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A Poem of Thoughts

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Today is Hump Day,

The best of them all!

It accelerates the work week,

When it slows to a crawl.

Green eggs and ham,

For breakfast I ate.

I’m gearing up for work,

Let’s hope I’m not late.

 

My stomach is growling,

Oh, what a shame!

I will scarf some tacos,

And extinguish the hunger flame.

The days evaporate in a blur,

Anticipating weekend training,

I heartily concur.

 

Friends and family,

Come and go as they please.

Pancakes and waffles bring food devouring ease.

A vacation is coming,

It must be near.

A race in St. George,

No need to fear.

70.3 miles of triathlon glory,

I may have a great end to that race story.

 

The weekend approaches,

We must not be scared!

Productivity and cleaning,

Leave you impaired.

Seize the day and live like a whiz.

Tomorrow has no guarantee,

Except death and taxes, that is.  

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Happy Hump Day!

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Power of Perseverance

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I had the joy and privilege of competing in a half marathon this past Sunday. While not an “easy” event, it is certainly much easier to prepare and recover for than a half or full IRONMAN, and for that, I am grateful. 13.1 miles is over in the blink of the eye, and only makes me more excited to not be running a full marathon. This was the first year that Reno hosted a Boston Qualifier (BQ) marathon, and unfortunately the turnout was weak at best, and the faces of the marathoners rolling in after four hours told the entire story… that run was BRUTAL.

I’ve done my fair share of marathons, and it’s true, they suck. Your feet are torched, your knees are usually toasted, and if you’re walking well the next day you’re lucky. I prefer to save that abuse for the annual 140.6 mile shows where at least I can balance it out with swimming and biking. The amazing thing about endurance activities is that the middle and back of the pack athletes have to grind, endure, dig, dig, dig, and somehow find a way to keep pushing even in the midst of crushing energy loss, changes in temperature, and ridiculously long amounts of time on a course. The marathon champ did his 26.2 miles in 2:52. The last finisher came across the line at 5:58… that’s just a long day.

 I knew someone who came in the bottom set of the finishers, not that far from the six hour cutoff, and I’m impressed they finished. I know what it takes to do the endurance events I do on a regular basis, but to suck it up and blast through a near 30 mile haul when the only thing on your mind is quitting is frankly very impressive. As an athlete, I really found my heart going out to these people only to find that quickly reversed and filled with excitement as they crossed the finish line and jumped (or slightly raised up on their sore toes) in joy and celebration with their peeps. It takes guts and courage and gives truth to the tortoise beating the hare.

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There are times in life when it is appropriate to push on in order to defy the odds, and there are times when a diverging path may lead to safer waters. That decision is one that must be made only when the split path is presented before you, but the groundwork laid up until that point is what helps to establish the route to go.

I am just getting ready to wrap up my first 10 week stint of IRONMAN training with only 20 left to go. Perseverance is the primary factor in succeeding, and I have my work cut out for me. Consistently pressing onward when things get tough (or it rains, you don’t feel well, etc.) create powerful habits and the fuel to keep moving forward when that 140.6 mile finish line seems so far away. Great things are coming; we just all need to endure to get there! :-)

Perseverance: “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties

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Foundations of Trust for Life

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I hope that the weekend treated you all well! Between Captain America, smoking my season triathlon opener, many delicious meals, and a great road trip, I was pretty swamped. Also, there is an inkling of warm, spring weather on the horizon. Did someone say great training weather!? It was a great and yet exhausting weekend, and left me time while in the kitchen cooking to think about trust and patterns established around it. Trust is integral in our lives from all aspects between work and play

Trust Your Training – Whether you’re an engineer, astronaut, or triathlete-wanna-be-ninja, your training will (and should) serve you well. Training helps to establish patterns, create positive mindsets when confronting the unknown, and instills confidence for when times get sticky. The ability to press forward even when your body or mind fight back is a skill worth having, and one not readily sought after. It’s uncomfortable and can be very not fun pressing forward through the thick of things. There are times to turn back, but more often than not there are opportunities to continue onward! Trust your overall goals not how you feel within a single moment. Emotions can be tricky things (the sneaks!)

Trust Your Instincts – If it walks like a duck and looks like a duck and sounds like a duck then clearly it’s a triathlon! Errr, that’s not it… I would not by any means say that your instincts are always accurate, however, their track record is rather impressive.  When the sun lasers into your eyes in between buoys one and two and your instincts tell you to find your bearings and then press on, you should listen to them! And who knows, perhaps you’ll lose most of the swim field and streak ahead out on top. Instincts are a result of your training and your life experiences, and while they may need to be taken with a grain of salt, many could argue that more often than not they will serve you well.

Trust Your Heart – The heart is an absolutely incredible muscle, especially in regards to how it can transform and adjust to the activities in your life. Jam enough fat soaked fries into your gut, and your heart plugs up like a sink full of shaved Wookie hair! But push yourself to new limits, constantly mix up your physical activities, and feed yourself heart-healthy foods and your cardiovascular pump of life-fueling goodness will be rock solid, cranking out the red (or blue) stuff in a fascinating manner. Americans are very stressed these days, and I’m certainly one of them, but I find that taking your stress out through physical activities is the healthiest (emotionally and physically) way to maintain balance. Your body adapts to almost anything you can throw at it and I find that I can be more productive in the other areas in my life when my stress is managed.

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Here’s to a great week and a productive Monday. “Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts.” Name that movie!

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4 Ways Successful People Use Plans

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Tacos!!!! YES! The yumminess that is Mexican food has a warm place in my heart (and tummy) and I plan on making a mountain of the scrumptious treats tonight.

Naturally, the first day of April brings snow to the mountains and cold weather to the valley. Better late than never. Triathlon season will kick off in fashion on Saturday so one can only hope that it warms up to at least the 70’s to make for a more enjoyable morning. While the vast majority of racing is between May and September, these early season races always keep me on my toes.

There’s a faint buzz and hum associated with April. Each year I dust off the wetsuit, prep my slick steed of wheeled, powering, aerodynamic fury, and equip my retardedly expensive running shoes with laces that don’t need to be tied. It’s tradition. It’s superstition. It’s my favorite time of the training season!

So, what is it that successful people do?

    1. Make a Plan – You don’t need the perfect plan. Far from it! You just need a plan that gives you a basis for establishing your base and one which allows you to set off on new and dangerous adventures from there. I like having a plan for the week, the month, and the year, after that it’s a little too hazy. At that point I line up goals along my wall and start tossing darts…
    2. Follow the Plan – Plans are there for a reason! They are meant to be followed. In this instance, I would argue that it’s best to follow the spirit of the plan not necessarily the letter of the plan (business law anyone?) because life happens. Work gets in the way. Family emergencies occur out of the blue. And sometimes you just need to deviate for your own sanity.
    3. Adapt the Plan – If I had to guess, I would say that approximately 99.9732546% (ballpark figure) of the time, my plan will change long before I get close to the end of my action items. Usually, my plan changes 10, 20, or 40% of the way into it. It happens! I’ve written about change a rather disgusting amount and for good reason, life is just jam-packed full of change! Let it happen.
    4. Abandon the Plan – Perhaps the toughest thing to do in life is admit when you have a lousy plan, acknowledge that your plan has you in over your head, or that in order to save your sanity you must abandon ship with the gumption and integrity required  to admit your failings while still salvaging the situation. The best laid plans so often EXPLODE IN YOUR FACE! Now, I won’t suggest that you drop your plan like a bad nail biting habit, but it may require some serious re-evaluation. Plans won’t always happen how you assume (or hope) and the ones that do, well, congratulations. For the rest of us strapped into reality, additions, subtractions, and the overall game plan will change – and it will change often!

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I hope that April and the second quarter of the year brings you great things. The ride is about to get bumpy but it’s going to be a freaking riot! Hang on to your britches!

 

Spring Inspiration for the Uninspired

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It’s the first day of spring and it is less than glorious outside. Sure, it will be in the 60s, but there isn’t a green, fresh batch of flora springing up from the dessert landscape, and I certainly don’t feel energized. Swim days are usually the shot in the arm that always gets me charged for tackling work and other responsibilities. Today and Tuesday, however, I just want to crawl back into bed and hide from the world.

It’s very unlike me to be dragging through my morning workouts like this, but I feel as if I can hardly function today. Needless to say, one of my friends is more zombie-like than I today with his “whole” 2 hours of sleep. Maybe I won’t complain as much…

Here’s some steps to finding inspiration when I’m feeling bleak.

  1. Plan Something in the Future – There is nothing quite as refreshing as establishing a new finish line or two for yourself as you plow through the daily chaotic jungle of Cubicle Land, surviving tax season, or even just  keeping a careful balance between friends and family. We all need a dose of freshness in our lives, and while Febreze is a great start, that won’t quite cut it.
  2. Sharpen Your Saw – When life is drab and boring, find new ways to build knowledge, create a new skill, or just indulge in a great new book. The downtimes in our lives, rare as they are, are incredibly underappreciated. We (myself too) typically cram 13 billion tasks onto our to-do list when really we only have an opening for five (not billion). Next time you get 15 free minutes, research a new book worth reading, take a stroll to ponder how cool the cyclical nature of seasons is, or go talk to a coworker about their courses as they pursue their JD.
  3. Don’t Forget to Live a Little – Work is wonderful, amazing, and a necessity – but it also isn’t the end all. Make sure that you are living life outside of the office whether it’s a great new hiking adventure, cooking fajitas with friends, or breathing in fresh air along the river, find your place and spend time there. Just be sure to make it your time. I find that turning my cell phone off is a welcome relief and so empowering. Nothing is as stress-free as a four hour bike ride that quickly turns into a half day of not checking my phone, even once, because I’m busy. I even highly encourage turning off your phone several hours before bed. It’s great! Distraction free winding down time.

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Friday is nearly here. Will your weekend be crazy busy like last weekend or will you at least take a few minutes to find some calm solace for the madness in your life? Fortunately, race season is nearly upon us. What a relief that will be …

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Bravery and the Victor

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You don’t have to be better; you just have to be braver.

I am horribly embarrassed at my lack of writing the past week and will do my best to make up for it. I feel like spring is here, and the arrival of Daylight Savings Time is none too soon. I can’t even believe my good fortune when I get off of work and I have an hour of two of glorious, training-ready sunshine! Not just that but it is WARM. YESSSSSSSSSSS!

The coming of the Days of Longer Sunlight ushers in a whole new experience for the “outdoorsy type.” It limits the feeling of Vitamin D deprivation, provides an instant emotional boost, and makes you feel more alive. The beams of golden sun warm the blood coursing through your veins as you strap in for new adventures, and the first inklings of spring are in the air.

For me, triathlon season is perfectly timed to coincide with the arrival of sunlight and warmth. Just as spring and summer kick into gear, the race season begins, and it is full steam all the way through fall, which is far and away the greatest time of the year EVER. Any good athlete will tell you that emotional training is just as important, if not more so, to the physical training. Granted, you need to get out there whipping your tendons and muscles into shape, but without a fortified mental approach as well, you’re toast!

I was on a trail run yesterday and my mind drifted off towards the mental exercise of visualization that always precedes my races by many, many months. I imagine myself pushing through a course hour after hour balancing the mental negativity that inevitably crushes someone into the depths of unknowing defeat saying I can’t do it, I’m going to give up, it’s curtains with the flip side of saying things are wonderful, I did my homework, and I am prepared. It really is true that the tortoise will beat the hare (big hair? hahahah , sorry inside joke) but perseverance, guts, and being brave will drive you further than someone who is simply fast. Of course it helps being faster than your competitors, but races aren’t won on speed alone.

I am slowly learning the lesson in life to worry less about speed and more about savoring moments and enjoying my journeys. I’ve had a few disappointing experiences since the beginning of the year which ironically taught me lessons that were sorely needed. It’s not always fun or exciting but usually the outcome is impactful and useful. I encourage you to make your weekend more about enduring, trying new things, and being brave, than blitzing, hurrying, or zooming through life. I know…I know, easier said than done!

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It’s All About Perspective

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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.

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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.

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