Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Perseverance

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope your week is shaping up to be an awesome one filled with successful runs, workouts, and all good things. It’s 51° here in NYC and if that isn’t reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

I am inspired by recent events to highlight Perseverance as this week’s BTAT theme. No one worth anything got anywhere in life by trying once. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world were told “no”, “it’s not good enough”, “go away”, “you’ve failed”, and “quit now while you’re ahead” more than any of us have ever been told. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Helen Keller, Hillary Clinton…the list goes on and on of trailblazers who heard the word “NO” and kept on trying anyway.

Perseverance.

Do you think Kara Goucher has never lost a race? Or Ryan Hall? We’ve seen them lose, fail, and quit mid-race in very public arenas. And then we see them at the next one, like the one last weekend in Houston that determined who is going to represent our country in the marathon at the London 2012 Olympics. Guess who made the team? Goucher and Hall.

Perseverance.

It’s easy to give up, especially when you have a great reason. Only you’ll know if that great reason really is a reason for giving up or if it’s an excuse. You know what’s harder than giving up? Persevering is harder. It’s a gut-wrenching, pride-swallowing, frustrating thing to do but you owe it to yourself to try to Persevere. To go on when it’s impossibly hard. To fight back when you’ve been knocked down. To try again after such devastating disappointment. It’s hard. But you’re worth it.

Try. Fight. Work harder.

Did you have to DNF (Did Not Finish) a race? Do it again. Are you recently diagnosed with an illness? Work with it. Did you fail a test/semester/drop out? Go back. Did you get hurt training last time? Train smarter this time.

Why Persevere?

Because success might be within your grasp, only you won’t know until you try.

Because you owe it to yourself to put in your best effort every single time, not just the first time.

Because you’ll get better with practice.

Because there is help if you need it.

Because someone out there is looking up to you.

Because you’ve come too far and worked too hard to give up.

Because you can.

Because at the end of the day, don’t you want to say with confidence that you gave it your all? And for that matter, if you have the opportunity to try again and to Persevere, that is a gift in and of itself. The alternative is what? No second chance at your dream? At your race? At life? Not everyone gets the second chance to succeed that is standing in front of you. Come on. You can do it!

I am in awe of those around me who Persevere day after day. I see them and I am inspired. They encourage me to keep working hard, to keep trying. And when Perseverance gives way to success, I am only that much more inspired to keep at it. Thank you to all who show me the way. And that is what makes today Better Than the Alternative.

“Opportunities are disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them” -Ann Landers

Now go out and run!

Who/What makes today Better Than the Alternative for you today? Tell me about it. Oh, and in other news: I GOT IN! I am officially a doctoral candidate at NYU’s Steinhardt School for Physical Therapy beginning this summer. Woohoo! 

Yeah, baby! I'm a Violet...or a Wildcat, whatever. Wooohooo!

Fitness News Fridays

Hey everybody! Today I am meeting up with one of my fabulous lululemon athletica friends to work on my personal goals. JB got me started on setting goals a few years ago (we have them listed on a legal notepad on our desk and we check them off as we complete them one by one) and I have learned to love it. I used to hate it because I was afraid of failing. But, as we all know, failure is just another opportunity to succeed disguised as a really crappy day.

In honor of today being a goal-setting day, I decided to check one thing off of my goal list this morning: Barry’s Bootcamp. One of my favorite New Yorker things to do is try new workouts in the city and Barry’s has been on my list since it opened in Chelsea a few months ago. I took a class with the very fabulous Keoni Hudoba this morning and had a BLAST! We did a Full Body class that alternated between treadmill intervals and light weight-training. I love this kind of workout and I love it even more doing it with a whole class full of people. Group suffering! I highly recommend you try it out if you find yourself in NYC. I will definitely be adding it to my workout routine.

But there’s more than that happening in the health and fitness world this week! Here’s what you might have missed:

  • Deena Kastor has some words of encouragement for you. She’s just the best.
  • It’s always sad when a young person dies, especially when it’s from a sports-related injury. The question I ask myself is: Football is a rough sport. Don’t the athletes and their parents take some responsibility for playing/letting their child play a rough sport and risking injury? My baby brother, The Golden Child, played football in college and I love the sport. It’s a tough discussion to have in light of this and many other tragedies.
  • Don’t feel bad. I can’t do a head stand either. Probably for all of these reasons and more.
  • What’s the “BEST” exercise? Whatever one you will do consistently, I say.
  • Kourage Athletics is a company owned and operated by Kenyans making running clothes. Pretty cool.
  • The CDC and FDA want to give food “star” like movies or restaurants based on nutrition to make choosing good for you food a no-brainer. Thoughts?
  • Is there a “genetically determined level of preferred energy expenditure?” this study asks.

…And finally, if you missed them, here are two reviews of our BRICK workout from last weekend. I, for one, am glad these gals had a good enough time to write about it :) Thanks, ladies! If you missed our workout last weekend, we’re on for a second one by popular demand on Saturday, October 29th. Come on down!

Happy Friday, everyone! Is anyone racing this weekend or all we all tapering? I have a 20 miler on Sunday so look for me all over Manhattan if you’re out for a run. The weather is perfect and there’s no better time of year to lace up your kicks and…

…go out and run!

Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays: Failure

I didn’t used to try things if I knew there was a chance I might fail. The few times I did were usually auditioning for a musical role and not getting it, but that happened to everyone in college so it wasn’t nearly as devastating. No, I played it safe and did what I knew I could do. Bor-ing! And pathetic.

These days, I do my best to try things where I may very well fail and fail spectacularly. And it’s kind of awesome, actually. And worth doing, which is why it’s our BTTA theme today. Failure is totally an option and should always be an option.

If you’re not failing, you’re not really trying.

This is true in my academic/professional life and my fitness life. I’ve done yoga since college, but I have tried more classes, poses, teachers in the past two years than all thirteen years of practicing added up. I have fallen out of poses, spent a good portion of class in child’s pose and invited friends (who became juuuuust a little closer friends after being seen with me in public during and after a class) to witness my often ungraceful yoga practice in public. Oh, God bless your souls, dear friends.

I have also undertaken the challenge of my career: going back to school for my DPT. My, oh my, this is something I could very well fail over and over at. But I will keep on trying because, as my husband says, “It’s not that you can’t learn it, you maybe just need to learn it in a different way than the professor is teaching. You’re smart!” I, by the way, do not really consider myself smart, rather, I am a hard worker and willing to learn. Maybe that’s better? I have absolutely no ego about school at all. Anyway, I gotta tell you, that B that I earned in Chemistry was sweeter than any other accomplishment in my entire life. As my aunt, the boss of all of us, about my reaction: tears, shock and then jumping up and down on the cell phone with JB and the Obi-wans. Seriously, it was HUGE. And hard-fought and I almost failed. Really, I did.

Same with Calculus. I was saved by my work ethic and my willingness to ask for help from a very kind professor. The opportunity to fail is everywhere for me.

Even here on my blog. It’s been almost three months and I wasn’t sure anyone (besides the Obi-wans and all 50 of my close family members) would bother to read this. I would publicly fail and it would live forever on the Internet. Having all you fine people read is an honor and I do a little dance every time I read a comment or someone clicks on my page.

Putting yourself out there to fail is terrifying. But when you try your absolute hardest and the chance that you might fail is so real, when you succeed, it’s incredibly rewarding. I can’t even describe the feeling. It’s like a runner’s high. And it’s definitely a reason why it’s better to be here than there.

Try. Try hard and be willing to fail. Explore your edges and be vulnerable to failure. Run harder. Tackle some crazy obstacle. Do something that scares you.

As a final thought, I’d like to leave you with one of my all-time favorite athletes in one of my all-time favorite ads:

Preach.

Now go out and run!!