Exceed Your Limits!

One Step and One Day at a Time!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Patience, Respect, and Perseverance leading to Sustainability

I have been thinking a lot about where I am right now and how I want the next few months to play out.  For my brain and personality, it is important for me to see measurable results or progress and equally important for me to evaluate my goals frequently to stay on track.  It is just how my brain works.  I am already in a bit of a rut - an enjoyable rut, with lots planned for training (both formal and informal) but I have an itch to see where this is all going.  Thinking about waiting until the end of July to see it all put together in a formal race is just killing me!

So, I am considering adding an earlier race.  A pace setting exercise.  An exercise to set a baseline from which to move forward.  I am ready to see some results here, but I don't want to rush to be set back by an injury.

My thoughts have centered around these three things:  Patience, Respect, and Perseverance. 

Patience:  I lack this in most areas of my life, but most of all when considering patience with myself.  I want to excel, exceed expectations, and, frankly, shine!  I struggle to maintain patience to just let the training process move forward.  This can be an issue in any physical goal.  For example, you want to finish a 30 minute jog, you want to see some of your abs emerge after countless crunches, you want to see the pounds come off on the scale.  But, the bottom line is you need patience sometimes.  It doesn't happen overnight.  Our society, particularly with the reality TV side of weight loss, is geared to think it is some magical transformation that literally happens overnight or, perhaps even in the hour it takes to watch the standard TV show on the topic.  Our minds are bombarded with quick fixes, but in reality, there are none.  So, part of my analysis in deciding whether to add another race will be to look at whether my desire to register comes from a lack of patience.

Respect:  Respect the sport and respect the efforts of those who are successful in the sport.  In my situation, I need to continually remind myself to respect the sport.  It is challenging and requires work to get the ultimate reward: crossing a finish line. I firmly believe you need to respect the discipline you are trying to master and the costs of mastering it.  If you fail to respect it, well, in turn it will not respect you, or your body, and injury will result.  For example, I used to think the swim would be easy.  After all, I swam all the time when I was younger, I trained lifeguards on a lake waterfront, I was trained to dive by a Navy dive instructor that was insistent on strong swimming skills.  But then I saw my first race with the open water swim and the toll it took on good athletes particularly under rough conditions.  I got in the pool and realized just how hard it was and how far behind I was from the moderately strong swimmers.  I have a lot more respect for the swim now, and, frankly, it is rewarding me with measurable progress.  It is a strange concept, but it is the best way to describe it.  Further, respect those that are participating and successful in the sport or activity.  Don't compare yourself to others.  Don't rush to do it and register to prove something to someone else.  Do it for yourself (thereby respecting yourself) and respect the fact that others are out there conquering it through hard work and determination.  Disrespecting the efforts of others and taking an attitude that is disrespectful of their time and energy will only hurt you, through injury and mental anguish, in the end.  When I talk to myself about respecting others efforts and hard work, it is not in the context that I can't accomplish it, but just that I need to put in the work required of ME to do so and not base it on others.  Work on MY weaknesses, embrace MY strengths, and cross the finish line for me.  To do it for any other reason will only result in registration fees paid for races that are never run.  So, my analysis right now is if I move forward with an earlier race, am I still respecting the sport and respecting the efforts of others that have them racing right now.

Perseverance:  Is my desire to move forward to a formal race formed out of true readiness or just a lack of perseverance to follow the process necessary to get there.  It is hard to continue to push through sometimes.  To keep going 6 days a week on a building training plan requires true perseverance when the shining moment to see how it all pays off is 6 weeks away (and I have already been doing this for months).  So, my analysis here is to question whether I am just lacking the mental state to persevere or am I truly ready to enter a formal race. 

I am not sure, yet, how to answer these questions above, but I do think this is something to examine no matter what your goals when you start to question the value of what you are doing and where you are taking it.  Of course, as I was thinking of this I get an email from one of the people I respect the most in the sport saying "Go for it, you are more than ready!"  I need to make a decision soon, but will take the time to evaluate it appropriately.  I want this lifestyle I am creating to be sustainable, and I hope my considerations of the above points will lead to that sustainability in the end.

What am I missing here in my considerations?  Or, am I, in my usual style, just over thinking it?  (and, yeah, it has been one of those "reflection" days!)

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