After a day of spending time with two of my closest friends there was a point in the day that helped me appreciate just how awesome it is to have great friends you’ve spent the overwhelming majority of your life with. Through thick and thin I’ve been best friends with them for almost four decades. We’ve been through pretty much everything together and have always been there to celebrate with each other, help each other through difficult times, and just hang out together.
As our day of fun has begun to wrap up we’re chilling out and playing Rock Band together. I’m not a good singer and I’m very self conscious of my singing. After a couple of songs they insisted that it was my turn to grab the mic and sing.
I reluctantly said yes and chose a couple of songs I jam out to in the car… Pork & Beans by Weezer and I Was Wrong by Social Distortion. After a few seconds I totally lost myself in singing and had a blast.
Afterwards I realized just how cool it was that I felt totally comfortable singing in front of them. It’s kind of weird, but I’m pretty sure, for those of us who are not vocally inclined, that being totally open to singing in front friends mean those are some pretty close friends.
As we look forward to more hours of jamming out and having fun I am so thankful for friends I’m thankful for amazing friends that I’m comfortable singing in front of.
It always feels great getting a workout in. That said, not all workouts were created equal. As the days go by the memory of most of them slowly blur and fade. 95+% of the time I really don’t remember much about it even a few days later. It’s a rarity for one to really stick out. Like my workout with Dominic last week, that’s one I’m pretty sure I’ll remember for ever.
While driving this morning I felt the urge for some great music to get me going. My brain immediately went to AC/DC and I hit shuffle. The first song up was Thunderstruck. From the start a smile went across my face.
This past Saturday when we (I) got back into our normal Saturday morning routine I experienced the best cycling class ever. The instructor had a wonderful balance of motivation and coaching as she kept pressing me close to the limit and then backed of for a brief rest before pushing right back up to the limit. The way she coached helped to draw out one of the best performances I’ve had on the cycle.
At one point I’d totally lost myself in the pedaling and realized that I still had 35 minutes left. I groaned to myself thinking that there was no way I could sustain this level of effort for 35 more minutes. Surprisingly, the next 30 minutes were gone in a flash! The mix of music and exercise really helped keep me going strong.
As we started to wind down one song ended and as our instructor looked at her iPod a very mischievous smile crossed her face. “You know what, I think we’ve all got one more song in us…” with that the first chords of Thunderstruck erupted from the speakers. She then quickly informed us that every time the word “thunder” was sung we’d switch from seated to standing and vice versa.
The adrenaline and dopamine were running with full force as Becky and I smiled at each other while pedaling our butts off. It’s not often that I’m that happy to kick my own ass like that, but I was totally into it. It was awesome and I was oddly disappointed as the song ended, I just wanted to keep going.
It amazes me how a mix of several factors can lead to a state of flow like that and by adding a couple of key elements like the song and visuals like Becky smiling back at me during the routine. Suddenly the workout goes from routine to epic and memorable. Here I am after several days still smiling from ear to ear each time I think of that workout, I am so thankful for that!
This morning was about as perfectly ordinary as they come, and it felt amazing! The alarm went off and I took my time getting out of bed. I got partially dressed for our run and did Becky’s sit up routine with her. We then headed out for our normal run. Nothing crazy or out of the ordinary, just our normal run.
Back at home I took my normal 20-ish minute nap to recharge after our run and got ready for work. I shot the bull with the boys and had some more time talking with Becky as I got ready. She had my coffee ready as usual and I had my normal breakfast. The boys left at the usual time with the usual big hugs and I love you’s. I grabbed my normal lunch and made my drive to work.
The drive to work was pretty average an uneventful. Once I got to work I dug right in and enjoyed some quiet time in the office alone… there may or may not have been some AC/DC blasting from my office as I worked.
All in all, the morning was perfectly average and normal. It’s funny how sometimes I want something exciting or a little change. Days like today remind me that life is pretty awesome and I appreciate the normalcy I have in my morning routine. Starting off with exercise, love, nutrition, and time with family how could I want for more?
Also, I have to say that I am always grateful for Becky’s somewhat goofy sense of humor as it is a great match to mine. Over the past couple of days we’ve both had the song “Africa” stuck in our heads because of a T-shirt I saw and texted to her…
I am so thankful for our ability to make each other laugh and bring joy to each other’s life.
The book I’m just wrapping up has been a great one for motivation. Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor has been a book that’s got running on my brain again (combine that with a handful of other running books by Jurek, Roll & McDougal… yikes!). As I get caught up in the story of her success I keep feeling myself drawn to running and the desire to run longer and longer distances.
One of the specific things I am thankful for today is the story she shared of her 2004 Olympic Bronze. The one goal she’d set for herself was to medal in the Olympics. She didn’t care the color, she only focused on getting one. The amount of work she poured into that dream is incredible! Imagine running 130+ miles every single week. My entire lower body hurts just thinking about it.
Sticking to her goal she has a specific strategy to win and stuck to her guns while at times she felt like she could have gone out faster. She gritted it out and finally overtook the 3rd place runner as the mileage was running out. If you watch the footage below you can see right where Deena realizes she just accomplished her goal…
The funny thing is that after all she did to reach that dream she realized that she could still get better and stronger. From this she decided to win a major marathon so she worked for it and did it. Instead of resting on her butt she then set the bar higher and wanted to complete a sub 2:20 marathon and did it. It’s incredible to see how she just kept raising the bar and working hard to achieve things she’d never dreamt possible before.
Throughout my day today I kept thinking about her running career. At certain times I felt myself on a 20 mile run that was brutal but kept pushing me towards my dreams. Other times were those sweet victories that got me dreaming bigger. Regardless, I just kept thinking about the motivation and grit she showed and used it as motivation to push myself further today.
Huge thank you’s to Deena and everyone in my life who push me to try new things, to get stronger, and inspire me to reach for bigger and bigger dreams.
Cub Scouts was cancelled tonight due to the icy roads and I was looking forward to a chill night at home. Right before I left work I got a text from Becky asking if I’d like to go to the YMCA with her and Dominic. The lightbulb went off in my head and I immediately said “YES!” I saw an opportunity to do something I’d been wanting to do for a while… lift weights with Dominic.
On our way there Becky and I both asked Dominic to not break me. The plan was for me to do everything he did and keep pace with him. This meant hitting the treadmill for a warm up.
Not to be outdone I saw the pace Dominic selected and pushed mine to the same. As my heart started racing I asked how long we were going to warm up and he said ten minutes. Even though my lungs were burning I saw I was a little behind him for distance so I ratcheted up the pace to gain some ground back. After a while he saw what I did and did the same to stay ahead of me. I may have blacked out for a little bit, but the last I remember we were racing each running at sub 5:20 paces. Pretty sure I’m going to feel that in the morning!
After the warm up of death we both realized the error of our ways and dove into a great workout. He showed me the lifts he normally does and we went right through his routine and closed up with some cool down work on the stair machine.
I had a blast hanging out with him and lifting. It was cool to have some fun time doing something like this as we bonded. We gave each other a hard time, gave each other compliments and high fives, and laughed at ourselves when our egos attempted to be stronger than we were. In a nutshell, it was awesome and I’m excited to do it again sometime.
As we drove to church this morning I realized that I’d forgotten my cellphone at home on my dresser. I instinctively twitched repeatedly and then realized it was going to be okay. The funny thing is that I’ve been considering a cellphone free day for a while, why not do it today?
Throughout the day there were a couple of times when I broke down and turned it on. Each time I did I immediately went to the one thing I was using it for and ignored any alerts. Here’s the full detail of usage for the day:
Texted my brother to see when would be a good time to call him
Turned on Pandora to listen to music while prepping my lunches for the week
Checked to see how long to cook turkey tenderloins at and for how long
Called Nick back after missing his call, left a voicemail
Took Nick’s call back and shot the bull
That’s it. No social media updates, no videos, no news, no anything on my smartphone. Typing this will be one of only two things I do computers today, the next being a couple of things for Cub Scouts quick.
Throughout the day it’s felt weird. I’ve started to see how my phone can be very useful (looking things up quickly), but I’ve also noticed just how often I reach for it out of habit and to fill time. Instead of having it in hand I had to find other ways to pass the time, and it felt pretty good. It also was relaxing to not have nearly as many interruptions throughout the day. Who knows, I might need to do this more often!