The place you want to be

I could tell you the place you want to be is home or at a place you’ve dreamt about for many years. Maybe a cool vacation destination.

But those are not the places I’m talking about.

The place to be in right here in the now. Not yesterday. Not years ago in a time that was memorable for you. Certainly not tomorrow or in six months.

Of course physically everyone is here right now but their thoughts are drifting.

Think about a time in your life what was very enjoyable. You were happy and even laughing. You might have been very productive and clicking on all cylinders.

Were you there in those moments or was your mind off in the past or future?

See what I mean?

Living right here this very second is the only place you’ll want to be.

Now gets rid of the;

  • I can’t
  • I’m scared
  • I’m lonely
  • I’m unhealthy
  • I’m anxious
  • I wish it was like….

Now creates:

  • I’m doing it
  • I like what is happening
  • I’m making it real
  • I’m joyful
  • Let’s do this together
  • Hugs

Be in that place. It’s the only place to be.

You Already Have Freedom, it’s Joy That You Really Seek

If you’re chasing financial freedom you may never find it. Joy and financial freedom are not the same thing. As you seek to live joyously, you’ll be able to capture the financial abundance that is already yours in the world.

If you want to keep the knee you’ll have to quit running

knee tearI’m not even sure how to write this blog. I have many thoughts and emotions and writing this will allow me to get them out of my head and onto paper.

I had been suffering from a very painful knee since July 2014. It got really stiff and I was unable to straighten it for about a month following Ironman Boulder in August. My friend and doctor, Robert Braden, DC, finally was able to figure out the routine I needed in order to return the knee to full flexion so I could straighten it and be able to run. I was able to resume most of my training and it allowed me to successfully finish my 13th Ironman in Tempe, Arizona on November 17, 2014.

But the pain continued.

After that Ironman I was committed to really stepping up my running, my weakest of the three disciplines in the Ironman; 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. I hired Bobby McGee, a world renown running coach, to help me improve. I started to really run well in the month following Ironman Arizona and had seen a reduction in my run time at about a full minute per mile.

But the pain continued.

Finally, Dr. Braden recommended that I have an MRI on my right knee. He knew I had a torn meniscus but wanted to see the extent of other damage that may be part of my pain.

I had the MRI on December 16, 2014 and went and saw Dr. Braden on Monday December 22nd to review the results.

As soon as I saw Dr. Braden I knew it wasn’t good. I could read it on his face. He knows me really well and how hard I’ve worked to be able to finish 13 Ironmans after I turned age 50. He loves athletes and will do everything for them and encourage them to keep participating even though other professionals would say quit. His eyes told it all as he read the results.

Then he said, “If you want to keep the knee you’ll have to quit running.

Bam, just like that my dreams and goals of crossing finish lines were over.

The MRI results from Alison Nguyen, MD read:

FINDINGS:

Minor joint fluid with no Baker’s cyst. Moderate osteoarthrosis, notably involving the patellofemoral articulation. No acute fracture or focal bone contusion. Bony fragmentation of the tibial tuberosity without marrow edema compatible with remote Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (sagittal PD image 11).

MENISCI: Medial meniscal posterior horn complex multidirectional tear (coronal PD image 15, sagittal PD image 20-22). Intact lateral meniscus.

LIGAMENTS/TENDONS: ACL, PCL, extensor mechanism, MCL, and LCL are intact. Intact medial and lateral patellar retinacula.

CARTILAGE: Moderate chondral thinning along the posterior weight- bearing portion of medial knee compartment (sagittal PD image 22). Severe patellar apex and lateral patellar facet chondral thinning centered at the patellar upper to mid pole level (axial image 5-7). Severe chondral thinning along the central and lateral femoral trochlea (sagittal fat-sat image 8).

IMPRESSION:

1. Medial meniscal posterior horn complex multidirectional tear.

2. Moderate osteoarthrosis with chondral injury as noted above, most significant along the patellofemoral articulation and medial knee compartment.

3. Remote Osgood-Schlatter’s disease.

Basically the cartilage is wearing out because there is bone on bone, thus the “moderate” and “severe” diagnosis. If I continued to run I would wear the knee out, have severe pain and then have to have it replaced. Damn it! That would suck I keep telling myself.

What the Ironman Triathlon meant to me

I love this sport! It fits my personality so well. It’s a sport that demands a great deal of discipline. As I’ve said many times, “The 140.6 miles don’t care if you’ve trained or not.” It’s a distant that demands a lot of endurance training to be able to move for 14 hours without injury. For me I was training 15-22 hours per week.

Ironman is such a big part of my life. I identify with it.

It taught me a lot about myself. During many long training routines, the longest being my 7 hour bike rides, I had to keep my mind quiet and focus on completing the session. In the quiet you learn about yourself. If you have any insecurity or weaknesses, they keep popping up in your mind telling you that you need to quit. For me those were rare occurrences. I have a great deal of confidence in myself because I trust the Lord and I have great joy and gratitude in my life. Most of the gains I’ve made in self development have occurred in the 7 years since July 4, 2006, the date I entered my first Ironman.

I loved seeing myself crossing the finish lines in my mind well before I actually did it. I learned that when you focus on a dream and goal and exercise faith, God will deliver the result to you.

I learned to respect everyone because I realize that the Lord blessed all of us with the will and body to achieve anything as long as we co-create with him.

I loved crossing those 13 finish lines. The anxiety before the swim is almost unbearable yet as soon as the gun goes off the fear goes away and then 13-14 hours later I would cross the finish line! During each race I would have unique experiences along the way. From the cold 52 degree water in Ironman St. George to the hot windy conditions in Ironman Arizona. The steep hills in Ironman Wisconsin to the fans partying in the streets  of Ironman Coure d’Alene. To the 29 degree ambient air temperature of Ironman Lake Tahoe, snowing the night before, to the 93 degree hot temperatures on the marathon in Ironman Boulder.

I loved helping and encouraging other younger athletes. The 20 year olds would call me “pop” and “dad” as I would occasionally pass them on the bike. The funniest was the three young ladies in Ironman Arizona 2012 that rode with me for over 60 miles. We laughed and teased each other for several hours. Then in a magical and “Only a triathlete would understand” moment, I taught them how to pee on the bike while riding!

My last Ironman in Arizona I broke the rules and took my cell phone with me so I could communicate with others as I raced including my wife who finally knew where I would be and when. After that I said that I would take it with me on every race after that.

I lost my wedding ring in Ironman Arizona 2014 on the swim. That swim was my best and yet hardest because of all the extra athletes the organizers allow to race as compared 7 years ago when I started. In my first Ironman in Arizona 2007 there were only about 2,400 competitors. In my last, Ironman Arizona 2014 there were about 3,200 athletes. The extra 800 bodies in the water makes the swim more like an MMA match than a swim. Lots of punching and kicking to go along with swimming.

My whole fitness gains were motivated by the vision I had of crossing finish lines. Motivation is so critical in anything we do in life. By signing up to race, sometimes a year in advance, you had the motivation to continue to train and eat correctly. That taught me a lot about creating motivation in all aspects of my life.

My Sadness

When you see a rich big dream of finishing 50 Ironman triathlons and completing one with a son and one with a grandchild and being the oldest to ever finish an Ironman, to now not knowing if that dream is even possible, really hurts. I have joy in my life and I’m very grateful for all that God has blessed me with yet I’m sad. I’m sad for me. I’m sad for my dream. I’ve not had these feelings at any time in my past athletic life. I can’t even remember the last time I was really sad but this last week has been a butt kick for me. I’m humble and I’m seeking the path that now is before me. What is the fork in my road? I know I need to take the path less traveled but I don’t even know what that path is.

Today while walking I wondered if perhaps this might me a blessing to me. I want to keep my knee of course and race at the same time. I’ve walked the marathon in 4 of my 13 events so I know I can walk and finish. Perhaps I can now train harder for the swim and bike, pushing those in the race with the knowledge that I can recover as I walk the marathon. For most it will be swim – bike – run – finish. For me it might be swim-bike-walk-finish.

 What is next?

I’ve scheduled an appointment with a surgeon, as recommended by Dr. Braden, to explore my options to repair the knee. Dr. Braden believes that surgery to clean out the affected areas would allow me to perhaps race one more year without compromising the health of the knee. I’m looking forward to learning more about that.

I’ve scheduled 3 races in 2015. Ironman St. George 70.3 (half Ironman) in May, Ironman Coure d’Alene (my 3rd trip there) in late June and Ironman Arizona (my 5th time there) in November.

I’ve applied to race the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in October 2015. I will be notified in April 2015 if my application has been accepted. It’s been on my vision board for a few years to actually race in Kona and live and train over there for a few months prior to the race. I really believe that I’ll be selected and be able to race in Kona. That would be a pinnacle of my Ironman career.

The lesson for me

I honor the feelings of humility. I honor understanding that my joy is based on understanding that God is in control and all outcomes in my life, both abundant and like this, hard, are for my benefit. While I love being titled “the Ironman”, perhaps now something even more abundant will define me.

I hope so.

 

Why don’t men open up?

FB-Pic-TempletI was not always open like I am now. It took beating my head against the wall and falling down a few times to realize that being open and authentic is way easier and a better way to live.

While I can’t tell specifically why any person, male or female, is closed and guarded I think I can draw some overall conclusions I learned from going through the process of being a closed and insecure person to being the open guy I am today. I also learned a great deal about this subject from learning how consciousness , mind and thought worked to help my son overcome a lifetime of mild to suicidal depression.

I hope you might learn from my journey and maybe, just maybe, either open up yourself or at least be empathic to others who are closed and guarded.

Of all places I learned to open up by having a magic moment when I read the last chapter of Napoleon Hill’s inspirational classic, Think and Grow Rich. That chapter is titled, The Six Ghosts of Fear. About that in a bit.

Some truths to start with is that every single person on the planet has:

  1. insecurities,
  2. a massive amount of daily thoughts,
  3. beliefs about life that are not true,
  4. the ability to choose to think and believe anything they desire, and
  5. feelings and emotions.

Let’s see how these truths are intertwined. An insecurity is the lack of confidence or assurance or self-doubt. Insecurities are not real. Oh, I’m not saying they don’t manifest themselves in everyday life and end up causing negative results and pain. What I’m saying is that they are only real if we believe they are real. In other words, you can choose to make them real in your mind even when they are not real in someone else’s mind.

Let me give an example. Before Roger Bannister broke the record and ran the mile in under 4 minutes, everyone up to that point believed a person’s lungs would explode and they would die going that hard. The insecurity was death by running a mile under 4 minutes. They had uneasy feelings and would have the emotion of pain, even though they had never actually experienced it because they had never ran that fast or hard.

Strange thing happened. Roger Banister didn’t believe that. Since his belief was that a person could run the mile under 4 minutes he never had thoughts of dying. He felt optimistic and excited to accomplish the feat. He only had thoughts of how he would train the body to go that fast. Right after he broke the barrier and ran the mile under 4 minutes, a whole bunch of runners did it because they realize their insecurity was not real.

My son had a similar experience. The counselor was teaching him how beliefs were only made up in his mind and given life through his thoughts. She asked him a question, “Have you ever been really miserable? Very depressed without his well-being when someone called you and you snapped right out of depression to being happy and bright?” He replied that he had. He answered that every Sunday after church when the youth in the congregation were not kind to him (at least that’s what my son believed) he would go home and be miserable. He would think that he was not good enough for friendship. Then his brother would call and ask him if he wanted to come over and play video games. He said after that call he would be happy and energetic.

The counselor then asked him what changed? Did his environment change? Did the sun all of a sudden come out? Did the video games all of a sudden change? My son reflected and realized that this belief changed. In a split second he no longer believed he wasn’t worthy of friendship. That new belief flowed positive thought. Thoughts of playing the game and beating other online opponents. Thoughts of laughing with his brother.

In just four days of counseling my son’s 20 years of depression were over. For over 20 years my son had these false beliefs and insecurities and in an instant, that one question the counselor asked him  allowed my son to see reality and to immediately change his beliefs and the new positive thoughts flowed. He became a new boy after that experience. I was over joyed for him.

When I picked my son up at the airport upon his arrival home from the counselor, I asked him what he learned. His answer is unbelievably simple and very powerful. A reminder to all of us how we can move from being closed and guarded to open and authentic. He answered,

“Dad, I basically learned how not to think!”

Do you see the wisdom in that statement in connection with the messages of these two stories and the five truths?

Now back to Napoleon Hill. I was fascinated by my son’s simple insight. I started to explore more how the mind worked. I started to see how my own beliefs gave rise to my own lifetime insecurities.

I was a great athlete my whole life. But I had a secret. I could shoot a game winning free throw in front of thousands of yelling fans but I was shy and reserved. I was so fearful of rejection. I hid that insecurity by being sarcastic and witty. My mother had used her own insecurity against me and I believed I was not worthy of love and admiration. I would be very closed and reserved. That caused me, members of my family and those I worked with a lot of pain for many years.

Then I started a quest to learn more and to unlock my true self. In the last chapter of his book Napoleon Hill revealed the six ghosts of fear with which almost all fear and insecurity could be categorized. If any person believed these were real, they would create a thought pattern to match it. The demon in all this is that the fear is many times subconscious and we don’t even realize that it exists. The six ghosts of fear in order of their most common appearance are:

  1. The fear of poverty
  2. The fear of criticism
  3. The fear of ill health
  4. The fear of loss of love of someone
  5. The fear of old age
  6. The fear of death

When a person has any of these insecurities and fears they will achieve the object of their thought. Just like all the runners who before Roger Bannister believed that the sub-4 minute mile could not be run, proved the object of their fear (belief); they did not run the mile under 4 minutes. This point is really important to understand. Yet after Roger Bannister did it, those who used to think it could not be done, changed their belief, overcame their fear and ran the mile under 4 minutes.

Those runners probably had the fear of ill health and the fear of death.

When I discovered these six fears I realized that I had several of them. I had the fear of criticism. That made me closed and many of my actions caused others pain. That pain caused others to criticize me. I got what I feared; criticism. The light went on. I started to learn that by letting go of my false beliefs and to open to truth and let me just be me, i.e., authentic, is when my life took off. I removed the self shackles. I no longer believed I would be poor (fear of poverty) and not worthy of abundance and began to excel financially. I took off my imposed fear of ill health and found health and nutrition. I was able to compete in Ironman triathlons at a late age.

Perhaps the best part of the discovery is that I’m always happy. Other people have no power over me.

By being open there is nothing someone can say that can harm you. Your guard is down and its powerful! You begin to realize that if someone says something negative toward you that you realize they are shackled with their own set of fears and insecurities and their words were meant to give them affirmations of their own existence. You can now love other people unconditionally because you understand where their thoughts come from. You can know exactly want to say to them to help them feel confident to drop their shields and begin to trust you.

So why don’t men open up? I hope I’ve helped you answer that question.