All the “No’s” that led me here

NO.NO

My life is actually pretty awesome.   I don’t always feel that way, but when I stop and really think about it, I realize that I have so much to be grateful for.   I’ve always had a sense that I was going to do great things and, I don’t think I’m alone in this.   As I get older, the idea that I’m going to be remarkable, in any specific and tangible way, grows more and more distant; ever more remote.   It might even be a kind of hubris, but entirely human all the same.

“We all think we’re going to be great. And we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met.” Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy

I want to say real quick too, that I actually like myself.   At least, most of the time, even when I mess up, I’m learning to laugh at myself and not take things so seriously.. not all the time, anyway.   What I’m trying to say here is that I can say nice things about myself without thinking too hard about it – and for some people, that’s a big accomplishment.

But..

I’m not perfect.   I haven’t reached some special state that has elevated me above the masses.  I’m not really all that special, after all.   I’m just a guy who has some ‘yes’s’ under his belt.   And, at the same time, I’m just a guy who still hasn’t let go of all the NO’s!

There are a lot of NO’s.

My big think is that I’m afraid.  I’m afraid to interview with ‘important people’ so I say no.   I’m afraid to climb out on that rock with my friends, so I say no.   I’m afraid to apply for that job because I don’t think they’ll take me seriously, so I say no.   I’m afraid to sign up for that race because I’ve never run that far, so I say no.   I’m afraid of working out that hard so I can get to Boston, no.

So I was going to write this blog about all the NO’s, and sure, they exist BUT..  I’m not really feeling the “No’s” right now.  I can think of yes’s for every no, right now.   Right now I know that the road to greatness is mundane, persistent and consistent action; never giving up, letting go of the things that are hurting you, and being your own champion.

If I DID  want to wallow in my miseries, then I’m sure I could look back and see a series of fear-laden “No’s”.  No to myself, no to offers and invitations from others, no to flights of fancy that weren’t so flighty after all.

The Process 

It is not flashy to those who are in it. Who live with themselves from day to day.  The incremental changes are soul-grindingly slow and imperceptible.

There needs to be a more earnest expression of the word ‘patience’.

Still, the course is charted and the journey may be long, but with consistency, the months and years will see us all through if we remain forever focused on the big picture as we yawn through slow minutes; never failing to take the daily steps that seem so vain and barren.

Committed.

And then someone says, “you look like you’ve lost weight!”, or you notice one day that your clothes aren’t squeezing you anymore.   You hear the chirp of your Garmin mark off a mile, or three, and you get an exhilirating little thrill because that wasn’t so bad or that was the first time you ran that far!

There is joy in the slow quiet crawl to success.

What a drag.

 

It’s fun hanging around people with big ideas and too many ideas, and they pop and snap from moment to moment, described with wild-eyed passion and no one could possibly follow through with them, and they can’t all be executed in any reasonably acceptable way.   One hopes and one tries and one moves on.  The greatest crime of sentience is that there isn’t enough time to do everything.. and sleeping is a crime.

But still, it’s so irresistible to be surrounded by those whose minds reel off thing after thing and idea after idea, even though you are fully aware you won’t get to it all or even most of it.  It is so compelling to strive for the dynamo.

And you look with regret at those things you would have to give up and say “Goodbye” to, wistfully and with heavy hearts, you wonder more about what life would be like without those things than what life might be like – that complete paradigm shift – with those new components and that new ‘style’ which is called, ‘life-style’.

You sigh.

Those you see and hear, and those who cause your mind to simmer in your boundless possibilities, they will have to wait because you refused to let go of those things that are holding you back.

levelup2

And you become really good at hanging out with people with big ideas and smiling and laughing at all the right times, on cue, without ever really letting them in and without ever really adding anything to the conversation.

You are the drag – pulling them down when they could be pulling you up.

“This is so easy, I’ll quit”

For me it was heart-rate training.  The zone I was supposed to be working in was so easy that if I ran, I would shoot right out of it and have to slow down.   That was frustrating – I wanted to get a workout, not go for a walk!

I suspect the same thing happened with my C25k group.  I suspect that around 14 people showed up that first day and thought,” this is great! I’m going to sweat and it’s going to be challenging but fun and my muscles will be sore tomorrow..!”   Then, we worked out and it was SUPER easy – Week 1, Day 1. 


People literally stopped coming after that first workout.  It was too easy.  They couldn’t take the long-view; ‘it may be easy now but it is laying the foundation for something much harder, later.’

People suck!  (Me included)

We’re so impatient, we quit when something seems too easy.  We’re such whimps, we quit when it’s too hard.   If it’s just right, we quit for some other stupid reason.  We consistently sabotage ourselves and our hearts desire because an easy excuse presents itself.  We don’t blame ourselves because the instructor could have been better, or certified or hotter.  

We literally grab any excuse to play the victim and we quit.. why?  

Because this is too easy!

When?

A surprising lesson from a Facebook purge.

I run a group to help people who always said they wanted to run, run.  The program is called “Destination YOU!“, it is a couch-to-5k (C25k) program and it can be done either in person, or virtually; wherever you are in the world.

Recently, I noticed that I had over 50 members to the group on the Facebook page, but only three to five people were showing up and only two were actually participating virtually.  As I went through the members, trying to remember who was who, how I knew them, who they were friends with, I kept coming across people that recently joined but whom I had never seen at the group or online in any way, shape, or form.

Any of you who have done something like this will not be surprised that some of the folks I ended up kicking had gotten in under false-pretenses and tried selling things.   Others just seemed to get in and plop themselves down to promptly do nothing, whatsoever.   However, there were some on my list who I knew had some vested interest in joining.  I had invited them personally and they took me up on it so far as to take the action of requesting to be part of the group; and then?  Well, then they just disappeared – their digital spot secure they were likewise never heard from again.  Maybe worst of all, I noticed that several members had been added by other members who were family, and neither one of them had lifted a finger to introduce themselves, introduce the family member, comment on any workouts, or show up at all.  To reiterate – someone joined and thought the program was such a good idea, they invited their dad or mom, sister, cousin or whatever and those invitees never did anything.  They sat there waiting for the program to somehow magically do something for them. The real crime here is that someone who thought the program was good enough for someone else, couldn’t be bothered to participate..themselves.

For fucks sake people – recommending something even YOU won’t try to someone you think needs it, is the biggest act of fraud you could ever commit.   You want to convince someone?  How about shutting up and doing?  Actions will always speak louder than words and NOTHING gets the attention of someone who needs it more than seeing someone they love, do something and accomplish something that they had to work hard for and to which they had to commit.

Being the person that loses the weight, quits making excuses and gets fit is the biggest motivation you could ever give to those you love.fraud

And one last thing.  To all of those I kicked out of the group today, I have to imagine that they had these intentions to someday participate.  The ones that joined or asked to join did it for a reason, but so long as their action cost them nothing, they were happy to pretend that they would actually do something substantive someday.  Instead – #bookmarked – they’ll get to it later!  But when?  When were they going to get off their butts and actually do something?  Tomorrow?  Are they really convinced that tomorrow they’re going to get after it?  They’ll just have one more chocolate-covered almond, but then that’s it – no more!  They’ll just have a #3 with curly fries once a week..today, like right now.. but no more!  They’re tired, it has really been a tough day and they don’t have the energy to go do a workout – they’ll just work extra hard tomorrow!

Tomorrow never comes.

It gets easier to put off tomorrow what we put of today.. and on and on.  We make some half-hearted effort to join a group, this little half-measure, dipping our toes in the water, dressed out and ready but.. but.. we find a reason to get distracted, make an excuse, shrug our shoulders and wait until we catch the next whiff of motivation.

But joining a fitness group won’t make us fit.   If someone wants to participate, someday.. just not today?  Then they can find another fitness group.   I’m not here to build numbers, I’m here to help people realize their potential, to selfishly get motivated by seeing someone kick butt and stop making excuses, I’m here to find the hero in all of you, to learn from you and cheer you on.

If you aren’t going to act, then please do me the favor of leaving the group.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Rest day!

Today is my rest day.   No running.

This past week has had its ups and downs.  My running was strong and I was good on the miles but my weight didn’t change a bit.

I’m using an Accu-Measure caliper to check my BMI = 22.  By most graphs, that’s in the “Healthy” range.   Still, I feel lumpy in the middle.

This coming week is going to be around 55 miles, I think.  Or it’s a cut-back week – I’ll let you all know.

That’s all for now.   Stay positive, keep grinding, don’t quit!

This past week, I took on a couple of challenges.  Not the “22 day push-up challenge” variety – although that wouldn’t hurt my fitness at all.  No, not that.   Instead, I cut three things from my diet; alcohol (broke that streak on Friday), Sugar/Sweets (also Friday) and blogging once/day (this one is still going strong).   I want to lose weight, get in the habit of eating consciously and get in the habit of writing down some of my thoughts and observations every morning; journaling.

Every Monday – I plan on stepping on the scale and seeing where I’m at.  This will be a feature of my Monday blog; my weight, my weekly recap, my challenges, my failures and how I can improve.

People, and especially people in the U.S., don’t seem to realize how overweight we are, as a nation.  By comparison to most other Americans, I’m actually quite fit and quite thin – but Americans are a poor standard when it comes to weight and Body Mass Index (BMI).   If I weighed 165 – 175 lbs (74-79 kg), that would put me in a healthy weight/BMI range.  Instead, when I’ve been in that range, I’ve had friends who get offended or concerned – “are you feeling well?” or “you just look unhealthy”.   My running buddy today, Tom G., told me that looking back at photos from a time where he lost a bunch of weight fairly quickly, others expressed that same worry over his weight loss.  But he found the opposite to be true – he looked awesome at that ’emaciated’ weight!  Healthy even.

A lot of people struggle with this kind of thing and it’s super easy to get offended by a piece like this.   All I can say to that is, stay true to you, and I’ll stay true to me.   This isn’t a competition, it’s not a mockery or a put-down, nor am I judging you. I have some pretty specific goals in mind and being at an ideal weight will help me achieve those goals

It’s estimated that each pound lost will increase your speed by two seconds per mile. That’s huge!   Imagine if I were to lose twenty-five pounds (190 – 25 = 165)!  That would be 50 seconds per mile!   Almost a minute a mile faster – wow!   Over 26 miles, that could translate to the BQ I’ve been working toward; the whole reason I hired a coach, it’s been my SUPER BOWL goal of four years now and, including the many ultras I’ve run so far – it would be the crown jewel of my running accomplishments!   To run Boston.

It won’t be easy – but it will be worth it!