Article I wrote for the Just Finish newsletter this month:
It’s funny the way New Years resolutions get in your head. In fact, what is it about a new year that is any different than the one just passed? Like most things in life, we like to be given some sort of guidance on what to do and when to do it. In this way, a new cycle of the calendar gives a definitive point in time that we can point to as a new beginning.
For me 2009 marked a year of so many new beginnings and of so many firsts. It was my first marathon (Shamrock Marathon), my first Olympic distance triathlon (NYC Triathlon) and the crown jewel, my first Ironman (Ironman Wisconsin). The thing about all these events is that they had been a long time in coming. My marathon for instance; the Shamrock was my third fallback after not getting into the New York City Marathon and not being able to run in the Richmond Marathon due to a death in our family. So, to say that the Shamrock was part of a resolution wasn’t entirely true, I had originally decided to run a marathon sometime in February of 2008…it just took thirteen months to come around.
2009 also makes me think rather fondly of inspiration and the vital role that it plays in our live as athletes. You see, each and every aspect of whats going on in our lives, good, bad and ugly, affects us physically. The catch to this is that we all have bad days and this can bring us down both mentally and physically. The REALLY vicious cycle is when something goes wrong in your life, so you find yourself in a bad mood, this makes you not want to workout. Being an athlete, this bad mood and consequent lack of working out depletes your body of the endorphins and good feelings that exercise elicits in your body and so you sink even deeper into a funk.
So, where does inspiration play into this? One overarching “good thought” that I like to keep in mind is that I am alive. I know that sounds cheesy and cliche, but think about it. You just got the gift of being able to wake up and take a breath of air knowing that you are alive! On top of that, you’re an athlete! Every day, you get the honor of pushing your body to it’s limits and using our most basic human abilities!
In 2009, I began to take my show, Brandon’s Marathon Podcast, more seriously. I made a point to record my shows on a weekly basis and in somewhat of a regular time frame. When I was unable, I made it a point to get the word out to my listeners explaining why. In those shows, I try to be as positive and uplifting, yet honest, as I am able. This is not so hard, because I have so much fun doing it!
From the letters and comments I get on my show, I have come to learn that I inspire many people from around the world. The incredibly ironic and wonderful part of this is that it is ME who gets the real inspiration. I get the privilege of hearing from people who have done so many “firsts” and who have done things that they never would have ventured to even imagine before! I get to hear how people have lost literally HALF of their body weight and have given themselves the wonderful honor of taking that first breath each morning by changing their diet and exercise habits. I could go on forever about how I have been inspired by those who say that I have inspired them, and THAT is an amazing cycle to be in!
This is what I have to say about resolutions: Of course, you can and should do the traditional goal type resolution. But, think bigger than that. Think to next year and resolve to be inspired by inspiring others. Let your goals and training and PR’s and other achievements be the catalyst for someone else to get moving and make their own impact.
As for me, here are a couple of my resolutions:
-Run at least one mile every day of 2010 ( meandtheroad.com )
-Gain control over my nutrition in long distance races (half-iron and up)
-Get an elite time in the New York City Triathlon (2:15:00 for my age group)
-My biggest and most challenging resolution that will go on forever; in March, when my baby girl gets here, I am going to be the best father and husband that I can possibly be
The reason I mentioned that a new year is not that different from the old one, is because I think we should make resolutions constantly. Constantly inspire and be inspired and be persistent of new goals throughout the year, not just once every 365 days!