Monday, September 8, 2014

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

Hey all,

So I know its been a while since I've posted; training and coaching have been extremely time consuming, and my general bad mood from a long lay off of racing due to injury hasn't helped. But over the last week, I've been inspired to write. It might have to do with seeing my nieces back in school, excited to tell me everything and I mean everything they do, including the books they are reading. I asked Bella if they had to write a "what I did on my summer vacation" report, to which she looked at me cross-eyed, then pointing to her iPad, cluing me in to how old I really am.

I had to, like many people of my generation, write such a report in school, sometimes for more than one class. I distinctly remember not really getting too excited about it. But now, without being forced to write about it, I felt the urge to write about my "Summer Vacation", but not about what I did, rather what I learned. And I will say, putting this list together was cathartic and fun. I highly recommend it to the 5 people who read my blog. As we get older and time moves ridiculously fast, its a great way to remember where you've been and where you are going. So without further ado, here's what I learned -

1. I learned that being a great coach takes 10 times the effort and commitment than being a great athlete. You must constantly be a student of the sport, and more importantly, fitness, to give athletes the best of you.

2. I learned that being patient is one of the most difficult things to do.

3. I learned that I missed my family more than I realized, and that the passing of my uncle made all of us realize we had been missing of each other.

4. I learned that I miss my Nonno and my Grandfather Guy more than I had been willing to admit.

5. I learned that my style of racing, training and flat out suffering, isn't for everyone. And that's ok. Its probably a good thing too.

6. I learned that I have a truly wonderful group of friends that are like family and reinforce my faith in humanity.

7. I learned that building a community of like minded individuals who come from all walks of life is difficult but truly rewarding because it is a continuous feedback loop of positive energy, growth, knowledge, and support.

8. I learned that having a great friend with a vegetable garden is one of life's little perks. Makes summer eating that much more enjoyable.

9. I learned that set backs are always going to be a part of life. No matter how well you plan, prepare, train, etc, shit is going to happen. How you respond to them speaks volumes about who we are. Its easy to feel great when everything is going well.

10. I learned that I wouldn't have taken that turn in my last race, causing my crash, any differently. I have one pace- suicide pace. And I am really happy with that.

11. I learned that when people tell you "shoot me straight" 99% of the time, they really don't mean it. But that's not a reason to massage the truth. If they can't take it, that's on them, not you.

12. I learned that I miss being good friends with Brian MacKenzie, and that its my fault. And as someone who believes you should regret nothing, I regret the mistakes I made there. Bmack, if you are reading this, I'm sorry man. Miss you.

13. I learned that I have a lot to learn about a lot of things, but my thirst for knowledge is greater than ever.

14. I learned that I had to be my own guinea pig more often than I thought, but that's ok. Builds character.

15. I learned that friends may come and go, but 200 lbs, is always 200 lbs.

16. I learned that my love and  fascination with Crossfit grows daily. The Games had me more excited than any other sporting event I have ever witnessed. I'm constantly in awe of what the sport provides to people.

17. I learned that to truly understand sacrifice, you have to be willing to give all of yourself to something that has nothing to do with you. That the only way to really help people is to remove yourself from the equation. That humility must be a big part of who you are. Otherwise, you will never realize the depths of your gifts.

18. I learned that if you want something done, you really do have to do it for yourself.

19. I learned that proper bike fit trumps any shiny, cool, sleek looking bike. If the fit is off, you own a 7K coat rack.

20. I learned that people with tattoos are still viewed as odd, scary, and less intelligent, by most of society, even in a society that boasts to be tolerant and excepting of all. That says a lot about humanity.

21. I learned that my mobility isn't nearly as great as I thought it was.

22. I learned that everyone deserves a second chance, but its up to the person giving that chance to truly be open. If you give someone a second chance with a closed heart, you are dooming yourself and the other person from the start.

23. I learned that my respect and admiration for our Armed Forces grows daily, while my appreciation and respect for professional athletes decreases, rapidly, everyday. I wish we could teach our kids to not idolize athletes.

24. I learned that my initial thought about social media is still how I feel. There's a lot of self congratulatory bullshit out there. You need to sift through it to find useful information.

25. I learned there are more people who share my view on fitness, on sacrifice, on what it means to do right by humanity than I thought. That gives me hope.

26. I learned that I really don't miss TV. But damn if HBO doesn't have some great original programming.

27. I learned that I don't know nearly enough about anything.

28. I learned that finding a really good doctor is harder to find than you think.

29. I learned that if you don't love what you do, get up from your desk, hand in your 2 weeks notice and walk out the door. Because if you don't, you will lose your soul quickly.

30. I learned that training just the physical, is not nearly enough. It prevents you from living a full life. You have to train the mental, emotional and spiritual parts of yourself. And to do that, you must go outside your comfort zone in all areas. I've seen people, people close to me, die with regret. There is nothing sadder. Go Live Out Loud.

Stay Strong,