Monday, August 20, 2012

The Dreaming Tree

Editorial Note: I'd like to apologize for the lack of blogging around these parts as of late. We've still been having a hell of a time getting any kind of settlement regarding the Great Poo Flood, as I've taken to calling it. So my spare time has been limited to dealing with a lot of insurance companies, in between training and work obligations. 

There are a lot of product reviews that are due in the next couple of weeks: Pearl Izumi Tri Fly IV Carbon bike shoes, Blue Triad EX bike, and a race report from the Falmouth Road Race. Those will all probably appear following Rev3 Maine this weekend.

Before we get going into my mindset heading into Rev3 Maine, I'd like to thank everybody who's been incredibly supportive throughout this adventurous summer. First and foremost, my friends, family, and adoring wife: couldn't do it all without you guys. Secondly, team Rev3: really, I could lump you all into the first category. But I thought you deserved an additional shout-out.

I'd also like to thank all of my sponsors, as you've all been fantastic: Rev3 Triathlon, who I owe an awful lot to; Pearl Izumi; Swiftwick; PowerBar; NormaTec; QuintanaRoo; BlueSeventy; SBR Sports; and I'm probably missing somebody in there somewhere. But I can't thank any of you enough for everything that you've done for me individually, Team Rev3 as a group, and just in general putting out fantastic products that I've had the privilege of using throughout this year. I can only hope that I've been a help in getting the word out about how awesome each and every one of you are.

With that all in mind, here we go.

Race Week. Time to go again.

I've been awaiting this moment for a long time. Probably since the weekend after Rev3 Quassy, I've been wanting to hit a race. But I also knew that I wanted to really peak, and targeted this and Cedar Point as my two biggest races of the year.

As I've been going throughout the year, I've been noticing a massive improvement on my outlook on things, and the corresponding impact on how that outlook has had on my training. Joe Friel advocates an awful lot on each workout having a purpose behind it: whether aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, etc.

I would also posit the theory that there needs to be an additional piece added to each and every thing involved: it needs to be something that you're enjoying doing.

If you aren't enjoying it, why the hell are you beating yourself up doing it? What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to impress?

There should be only one person that you're trying to impress: yourself. It is your own desire, your own enjoyment of the activity, that should be the reward for what it is that you're attempting. If you lose sight of that, you're just slogging through. You're not gaining anything beyond having spent time outdoors. (Which isn't to say that alone is a bad thing, but just that you need to be having some type of enjoyment of that activity during it.)

Which is to say that, I've been having a hell of a lot of fun out there. I've discovered that the more I'm relaxed, the more smiling I'm doing despite the work I'm doing, the more fun that I'm having, the faster and faster I'm going. It's a bit of a breakthrough, and it's resulting in impressive times during workouts, which is giving me a bunch of confidence heading into Rev3 Maine.

"The Dreaming Tree," by Dave Matthews Band, is allegedly two stories of people suffering through, and their respective lament to God about how "if I had the strength, I would leave you up to your own devices..." But I instead focus on The Dreaming Tree itself.

Chasing my dream of what it is I want out of life has really become a focus this year; understanding who I am, what I do best, and enjoying each and every second of it. I really love my job, and the new activity that I've got there. Training is FUN. I'm learning so much about how my body responds to things, and how to use my mind to help overcome some of the blocks that can come up.

That's the thing that draws me to triathlon, skiing, and what I do for work: they are all incredibly mental by their nature. You really need to THINK, and using your mind you can really excel. I've improved so much in all three things (tri, ski, work) this year and I attribute much of it to my outlook on life itself. Just staying positive, learning from mistakes (and being OK to make said mistakes every once in a while), and keep moving forward.

Jordan Rapp put out a Tweet the other day, which was a quote to a philosopher. Forget who it was, but the quote went something like this:

It is not what we get but what we become by our endeavours that makes them worthwhile.
He was using it in the context of triathletes being able to relate to it. I think anybody can.

So with that, it's time to gear up. Tune things up. Be ready to go. Come Sunday, I'll take everything I've learned and bring it to the course. I've got my dreams. I know what I'm capable of. It's time to be the best that I can be, and see where it lands me.

In effect, it's time to chase the dream again.

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