Embracing My Inner Dork!

FLASH…. It’s official! I have now offically registered for the 2009 Falmouth Sprint Triathlon on July 19! Woo-hoo! Go Team Go…. Who Else Will Join Us??

I’m happy to report that I think I may have uncovered another secret key to success on this journey: Embracing My Inner Dork!

Over the past few weeks in my physical training, it has become quite apparent to me that whatever attachment I may have to LOOKING GOOD in this process is a hindrance to my success! I’m proud to say that I’ve been really diligent in doing my work and training…. but I gotta let you know that it just ain’t pretty.

This became particularly apparent at the gym this past week. My trainer Kevin is having me do a new series of lower body exercises, including “jump squats” —- sort of like the “clean and jerk” thing you see the big Czechoslovakian weight lifters do in the olympics. Now, I go to the Malden YMCA here in lovely Malden, Massachusetts. Malden is, well, let’s just say it’s a no-frills urban neighborhood outside of Boston…. not quite as posh as the Wellesleys or Marbleheads or Westons.

So picture this…. I’m waiting in the free weight area for one of the large bar-bells to free-up. This is the part of the gym where the big boys work out… The guys using the bar-bells seem to know each other from a previous incarceration or something, and it appears that they could easily lift a small vehicle over their heads. When they’re finished, I boldly step up (imagine me puffing up my chest and spitting or something…) and proceed to REMOVE EVERY SINGLE WEIGHT plate that they had loaded onto the barbell, leaving just… well… the bar itself…. I then proceed to aggressively lift the naked bar (with no weights on it) from it’s stand to do my “jump squats.”

This exercise, as you can clearly see below, is sufficiently ridiculous looking on it’s own. It only becomes more so with the removal of the weights! I must confess that I did have a momentary ego-based flicker of “Oh my God I am going to look like such a dorky wimp doing this!” but am proud to say that it quickly passed…. I realized that this was a great opportunity to NOT CARE how silly I might look.

I was so inspired at my growing capacity to not give a hoot what anyone thinks, that I proceeded to go up to the indoor track to try a bit of running for the first time in a long time. I decided to start very light… just a few laps around the track. There were several other guys there who were actually running — you know, long fast strides moving at a rapid clip — who seemed to zoom around the track. I was doing what could be better described as a rapid shuffle, with arms flapping around me. As I ran, I thought about how dorky I must have looked and truth be told I loved the freedom of knowing that it made NO difference to me…. it made me grin with pride as I shuffled around that track. Although it may seem like a silly source…. it was a form of self-authority or self-validation. It has felt very good to be sticking to both my food and fitness plan, knowing that I’m taking these very positive and necessary steps for myself.

And so, I am embracing my inner dork on this Quest, and invite all of you to do the same! It’s clear to me that the willingness to step right into the fray EXACTLY how I am is all that is needed…. we just need to show up without pretense. I think that when we are able to do that, it gives others permission to do the same. All too often people shrink back from trying something or taking a risk because of the fear that they will look stupid or fail. There’s just not enough time for that.

As for progress, today is Day 13 of my 21 day nutritional cleanse…. and it is going well! I’ve had a few slips, but for the most part I have stuck to the plan really well. I’ll be taking measurements (and posting them on the Results Page) this Friday…. so, fingers crossed!

What do you know about overcoming the need to “look good?” Have you got an inner dork yearning to breathe free too? Love to hear your thoughts!



~ by Art on March 2, 2009.

19 Responses to “Embracing My Inner Dork!”

  1. Oh I laughed so loud when I read your post and saw the video that they almost threw me out of the Pulitzer Hotel in Amsterdam. I so love getting to share, enjoy and savor your journey, Art!



    • Dear Karen,

      THANKS SO MUCH! I’m glad I made you laugh. It’s so true, though…. we’ve all got to embrace our inner dorks (and klutzes and silly and foolish ones….).

      I am so glad to have you on this journey with me…. I’ve got a T-Shirt for you!!!



  2. Great jump squat! Truly, I think we can bring out even more dorky! And more reps! Kerry

  3. Hey Art – I can’t believe that you know 2 Tascha’s on Facebook (OK to be fair, the other one is spelled Tasha). I got really confused with the son reference – so I looked. I have a step son who turns 21 this week – and if you really knew what you were doing, you could find him as one of my friends on FB – but I don’t think anyone would say his picture is beautiful. Isn’t tech networking fun!

    I might want to do that sprint tri in HI though…

  4. Hey Art,
    Thrilling that you are doing this – and actually signing up is a big step. I did a sprint tri in 2004 and would like to start again. Maybe this fall. It is an incredible feeling to cross the line. Even if you walk some of the run – run across the line! A couple of things from my experience – if your swim is in open water, make sure that you get a couple of full practice swims in that water before the big day. My experience was that even though you float better than in the pool – it takes more energy in open water. Good to practice. (disclosure – mine was a few days after a hurricane and the water was definitely still feeling the impact)

    Also, I have a ‘5K in 9 weeks’ running plan to send you (I’ll send via email). Similar to your swimming plan, alternates between running and resting (walking) and builds nicely over time. It helped me a lot because I am not a runner either.

    Love the video and your Truth in Reporting!

    • Hi dear Tascha,

      I love seeing the pics of your son on facebook! Very beautiful.

      Thanks for your note…. I think you should organize a team to do a sprint tri in Hawaii next winter and challenge me to do it with you! ; )

      thanks for sending the running plan — that will be helpful for me.

      love to you


  5. ahhhh the inner dork! I think I starting embracing what i call my “inner nerd” around sophomore or junior year (the large quantity of really really dorky people at princeton, and even larger quantity of really dorky people who unsuccessfully try to hide it really amps up the acceptance process). I can totally understand the freeing effect of realizing it doesn’t matter whether you look cool for the random person you may run into at the gym (or anywhere else), and i’ve also found myself embracing others’ dorkiness without as much judgment – which is the best part!

    Good luck and keep going! I’m rooting for you!

    • Wow Caroline! Thanks for your note…. means a lot to me to have you rooting for me… I feel a little bit shy about it all…. but this public display seems to be helping to keep me on track! I’m eager to see you next weekend!

      Uncle Art

  6. What’s the saying? “geeks rule the world!” Imagine if everyone was less self-conscious, what possibilities can be achieved. Let’s add “dorks rule the world!” My inner dork says, “I don’t mind the attention . . . everyone just watch me.”

    Thanks for the inspiration.


    • Hi Karin!

      Thanks for your note…. I like where you are looking…. you are my buddy in “geeks rule the world!”



  7. Have you noticed how Inner Dorks LOOOOVE to be embraced? They can be so sweet and grateful and ready to love you back when you give them a little validation and a loose rein. Let those Inner Dorks OWN their Outer Dorkiness, I say!

    By the way, you’re downplaying a major Strength Accomplishment: getting all those weight plates off the bar to begin with!

    -><- (that’s a fist bump)


    Congratulations on

    • You are so right! Yeah! I did get those weights off the bar in the first place! Thanks for the note….



  8. Amen to that, Brother – get out there and be your own craptastic self! Who gives a crap if you fit into other people’s norms – aren’t you all about busting your own norms, anyway?

    The Inner Dork needs your love just as much as the Inner Sex God.

    • Hey Joanna!

      Yes, It’s CRAP!!! ha ha…. you bring a smile to my face! Thanks for visiting…. you are awesome.

      Love to you,


  9. Art, you are so beautiful! I visualized it all and loved the big grin on your face running around that track! You are so incredibly inspiring, I’m getting my sparkle on today and also joining the Hampshire Athletic Club with my DH (a place FULL of, gulp, beautiful people). You ROCK Art! *O*O*O – Rachel

  10. I love the Inner Dork story Art and your form was just perfect on the video…so easy to visualize that barbell loaded up for you; muscles bursting, skin gleeming and the gym crowd standing silent in awe and then letting rip a huge roar as you complete your jump squats…I’m picturing butt slaps, high fives, and what’s that knuckle to knuckle thing called? Inner Dork…oh yeah…that one from 7th grade is still with me and always will be but now provides comic relief as I get to look at myself and laugh-laughter truly is one of the best medicines…thanks for reality writing

    cheers to the Inner Dork!!

    • Hi Jeanne!

      Thanks for your support…. the image you paint is riveting, particularly since, remember, there is NO WEIGHT on that bar! It’s a surprisingly strenuous exercise..



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