Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ever Feel Like A Fraud?

“Lies don't fit snugly into disguises. Eventually the cloak falls off and you're left staring at the naked truth which is always an uncomfortable situation.” 
― Richelle E. Goodrich

I have tried to write this blog post about 100 times over the almost last three and a half years. I have at least two drafts on this site. That counts, right? I don't know if it is shame, disgust, remorse or something more sinister like apathy or numbness.

I'm FAT again.

Me the day before IMFL and me today (I'm not a big fan of selfies to begin with).

There I said it.

never even blogged about the incredible day I had at Ironman Florida (I had a fabulous day!).

Me with the girls after finishing IMFL 2012. Awesome!!

Me and Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae.

raced three times in 2013. I did a double over a single race weekend in May at the Memphis In May Triathlon Weekend to try and prepare for an attempt at a true double at the USAT Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, WI. It was bad.

I can't wear either of the t-shirts now, due to my weight gain.

I finished the Olympic race in 2:43:01. Sounds like a good time to many, I know. However it was slower than my fastest Olympic Race by 20 minutes, and it was on a much easier course. My finish time put me in the top 37% in my age group, the top 42% in my gender, and in the top 36% overall. I realize this is a solid race position, but comparatively it was a sign of slipping fitness, effort and results. By comparison when I raced my last Olympic of 2012 (leading into IMFL) I placed 2nd overall. In a time of 2:22:23. I was in the top 1% of my age group, top 3% of my gender and the top 2% overall. One person beat me for the overall win.

Memphis In May was a harbinger of things to come. Slipping motivation, resting on my laurels and general laziness brought me to the USAT AGNC. What a rude awakening I was in for....

I finished the race in roughly the same time as the Memphis In May race, at 2:43:34. The problem with that was that competition was the stiffest I have ever raced against. I finished 196 out of 211 men in my age group. That was good for 93%. I finished 90% among male racers and 90% overall.

The main issue is this: I can do so much better. So Much Better!!

It has been 2 years and 8 months since I last raced in a triathlon. In the meantime I got this in June 2014:

What should have been an awesome reminder of an awesome day, now indicts me of my inactivity.

I signed up for Ironman Chattanooga in in 2014 to motivate me to race again, to regain my fire, my fitness.... That was $650.00 wasted, as I skipped the event entirely. I turned to trail racing, hoping to jumpstart my desire. I did race in the 2015 Swampstomper 25K (pretty sure what I did can't be called racing). 

Swampstomper 25K in 2015. Ooof!

I signed up for the same race in 2016 and did the same thing as IM Chat, paid the fee and skipped the race.

What in the hell is wrong with me? What is my problem?

So here is the deal: I wasn't a great blogger before. I probably won't be a great blogger now. However, I need some accountability. I have a desire to get back into shape, to become healthy again, and to get back to racing and to reaching my true potential. 

So, I am going to commit to blogging at least once a week. Come along for the ride. I hope it's one you can identify with.

I've gained roughly 71 lbs. since IMFL.

Whoa, that is hard to admit! And it really hurts.

Time to get it off. And so it begins.....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Fresh Start? No Thanks....How About A Better Tomorrow, Instead?

Do We Really Get A Fresh Start?

I'm sitting on the couch, reflecting on the day. A little too much food, a little too much drink, a little too much football. On and on and on it goes. As day's go, January 1st is really no different than most any other winter day. Typically, it's cold. The daylight hours are short. But even so, there is a resolve. A hint of past success and past failure. I'm not one to have resolutions or to have a word for the year. Generally, because I don't believe there is enough conviction in those things to bring about change.

Change comes from within. Change is built on the past. Change is a departure from what has been done before right now. So, with that thought I am not sure that we get a fresh start. 

We can resolve to be healthier, to be more fit, to be more successful, more content, more of everything. What about about being less? What if to truly change, we need to be less in "control", less in our own way.

I am generally optimistic about the future. I know there are things I could have done better last year, but that is in the past. I can not change what is in the past. It is written and it is gone. Many of my struggles are with letting go of the past. I am typically my own harshest critic. I can forgive my wife, I can forgive my kids. I can forgive many people. Seldom do I easily forgive myself.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” 

What do I hope for 2014? 

I hope that I can have the strength to let myself make mistakes and to give myself the grace that God offers, to not hold onto those mistakes. I have too many plans for a new year to hang on to the baggage.

Fresh start? No, not really. We are made from our past, but we are not defined by it. My wish for myself and for you: is that you are better today than you were yesterday, and that you are better tomorrow than you are today. Life is in the trying

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Focus, Boredom or Tedium??

Okay, so today was an exercise in mental focus. Anyone who has spent much time around a pool knows that these lines can cause you to go into a "zombie-like state".  I tend to have a hard time keeping count of my laps even on short sessions.  Well, my last long swim before Ironman Florida and the beginning of my taper for that race was today.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get in an open water swim over at my friend's house on the lake this weekend, so I had to swim 4625 yards in the pool -- following that lane line for almost a full 90 minutes.
Sometimes, life is a lot like swimming in the pool and following the lane line.  You can go into a zone, you can just keep plugging along and you don't notice anything around you.  That isn't always bad, especially if you never really unplug from life.  However, I think we have to be careful to unplug too much.  We need to stay engaged in our lives with the people who matter most, within our chosen communities that we surround ourselves, and to look for ways to connect with others.  Isn't life all about connecting and establishing community?  Otherwise, all we will do is follow the lane line and miss out on everything that is going on around us, and that can be boring and tedious.
How do you connect?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lost Opportunity

Sometimes you don't realize the opportunities you have right in front of you until they are gone.  Today I realized two things.

I was riding today and was focused on all that I had to accomplish during this ride.  This was an important brick (a ride combined with a run immediately following), since my race is in two weeks. This would be a dress rehearsal of sorts.  I had to ride for three and a half hours and then run for an hour.  My wife was out of town and I had both my girls with me.  The youngest had a soccer tournament at 8:15 in the morning and my oldest had practice at 10:00.  Then we had a planned father- daughter dinner and pumpkin party at church at 6:00 and finally another tournament game at 7:45 tonight.  So I was desperately trying to squeeze my workout in that short window in the afternoon. I wanted to get about 70 miles in on the bike and at least a 7 mile run.  I wanted to practice nutrition and really feel comfortable with pace and effort and heart rate.  So at about 2 and a half hours into the ride I come up on another rider, who is a little slower, I pass him and am about to go on.  Of course, I am cordial as I do this, and say "hello" and "how are you?" but I fully expect that to be it.  He takes the initiative to ask me where I am going.  I didn't have a good answer for the "where" so I told him about 30 miles left.  I slow down a bit, and I ask him about his ride (because I certainly don't want to be rude).  He tells me he is riding to Memphis and then to Mobile, AL and then to New Orleans and so on....  I ask him why and he tells me "It's just one of those bucket list things".  I ask him where he started from and he started in Santa Barbara, CA.  He is riding across the country.  His wife is following behind him and he has a support vehicle (neither of which did I see at any point on the ride).  I tell him how cool that I thought that was and that was about it.  He could tell I was focused on "going fast" and accomplishing my task, so he said "I don't want to slow you down" and with that I told him to be safe and have a great ride and I was gone.

It was several miles down the road, when I realized that I missed a real opportunity to talk to someone who was living out a really good story.  I was so focused on my task that I didn't take the time to share in this guy's story and to make a friend.  Now don't get me wrong, I mean I was strapped for time.  I did get my miles in.  I did get the run.  I felt more confident after this session. But that really isn't the point.  Somehow the big picture eluded me.  I am regretting that now.  Most things in life are not that important.  My commitments are not that firm, that I shouldn't have extended a little more time to just talk and listen to another human being.
Here were my lessons learned: 1) We should all take time to experience life and share it with others. 2) We should never be satisfied with looking in the rear view mirror of our lives.  Having a "bucket list" means that the best of our lives are still ahead of us. 
Isn't this the way we were meant to live life?  What is on your bucket list?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Long time, No see...

I have a confession to make: I am a terrible blogger.  I disappear for months at a time. I am pretty sure that my last blog post was in February of this year.  I am still trying to get the hang of this and living life at the same time. This is not an easy task.  Especially if you are really trying to live life well and to the fullest extent possible.  Do I try to have something funny, pithy and witty to say every post?  Do I try to give you a chronological account of my actual life or what goes on in my head? What exactly am I supposed to write?  Does it need to be a long drawn out post or can it be a quick update to what is going on in a day's time; or a quick thought?

You may ask "Where have you been?"

Well, let's see: Physical Therapy at The Smith Clinic - Michael Smith's crew did a great job of getting me back on my feet as did Dr. Laura Lendermon at Lendermon Sports Medicine so I've recovered from the calf injury. A men's conference at Re: Fuel Memphis - where we explored living our life in faith and taking risks instead of "playing it safe". My youngest daughter graduated from elementary school and has started middle school.  My oldest is in her last year of middle school and has become a teenager.  Mother's Day, Father's Day, Birthday's (all of my family is in the summer or early fall - I call it birthday palooza.  Tri season started and has actually ended for most everyone else.  I got my USAT Coaching Certification.  I have been chasing my kids from soccer tournament to soccer tournament to church camp to weekend retreats, etc.... My grandfather died this summer (a whole post by itself - what a great man!).  I started placing on the podium on the tri scene.   In August I placed 17th overall in the local sprint in Memphis at Showman Shooter Long Course (not Sharp Shooter) and finished 2nd place in my age group.  Second Place overall in the Toad Suck Triathlon in Conway, AR in September.  I placed 1st in my age group in the Goosepond Half Distance Triathlon in October in Scottsboro, AL.  I am actually quite overwhelmed with the success I have seen.  To come from just a few short years ago at close to 100 pounds heavier to this place has been a big jump.  In short, I have been training like a mad man for Ironman Florida!   I have been living life as best I can and haven't had too much time to write.


Don't get me wrong, I have lots of things to say, just not enough energy to say them.  I have several post subjects and titles that may get fleshed out over the fall and the winter.  For now I have 14 days until Ironman Florida.  To say that I am excited would be an understatement.  Consumed, is more appropriate.  I dream about it, I obsess over it. I plan for it, I calculate time and splits constantly. I am ready for it to be here.  I have trained and sacrificed. My family has been great and they have put up with me and let me do my thing.  I can never thank them enough.  My wife has been super supportive.  She just showed me the "Team Chris" shirts she had made for the race for our family and friends.  She just bought me race wheels and surprised me with them.  She has been an invaluable support during this journey.

So much to say and so much I know that I have left out.  I will try to catch everyone up as I can over the last eight months of life. 

In the meantime, I will do my best to chronicle the last 14 days of this journey to become an Ironman.  If all goes well, I will try to post some quick thoughts each day leading up to November 3rd.  Until then, to quote a line from my teenager's "newest favorite movie of all time" (for now) - "May the odds be ever in your favor!". 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Training Interupted

This is what a torn calf muscle looks like. I know it looks bad.  It doesn't feel so hot either.  I'm in a boot for probably four weeks.  On the bright side, I can swim and I can cycle, as long as I have no pain.  I went and had this little gem of a picture taken by the Sports Medicine doctor (Dr. Laura Lendermon at Lendermon Sports Medicine) on Friday, and proceeded to feel sorry for myself all weekend. Now it's time to make the best of it and heal as quickly as I can.  Maybe I can get a little extra swim time in.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

So I have been reading this book with a group of guys and discussing the themes and topics within the pages.  Don't pick this up if you don't want to look inward and you don't want to reflect on the past, or to create a new future. Miller talks about life is like living within our own story.  We can write the story or we can let the story come to us and be written for us.

One quote that struck me was this: "I've wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don't want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgement.  We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage.  And if life isn't remarkable, then we don't have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants."

So my thought is: isn't this one of the reasons I compete in triathlons? Isn't this one of the reasons I go to Colorado to climb and hike mountains?  Isn't this why I want my kids to be their best?  I think it is.  I think it is because I want a better story for my life and I want my kids to have a better story for their lives.