped by in a blur, but I’ve always been either A) surrounded by the people who actually matter or B) spent the majority of the journey getting ready for that big moment surrounded by the people who actually matter… see the trend? Yes, we all know life is about the journey not the finish line, it’s a marathon not a sprint, blah blah blah, please people! The joys of life are sculpted from the experiences within the minutia, not necessarily the grand moments we hold so dear. Those moments absolutely impact us, like my journey to 20 Lakes Basin, but there are times even in something so epic as that scenery when the thing I enjoyed the most was sharing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with my dog, taking in the natural beauty of Yosemite. Oh, and getting a kick of Lucy trying to get the PB off the roof of her mouth! Bahaha!
Triathlon season is upon us yet again – big number eight for me – that’s a long time to be invested in a (multi)sport. I like to think I’m decent at what I do, but really I’m in it for the thrill of the competition, the rigorous training and grind as I push myself to new limits, and of course, the satisfaction of streaking across the finish line. Last year was my first foray into the world of IRONMAN, this year brings two 70.3’s and one of the world’s most difficult 140.6’s up at Lake Tahoe, and I’ve got my sights set on Kona. I don’t have plans to beat everyone in my age group or spend 30 hours a week training, but I want to go to the World Championships. This year or next, or sometime before I’m 50, I want to go toe-to-toe on Kona with the triathlon big boys and girls. There, it’s in writing, now I’m accountable. Like the mouse outsmarting the trap, I’ve got a journey ahead of me and it’s paved with successes in the work place, wonderful friends, road trips, races, lots of eating, and adventures with my furry friend.
I have found that the horrible, awful, brutal times are really the moments where we are required to rise above the situation, digging deep within the self to just hang on for one second longer, and to endure well beyond our perceived point of breaking. Only after being scrapped and dragged through the bottom of a barrel can we truly grow and stretch as a person as we continue down a path of self-improvement.
Between miles 126 and 134 of an IRONMAN is where you really experience the bruises of being crushed by the bottom. I thought my race was over before I even reached the 19th mile of the marathon, and yet miles 20 – 26.2 were some of my best that I ran the whole day. I can’t explain it away; I just know that when you are left with your thoughts, your aching body, and the results of months and years’ worth of training, you are faced with two choices: get across the finish line safely or give up.
I would not dare to suggest that people who aren’t ultra-endurance athletes don’t experience failure first hand; I am only speaking from experience, and triathlon is my experience. An eleven hour race is bound to bring you face to face with failure, poised like a cobra ready to strike with deadly and ferocious force but a moment that provides the opportunity for empowerment to meet the challenge or fall back broken into the mud…
Happy Friday! Tackle those puzzles this weekend.
Happy Monday and I hope you all had as relaxing of a weekend as I did! For those of you not in the Truckee Meadows, we got DUMPED on with a fantastic rain storm. Over the course of the weekend the valley was pelted with refreshing goodness, as the Sierra Nevada’s loaded up with the white powdery stuff. Even on the way to work, I saw tons of cars headed up to the mountains equipped with their snow gear rather than armed with their tools for conquering the corporate ladder. I must admit, I was jealous…
This much needed rain is a welcome relief to our area, especially considering we haven’t had snow on the ground for more than a day since November. I don’t really understand how most of the country can be buried in the white fluff and yet world-renowned Tahoe is still struggling for its fair share :( One of the great things about living on the river is, well, you get to freaking live on the river!! A little over a year ago the Truckee decided to swell up quite significantly and flooded the area that I live in (non-destructive as it was – it was still an exciting time), and this morning I went out to find that yet again the waters were rising above normal levels. In this case, it was more a welcome relief than anything else. There’s finally hope for our area not being bone dry for the next four months.
While walking my furry companion along the raging Truckee, I saw a very small duck battling the onslaught of the current blasting downstream from the mountains. This brave little fowl was determined to reach shore, rain or shine (ironically), and away he went battling the crushing waves and performing gallantly, as any small, undersized duck may. Needless to say, I was impressed and it got me thinking about how I battle the own currents in my life… ah, the inspirations of nature!
- Tools – Any effort in life, big or small, requires that we be well-equipped with the appropriate tools for the job. Any of you mechanics know that there can be a huge difference between 5/8 and 7/16ths, and that it can essentially make or break the task at hand. The duck for example, is equipped with webbed feet (cheater), water repellant feathers, and a skeletal structure that allows swimming AND flying with ease. Now THAT is impressive. Since completing my MBA, I have found that my quest for the “appropriate toolkit” continues to go on, and the more well-equipped I become, the more questions and tools I pursue because I feel less equipped. Tool development is a key to overcoming obstacles later down the road that we cannot anticipate.
- Courage – The first step out the door can often be the most difficult, or in the case of the duck, the plunge into the raging river. Having the guts to begin that critical first piece can set the tone for the rest of the battle, and you want to set a great tone for something long and enduring. Life isn’t always peaches and cream, and it’s those who press on when times are tough and drag themselves out of the mud and grime to carry on towards the finish that end up coming out on top. They may not have the perfect photo finish, but they sure as heck make sure to cross that line in all its glory! There are plenty of limiters and opportunities in life to turn back when things get hairy, but there are far fewer opportunities to rise to greatness. We must take advantage of those times!
- Support Structure – Courage and tools without support really won’t get us very far. The little duckling was under the purview of his parental units, watching carefully from shore as he combated the river, just as we have our own support. Friends, mentors, family – our choices are nearly endless, but what we often don’t appreciate is the criticality of those around us. We would not get very far without having our support elements in balance. Just like a skyscraper clawing its way through the air with the scaffolding supporting it, our lives are a hectic maze of relationships that support and relationships that detract. It’s worth maintaining the positive support structure; the rest can go.
It is going to be a phenomenal week filled with triathlon training, enjoyment of the freshly watered nature, and President’s Day not too far behind. Make the most of your days, develop your toolbox, sharpen your courage, and reinforce your support.
Happy almost end of the week to all of you! Things have been pretty good in the working world over the past couple of days and we even have hints of a massive snow storm. Then again, we’ve only had *hints* of snow for the last three months. Sigh…
I am always one for experiencing “firsts” and so yesterday I took my first foray into the world of chiropractor treatment. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. As an athlete, there’s clearly a lot of brutality and jolts and bumps and bruises and misalignment bound to happen.
Sure enough, about five seconds into my appointment, the doc said it was blatantly obviously what was going on and that not only was there hope but that the symptoms were easily resolved! YES!! [Note: symptoms involved strained/rope-like feeling just buried in the belly of the right calf, taught Achilles tendon, difficulty running any longer than 40 minutes, which happens to be incredibly important when you’re training for IRONMAN or a half marathon… or all of the above.]
Anyways, in between getting zapped with electrical muscle stimulants and having my neck and vertebrae cracked up and down, I noticed a sign on that wall that essentially said that the three steps to self-care in life are your diet, your exercise, and taking care of your frame (bones, structure, ligaments, etc.) That’s good stuff, and again as someone who puts their body through the ringer, I couldn’t think of a more important example of true self-care, even though I am just now getting around to the frame care part… deep tissue massage only gets you so far. I would also argue that there is a spiritual element to self-care, which is far greater than the three listed, but that is a topic for another time.
- Exercise – ask any advanced level athlete and they will tell you, without a doubt, that crushing it at the gym, getting your swim, bike, and run on, or hurling weights is, in fact, the easiest part about getting in shape. While an overwhelmingly majority of people think that it’s difficult even getting to the gym a few times a week, they fail to understand that exercise is the easy part for someone addicted to endorphins.
- Diet – Hands down, the toughest part about being in incredible shape is eating an incredible diet. It’s easy (comparatively) to lift, hit the track for a speed workout, or go rock climbing. The more difficult part is timing your recovery nutrition, loading your fridge with healthy, power foods full of fiber and muscle-strengthening goodness instead of crappy, sugar loaded nastiness that does next to nothing. Nutrition is the key to building muscle, shredding fat, allowing your muscles to recover, and fueling yourself for the next workout. The smart athlete eats to prepare for the next workout. The silly athlete eats for the sake of face-stuffing. Granted, it takes discipline, lifestyle changes, and a great deal of tact, effort, and control to shift away from greasy bacon burgers, dripping pizza, and ice cream sundaes. Maintaining a healthy balance of eating will reap far more benefits than simply going cold turkey but doesn’t make it easier, plus fruit and yogurt can easily grow on you as a dessert replacement…
- Frame – This is an area I am only barely beginning to understand. I have owned a foam roller for about two years, and have collected a wide variety of muscle-working tools for smashing, mashing, and bashing my tissue back into place. A great analogy from my chiropractor was that just like a car frame scraping over a pothole, our bodies get out of alignment and need to be readjusted. CRACK. Mid-sentence my neck and spine were aligned in a rather sudden, startling, and fantastic fashion. I can’t wait to get everything fully taken care of because it never really occurred to me that alignment is so critical. Since 2011, I’ve participated in several IRONMAN sponsored events, meaning that I’ve been swimming, biking, and running on a misaligned frame, and that each mile twisted me further and further away from equilibrium. Well, there is hope in sight and not only hope, but the doc is confident that there will be huge performance gains with a straight body. AWESOME! Free speed! It has been a frustrating process for me, especially since 2012 when injury ruined my race season, because I feel like I’ve been doing the correct things for recovery, which I have, but misalignment and working at a desk 40 hours a week are a bad, bad combination. Here’s to a great (straight) race season!
Friday is here which means it’s time for weekend shenanigans. Whether you swim, bike, run, or eat your way through the weekend, keep the three tips in mind. Alignment in all three areas makes for a happier, healthier you!