Happy Birthday to me.

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Motivation, Training

45 years. That’s a pretty damn long time. I think about Landry closing in on her 2nd birthday in 29 days and all of the things that have happened in her time on earth. All the fun, all the firsts, the bumps and bruises, the hugs and kisses and some breakthrough moments as she started to roll over, sit up, stand, walk, talk, swim and now – run.

As we get older the “breakthrough” moments are pretty few and far between. Especially for someone like me who has one foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel as it were – but as I was on my run Monday morning, my last one as a 44-year old, I thought of something my Dad used to tell me when I was growing up playing baseball. “You are either getting better or you are getting worse – nobody ever stays the same.”

My Dad was not really big on handing out limitless advice when I was growing up. He was more of a “pick your spots” kind of motivator.  There was one particular nugget he shared with me that I will never forget.  It was just after a game where my team lost by more than 10 runs, but I had a tremendous night banging out 4 hits and making a few stellar plays at Shortstop.  He could tell that I was happy with my performance on the ride home and was not focusing enough of my attention on the fact that my team had just been 10-runned in a loss.

He looked over at me and said, “You know Son, you show me a good loser – and I’ll show you a loser.”

Maybe it was a little too direct for a 12-year old, but it was a defining moment for me as a youngster.

Was that the day that the seed of wanting to achieve for achievement’s sake came to pass?  I’m not sure.  But I do know that as long as someone is keeping score, I feel like you might as well give your best effort whether that is studying for an exam, preparing work product, training, racing or raising a 2-year old. A lot of people draw inspiration from the famous Steve Prefontaine quote – “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”.  They believe that maximum effort is all that we can really control.  You go out, give the best effort that you can and let the results speak for themselves.

I think that is what I hope for the most about what Landry may or may not get from watching Dad compete in running races and triathlons.  That at virtually ever single event we ever compete in, somebody is going to beat us.  That is just a certainty.  But the real “winning” is done by first showing up fully prepared and ready to lay it on the line.  Then in giving your best effort and leaving nothing out on the course.  Lastly, by being gracious in defeat and in the rare instances where an age-group win or a Masters title is earned – be even more gracious in celebrating that victory.

So as the calendar flips forward one more year – most of the lessons that I am ever going to learn in my life have been taught to me by now.

I’ve suffered some losses, professionally, personally and even more difficult – the loss of those who we love and care for.

I’ve had more than my fair share of “wins” as well, some of which I have been lucky enough to share with Dawn and now Landry right there front and center to celebrate with me.

How many more there will be is tough to say.  There are no guarantees in life, that much I learned just two years ago when my good friend Keith’s wife was taken from him in an accident, just a day off of my birthday.

But while I am here, fortunate enough and healthy enough to continue to train hard, improve and compete – we’re going to keep pushing it knowing full well that little Landry doesn’t miss a thing.  She is like a big sponge taking in all of the information and experiences we make available for her.  I may not have as many pearls of wisdom to share with her as my Dad did when I was growing up, but I’ll do what I can.

She’s a fighter our little Landry – and if her Dad has proven anything to her so far, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Maybe I do have a few pearls of wisdom for her in my back pocket.

Texas Half 2012

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