Recently I made the choice – yep, a choice – to train for and participate in my first ever triathlon. The race consisted of three efforts right in a row - a 7-mile kayak paddle down the Conemaugh river, a 14-mile bike ride (some of which was up and down steep dirt trails) and a 3.1-mile run. WHY you might ask? Not really sure except that I have always wanted to attempt something this epic to push myself beyond my present capabilities. To see if I could do it! To strive to be amazing…
So while on training rides with my training partners Dave, Dale and Susan, I was reminded that our lives are really so much like a long bike ride. Do you see that, too? Just as on the road or trail, our lives have up hill climbs, down hill glides and long stretches of flat road. How we choose to handle these three types of “roads” on our life’s journey is really what makes all the difference in the world. But for me, no matter what the road looks like, I always tell myself to just keep pedaling.
Most of your life is spent living each day one day at a time without too much fanfare or challenge. These are the kind of days that when someone asks you how your day went, you tell them it was GOOD. These are your flat road days, in bicycling terms. You pedal just fast enough to stay moving and to keep from falling over. Don’t want to be like Artie Johnson on the tricycle from the show Laugh In (dear God, how old do you have to be to remember that!?!). Pedaling fast enough to stay aloft keeps moving you forward, allows you to reach new places and keeps you moving along the path to your goals. On these days, just make sure you keep pedaling. Coasting is your enemy. Coasting makes you slow down on a flat road. Coasting makes it harder to start pedaling again, to start working on your goals again. When you cease pedaling, stopping becomes a possible option. So don’t coast – ever! Just keep pedaling.
On great days, things are going your way and life feels a little easier. You hit every green light, you found everything on sale, you got a promotion, and your presentation to the big boss went off fantastically. Woohoo! What a great day! So how about you just coast down that hill that day and take it easy. Well, that’s one option. But coasting won’t build muscle or stamina or drive in your mind and your heart. Coasting won’t make you stronger; it will only tend to make you feel better for a short while. As crazy as it sounds, you need to pedal hard on these great days even though you are going down hill. If you pedal going down hill, you will separate yourself from the pack and make it increasingly harder for them to catch you. Can you think of one or two ways you could just keep pedaling on the days or times that things are just going great for you? Ya just gotta keep pedaling.
Lastly, you have your up hill days. You are late for work, behind on a project, a supplier misses a shipment, car breaks down, budget gets cut – you can imagine what these days feel like, right? Going up hill sucks and it really takes it out of you. But the up hill days and up hill sections of the road are the times that make us stronger, more confident and ready to take on more. When you perform well on the up hill days, this is also when you can break away from the pack. Pedaling up hill requires you to dig down deep, often times deeper than you thought you were capable. Its hard, you sweat, you’re tired. But man, does it feel good when you reach the top, especially when you reach the top ahead of everyone else. Doesn’t it feel good for you? That’s when you throw your arms in the air in victory like Lance Armstrong. You have won! And you won because you just kept pedaling hard.
You have control over more things in your life than you give yourself credit for. Choosing your attitude each and every day is critical to success. And selecting an attitude that inspires you to just keep pedaling – no matter what – makes you pull away from the pack. And you can’t win if you are mired back in the pack. So I encourage you to just keep pedaling.
So, what is your hill to climb? What do you want to overcome so that you can just keep pedaling? What goals are you ready to make yours and publicly commit to today? I would love to partner with you on this ride to make your journey successful. I will be your drafting partner helping along the whole race. We can make it the Tour de You!