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Embrace your Uniqueness

Apr 5: Day 52

Planned Workouts:

  1. Bike, 5 minutes in Z1, 35 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1
  2. Swim, 150 yd Z1, 6 x (200 yd Z3/15″ rest) 150 yd Z1

Weight: 173


I saw Ghost in the Shell yesterday.  This was an incredibly flawed movie, albeit still entertaining.  I’m not going to try and do a film review (and the internet sighs with relief at this news) but I did hear a line in it that struck me.  I don’t recall it exactly, but I’ll paraphrase: “The path to inner peace is embracing those things that make you unique”.

There’s a lot of stuff that has been going on lately in my life that has caused me some self-doubt.  Most are a result of not following that philosophy.  In triathlon, at home, at work, I find myself troubled because I am trying to conform to someone else’s ideal of what I should be rather than embrace what I am.  Even when there’s no particular reason I should be ashamed of what I am.  I’ll point to a few examples from Triathlon (since that’s the point of this blog):

  • I run funny.  Always have. My knees stay in close to my body and so my legs tend to kick out to the sides.  This has not prevented me from running marathons and triathlons, playing sports, etc, but it has made me self-conscious.  I’ve tried a ton of ways to change my running style to look more “normal”, even though it’s pretty uncomfortable to do so and frankly has never made me any faster or more efficient.
  • I’m formally overweight, so I have stretch marks and loose skin I try to hide.  I also have love handles.  Most of the clothes I wear are chosen to minimize or hide these flaws rather than to accentuate the fact that I look and feel so much better than I did back when I had the extra weight.
  • I’m not fast running OR swimming.  I have great endurance, but I just am not fast (yes, I know this is subjective based on who you compare yourself to).  Rather than embrace my strength to go further than most people and enjoy that part of my athleticism, I think of myself as a lesser athlete because I can’t go as fast as other people.  In fact, much of my training is around getting faster, and if I were to be honest little of it is about making my overall performance better.  It’s mostly so I can feel like I can hang with the fast guys.

It stretches into other non-athletic stuff too, but you get the idea.  It all revolves around downplaying my strengths and overemphasizing my weaknesses.  Sometimes I even see strengths AS weaknesses because they aren’t the strengths I am “supposed” to have.

And that’s utter nonsense.

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I want to be Flawsome when (if) I grow up.

It was great to be reminded that there are things that make me unique, and certainly the specific blend of common, rare and extraordinary things in each of us makes us all unique.  I’ll never really achieve inner peace unless I allow myself to appreciate all of  what I am, no matter how many Ironman races I do.  I’m not talking about ignoring true flaws, we all have those and we all can work to improve them.  But there are things that aren’t even flaws we try to change because they make us feel different and self-conscious.  Those are the things I want to be at peace with.

And if you don’t like my peculiarities, tough shit.  I like yours.

On another front, my bike ride this morning went fine.  This is hopefully the last one I have to do without my PowerTap pedals as the replacements are coming tomorrow.  I’m actually pretty gleeful about that, so I must have made the right call getting them in the first place.  I still have my swim tonight which should go fine, especially sice my chafing issues are pretty much gone and there is no lightning in the forecast.  There is a wind advisory, but I doubt that will shut the natatorium down.

I hope.

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Happy Wednesday folks!  Cheers!

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