I managed to get through one of my target (preparation, really) races with only a few minor aches, pains, & disappointments. The goal was (in reality) to finish in the top 500, which earns you a numbered lithograph poster. When there are 20,000 participants & 3,000 racers, finishing in the 200s isn't so bad. It's when you start getting critical & crunching the performance numbers things appear disappointing: Compared to last year I finished about 70 places farther back in the pack, & 90 seconds slower.
After a disappointing race you have two choices:
1. You can whine & complain about how you're out of shape, you suck bilge, & so on, or
2. You can look at the factors...
a. ...under your control which you could have changed,
b. ...out of your hands which you could not...
...and then go back out & train. I prefer to do the latter. Of course, you can always blame factors which had nothing to do with a bad day. Lots of folks do. But if you look realistically at the things which can be improved & do something about it, y'know...things might improve.
It's like, for example, someone who complains about their weight. My wife & I had a great chat about this during our Sunday morning stroll. She knows people who complain about the need to lose a few pounds. When she recommends they get out to walk or jog more often than twenty minutes a day, three times a week, most of them look at her as though she had an eggplant growing out of her head. Or, she'll receive what might be better known as the litany of obstacles. It's the 'I can't do that because...' song.
Hey, we all know the tune. We just need to stop singing it.
We had a perfectly decent fitness gym membership until a couple of months ago, but couldn't get our workouts to fit within their operating hours. My wife was visiting a tanning salon near our house which had a 24-hour gym facility; she said, 'I like the other gym, but it's too far from the house for me to go before or after work. If we transferred to this one I could walk or bike over during the work day, or the middle of the evening.'
Personally, I don't care how she gets her exercise; I know she's happier when she gets it. Well worth the extra dollars in my humble opinion. Bottom line: You will spend your time, money & energy on what takes your highest priority.
We also talked about diet. For me, it's an athlete's equation:
Calories Out - Calories In = Change In Weight.
However, I came to a revelation this weekend. Diet is a holistic thing. Dealing with what calories you take in is not the only part of the equation; you also have to look at the mental & spiritual "thing." If you are happy with your body habitus - if your doctor has not said you are at risk for all those things which can hurt you indirectly caused by having too much weight on your body - you don't have to be so anal about what you take into your body. Get out & do something active every day; don't eat to excess.
But, if you're not happy with the way you look, I suggest you take a closer look at the magazines you read, the people with whom you spend your time, the television programs you watch. I would make a wager the persons who are the least happy with their body are the ones who spend the most time/effort/income purchasing & reading tabloid magazines like People, Us, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan (okay, there are dude versions of those rags, too...), watching Lifetime, E!, & so on. The more time you spend pumping mental & emotional junk food into your brain & psyche, the more likely you are to compare yourself to the people who pay fitness trainers & coaches to help them stay in shape because they want to remain in their careers & make money. These are people who, if you spent enough time with them, you would find out are more screwed up than you could ever be on a bad day.
And if you don't believe me, I have one word for you: Brangelina.
Now, think about the amount of time you spend reading the mags & watching the programs. I bet if you took the time/money per week pushing that garbage into yourself you could get in one extra good workout or pay for that trainer/coach, who will give you the (gentle, but often necessary) kick in the butt your training regimen needs.
I remember reading an interview with Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers some time back. He was talking about how he prepared to go into the studio & record, or write music (okay, you might not like their opus, but their cover of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground is nearly as funky as the original), saying something to the extent of: '...if there are people out there who are going to wear down my spirit or cause me to be upset, I'll avoid them. I learned about it from Robert DeNiro, who did the same thing when he prepared for a movie role. So now, if I know there's a billboard ahead I don't want to see, I'll make certain to avoid it on the drive.' The very same thing is necessary in our own lives; negative people will cause you to look at yourself in light of your failures, your shortcomings, & what they see needs to be changed...which, in many cases, is perfectly fine, thankyouverymuch.
We are not only what we eat, but what we take in & who we let in.