Saturday, February 20, 2010

Two out of three ain't bad

Let me share an e-mail conversation with Tim following my near miss in Lake Placid:

> On Jul 31, 2009, at 10:47 PM, "Joel"
> wrote:
>> I'm fine. Still bummed. Based on a deal I had with Leanna I'm not
>> racing a full distance event next year, so I'm going to be stewing
>> over the 105 seconds for 2 years. Now don't get me wrong, I'm happy
>> with my race. It's just that sometimes Lady Luck is a cruel mistress.
>> So in reaction to all that has gone on, I might end up getting a new
>> job, moving, and buying a minivan.

> From: Tim
> Sent: Saturday, August 01, 2009 12:21 AM
> To: Joel
> Subject: Re: Got your text
> Moving? Where?
> A new job?

From: Tim
Date: Sat, Aug 1, 2009 at 8:21 AM
Subject: Re: Got your text
To: Joel

All because of 105 seconds?

I went on to explain that it wasn't the 105 seconds that were the cause, more that they underscored a number of issues in my life that had been festering for a while and needed to be resolved. If you follow the blog, you know I bought the minivan a few weeks after this conversation with Tim. And as of yesterday I have a new job. Yes I'm done w/Brown and am moving on. I'm likely starting March 15th. In the end it's nothing I even had to think about. I need to take care of my family and my new job allows me to do so. Finally, taking this job means I'll remain a resident of Rhode Island a while longer, so no move for now. I'm good with that. Yes there are a lot of things that bother me, like the availability of quality healthcare, but Boston is not all that far away, and there is the ocean. Don't underestimate how important this is to me and my family. Remember my post "Come run with me" ?

So now that I no longer have to worry about the job, at least for a little while :-) , I have a new problem: I need to find a new pool!

From: Joel
Date: Sat, Aug 1, 2009 at 8:35 AM
Subject: Re: Got your text
To: Tim
I was very frustrated on race day because I knew I was going to be below my potential. That said I am very satisfied with my race. Given all that went on in the weeks leading up to race day, I had my best Ironman ever even in terms of execution. And I did so with family on site which hopefully will end the perception for me and them that they are a draw down on my energy.

So again, I'm not making all of these changes because of the 105 seconds. These are changes that really need to be made anyway, at least the job change is. The 105 seconds is just a bitter reminder of this fact.

Kona 2011. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just an update

Nothing exciting to write about; no deep thoughts. Just a moment to relate that which currently is. Training's been going well. I haven't been doing anything too long, but I'm getting consistent reps in. I'm running pretty well, especially off the bike. The shorter crank on my bike feels very good, and I've managed to stay healthy so far this month, which given my track record is really something. The plan had been to run the 10k in Hyannis on the 28th, but now that is not in the cards. Family matters take priority. The plan was to see if I could finally break a 6:00/mile avg for a distance greater than 5 miles. It's another one of those milestones which I've never actually accomplished in my life. I had more raw speed in high school, but couldn't really do much of note longer than 5k. Later on as my endurance improved and I started to develop my sense of pacing, well, I no longer had speed. In fact until I "broke through" and went 6:05/mile at the Chafee 10k in March '08 and then again in December I was pretty much constrained to 6:11 and slower efforts. True I never really focused on the distance, but nonetheless it was frustrating to feel I should probably be able to do it, and couldn't. After running 6:03/mile for 5 miles ~4 weeks ago, on a hilly course no less, staying healthy and training, I feel I'm ready to break that barrier. The typical one mile hard I do after my trainer work is now routinely in the low 5:30s. Now I just need to find a race.
More than the running, I'm going to miss seeing my QT2 friends at Hyannis. Many are starting their seasons in earnest in a matter of weeks and while we've kept in touch electronically, I haven't really seen anybody since Lake Placid last year. Hard to believe it's been as long as it has. Well peeps, I'll be with you in spirit if not in body.
Bring it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Addition by subtraction

The theme for this year is my journey towards contentment. Hell that's probably the theme for the rest of my life. Some days it seems closer than others. After reading about a different approach to goal setting, listing those things you don't need as opposed to what you do need to achieve your goal, I thought I'd overlay that technique here and see what I've got. The idea is to combat our natural tendency as humans to overcomplicate things. All too often things which actually are not that important sneak in with those that are, diluting focus on the important items and creating stress and discontent because of the sheer mass of things which one has to consider. Life becomes shades of gray instead of black and white.

Here are some of my goals:
1) Qualify for Ironman Hawaii. What I don't need to get there: a new bike. I put this first because among my many flaws, envy rates pretty high. I need to exert extra control to keep this one at bay, especially knowing that had I the means to buy a high end bike (and been able to justify the expenditure to myself) , I may well have qualified this last year. However I don't need the bike because the goal is really about what I can do with my natural gifts. No piece of carbon, however sleek and beautiful, has any bearing on the proper expression of my gifts and thus my person.

2) Be a better parent. What I don't need to get there: win every fight with my kids. I'm goal oriented, a perfectionist. I make a living delivering "the single version of the truth." I'm known for standing my ground or driving my agenda; the irresistible force. Even parenting advice revolves around "you're the adult, they are the child." Well hell sometimes being the adult means showing your child that winning at all costs is not necessarily the objective. I'm starting to back off on my son. I admit to being overly hard on him at times (learned behavior I believe). Last night I had the coolest experience: we were watching "the Worst Cook in America" on Food Network, and he just snuggled up and fell asleep on me. Now THAT's a win!

3) Be important. What I don't need to get there: I don't need to be a senior executive or a highly paid consultant. I don't need to be anything other than who I truly am. I'm not a manager. I'm a doer, perhaps leader, perhaps visionary (in my field). People do listen to me. That's enough. Hell that's a lot! There is no "CIO" in my future. No Vice President or President. It's just me. My professional life does not define my value as a person.

4) Be a better husband. What I don't need to get there: win every fight with my wife. Remind her that I'm always there; don't just assume she knows.

A friend described for me a different way of thinking about strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are those things which leave you feeling better about yourself, and weakness are those that leave you feeling worse. So the common thread to the things I need to leave behind is to eliminate weakness. I accept my life because envy, jealousy, regret, control, etc... make me weak. I will focus my career goals on doing, on leading by example, because "managing" makes me feel weak. I will not permit negative statements by others to influence my sense of self, because their statements say far more about them than me, and stressing about what they say makes me weak. Hey, who except for a handful of people even really knows me?

Finally, I will not not forget to let those I love know that I love them. Forgetting makes me weak. Reminding them makes me strong.

Curious about how others are adding by subtracting? Try this link.