Tuesday, June 19, 2012

water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink

It has been 11 days since my last blog post.  That is the longest "silence" that I have had since I began this several months ago.  For the three of you who love my blog - I apologize for my absence.  I was on vacation, and then came home to disaster.  Disaster is a funny thing (that would be "funny" in the "peculiar" sense as opposed to the "ha ha" sense).  It seldom comes comes in single doses.  Its effects are complicated.  Spiderweb-like.  We had several disasters of varying degrees of severity hit us.  Some of them are easy to fix - but costly.  Some are hard to fix - but cheap.  Some are - well - complicated.  Like the problem of my hip.

It is fractured again. (if you did not know it was fractured - get caught up by clicking here)  That sucks so badly that it almost requires the invention of a new swear word.  I did it by going running every day after the Keuka Triathlon.  Where I got 43rd out of 44 (read about it here if you have not).  Because I had not run for 12 weeks.  Because I had a stress fracture in my hip.  I had thought that I would do better... I even shot my mouth off about it some.  So when I did crap (43 of 44) I thought "well at least my hip made through just fine so I can run again" and off I went.  I guess I had not given much thought to the weeks of drinking more than usual, eating WAY more than usual, and exercising less than usual.  What I did not consider was the other lurking disaster.  Twenty pounds.  Three steps forward.  One step back.  Since I started trying to be a super-hero I have lost 60 pounds (27.2 kg).  Maybe that should be "had" lost - because I regained about 20 pounds over three weeks on vacation.  Instead of running on my hip at 186 with a view toward hitting 175ish... I was pounding 206 on a barely healed stress fracture.  Guess what happened?

I have it under control now.  Not nearly as bad a break as before.  No more running (other than during a triathlon or xterra event) until I tip the scales at 180.  Hip should be healed by then and able to stand up to that level of pounding/poundage.  The challenge in the whole thing is keeping up the effort that it takes to lose   enough to step up onto the starting blocks at 180 in Omaha, Nebraska at the US Masters Swimming Nationals on 6 July.  The effort it will take to undo the damage done by vacation is herculean.  Today, for example, I went on a 12 mile mtn bike ride in 96 degree (38 centigrade) heat, then on a 14 mile road bike ride when the heat climbed to 100 degrees (40 centigrade), then swam 2000 meters, then did a mile of stair-climber, and then lifted weights.  I know what some of you are thinking.  Yes. I can sustain that level for nearly every day til Omaha.  I have to.  My only hope of doing anything of note there is if there is quite a bit less of me than now.

So if that disaster was not enough... we came home to a ruin of a house.  While we were away the supply line to our ice-maker sprung a leak.  Water ran onto the floor of the kitchen for three weeks and destroyed our kitchen cupboards and floor.  Also ruining a great deal of drywall and insulation.

It continued on into the dinning where it ruined a persian rug I bought in Pakistan many years ago.  It also destroyed the floor in there as well.

Finally, the water stopped in the living room where the bulk of the furniture and carpets were spared, but the flooring was not.

Basically our dream home was rendered uninhabitable.  Grim.  The last disaster was the realization that going pro was going to be more expensive than we had thought.  Indeed, more than we have.  More on this to follow.

Friday, June 8, 2012

just jump...you can build the wings on the way down

Not long long ago I turned a secret plan into a manifesto - and put some specific benchmarks into place.  I created these to serve as signposts to guide my way from the comfort-zone of my man-cave to my own personal superhero-land - my destination.  None were going to be easy signposts to get to.  My first came up last Sunday (3 June - Keuka Lake) at a triathlon.  The signpost I set out to pass... finish in the top third of in my age-group (40-44).  Not only did I fail to wizz past this one, I careened face-first into it.  I got 44th out of 45.  I finished - 44th out of 45.  It was my first time running in several months after a stress fracture in my hip.  When I finished that mile swim, 20 mile ride and, 6 mile run (hip felt fine - thank you for wondering) I was 44th place.  Out of 45.  Not even close to where I set out to be.  That is the problem with setting benchmarks - you might not reach them.  

When you step up, you sometimes get stepped on.  It is just the way it is.  It may mean that the original goal that you set was not realistic.  You don't really know that though until you have crashed into the signpost repeatedly.  That sucks but it is what is so.  The brutally grim piece is that you only have two choices: fail and collapse into self-loathing; or, fail and keep your feet under you and try again.  To paraphrase Bilbo Baggins "it's a dangerous business, [Subad], going out of your door... you step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."

I am blessed that I have loving support in my friends and family.  They are genuinely proud of my 44th of 45.  They believe in me.  They are also not trying to go where I am.  So... I have to climb back up to the edge of the cliff again.  You will fail over and over again when you are trying to change your life.  It sucks but it is what is so - and so what.  In real life superheros are not born.  They are made.  They are made of pain, embarrassment, failure, and that dash of success that makes it all worthwhile.  If you are in this for instant gratification and the eternal sunshine of repeat triumph - then you are in for rude awakening.  Time to jump again.

You can build your wings on the way down.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How to make a secret plan a manifesto

A Secret Plan can be stupid, pedantic, or ignorable to everyone other than you.  No one else's opinion matters when it comes to your Secret Plan.  What matters is that the end is big ticket high-stakes-life-changing-stuff for YOU.  If it ain't... it is just a goal.  The brutally tough last step is to make it public.  This is the piece of the life-change sequence where many of us get hung up.  When I wrote about it last week  it was so hard that I could not even get myself to publicly declare the gist of my own Secret Plan.  However, as a buddy of mine recently wrote, it is time to "lean forward into life" and turn the Secret Plan into a manifesto.

One of the pitfalls of self-improvement resolutions is that there is a breakdown in the sequencing.  The need is easily identified, end-goal clearly defined.  There is even a sense of some of the steps required to get from  need to end.  The vision of those steps is often blurred or distorted - we don't see the order that they need to take.  We are are scared to look closely so that we can see.  Take the example of the cigarette smoking Robad (Regular Old Bald Ass Dada).  He inhales $400 worth of smoke every month and is $400 short in critical monthly expenses.  He says "I really need to quit smoking" and then lights another cigarette.  He knows about nicoderm patches and sugar-free gum.  He understands that many of the aches, pains, and physical ailments he lives with will disappear if he quits.  He says "I really need to quit smoking" and lights another.  He absolutely gets that the extra $400 will be a sea change for his family.  Like rowboat to yacht kind of stuff.  But he does not get beyond "I really need to quit smoking".  I got news folks... he ain't crazy or weird.  He is you.  He is me.  We are him.  So don't sit in judgement.  We have all been in the same boat as Robad.

The trick to breaking the cycle is that there is no trick.  STOP looking for a trick.  No secrets to a Secret Plan.  Make a clear mission - a big lofty goal.  Just like you are a start-up business - make it clear, measurable, action-oriented, and simple.  Write down three to five checkpoints you will cross on your way to that goal.  What are the baby steps to get you to that first checkpoint.  Think of the baby steps as a punch-list.  Publicly state your mission - take the Secret Plan and make it a manifesto.  Always try to keep your talk "on mission" and remind others about your mission when their talk strays off your course.  Stay flexible, progress (as my mother says) ain't always linear.

So what is your Secret Plan?  Don't be afraid.  Make one - turn it into a manifesto.  Start broad and focus down into the specific.  Make yourself accountable.  Make it painful.  So here is mine... let's call it the Dada Manifesto:

Secret Plan - I will make my living as an athletic professional (competitor and mentor).

Manifesto - By the middle of 2013 I will make my living as a professional multi-sport athlete and as a coach/personal trainer.  I will compete at professional levels in swimming, triathlon, xterra, mountain biking, and road cycling.  I will earn the needed certificates to work as a trainer and coach and work with a wide range of people to help them to change their lives for the better.

Benchmarks - Physical: weight in june 2012 = 190 and rpr (resting pulse rate) 70, july 2012 = 187 and rpr 67, august 2012 = 184 and rpr 64, sept 2012 = 180 and rpr 60, november and on oward = 175 and rpr 56.  Swimming: 2012 US Masters Nationals Omaha within 8 seconds of US national record in at least one event, compete in five swim meets getting at least 1 second faster each time, break at least one US national record at 2013 US Masters Nationals.  Triathlon: june - finish keuka lake triathlon in top 25 for age group, sept. - top 10 at JCC Scottsdale Adult Sprint Triathlon, oct - top 10 at Bartlett Lake Olympic & Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon, nov - top 5 at Southwest Valley Regional YMCA Thanksgiving Day Sprint Triathlon, more to follow.  Xterra: aug - top 25 at lake tahoe, sept - top 8 at show low, more to follow.  Mountain Biking: ride and re-ride the Prescott Whiskey Off-Road course taking 10 minutes off every month, more to follow, Road Cycling: more to follow.  Professional Development: more to follow.

There is the outline of my plan for accomplishing my manifesto.  It starts tomorrow morning in the 62 degree waters of Keuka Lake.  There I will be swimming, biking, and running an olympic distance triathlon.  I have some people to crush.  I better call it a night.  Do yourself a favor - make a secret plan.  Turn it into a manifesto.  And for the gods' sake lean forward into life.