Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude


One important component to the 40for40 quest is setting my factory in order for the next forty years of production. The ultimate goal is to prepare for the celebration by choosing changes that improve life for me and those around me.

For me, a long term goal really allows me to notice the small improvements that bring me closer to the objective. Without a goal as a measuring stick, we just don't have a continuous loop of positive feedback. And without a sign of progress, we miss an opportunity for gratitude.

This week I made an appointment with Kevin Linde, the physical therapist who helped me recover from my knee surgery in March 2009. I went to Kevin for two reasons. First, I don't want to move forward with my endurance training unless my knee and my other parts are properly functioning for the task at hand. And secondly, I want to see how I have improved. I am grateful that I made the appointment.

Kevin is really talented at noticing minor imbalances in the body. In my case he showed me that the patella in my once injured knee was not tracking as it should. A lack of development in my medial muscles was allowing the knee to move ever so slightly up and away from its normal alignment during each running stroke. Now thanks to Kevin, I am armed with some great exercises and a plan to strengthen my knee for the upcoming training. In this case, merely identifying a flaw has given me new inspiration for gratitude.

As our annual reminder of thanksgiving settles upon us, we should look within us and around us for improvement opportunities. An opportunity to improve is a futures option on Gratitude.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Progress

The last ten days have been an exciting stretch dedicated to progress. First off, I discovered a terrific website that tracks all of my workouts using the GPS signal from my smart phone. endomondo.com has given me the opportunity to push my endurance and really focus on keeping a consistent pace regardless of distance and adversity.

Sometimes opportunity and adversity come at the same time and more often than not, the precursor is a simple wrong turn. For my training, the wrong turn came last Saturday. I had left early in the morning, well before dawn, following a route along the W&OD and Custis trails, planning to follow a 20-25km loop. However, as I approached the Roosevelt bridge - intending to pass beneath it, I realized that my right veer at the fork was lifting me up higher and higher with improving views of the monument field across the river. I was no longer following my intended loop but now moving east across the Potomac River and down to the National Mall.

Because of my wrong turn, I had the opportunity to run all the way to the Capitol, past the Washington Memorial, across Memorial Bridge and past Arlington National Cemetery. And to reward me for taking the opportunity to withstand the adversity of additional distance, I saw the most brilliant sunrise I have ever logged. As I passed the Netherlands Carillon, stars and midnight blue painted a cloudless sky above while an easterly view of crimson and fire was only interrupted by dark shadows of Washington DC's treasured monuments. I couldn't have asked for a better reward and in the end as I arrived home, I had conquered half of me my ultimate 40-mile goal - over 20 miles of training toward progress.

After a week of swimming and cross training to ensure that I hadn't injured myself during the long run, I celebrated with a 13 miler this morning and what a celebration it was. According to my gps enabled trainer on endomondo.com, I set personal bests during the run for all categories - 12 minute Cooper test, 3 miles, 5k, 10k, 1 hour run, and half marathon. I am feeling that the months of training is really starting to pay off with strength, endurance and running form. Progress through opportunity and charged by adversity. What could be sweeter?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dedication

You don't have to search far this Thursday, the 11th day of the 11th month, for examples of dedication around us. The women and men of the military who provide safety and peace of mind for both the denizens of our country as well as billions of other people throughout the world dedicate themselves to a greater cause every day.

A greater cause is the essence of dedication. By working within a cause larger than the individual we create more than we expected through perseverance and dedication to the greater good. Our impact goes beyond our own capabilities and uncontrolled benefit leaks out into the wide river that flows within us. The greater good is the focus of 40for40 and that goodness is what drives me to train harder and push myself further than I have traveled before during my short stint here on Planet Earth. Any benefit that I offer to others is preserved and protected through the selfless actions of our Veterans.

I'm proud to celebrate the dedication of our Veterans today and I am reminded that the origin of 11 November as a day of remembrance is the noble desire to set aside conflict in favor of peace.