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Reflections before a workout..

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This is me after I lost 30 lbs, Summer 2009. I was feeling on top of the world in these pictures. I had made serious progress since the first time I had hiked this trail. The backpack I was wearing, I had to make an extension waist belt because the one with the pack couldn't get around me. In these pictures, I was able to take that extension off. That was a huge victory for me at the time. Someone on the outside looking in would have only seen a chubby guy out for a hike. I however saw myself as a champion, one who was already reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, hiking a trail that a couple years prior at 385 almost wiped me out after 7 miles. What a difference losing just 30 pounds made back then.

I remember the old life with exercise induced asthma attacks, the profuse sweating just sitting, the scary pinching tightness in my chest after mild exertion.

Sometimes I need to reflect and refresh my perspective.

There are some lessons from these pictures that I glean from my musings, one of which is that you don't have to be perfect before you start LIVING. The fact that i had enough confidence to allow someone to take these pictures is huge. All the years of shame, hiding, justifications are gone.

I also need to take a step back and sort out my motivations. I guess I have been caught up in the middle of a minor mid life crisis of sorts where I have been deeply in touch with my inner teenager. Maybe this has been somewhat of a release of the life I never lived when I was younger, when I was always shunned and teased. Maybe this is a confession of a man who never experienced some things and now that he is empowered, its like a power surge of sorts. I guess this is why guys sometimes go crazy because this is some sort of a "now or never" stage of life.. to feel the rush, to do something epic before the sands of time wear away at your desire until big things no longer matter. Maybe I am nothing more than a lion roaring for the first time because he never really roared earlier in life.

I'm saying all of this because my reasons for embarking on this last leg of my journey need to be right.

This journey to goal weight, the body I have always wanted, the Half Iron Triathlon and maybe more is far too important to me for it to be based on nothing more than a wanna be letting his inner teenager flex his muscles on the beach.

There has been alot of sorting through feelings and asking the question WHY until i run out of answers.

The why I came up with brought me comfort.

My pursuit of possibly training for a Full Ironman (once I finish a half, I know it wont stop there) is not based on craziness or trying to prove something to myself or others... it is deeper.

My ultimate motivation after all the posturing, muscle flexing, middle aged woo hoo is done is a deep down desire to pursue something I never, ever had. Personal excellence.

Not excellence or perfection in the sense of never making a mistake but rather the excellence that comes when you commit whole heatedly to a goal, leave it all out on the battlefield, mistakes and all, and after the smoke clears you stand victorious with a medal around your neck.

How far could I really go if i committed 100%, honed my training and nutrition to a razors edge instead of the sloppy, undisciplined life I was so fond of before?

I think I have finally found the final answer. Its not enough to just simply lose the weight. I must have personal excellence in my life to feel like I am a man and that I have a place in this world. To know what I am truly capable of rather than being propped up or living behind excuses. To not use justifications as a blanket to shield myself from the cold winds of reality but rather to commit to cause everyday until I see it through.

To reach personal excellence is what it is to be a man, to always strive and never quit, to never accept no for an answer.

In this, my refuge is the swim, the bike, and the run, for these disciplines will always demand this of me and my reward is far more than a finishers medal, it is getting one step closer to finally being the man I was supposed to be from the start but has taken this long to hone to a fine edge.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ELIZABETH5268 10/23/2012 2:30PM

    You are very inspirational! emoticon

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SPARKLISE 10/20/2012 10:24PM

    I Love this blog!
Verry inspiring! emoticon

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DR8561 10/19/2012 5:44PM

    Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing this - it really spoke to me.

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KIKKI-G 10/18/2012 10:58PM

    great job! celebrate the little things & just bask in how far we've all come. emoticon

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BEECHNUT13 10/18/2012 10:20PM

    I'm always quick to judge myself for not reaching my weight goals... it seems like I've been on this lifestyle change kick for a long time, and still not reaping the body-shape benefits. But when I think of where I was, say, in 2005... I smoked, I felt like crap, I ate like crap, I was weak, I couldn't run even a quarter mile - hey, I've done a pretty great job at improving my health and fitness. I might not be in single-digit pant sizes, but I'm a lot better off than I was six years ago. So I guess I just need to love and accept myself for who I am, and then keep working at excellence.

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CATIATM 10/18/2012 10:05PM

    Oh my goodness, Robert. I feel like you put a microphone to my soul. I am not just seeking to lose the weight - I'm trying to, for the firt time in 40 years, live a self actualized life. Crazy.

Good luck reaching all your goals! emoticon

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MDBUTTERFLY 10/18/2012 9:22AM

    ROAR Robert ROAR!!! emoticon

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BILL60 10/18/2012 9:10AM

    Way to go!! You expressed the words that I look at every day, "Excellence is for but the few". Hang tough.

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MAMADWARF 10/18/2012 8:16AM

    That really touched me. o well written, passionate and honest. You brought tears to my eyes. You are a fantastic man NOW and I love that you are striving to be your best self, for you. Only greatness can come from that.

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POWERAUER 10/17/2012 8:53PM

    Personal pride and satisfaction are the greatest medals of all; you can wear them everywhere you go.

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GOING-STRONG 10/17/2012 8:44PM


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KALANTHA 10/17/2012 8:26PM

    Whoa! That is some tough and honest introspection, right there! I'm glad you came to a reason you're comfortable with and wish you success!

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NANDA82 10/17/2012 8:26PM

    You have all the tools and attitude to rock the last leg of your journey. Yes, it gets harder to drop the pounds towards the end, but you're much wiser than you were at the beginning. Keep up the hard work and the great blogs!

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/17/2012 7:59PM

    This blog really speaks to me, Robert. One of my biggest fears in going forward to health was the question of personal identity. Like you, it's more than the weight, and it's more than the athletic events in which I participate. It's finding out who I really am underneath all the self- and other-imposed labels!

Good for you! On TO Victory! I hope you hang around Spark and let us all ride along... all the way through that first Ironman!

- Barb
(p.s. Still have not signed up for the Dells... still cogitating over it... but it sounds do-able, if I plan far enough in advance, to do the Oly distance. Let me get past that HM in November first, thought, and catch my breath!)

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LINDAK25 10/17/2012 7:58PM

    I'm sorry I must argue with your last paragraph. No man is ever who he is meant to be from the start. You must have a direction and a goal to focus on, you must find your course and you must learn and grow from the experience of doing the things to take you to the goal you seek. That is how you become the man you are meant to be.

Those bullies who gave you a hard time in school do not define who you are. It's up to you to decide who you want to become. You are a loving husband and father. You are a runner. You are a motivator. You have shown me that you are kind, supportive, thoughtful and even wise. You can become an Ironman. It's up to you.

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MIQUEY73 10/17/2012 7:56PM

    emoticon You rock! Thank you for continously inspiring me!

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KATHIC2 10/17/2012 7:41PM

  I really admire how you think and write. You are so honest and thoughtful. You take all who read your blog to a better place.

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NANHBH 10/17/2012 5:47PM

    Awesome blog! Great job of getting in touch with your "why". That is powerful. You inspire me!

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LODESTONE 10/17/2012 5:14PM

    Greay blog. Nice to "fit" in your own skin.

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REGILIEH 10/17/2012 5:03PM

    Robert, I believe you committed to personal excellence and perfection a long time ago in how you were going to live your life being a good person and you certainly have done that.
Being an Ironman will just be icing on your cake! Thank you for your wonderful blogs! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EJRANVILLE 10/17/2012 3:01PM

    So awesome--thanks for the inspiring words today and every day. You totally rock!

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WORLDSERIES11 10/17/2012 1:59PM

    Robert, your blogs are always so powerful and insightful!! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. They so often reflect what many of us, men & women, have experienced and/or hope to achieve. You have inspired so many of us!!!

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THEHAPPYSUSAN 10/17/2012 1:51PM

    Wow! Very thoughtful and powerful post! You've learned so much on your journey to good health and the lessons don't end. Keep up the awesome work and know that we're all cheering you on! Good on ya! emoticon

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GINGERHAWK 10/17/2012 1:43PM

  Fantastic blog and inspiring sentiments. I hope you're as proud of yourself as we all are - nice work! To figure out the why behind it all is such an important part of the journey. As I am inching ever so close to 40, that midlife itch is creeping around the edges of my life, too. I just hope that I attack it half as well as you have!

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FITFOODIE806 10/17/2012 1:28PM

    yes! high five!!! I bet this fueled a great workout. Real purpose leads to harder work!

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KITHKINCAID 10/17/2012 1:25PM

    Spent a lot of time talking about the rate at which the brain shifts and can comprehend the changes that we're all making here. Your brain is pretty incredible. Kudos to you for being able to move as fast as you reasonably can and appreciating where you have been to get here.

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GINA180847 10/17/2012 12:51PM

    The end product of your thought process is something a lot of people never reach in their life. That is sad! I feel I am getting there but I have to take the time to give Spark a lot of credit. No where else in the world do I feel as accepted and cared about just as I am. Friends, neighbors, family all have some degree of expectations but here I can just be.

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LINDAKAY228 10/17/2012 12:36PM

    Thanks for sharing such a powerful blog with such insights! I was a fat kid, and fat adult for most of my life and relate to the feeling you talked about when after losing some weight I was able to do things I hadn't been able to do before. 4 years ago this Thanksgiving I entered a 2 mile Turkey Trot walk on Thanksgiving day as a challenge since I was walking 2 miles easily by then but had never ever entered a timed even. They also had a 5k run which at that time I didn't even think about and had never been a runner. But pinning on a bib and being timed for that 2 mile walk brought out something in me I had never dreamed of. It actually made me feel like an athlete at age 53 for the first time in my entire life. By the following year I was running the 5k and have done several other races and also mostly walked a few half marathons. I want to run them one of these days. But I know what you mean about not just losing the weight but going after something deep inside us that we had never before dreamed we could but now realize that we can. As you said, reaching for that personal excellence and the teenager inside us who missed out so much on life.

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LYNSEY723 10/17/2012 12:33PM

    I love your blogs - this is another great one. emoticon emoticon

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123ELAINE456 10/17/2012 12:33PM

  Awesome Blog. Very Insightful and Inspiring. You Can Do It. God Bless You and Family. Have a Wonderful Week. Have a Super Good Day with the Family. Take Care.

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 10/17/2012 12:26PM

    this is excellent Robert!!! I would post ALL these should do a magazine article with the changes from start to now.You are such a huge inspiration!!

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CHANGINGEMMY 10/17/2012 11:38AM

    This blog is awesome and motivational!! We all have to dig down and find the WHY's for some it takes longer (like me). You've accomplished so much! Keep up the hard work and you will blast through all of your goals.

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 10/17/2012 11:35AM

    Robert - I know you will accomplish the goals you have set for yourself, because - well because you want them for no other reason than yourself. You have not done one step of this journey for anyone else directly, but yourself..... emoticon and climbing to reach your goals.

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LAURIE5658 10/17/2012 11:26AM

    Rawk on, Robert!

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40LESSOFERIN 10/17/2012 11:18AM

    Inspiring! emoticon

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LMULLINS4LIFE 10/17/2012 11:18AM

    Very very very good work, Robert! This was some big big stuff. Good for you.

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KJSIZZLE1 10/17/2012 11:17AM

    Wow! Good luck to you in your journey! Keep us posted on your progress!

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CAYCESMOM 10/17/2012 11:15AM

    Thanks for another insightful blog! Have a great day! emoticon

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PJ2222 10/17/2012 11:10AM

    emoticon emoticon

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