Eight weeks from this coming Sunday I will be getting in the waters of Lake Michigan to start the Michigan (Frankfort) 70.3 Ironman with a 1.2-mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike, and then a 13.1-mile run.
Eight weeks may seem like a lot of time left to train but if you have ever done a Half-Ironman, you understand that it will be here before you know it which makes every scheduled workout that much more significant.
We spent last weekend celebrating the 4th of July in style in our happy place, Boyne, Michigan. In a little under 72-hours, we hit the beach twice, ice cream spots three times (EJ and I may have done it four times but that is between us!), water park twice, watched one of the best fireworks shows I have ever seen, visited the farmers market, watched a movie outside at the Mountain, played countless games of nerf hoop, and played a lot of bags (cornhole for you purist).
And… I had to do a 10-mile run on Saturday and a 35-mile bike on Sunday which in and of itself is not a big deal.
But a lot of activity and late nights with the kids does not bode well for those two things when you are dealing with the hills of Northern Michigan.
You may be asking, “why not just take the weekend off!”
Fair question…but not a chance.
Those two workouts combined with the workouts I did last week in Iowa (yes… Iowa has a lot of hills!) are great preparation for what we will face on September 12th.
None of the workouts were convenient or comfortable.
And all four were a grind.
My ride this past Sunday in Michigan was a flat-out beast.
My top speed was 35.4 mph and my low speed 3.7 mph.
Yes, I know…..that is practically going backward and at times it felt like I was!
What made things even more interesting was the fact that I was on a winding and hilly country road with a speed limit of 50 mph.
At one point a local landscaper who was driving a truck way past its prime about 20 mph over the speed limit wished me a Happy 4th of July with a one-finger salute.
I laughed and thought to myself… you are a complete fool if you think that you giving me the finger even registers as something of a concern right now as I have bigger things on my mind… like the hill I was climbing.
Anyhow… I digress.
During that ride, I spent a lot of time replaying a conversation I had with a coaching client of mine the week before.
He asked me why I was putting myself through the demands of training for a 70.3 when I had so many other things on my plate which required a lot of my time.
My client then proceeded to make what he thought were all valid points.
“You can still stay in shape doing much less… it will free up a lot of time to do other things… you could sleep in a little… you will have more energy throughout the day (ok, this one I would love)… you could stay up late and binge-watch Bosch and not feel bad.”
Though I agreed he had valid points, I told him that whenever I was tempted to skip a workout or peel back on the load I simply focused on my purpose.
Not my goal to finish the 70.3 in a certain time, but the purpose of why I am putting in the work in pursuit of that goal.
What is my purpose, you ask?
I want to show Maddie and EJ what it means to relentlessly pursue something that you have never before achieved. I have done a good deal of Olympic tri’s but never a half-ironman.
I want them to understand that hard work and fun are not mutually exclusive and that you can do things that others deem ridiculous and still achieve massive success in other areas of your life.
And, I want them to realize that I am not full of it when I say you should never stop growing, never stop pursuing greatness, and never ever stop pushing.
They hear people tell me I am nuts.
They know how much time I put into my business.
They see how much time I put into them as I never miss one of their sporting events or any other activities.
They know Dad (me!) has a podcast and also loves being an assistant coach for the Batavia H.S. Basketball team.
They wake up almost every day and I am either getting back from a workout or already at my desk after a workout.
Yet, they don’t think it is a big deal because I try not to make it a big deal.
Sure, there are times I need to have a conversation about priorities and commitment.
I want them to understand that setting exceptionally high standards and holding yourself accountable to exceed those standards is a great way to live.
The ones who achieve and sustain the highest level of success, regardless of their field of endeavor, make setting and exceeding exceptional standards a way of life.
The training isn’t always easy and there are days I sit in my car and will myself to put it in reverse so I can get to the pool early for my 5:15 am swim.
Other days I have zero desire to go for a run and it takes me three or four miles to get going.
And the bike….well you have a lot of time to get in your own head and that is why I focus so much on controlling the conversation up there. Sometimes the thought of being out on the road alone for that long is a kick in the pants.
Dialing into my purpose allows me to do all that because my purpose is attached to the most important people in my life.
When I lock into my purpose it pushes me to honor my workout and to control my mind.
I would take a million bullets for my children so what is the excuse for not pushing through emotional and physical pain for them, so they can learn by me doing instead of me just saying.
I am much more emotionally attached to them than I am to my goal and that is ok.
My purpose is what is going to help me achieve my goal and if I come up short it will not be a failure by any stretch of the imagination.
But… I will not come up short.
The funny thing is… the race itself is just the icing on the cake. We will use it as another family get-away in Northern Michigan where we are being joined this time by one of my closest friends and possibly one of the best humans I know, “Uncle” Trey Stoermer who is also tackling the 70.3 for the first time.
I want you to think about yourself and what your goals are for Q3 and Q4.
How are your lead goals measuring up? Do you need to adjust some things? Is something off in your process? Are you absolutely killing it?
Regardless… what is going to help you stay locked in and not get too high or get too low?
What is the driving force… your purpose… behind those goals?
Is it money?
Fine… but why do you want that money?
Keep peeling away at what you think your purpose is until you have nowhere else to look.
Keep asking yourself why!
Why do you do what you do? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you going and aligns with your core values to help your decision-making and execution?
When you come at your pursuit of greatness from this angle it is hard to lose.
Because you take grit to a whole other level… there is something real about what you are doing and through your mental and physical persistence, you build a resilience that can absorb massive disruptive shocks and shot after shot to your spirit, pride, and ego.
This approach will transform you, as you will always go back to the basics and take joy in building your mental toughness.
And… it is fun.
I have seen it work time and again as this is something I do with the majority of my clients… help them attach a purpose that is deeper and more powerful than any goals and metrics they may be pursuing.