The Journey

The journey is more important than the destination.

Several years ago a friend of mine asked me if I would do the Fairlee Triathlon in Vermont. After training for three months, feeling like I was going to drown in the swim, feeling nauseus on the run, I crossed the finished line and was hooked.This led to my triathlon journey.

Please consider supporting my latest effort to raise money for Bretton Woods Adaptive through the Janus Charity Challenge at Ironman Lake Placid this July. Check out the Links I Like section of the blog or explore the BWA Fundraiser links.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Training begins...

I had a great run yesterday. Temperature in the mid 50's gave me the opportunity to run in shorts and short sleeves, the legs felt good and my mind was racing with what seemed like a million thoughts on the upcoming year.

Not having run much over the past five weeks I didn't have the chance to have that kind of flow of ideas that clears my head every once and a while. It was good to feel that again.

I realized that I missed it so much that I'm moving my formal Ironman trainig up a little bit so I can begin to take advantage of the momentum I built up yesterday. Suzan isn't going to have my first training block ready until mid-January so I'll be winging it a bit for the next couple of weeks. I dug up the first month's training block that Suzan gave me for the 2006 Ironman race so that will give me something to work with.

Not only will I begin to track my training again but I'll also begin tracking my nutrition today. I've taken a break from both since doing the Green Mountain marathon. While it's been nice not keeping track for a while, I have to admit that I'm looking forward to the structure and focus that will be required.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Equipment and lines of credit

It's been over a month since I gotten a run in because of the "rib incident". I love to go out and run early on holidays, so this morning I decided to test out the healing and go out for a while.  Formal Ironman training starts in a little over a week and I'm antsy to begin to a regular training schedule again.

It was an unusually warm morning with an air temp of 40 degrees but with a pretty strong wind.  I was able to wear shorts!  Haven't done that on a Christmas day run in a while.

I was only about out for about 40 minutes and usually no matter the distance I run my mind will wonder across several subjects. I imaging lots of triathletes experience the same thing.  This morning was different, all I could think about was equipment and lines of credit?!  I tried moving my head to other subjects but to no avail...I had a completely one track line of thinking. To give some perspective, I work for an equipment and business finance company, could that be why? 

The rib felt good so I'll probably try again tomorrow. It will be interesting to if my mind can move on to any other subjects...

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter distractions

It's been a's the story.

Trying to relive the glory days.
In an effort to re-live my glory days playing high school basketball, I participated in my high school alumni game over Thanksgiving weekend. As I was diving for the loose ball out of bounds I remember thinking to myself that I should have just let it go. But alas, I didn't and I could feel a sharp pain in my rib as I landed.

The ER Visit
Seven hours later at about 3am I was leaving the ER having been through an x-ray and CT scan to make sure there was no internal damage or broken ribs. While it was just diagnosed as a contusion, it still meant 3 - 4 weeks of recovery time before really being able to do any running or swimming.

For the first 10 days or so, even riding a spin bike or being on the trainer was painful. And sneezing or coughing, forget about it!  After about 15 or 16 days things started to get back to normal.  No running or swimming yet but I've been able to ride the trainer regularly again and do some lower body strength work.

The distractions
Life has still been crazy with the reduced training workload.  In the past 3 weeks we've had an ice storm, snow storm, layoffs at work (thankfully not my position, but I'm busier as a result), and the general hysteria generated by the holiday season.

The snow and holiday distractions have been good. I just got back in from playing in the snow with Connor and looking forward to celebrating Christmas with friends and family. The ice storm and work layoffs have not been so good but we plug along....

Ready to train
While the forced training has left time for other things, I'm really looking forward to beginning formal Ironman training.  The plan is to begin on January 1st.  As of today there are 217 days to go!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

You become a product of your environment

I met up with Paul and Tony last night for a couple of drinks.  I've known Paul for a couple of years now and first met him through the Granite State Triathlon Club. Since then we've trained for several races together including the Manchester Marathon, Patriot Half Ironman and currently we are both training for Ironman Lake Placid.

We've had some long training sessions including some mutli-hour bike rides and runs.  I can't even count the number of topics you cover when on a three hour run. So, inevitably when we get together outside of training or exchange e-mails the topic of triathlon will come up, whether it is a tough workout, a cool new bike or upcoming race expectations. 

My training has been way off for the past week due to an injury (rib injury that will take 4 weeks to recover from!) and I've gotten frustrated from the lack of activity I'm relegated to. I've felt my motivation slowly going away.  However I think I've become conditioned to think about triathlon when I interact with Paul. After hanging out with Paul and Tony last night (and yes we talked triathlon) I woke up this morning with a much more optimistic outlook on my injury and upcoming training in the next couple of months.

Paul is part of my triathlon environment which led to the title of this post - you become a product of your environment.  I believe this statement is true no matter how you look at it.  

It may seem that there are exceptions to this.  There are story's like Oprah's, Art Berg's and people you meet everyday. You have probably met people yourself who after hearing their story think, "how does this person have such an optimistic outlook on life?" These people "beat the odds" of a tough environment only to become successful, in whatever way you want to define success.  They are incredible examples of being pro-active in creating positive definitions about events in their life, they find the positive in a situation, use it to their advantage and embody one of my favorite phrases - 'no event has any inherent meaning, only the meaning we give it'

However, even those people we consider exceptions to the rule: "you become a product of your environment" changed their environment in one way or another.  It may have been their physical environment; maybe they chose to find a new cirlce of friends, move to a different place or find a different job.  However in all cases it was their mental environment they changed first which likely led to a change in their physical environment.

Looking outside these seemingly extreme examples (I think most people have their own version of a challenging environment) I believe everyone can use this belief to their advantage.

What would you change about your life if you believed that you were at least in some part a product of your environment? If you had the choice, why wouldn't you create the best environment possible to reach whatever goals and dreams you had? If you can't immediately change your physical environment, there is no one stopping you from changing your mental environment.

What are you going to do to or what do you now do to change your environment, mental or physical?

Over the next several weeks and months I'll be getting into more details about my fundraising efforts for the Bretton Woods Adaptive ski program.  In those posts I hope you'll find examples of people who have changed their mental environment, no matter how difficult their situation seemed to be.

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