Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hard Work and Commitment

Coming back into the world after being lost in my own little personal "hell" has been exciting, frustrating, challenging and has given me the opportunity to start over; atone for some mistakes and finally take the steps I need to take in order to be the person I want to be. One of the reasons I am in training is to maximize my physical well being so I can enjoy being Adam version 2.6 for as long as possible. The problem that I see arising every now and again is that mentally, I need to keep focus on the few things that I can control or have a positive impact on or I will just end up dwelling on things that are not healthy for me (taking my eye off the ball at work, slacking off with training or still dwelling on relationships that are dead but have not had proper burials as of yet). When I lose focus, I start to go back to my old ways of wanting things now and assuming that nobody understands where I've been; so I cut them off. Now, there is one little change in how Adam version 2.6 deals with that lack of focus.

The big change for me, now, is that I recognize when I lose focus and when I feel sorry for myself, those moments pass quickly in part because I have finally begun to see small steps of progress at work and in training. My perspective has changed and I have gotten to a point where I don't feel I need to go to another funeral where I will be the only person there since I was the only one who really cared, anyway. Overall, I am working on my sense of humor (see most daily F.B. postings), staying positive and doing some teaching at work. As such, I am strengthening the relationships that really matter to me and building a personal and professional network that is truly supportive of me. At work, they want me to be the comeback player not of the month or the year, but the comeback player of the DECADE! That kind of support means the world to me. Improving my time on the road is also driving me forward (averaging 8:45 over 30 miles this past week). May 1 is not that far away and I am hopeful that the weather holds out (got some wet flakes while out on the road on Thanksgiving) so that I am not spending too much time running inside.

Anyway, I also want to thank you all for reading my missives. You folks are truly what I am thankful for and help me to focus on what is important so I can get down to the hard work I need to put in to meet the commitments I have made to my friends, my family and most of all, to myself.

I promise future ones will not be so heavy. Light schedule this week (30 miles, calisthenics and yoga due to being out of town and all). Anyway, thanks again!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Things are looking up

The past two weeks have kept me off the road. Out of town work, inclement weather and to be honest, just plain laziness have kept me from being consistent in my training. There is no excuse; but the big challenge for me was getting started again. I guess that's one of the things that exists when the payoff from effort is slow in coming. The only way that I can get time off my pace and burn off the beer tire is to keep working at it day after day. In this world of instant gratification, not to be confused with self gratification, patience is a rare commodity. Perseverance when the payoff does not come right away is sometimes difficult and the abandonment of goals looks less painful when the work toward goals begins to seem like drudgery. The key is to look at the fork in the road and then ask the hard questions..."sure, I'll won't have to go out on the road and freeze, but I still have to answer to myself and the folks who I committed to. I'll even have to quit my blog (how can I write about marathon training when I don't train?)" The same thing applies to life in general; for me at least. There is stuff that I want now (repaired friendships, success in business, a real sense of peace with no un-finished business) and I can say that I have actually hit rock bottom in trying to push some things forward; done really stupid things lately and all it has done is pushed things back rather than forward. I was tired of waiting for a response and I screwed some stuff up when what I really needed to do was empathize with others and understand where they were coming from. In the words of one of my teachers..."Patience, young Jedi".

That situation hit me in the head with a board; so I decided to get back in alignment. I recommitted myself to my path both for training and other aspects of life. I got back to looking at long term goals and finding happiness or at least satisfaction in making small, incremental progress toward goals. [PLEASE NOTE, I BELIEVE THIS WORKS FOR TRAINING AND RELATIONSHIPS, NOT REFORMING HEALTHCARE. INCREMENTALISM IN HEALTHCARE REFORM IS UNACCEPTABLE]. Anyway, the weather broke last night and so I went back out on the road. I set no expectation as to time and just ran comfortably. After doing little if any work for almost 3 weeks, I got on 7.7 miles in 69 (my favorite number) minutes! Friends also reached out to me last night to see how I'm doing! I guess the thing that I needed to realize is that I set a foundation for success (previous training regimens, consistent reliability with friends) that leaves me little ground to cover to get back to a positive position in life. Work is still ahead of me (I have to burn off 1 minute per mile, keep being a mensch (one thing that will take concerted effort, the other that comes naturally)) and all will work out positively! The new shoes helped, too! 25 miles this weekend. I'll report on Monday! I'm moving to a new place in Monday, too!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A little out of rhythm

Well, just a quick note. I have been working out of town most of this week and only got in five miles last Monday. I get back in town at 9:00pm each night and so that leaves me little opportunity to run or lift; especially given that most days are as draining as my interaction with "Art" (see below) leavingf me with little energy as well as a shortage of time. I will pick things back up this week (maybe train in the morning) and get back on the road. I hope I have not lost much in the past two weeks between my cold, work, setting up the new office, still working on building communication lines with people I have not seen in a long while, hiring and firing and trying to acclimate myself to my new community.

Speaking of trying to fit in my community, I finally got up the nerve to ask somebody out for lunch in a non-business environment this week. I got turned down, but we both feel okay about my asking for a date. I am sure that there will be several more turn downs from several other women before I see any success in that area of my life, but I have no burning desire to date in a hurry. I felt nervous and all and a little out of rhythm; kind of like a teenager again. Like the running, I have been out of practice for a while and it will take a little time to get back into a successful rhythm. I think this is the area in my life that I am most insecure about, but I have a new sense of confidence in who I am and I am using that positivity to attract good people around me.

Anyway, more practice is ahead and the training (both running and communicating) will have its own successes and failures. I look forward to both sides of the coin. 35 miles this week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

There but by the grace of ...

I have been humbled. Now, I have been humbled before; by someone smarter, stronger, better looking (I know, hard to believe), wittier (again, I know, hard to believe), but this time I have been humbled by the grace and perseverance of a simple man. I tell you that this event has deeply moved me and will be a touchstone for me as I move forward through life.

I work for a company that, among other lines of business, helps low income families obtain federal, state and local grant funds to make much needed repairs to their homes. Homes even include manufactured housing. Our major clients are operators of mobile home parks. During our applicant intake today, I had the opportunity to meet "Art". Art is a very nice man, early 60's, but is illiterate. He has a CDL license and was fired from his job because he could not write his route in his log book. He could not spell the name of his delivery stop or the people he talked with. He has run out of unemployment assistance, receives some disability assistance and while his pick-up truck is paid for, he has no other assets, save for his 35 year old mobile home. He came in to get more information about the programs that may be available to him. I sat with him and helped him fill out his application. The gratitude in his eyes said it all... This man was all alone. When I say all alone, I mean ALL ALONE. His only friend right now is the beer bottle. The fact that I took just a few minutes with him was probably a more positive experience that he has had with anotherhuman being than he has had in a long time. While he was putting together information for me, the property manager came to him and handed him a 5 day notice of eviction for non-payment of lot rent. Here is a man who is looking for help and will probably lose his home if he does not come up with the $500 in rent that he needs to pay by the end of next week. He obviously cannot afford to move; it costs over $5,000 to move a mobile home. He accepted the eviction notice in stride and said he would do what he could. I saw all of this happen and I started calling local agencies who might be able to help. Every one of them that I talked to had already spent all of their assistance funds. I only had one other hope and their phone was busy so I just suggested to Art to go down to the agency and try to speak with someone. Again, the gratitude he showed for only 5 minutes of work on my end was incredible. It was not fawning gratitude; he was mildly embarrassed, but he worked with me, we made sure he understood the directions and he went on his way to the agency with a lift in his step. Did he get there? I'll know in a week or so. There is a real chance that he just went to the bar, but the gratitude he showed for me just investing time to help, again, was humbling.

Which brings me to my point... We all want people to bring themselves up by their own bootstraps, but too many people do not even have boots. As a society, we are judged by the circumstances of the least of us. I am not calling for people to contribute money; there is not enough to go around and it is too scarce these days anyway. I am asking people to contribute time and energy. Do not give people a fish, help teach them how to fish so they can eat for a lifetime. I ask you to trust me on this, the return you will get by knowing you helped someone; not by investing financially, but with something more valuable, your time, will be well worth it. It has a much higher multiplier effect than giving someone money, as well. I guess it's kind of like paying it forward. And so, I ask you to please, love one another. You will find that it's really worth it because especially in these troubling times, none of us are that far off from Art's position.