The good enough life

Training Stats thus far:

Vertical feet ridden – 111,283

Training Hours – 256

Calories consumed – A LOT

Meditaion minutes – 1630

Race days – 1

 

My Everesting prediction:

Minimum hours to complete (on a good day) – 16

Maximum hours to complete (on a bad day)  – ?

 

I haven’t set a date for when I will attempt this challenge. In part because there are few things, equipment wise,that I need and I’ve just been waiting until I get the money for them. The other part is, I’m not sure if my fitness is… good enough.

 

Good enough.

 

It seems like such a self defeating phrase. Like you’re settling for less than you deserve. Is it really self defeating though and are you really getting less than you deserve? I guess it just depends on how you look at it.

 

Since I’ve never pushed myself in this way before I don’t have a baseline to look back on and judge from. This is the best place to be I think. At a point having too much information, I feel, can actually slow forward progress and keep you from taping in to your potential. In the past, when I was about to do something that was new, scary and beyond my perceived limits I’ve always imagined it to be absurdly harder than it actually turned out being. There were occasions where it was that hard but most times it wasn’t. When I have this imagined reality in my mind I always train and push myself harder, in whatever capacity I think is needed. The end result, for the most part, is coming out the other side performing better than I thought I would and realizing that it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined.

 

Th tricky part in this particular scenario is the time factor. Is my fitness good enough to last 16+ hours? Is my mind good enough to stay focused and positive for most of the time?

 

Ideally, I’d like to have my power on the bike be higher, my heart rate lower and some more race days under my belt. I would want to be at my peak and be firing on all cylinders. Having that feeling where speed is effortless to attain and climbing is a breeze. In reality I have to believe that’s not how I’m going to feel.  Since I don’t have the pleasure of having a coach and/or someone in my life more experienced in these type of challenges I’m just doing all the research I can, not too much though and keeping a positive outlook . Regardless of how I feel come that day, I will complete the challenge. If I keep striving for perfection and the feeling in my body I think I should have, I’ll go crazy, stress myself out and never even start.

 

What I’m starting to realize is that at a point, striving for perfection and those last 1-2% gains doesn’t serve you and your mission anymore. Yes, it’s OK to aim for perfection in hopes of giving your best effort come the game day but if it’s holding you back from making forward progress you need to just let go. Let go of those “well if I just tweak these two things then I’ll be ready…” thoughts and accept that good enough is…well…perfect.

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My humanity

Listen while you read

It was September 12th and senior year was underway. The soccer team was hanging out over a homemade pasta dinner and jubilating over the game we had just won. We were a few games into the season and undefeated…STOKED! When dinner was done and the rowdiness had settled I hoped into my rusty grey and green VW bug and headed home, music cranked! When I walked in the door I was given the message “Lyndsey called, she wants you to call her back.” Lyndsey was one of my good friends. I strolled on downstairs unloaded my back pack soccer gear and took a quick shower before calling. With damp hair and wrinkled fingers I picked up the phone and hit the glowing numbers that connected me to my friend.

“Hello?!”

“Hey Lynds it’s Aaron what’s up?”

“You need to call Vicky right away!”

“Umm OK…why?”

She wouldn’t tell me. I was left in anticipation as she hung up and forced me to dial the number of my ex girl friend. When she picked up I was greeted with an anxious and shaky voice.

“Hello?!”

“Hey Vicky, it’s Aaron. Lyndsey said I needed to call you and that it was urgent. What’s up?”

“Aaron, I’m pregnant!”  

BAM….and just like that life happened.

Silence filled the phone receivers for what seemed like eternity. I didn’t know what to say. All I could focus on was the buzzing in my ears and my heart beating like a jumping bean. When I finally came back to reality we ended up talking awhile about the situation and tried to figure out what we were going to do. Really though, how can two kids make a rational or wise decision on a situation that should be reserved for those who have more years under there belt?! We ultimately decided that an abortion was the best plan of action, which was then rejected some time later for the new plan of going through with the pregnancy. Though it’s been hard, I believe all parties involved can agree that this was the best decision. Senior year and high school did not continue or end in the same light that it had started.

**Please be advised: A cold front is moving into the area!**

Darkness started to creep into my outlook

dmitry maximov Months went by and the small amount of friendship that had built up between Vicky and I since the breakup evaporated. Hatred and spite took its place. When the day came to see my daughter for the first time at the hospital, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. What should be a day of joy and celebration was anything but. All I could think, and all I had thought about over the past 9 months, was what a failure I was to myself and to my family. “Why is this happening to me?!” If it had been left up to me, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the hospital at all that day and just treated it like any other school day, but alas, I did go thanks to my family. I can’t recall all the details about the visit or even remember seeing my daughter, but I do remember it being awkward and unpleasant. Not how it should be on the birth day of your child. The visit ended and I was off back to school.

Graduation day came and went with nothing special to speak of. “Thank god that’s over with!”

There was an upside though! My parents gave me a free pass to be able to spend the summer months being a normal teenager. I traveled to Ohio to hang out with my good friend from junior high, playing guitar, causing a ruckus around the suburbs of Kettering, and traveling to Connecticut for a guitar camp. Still some of my best memories!

When I got back home, the summer began to fade and it was time to saddle up and find some sort of 9 to 5. I did, and I spent the next 18 months working on hardwood floors. Every other weekend was spent watching my daughter and trying my best to be some sort of parent. In my free time, I was learning and playing as much guitar as I could by taking classes at the local music conservatory. My only passion at that point in time was music and playing guitar. It kept me sane and gave me something else to focus on besides my life circumstances. In my eyes my only hope was to keep pursuing it and try to make a career out of it.

I applied to a few select schools and eventually got accepted. In the late summer of 2002, I moved out to Hollywood, the land of dreamers and lost souls! While I was there, I met some talented guys and we formed a band. We did and experienced some really amazing things together and they are will always hold a special place with me. During this time I had glimpses of hope where I could see and thought things were going to work out the way I had envisioned. “YES, thank you!” Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see my dream through to its fullest potential. When I look back, I shouldn’t be surprised. I was never fully IN the present moment because my mind was always distracted, even if I didn’t realize it. If I was in the practice room, playing on stage, talking with a fan or just trying to be a human being, I couldn’t. There were always lingering thoughts and doubts. A dark cloud always hovering. I was a broken soul. Just a skeleton of my former self. No curiosity or desire to experience the world around me. My time in dreamland was done and I was headed back home.

**WARNING: Severe weather is entering the area. Strong winds, heavy clouds and rain are likely.**

Eva_Hoffman_SUMMER-COLD-FRONT-finalist I was never clinically diagnosed with depression. After my grandpa passed away from suicide I learned that he had struggled with depression his whole life. I’ve read that if a person has family or siblings with major depression, they are 2 to 3 times more at risk to develop depression than the average person. With this in mind, I don’t feel it’s crazy or out of place to say that I was depressed. The days that I wasted in bed with my headphones on, getting lost in the eternal abyss of my thoughts is still vivid in my mind.

Were there good days during all of this? Yeah, definitely! Did I try pulling myself out of this hole? Oh yeah, numerous times. Did I want to feel this way? Hell no! Did I like feeling this way? Hmmm….that’s a tricky one….maybe?. Overall I would say NO but there is more to it than that. I’m not sure everyone who is/has been depressed feels this way, but I feel that there is a certain beauty about depression.  For me, music had more meaning. The emotion of those sad songs was felt more deeply. Especially when you found that one song that had a line that described your life or your thoughts perfectly. The nights were more mystical. City lights were brighter and more magical. My imagination ran a little more wild.

I wouldn’t say that I’m 100% the person I once was. I’m not sure I ever will be to honest. What I do know is that I am, at this point in my life, NOT depressed. It’s been a long journey, one that I will always be on. Still, there are days that I wake up in the storm. The difference now is that I don’t stay in that state very long. I acknowledge the thought(s), ask WHY,  what it might mean and then let it pass without dwelling. I.AM.NOT.MY.THOUGHTS! I’m still learning, growing and trying to figure it out and am content with who I’ve become.

I don’t claim to be in expert but If you find yourself in the same storm I would like to tell you that it’s OK. Take your time. Be sad. Explore your emotions. Get lost in those sad songs! Know that the events that put you there happened for a reason. Learn from them. You’ll still be loved even if you are depressed and you’ll still be loved when you come out the other side. The only difference is that you’ll love yourself too!

“Your Imperfections Make You Human and Your Humanity Makes You Influential.”  

– Josh Shipp

TTFN

My road to Everest(ing)

“Hey so I’m going to take on a new bike challenge next year.”

“Oh yeah, what are you going to do?”

“It’s this thing called Everesting.”

“Ever sing?”

“No, Everesting. Like Mt. Everest.”

“Oh. What is that!?”

“Well glad you asked. Let me break it down for you.

1. Find a local climb in your area

2. Repeat this climb until you have reached a total of 8,848 meters or 29,028ft of elevation gain Which is the total gain of Mt. Everest. (Oh I see what you did there)

3. You can take as long of break and as many as you need but it has to be done in one ride. No going home and sleeping for 8 hours and coming back to finish.

“Hmmm…Ok so that sounds cool and a little insane but WHY?!”

” Again, glad you asked…..”

The short answer: Why Not?!

The long answer:

I honestly didn’t even have this in my sights when coming up with a plan and goals for next season. I had come up with some basic goals like starting my training earlier, get my body and mind stronger with smarter strength training and a more consistent meditation practice and stay healthy through the winter months. Then I saw a video of a guy who’s Youtube channel I subscribe to and he was talking about his experience with it, how long it took, what he ate etc. This got my attention so I went and checked out the web site. After reading up on the rules and a bit of the history behind the challenge my palms got a little sweaty and I became nervously excited at the thought of doing this myself.

“What hill do I want to use?How long is this going to take me? What am I going to eat? What if I’m not physically or mentally fit to finish? Will I see myself as a failure?” were just some of the questions that immediately popped into my head. Even after pondering these questions I could only think of a positive outcome and the overwhelming thought “I can do this and I will do this”. Even as I write about it I get a smile across my face because for whatever reason this particular challenge resonates with me.

As I’ve been making friends and family aware of what my plans are I’m coming up with more motivational reasoning to take this on. Maybe I can spark a little inspiration in those who don’t think they can push themselves beyond what they think they’re capable of or what they’ve been told they aren’t capable of. We are our own self limiters period! If you can see over the fence of these limitations, even just a little bit, then I think you have already taken a valuable first step in becoming a better you. And as a finial thought; We all need challenges, mental and physical. Hopefully by going through these challenges we can get a better understanding of who we are, what we want and where we want to go. Discovering and unlocking your most authentic self as they say. Up to this point I’ve had my share of mental and physical challenges but I have yet to put myself in position to test the two together. Which seems to me most endurance athletes, whether they are aware of it or not, are trying to do. So somewhere in the warmer months when the wild flowers are lining the road again you will find me going up and down again again and again.

TTFN