Planning a life worth living

Triathlon Motivation Picture

Photo Credit: Jan Miller

Now that I've completed my endurance goal for 2010 I can start thinking about the rest of 2010 and 2011 as a set of goals and plans to be made and completed in the next 15 months. It's sort of like the annual review and kinda like the self interview that I did a few months back but, in a way, it's a different person doing the planning now.  I don't know why these past few weeks have felt like I am a different person... I finally managed to get to that zen place where there is nothing t hat will upset me, nothing can go wrong unless I want it to go wrong

I'm not in any way shape or form saying that my life until now hasn't been worth living. I'm saying that until now life has been cruising by and not living it with intentionality, passion and love. If you don't love what you do, the people you are with and the places you're at then why be with those people, why do what you do and why be in those places?

10. Love – Yes it sounds cheesy but it is true. Life is  so much better when it is full of love. Learn to surround yourself with  the people, places, situations, foods, etc you love. If you don’t LOVE  something then you are only tolerating it, and it is taking up space  which could be filled with something you love. Learn to base your  choices on love. It will make life so much easier.


What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? What do you see yourself doing in 1 year? 3? 5? 10?  But more important than the what is the how are you going to live your life. This post from Escape from Cubicle Nation resonates a lot... Which one of the two pictures is your life? Which one is the life you want to live?

I've always been challenge driven, I've always fought to balance obligation with having fun and have never managed to come even close on the fight. I think it's time to settle for some basic rules for work. It essentially boils down to save money to do what you want so when it comes time to move on (and for me it's always been a question of when, not if) you will be able to do it.

Find what you're passionate about and pursue it with the same single minded determination that you have when pursuing something you enjoy.   I think it's time to do something remarkable with your life, particularly in this mediocre world.

The long term plan for the rest of 2010 and 2011 is Ironman Arizona with Team in Training and, maybe, doing Ironman 70.3 Pucon the following January if I have the funds. I won't dwell too much on why I decided to do an Ironman and why I continue to support Team in Training; Besides the fact that I wrote a whole other post as to why I'm doing it this post is more about change and actually living life and finally owning up to the things you want to do.

“As a professional, I feel honored by the average people on the course with me,” said Mark Allen. “Of course, no one who does the Ironman is an average person.” And that is precisely why they do it. It is an occasion for finding out if you have the capacity to be a hero, and it requires the inner strength and physical discipline to be one. And it carries over into the rest of the athletes’ lives. The Ironman has value because it demands value. It cannot be done in one blast of self-destruction or prodigal effort. What sets it apart from bungee jumping or other dares is that it cannot be done on a whim. And it is so hard that you cannot simply do it and risk damaging your body as a cheap price to pay. It demands a long-term physical and mental discipline, a careful accumulation of hard work, and control over the mind and emotions to allocate your energy to the last drop.

“The Ironman doesn’t interest the average person.” “He/She thinks this is crazy and doesn’t give it a second thought. It sorts out those people who have something different going on upstairs. It draws people who have something exceptional.”

17 Hours to Glory

Along with the physical aspect there is also a spiritual and growth aspects to this 15 month journey.  The longer i'm in Georgia the more convinced that it was the right move. Don't misunderstand me, I miss my friends dearly... I miss being able to do a "Who wants to go for a ride/run Saturday morning?" and just meet with people, do the ride or run and then hang out together for lunch... it is doable here in Georgia but it takes a lot more planning as distance tends to be the deciding factor; not saying I'm not going to do it, just that I need to be more deliberate about it.

It's about facing your fears and pushing ahead regardless;  That's why I've chosen endurance sports: because it forces you to come to terms with the unknown and to push forward no matter what. DNF is not an option to me is more than just a statement that not finishing a race (DNF stands for did not finish, as it's written in the race results)  is not an option; it means that your training wasn't enough, it means that your preparation was lacking somewhere.

It is also accepting the fact that you're afraid. Afraid of what you're agreeing to. Afraid of failure. Afraid of what other people are going to say if you don't achieve your goals.  I've always hated failure but implicit in the DNF is not an option statement is the fact that failure is not an option either. It'll be a split game of how much time do you dedicate to work versus how much time do you dedicate to training.

Escape from Cubicle Nations article about life on the USS Nimitz made me think about another post I wrote while I was still on the fence about Iron Team (post is protected, contact me for password), about what I was willing to give up in order to get what I want, the kind of legacy you're leaving behind and the kind of person that you want to be.

I'm also starting to realize that the planning in never unidimensional or done in isolation. Chris Guillebeau's agenda for world domination wrap-up provides a strategy to build a meaningful life. Deep down I've known this for a while but only feel comfortable implementing this changes in the context of a radical life shift (and it doesn't get any more radical than moving from California to Georgia, take my word for it)

The concrete plans:

  1. Ironman Arizona in November 2011
  2. However many races we do as training (at least 2)
  3. Ironman 70.3 Pucon in January 2012
  4. Move to Atlanta in august of 2011
  5. Travel in 2012 to visit friends
  6. Evaluate if the Seattle To Portland Bike Classic 2012 is a possibility as a solo ride with TNT support

What I need to do to support that calendar

  • Start working on my travel hacking skills
  • Save money and energy... I think it was Jody from Legal Nomads who said it best in an interview in AONC when she said she had to decide every day if it was a cup of coffee at home or something done while abroad. Savings in this context is a cutthroat zero-sum game and one that is trully and really worth playing.
  • Finally, fully and completely embrace and accept yourself with all your goofyness, your being naive and your being... you

Why and How I got into Iron Team

I actually did it... I can't believe I actually signed up to train for an Ironman!

Actually, I'm not kidding anyone... I know exactly why I signed up and why am I going to see this to the end in November of next year by crossing the finish line at IM Arizona. I want a challenge, I want to prove to myself that I can work mentally and physically through an Ironman.

2009 was a physical year... Train with Xavier at 24 hour, run the ocasional 5 or 10k with Debbie and then train with TNT to prove to myself that I could do triathlons. I did a Sprint (SVMB), an Olympic (Pacific Grove) and the bike/run portion of a 70.3 (Big Kahuna where the swim was canceled).

2010 was the year of change. I was originally going to do Big Kahuna again to prove to myself that I could do a full 70.3 distance event but life intervened and I ended up in Georgia, about an hour away from Atlanta.

The game turned from another exercise in physical endurance into one of mental toughness.  I had to prove to myself that I was as passionate about triathlons and endurance sports when on my own and far away from all my friends in California than I was when I had a whole bunch of people pushing and motivating me to stick it out and not quit.

An Ironman race (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles cycle and 26.2 miles run) is, to me, the biggest expression of "I got to have lost a screw somewhere.... This is crazy!." 140.6 miles of effort and then a lifetime of bragging 🙂

But it goes beyond the bragging too. LLS and TNT are such a big part of my life that I can't really picture doing endurance sports without the team right now.  It's a great way to meet people and to forge bonds that will stay with you long after you quit endurance sports. It is also a great way to answer the question: "Can I really do it?"