Endeavor – March Theme

“Achievement is not always success. It is honest endeavor, persistent effort to do the best possible under any and all circumstances.”Orison Swett Marden, American author, publisher and early cognitive behavioral philosopher

Cyclist focused on an intense effort.

Photos by Cameron Oster and 3R Cycling Experience

Sport is metaphorical for life

Throughout life I’ve had experiences from the sporting world which I thought were great metaphors, rich in meaning and applicable to every day life.  Recently a friend, Mike Garcia, and I participated in and won The Florida 500 – a bicycle race from Jacksonville to Key West, Florida during which we traded off every 40 minutes on the bike to ride straight through and finish the 535 miles in 26 hours and 56 minutes.  The experience offered examples of a number of lessons at Dogma Athletica which we try to pass along to our personal training, group fitness classes and endurance coaching clients.

Here are a few I think notable enough for passing along to you:

Preparation is the foundation of success
  • In the weeks leading up to the race Mike and I spent hours either indoor on the trainer or riding outdoors if weather allowed.  Each of the two weekends before the race I spent 12 hours of an hour on, an hour off, the bike in order to prepare my muscles, stomach and mind for the rigors of the extended effort. 
  • In life, preparation can take not weeks, but months and years of training ourselves for our pursuit of choice.  Professional, avocational, familial – each of these areas take carefully planned training and practice to bring out the best in ourselves.
You have to keep going
Cyclist at night
  • There was never a moment where Mike or I felt like we couldn’t keep going.  But, there was a LOT of “we just have to keep going – we’ve got to give it everything we have.”  Almost 27 hours of keep going.  To get through an effort like that takes grit, determination, stamina – both physical and mental. 
  • In our day-to-day lives we all face challenging times where perhaps we struggle to find that motivation to keep going.  Even when we don’t have that heightened level of challenge, we still need to forge ahead – making progress, seeking to grow and to have a positive impact on the world around us.  Remember that to win – to make a difference in the world around you – you have to keep going!
Rest is required to heal and become stronger
  • When we strength train or undergo strenuous exercise it is actually breaking down our body at the cellular level.  Free radicals are produced, muscle fibers are torn, we build fatigue.  It is while we rest that our bodies rebuild, becoming stronger and ready to perform at a higher level.  And while undergoing this ultra-race, it helped us perform better when we were on the bike by having some time off the bike. 
  • Mentally we need rest as well.  Taking time in life to stop, step back and reflect, and giving ourselves a break is key to rebuilding those stores of energy so that we can bring zest and vigor to our work, relationships and impact on the world.  To be the best leader, spouse, partner, family member, it helps to occasionally take a break from that thing, step-back and re-energize so that we can fully re-engage.
Sometimes things can be frightening
  • Toward the end of the race, my teammate insisted I be the one to ride across 7-Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.  Just as the name implies, it is a 7-mile long 2-lane bridge, having a 4-foot wide bike lane with on one side a waist-high barrier as the only thing protecting from a 50-foot drop to the Gulf below, and the highway with 55 mph traffic whizzing by on the other side.  He said it would be a great spot to enjoy the transition from twilight to dawn and the most beautiful of sunrises.  Instead, we hit a rain squall with gale force wind gusts threatening to push me over the side of the barrier or into the traffic lanes.  I was scared, terribly afraid.  But while it was frightening, I took confidence in my bike handling skills and how miles and miles of riding prepared me to handle the varied conditions and dedicated myself to keep going.
  • In everyday life we confront times and events that are frightening to us.  Uncertainty, challenge, setbacks, can all introduce fear into our lives.  But having prepared for the circumstances, drawing on our mental and emotional fortitude, and surrounding ourselves with supportive people can help us overcome those fearful times.  And speaking of supportive people…
It takes a team to win
Cycling team after a race
  • While it was Mike and me on the bikes, we could not have won the race without the help of a fantastic team.  Mike’s girlfriend Alice and our crew chief Cameron were there to support us the whole time. From following us during dangerous traffic conditions, to using a megaphone to give us turn-by-turn directions, to handling bikes sticky with energy drinks or dirty with road grit, they were an essential part of our victory. 
  • Similarly in life, we need the support of those around us to perform at our best.  Family, friends, mentors, instructors, coaches, confidants – all these people and the roles they play are vital aspects for successfully navigating a life full of adventure, challenges, and fun!

So there you have it.  Just a few ways in which some grueling, crazy, hard but insanely fun past-times can provide models and examples for how to approach life with zest and vigor!  We hope that your experiences at and with Dogma Athletica give you a similar sense of motivation!