Several people (mostly offline) have asked me why I'm training so hard for Pacific Grove. I think it's fair to answer in the blog so I can point people to it next time they ask me 🙂
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?" Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”
Those of you who've known me for a while know that I've never been the sporty, phisical type of person. Until recently I was the kind of person who'd much rather have a smoke, a beer and a bag of potato chips or a pizza delivered while watching TV.
In January a friend asked who else would want to do a Triathlon... I thought the challenge was an interesting one so I said I would... and thus began the biggest and most welcome change in my life to this point. I worked my ass off, training in the gym five days a week and started biking and working outdoors in March.
Early June I decided to join Team in Training, a project from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It provides a lot of the training and motivation I needed (and still need) in order to accomplish my goals; besides I still had a Tri to do.
June 20th, 2009 was my first event, the Silicon Valley Mountain Bike Sprint Triathlon. It was an awesome experience and I managed to hit my target time and develop a million new questions. I was more than ready to take an Olympic Triathlon as my next challenge.
I was also learning to enjoy myself and have learned a lot about where my limits are... and I don't think I'm quite there yet... I think I see an Iron Man in my future and a lot of other endurance adventures that I have yet to realize.
I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived."
Henry David Thoreau (Dead Poet's Society)
Another reason why I'm doing Pacific Grove is because I love the physical activity in and of itself. While it's true that we train as a team when it comes down to it it's just you, your bike, your wetsuit and your feet against the course. You freeze your ass off for 1500 meters, drive your legs hard for 24.8 miles and push just a little bit harder for your last 6.2 miles and then the feeling of accomplishment is like nothing you can explain to someone who hasn't done it.
I've had the chance to meet some amazing people who have survived cancer. Two come to mind, Todd and Jim D.
I met Jim on my first information meeting for TnT and ever since he has been encouraging and, whether he knows it or not, a model in terms of courage and persevearnce. He survived enough crap that would make me stay in a sedentary lifestyle for the rest of my life. yet he continues pushing hard and training with the team... all I have to say is damn!
Todd is just amazing. He also survived cancer and now is working both towards an Olympic Triathlon and a Marathon! His disposition and cheerful spirit and happy disposition are a model for me on how to live life and push when the going gets tough.
"Courage is not limited to the battlefield or the Indy 500 or catching a thief in a house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests; like remaining faithful when nobody's looking, like enduring pain when the room is empty, like standing alone when you're misunderstood."
The most important reason for me to do this was something I hadn't known until recently. One of my dearest friends from high school has cancer; I don't know which kind or how widespread it is but it shook me to the core in a way that has happened only once before when my dad passed away.
Francisca, my friend, has been in my life since the sixth grade and has been a friend, a confident, and an amazingly wonderful person who has impacted all the lives she's touched... including mine. Even though I don't know what kind of cancer she has I hope that this little effort will lead to a better treatment for her and other people with cancer.
There is an essence of arrogance in my pursuing triathlons… I can’t really deny that. But there is also an element of supporting a cause like LLS that has made, is making and will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people it touches.
Perhaps it’s a starting point.