Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Going Home is NOT an Option

First off, I hope that everyone had an unbelievable holiday season and that the first few days of this new year have been nothing but splendid.

I wanted to circle back a bit and update those who have asked, about my most recent "death defying" experience. I am of course talking about my ski trip in Whistler, Canada that I was able to enjoy with my beautiful wife and my ever so lovely in-laws. If you need a refresher on the first day of my trip, please click here. If you want to skip the refresher and just hear the spark notes, here they are:

- Put on skis.
- Went down hill.
- Tried to stop.
- Veered off to the right.
- Almost hit a tree.
- Lost ski in 4 feet of snow.
- Back on feet.
- Fell another 462 times.
- Out of energy.
- Scared of killing myself or others.
- Clicked off skis.
- Walked a mile down the mountain.

That should clear it up. Needless to say, the first day of skiing didn't go as planned and I was very disappointed with the results. I had made it abundantly clear that I was no where near done skiing, I was just done for that day. It got to the point where I felt like a complete liability on the hill and a danger to myself and others...certainly not the best feeling in the world. Not to be deterred, after a good night of rest, I was back on the slopes the following morning. Not only was I back, but I was eager. As I've mentioned many times before on this blog, I'm a competitor. I don't care what it is. If there is a winner and a loser, I'm in. And although there was a clear loser (me) on that first day, I was bound and determined to make sure that there was a different loser (the mountain) the second day.

My goal heading up the hill was a simple one: Do better than I did the day before. I had set the bar so low, that simply staying upright on skis for more than 15 seconds was really all that I needed to do. After a little bit of practice and a lot of encouragement from Mandi, I was beating that stupid hill like a red headed step-child. PAUSE: Where in the heck did that saying come from? If anybody has any idea, please let me know. And I'm sorry to all the red headed step-children out there. I have no interest in beating you up. My biggest mistake the day before was biting off more than I could chew. I thought I would be able to put on the skis and just "get it". That was most definitely not the case.

I think this is a common pitfall in many areas of our lives though. We set out to do something, something that we haven't done before or for a really long time, we fail and then we click off our skis and go home. It would have been much smarter for me to start with the training hill from day one. Or start with trying to increase to 2 treatments a day before going for 4. Or just walking 3 times a week before trying to walk every day. You get the picture. We often have this "go big or go home" attitude, that, although I admire (and am often guilty of), can get us into real trouble. When we're trying to make a life change that is incredibly important to our health, "going home" isn't an option. We may not need to "go big" at first, but we definitely need to go. Just click on your skis and commit to doing the bunny hill before you try to tackle the black diamond.

So that's what I did. I was determined to be the best training hill skier on the slope. Sure, it was a little embarrassing at times skiing next to 3 year olds, but who knows what their story is; they could have been born in an igloo for all I know. Me on the other hand was born on the surface of the sun (Arizona) and had never worn a pair of skis in my life. Completing a full run down that training hill and turning back and forth while doing it, was nothing short of exhilarating. More important, fully committing to the training hill for the entire second day, put me in the position to tackle the same mountain that had defeated me just two days prior. In fact, I went back to that same spot where I lost my ski and started from there. All I could think about as I skied down that mountain was how far I had come. I went from being the defeated to the victor. From the guy walking a mile down the mountain with a bruised ego (and shins) to the guy carving that mountain with the very same skis I couldn't put on two days prior. I set out to do something and I did it. It wasn't without pain, disappointment and frustration sprinkled through out, but I guarantee you that those set backs made the victory that much sweeter.

So as we enter this new year, I encourage all of you to pick out the mountain that you're going to ski. It could be to be more faithful with exercise. Maybe it's getting in an extra treatment per day. It could be increasing your lung function. Whatever it is, pick it out and now go to the training hill. After you're comfortable with that and it feels like you could ski down it with your eyes closed, join me in skiing down the mountain. Don't forget to enjoy the ride and remember all of the hard work you put in to get where you are as you're coasting down the slope. You earned it.

I'll see all of you at the bottom of the mountain.

Side note: This was the 700th post on RSBR. Yippee!!