Stop Waiting To Feel Better
How an Immune deficient Patient went from the couch to the finish line.
Lessons I learned along the way.
Lesson 1: Stop waiting for that “Perfect Day” to start.
Most days I have to make the hard choice to exercise. At first I did not know how hard it would be, how much my body would hurt or how long I could keep exercising. What I did know is that I had to do something to feel better. I knew I had a 99% chance that I would feel the same the next day unless I did something today to help my tomorrow.
So, how did I start?
I felt so miserable that I was willing to feel worse in the hope of feeling better. It was easy to spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and hoping that someone would “get it” and do something big that fixes everything for me. My Immune Deficiency was making all the choices for me. However, I decided that if my body could make me feel so miserable, then I could inflict some additional physical misery on it. I finally got desperate enough to start making my own choices. I accepted my new reality, life with limits, and created a new opportunity for change.
The Simple Goal
My goal was to finish a Sprint Triathlon. Swim 750 meters, bike 12 miles and run 3.1 miles. The best part about this goal was that all I had to do was get across the finish line. Backstroke, breast stroke or doggie paddle the swim. Coast on the bike. Walk the run. Just finishing made it doable. I had a chance for success because I set a simple achievable goal that was not based on performance or rigid criteria. If I had said, “I will walk for 20 minutes a day” I would have set an unattainable goal. There are many days that I can’t walk for 20 minutes. However, a goal that allows for flexibility worked.
I was motivated by the simplest driving force: to be better for my daughter. She needed a Dad that did more than work and then crash. I had to find a way to be there for her within the limits that my life now possessed. The emotion was strong enough to compel me to get up and move. I had to give myself no choice and no way out.
It was key to find a positive voice in the middle of all this desperation. For me that was the time I could now spend with my wife and daughter exercising. Family walks, bike rides and swims. I began to look forward to these times. Over time they became my motivation as I continued on in Triathlon.
1. Get desperate and say “I have to”.
2. Define your new reality.
3. Find someone that will say “Yes you can!”
4. Be flexible, don’t fight how bad you feel.
5. Get excited about the journey ahead.
To this day, I must will myself to exercise. I know that if others felt the way I do, then they would be taking a sick day off from training. Unfortunately for me, I cannot wait for my body to feel good. I must train because it is my better and ultimately that is my competitive edge. I must #TriforBetter.