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Monday, 13 January 2014

Clyde Pride

Perhaps what makes a person successful is that they're never really satisfied with what they have or who they are. Maybe that's why we often see the rich and famous fall into a depression that is so deep they may never crawl out. I am in a constant battle with myself to be happy with who I am and yet push myself to achieve greater goals and faster times and I'm not certain it's possible. How do you achieve peace with who you are and still have a burning desire to get better?

On a recent podcast Joe Rogan talked about his theory that our natural state of worry and anxiety likely stems from our past where we had to be vigilant or be eaten by predators. This has manifested in a constant struggle between being thankful for what we have and always seeing the negatives in our lives to prevent becoming complacent.



I feel I have been a fairly successful person in my life. I have a great career, an amazing family and my physical pursuits have become notable. This November I completed Ironman Arizona in 11:57:39 at 250 lbs which placed me in the top third of the entire race which is dominated by the very skinny. However, my first thought when analyzing the race was that it must have been an easy course if I had gone that fast. It didn't occur to me immediately that the 1900 or so people I finished in front of had to complete the same course, I could only reconcile that because I'd beaten my previous personal best by almost 2 1/2 hours that it was nothing I had done, it must have been an act of god.

My body image is absolutely atrocious. Despite losing 75 lbs and doing things athletically that very few people can claim I still look in the mirror every morning, sigh, and hope that tomorrow I'm not fat. I see people walking around downtown that look great in their suits and the sad reality is that I would probably trade bodies with them in an instant because they look the way I'd like to look despite the fact that they likely couldn't do half of the things that I can with my body. But why am I so focused on looking a certain way? I have an amazing wife that loves me so why does my aesthetic matter? There's something wrong in our brain that values form over function.

My big goal for the upcoming year is to really celebrate how far I've come rather than focus on my imperfections, which are numerous. One of my "ah ha" moments recently was looking at my tattoos on the calf of my left leg and wondering why I bothered to get one to commemorate an Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) triathlon. At the time it was such a huge accomplishment that it garnered a tattoo, but now I complete the distances in that race as a part of a training day. I realized I needed to look at it and remember that it was a big deal to finish that race and the fact that it's easy now shows how far I've come. It's a symbol of pride.

3 tatted calves


I'm a Clydesdale (endurance athlete over 220 lbs) and I need to embrace that. I'm never going to be skinny, I'm never going to win a race and I'm NEVER going to look good in a tight pair of pants. But what I am is everything I set out to be 6 years ago when I decided to get in shape. I need to stop looking at the last 10 pounds and start looking at the 75 that are gone. It's funny, every time I get to a new lower weight I'm excited. Then, when I stay at that weight for a while I get upset. It was an accomplishment to get there and it's an accomplishment to stay there. I don't need to change anything but my viewpoint. Easier said than done but it will be my new mantra and I work towards Ironman Texas this May.