Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Struggle

Motivating article about a true struggle - Matt Miller a triathlete out of Virginia

I have been thinking about my next post for some time now . . . um since last post, I guess. I wanted to take a sec a share thought about struggle. I called a very good friend of mine this morning to wish him a happy birthday. As we both are getting older and have December birthdays our conversation eventually turned to the topic of struggle. Struggle is an inevitable outcome we all face but Buddhism teaches that we begin to struggle when we find we are no longer meeting our expectations and desires. When I first heard this I was taken back by the simplicity and strength of the statement. I guess this hit me because I feel like I have been struggling a bit these past few weeks. I am torn between my expectations for the future in training and racing in triathlons and where I am right now. Right now, I am in a place where I am not training for anything, where my workouts are haphazard, and even though I should have more time than ever I find I am still busier than ever. I haven't been happy with it. I wasn’t happy with it until I was driving home from another lack luster swim practice and I saw this guy on the sidewalk. The guy was in a wheel chair, rolling down the sidewalk, not using his hands but propelling himself forward with his feet. It was cold out so I am assuming he was trying to reach his destination and stay warm at the same time. At the moment he caught my eye I was thinking all of the following thoughts:

- what's wrong with my swimming, how am I ever going to get faster?
- I am never going to be a good triathlete if I continue to run like I am carrying a 50 lb brick?
- why are there no good gyms in Charlotte, I don't want to go to the Y?
- maybe I will be a lot faster if I could just obtain my peak racing weight by losing 10 lbs?
- how am I going to pay for the $1000 worth of race fees I need to do all of my 2011 races?
Then suddenly my mind went quiet and I understood with the utmost gratitude how lucky I am to be able to compete in this sport, no only at an elite level, but at all. I am fortunate to have the capacity to not just swim or bike or run but to do all three in a row on any given day. So I had to ask myself, why do I feel like I am struggling? I can only link my sense of struggle to my desire to be a better athlete and to the lack of satisfaction I feel for my current state of fitness. I recognize as a competitive athlete that I will always have desire to be better. So what can I do to change my mind set, to “turn that frown upside down”? First of all, I can take time to appreciate the abilities I have and give thanks to the journey that has lead me through many great races and introduced me to many many great people. Secondly, I need to recognize that I am only as good as my workout and my workout is only as good as the effort I put into it. If I give my workouts 100% of my focus and ability then I have met my expectations for the workout. So, anyone up for a run later today?