Thursday, August 1, 2013


“Easily mistaken, it is not about a love for adversity, it is about knowing a strength and a faith so great that adversity, in all its adverse manifestations, hardly even exists.” 
― Criss Jami

People say a lot of things about me.  I'm pretty sure one of them has never used the word complacent or indifferent in a sentence that has anything do with who I am.  It's been a blessing and a curse, but for the most part I've always been pretty darn strong-willed in all aspects of my life.  At times, this has lead me to jump straight off the cliff as every single sign and person I knew was telling me that it was a pretty far fall and I might want to rethink my trajectory.  Good or bad, that's pretty much been the way my life has been thus far.

As hard as those times were, they taught me so much about the things I cherish and the things I value.  Relationships take work and require nurturing and care.  People are flawed, all of us, and we will all eventually disappoint each other but if the bond we have is strong then things can be amended.

Only children are often credited as being selfish and stubborn, prone to self-imposed stress and have a strong sense of a personal agenda.  I'm sure some of that is true for me and has been true since I was young.  The same things that at times have hindered me, and hinder all of us, can the same positive aspects we exhibit should we chose to use them wisely and learn about their proper management.

In the sport that has become such a big part of my life, I'm pretty sure my will has been the saving grace at times pulling me out of deep dark places that I didn't know if were possible to leave at the time.  I also believe in having an internal locus of control meaning that the quality of my life is largely determined by my own choices and actions.  That ultimately I am responsible for who and what I am and how I will react to what the world dishes out is my choice.

I see this in my clients at times that their locus is very external and they believe they are passenger on the freight train of life, sailing into the future with no control over "what happens" to them.  If they miss workouts or make bad nutrition choices, it was because life handed them lemons - what else could they possibly do?? There were no options, no way out.  They HAD to make that decision or life-choice.  My goal is to try to change this particular viewpoint and help them see they are not only capable, informed, and smart, but they are the gatekeepers to their decisions and actions.  We don't have to to just accept things going one way or the other.  If you don't like your poor choices, change them.

Sure, bad things happen, bad things happen to everyone.  It's not a matter of IF, it's a matter of WHEN.  Ultimately, it is about how we respond to those things that determine our own story, our own destiny, our own life.

There's a balance to being strong-willed though, and I've seen that time and time again.  Sometimes we hold so tightly to something that we make it too important, too big and we lose perspective.  Just as in training for Ironman, we spent countless hours upon hours of time preparing, believing, planning and just like that, in one instant, everything changes.  If the source of our will isn't congruent with our belief system we can quickly get ourselves into trouble.  These days, I have to check myself regularly on if my heart is in the right place and I'm viewing this journey I'm on the way I should be viewing it so that I don't lose that precious perspective.

Sure, I've put so much time and energy into training for this one day, August 18th, but in one fell swoop I could be off my bike and on the ground.  Does that mean my training will have all been for nothing?  Not if I've been enjoying the journey like I should.  Not if I'm stopping to enjoy the sweet taste of nailing a workout or smiling as my heart rate is so low I feel like I'm walking but I'm actually running faster than ever before!  These victories and experiences are just as important as what happens on race day and there are far more of them than there are one 10 hour day in August.  Even this strong-willed girl knows that.

I've loved every second of the last ten months.  Wait, scratch that, I've enjoyed 95% of my training over the last ten months and the other 5% I've just gritted my teeth and gutted out because that's what we have to do sometimes.  No one gets up every day and wants to ride their bike for 5 hours. Some days you just keep your eyes on goal and realize that it's the sum of many days that will eventually lead you to your destination.

Often times I've thought of the Ironman Texas marathon and how utterly grueling that race was for me.  I've never hurt so bad or dug so deep in my entire life and I'm thankful I now know that I'm capable of digging in my heels to that extent and just refusing to give in.  I needed to know where that place was and that, if necessary, I could access it again if need be.  There were years of dipping my toe into that place and seeing what it was like to feel the water, but that day I cannonballed in and never looked back.  That's belief, that's will, that's knowing that sometimes you have to go too far to see how far you can really go.  I was moments away from compete and utter system failure and it was super scary, but also pretty intense to use my mind and spirit that hard to drive my body to do what I felt like I was supposed to do.

In two weeks I'll be in that place again.  There will undoubtedly be challenges and things that go astray.  I'm sure more than once I'll ask myself why I'm even doing this incredibly hard thing, but then I'm pretty sure I'll remember why and all the situations of my life that lead me to this one exact moment.  The best we can hope for is to have a little luck on our side, trust the plan and believe that everything will work out exactly as it should (whatever that may be).  I'm excited to see where this one goes!


Robert said...

Nice read.

That deep dark place is exactly what I've been afraid of all my life.

I think at that place one is stripped of all the disguises, all the charades, all the walls of defense. I think I'm afraid of what I might see when all the pretense is gone.

Thanks for the window into your state of soul.

Steve said...

I did not know that about your childhood. Today I was running with a guy Ken I run with a lot, and we were talking about "family" stuff.

He said something like, "at this stage I don't care how a normal family is supposed to look like."

That struck me as funny, because people sometimes worry about how their life is perceived.

I think life is too short. Who cares??

Then I think I may not have always been like that, but that is a part of being strong huh?? throwing your stuff out there, and let whatever happens. I mean how much do we really have control of??