STAY in the RING!!!

Whose f#($*&ing idea was this, anyway?

Over these past weeks, COMFORT has been looking pretty darn good….

Over-rated? There have been many many moments in these past weeks when every cell of my body has been yearning to run away from this whole quest… to run and hide…. to make up some excuses why this just really isn’t a good idea at this time, but thank you very much….

After the trial mini triathlon in Sudbury last month and my 407th place victory, I figured out that I have plantar fasciitis in my feet (oh… it’s not just turning 50 that has my feet hurt this much when I climb out of bed!…..)… I have been traveling every week and have not been very disciplined about training…. the reasons to flee have been mounting….

…and then, after buying myself a (very expensive…) full body wetsuit I summoned up all my machismo and determination to brave the waters off Gloucester harbor. With John and Heidi in their Kayaks to accompany me… (you know, not really necessary but just in case….) I eased myself into the water, step-by-step. My plan was to get out there….. dive in…. and get some good practice in by doing my first open water swim. I’m a great swimmer after all, I told myself…

That was the plan. I got out there, over the slippery rocks, noticing that both John and Heidi had rather worried looks on their faces…. I took a very deep breath…. braced myself, and DOVE FORWARD to begin my swim!

Within a fraction of a second, I was jumping up and down squealing like a stuck pig, holding my face in my hands, shouting in a high pitch “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!” I cannot convey how painful it is on just the face to try swimming in the freezing waters of Gloucester Massachusetts during the first week of June. The good news is that I now know that I am able to squirm my body into the d(&*%&mn wetsuit, and can successfully remove it — these are no small feats, believe me. Initially, I felt horribly discouraged, and this fiasco contributed to my growing desire to QUIT QUIT QUIT.

There. I said it. I WANT TO DROP OUT! I WANT TO QUIT! I WANT COMFORT! (Imagine this sounding like a screechy whine for the full effect….).

When I let myself get all caught up in the details of the training and the event itself, I want to run the other way. And then, I remind myself that this isn’t about the event. It is about learning something about myself, about navigating my disease, about shifting my lifestyle. And, part of the lifestyle that I am shifting is about STAYING IN THE RING.

Several months ago I told my trainer Kevin that I wanted to change my workout a bit to include more cardio exercise. He looked at me and said: “Sure…. I think that you should try boxing.” ….pause….

Imagine the expression on my face — it was as though he had said: “I think it would be a good idea for you to sprout wings and fly to the moon….”

I looked up at him (he’s a tall guy) and said: “um…. OK, let’s try it.”

And so, a few times a week for the past six weeks or so, I have been learning how to punch, bob and weave…. have been working out on the heavy bag… doing shadow boxing… and beginning to spar in what someday might actually resemble a boxing match. This is a step waaayyyyy out of my comfort zone. I have never… not ever, not once…. been in any sort of fight in my life. The ducking part comes easily to me… the punching and being punched part is a bit more of a challenge.

Left Jab to the Heavy Bag

Left Jab to the Heavy Bag

And, guess what?? I am LOVING IT. In certain moments I tap into a very primal and very core “hunkered down, determined, aggressive, growling, male DESIRE TO PUNCH.” It is a part of myself I think of as “hell-bent determination” — like holding on to a rope and saying to myself I WILL NOT LET GO.

And, on this Quest…. I WILL NOT LET GO.

And so…. for Sibel from Massachusetts who sent me an email a week or so ago holding me accountable for my next blog entry (thank you sweetie….), I AM STILL IN THE RING AND I WILL NOT LET GO.

For Andrée from Toronto who sent me a note letting me know that she had passed the link to this blog onto her client who is navigating cancer…. I AM STILL IN THE RING AND WILL NOT LET GO.

For my Triathlon Team of Heroes….. Lina, Erica and Chris, Kerry, Denise, John, Mary…. I AM STILL IN THE RING AND WILL NOT LET GO.

For the various friends and students and angels who have been posting comments and sending your well-wishes…. I AM STILL IN THE RING AND WILL NOT LET GO.

I know that it is not about the event…. and it doesn’t matter how I do. I will swim and float and rest… and keep going. I will get myself out of the dang wetsuit and onto my bike…. I will walk up hills as I need to…. I will run and jog and walk… and I will STAY IN THE RING.

The things that make the difference to me are the fundamental commitment that I feel in my gut and my heart to be ALIVE… on lots of levels. And, honestly, it is YOU… your love for me, and your kick-in-the-butt at times calling me back. If I were alone in this, the level of difficult to STAY IN THE RING would be a lot higher. If I ever had doubts, I am quite certain now that the connection that we have with others… the hard-love that others provide (thank you, John…) makes the difference between staying and giving up.

And, I ask…. what is YOUR RING these days? What is the place that is outside your comfort zone that demands an element of STAYING POWER? That thing that you want to run from… and might start to give up on… but that you bring yourself back to with grit and determination?




~ by Art on June 15, 2009.

8 Responses to “STAY in the RING!!!”

  1. OK, so I’m way late in commenting on this post. Another way to look at it is I’m way early in commenting on the next post in which you tell the world that YOU DID IT! I know it hasn’t been easy, but then it wasn’t supposed to be. Nothing of value ever is. But you still did it. Even when you really, really, really wanted to give up. You still did it. I’m so proud of you. You are truly and inspiration.

  2. OK, so I’m way late in commenting on this posting. Or another way to look at it is that I’m way early in commenting on your next post in which you tell the world that

  3. HI Art,
    I needed a pick me up and thought, I wonder how Art’s doing with his quest? And I am so glad to find you out there swinging! So many walls are coming down that it feels I might be crushed underneath them. Your writing is beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for being so strong. xox adrienne rabbit

  4. Good form on the jab man! I’ve been extremely impressed with the amazing progress you’ve made in boxing. I hope that all the strides you’re making with the boxing training will transcend the ring. Keep punching!!!

  5. Hi Powerful Man!

    You are inspiring and soooo strong STAYING IN THE RING. It sounds like the primal man power is serving you well as you dance in the ring and be in the moment.

    Sock it to em!

  6. Art,
    Your postings continue to inspire me way beyond this triathlon thingy we are doing. It really is a metaphor for so many things in life right now. Thanks for brining me along.
    Love you.

  7. Hello dear Art:

    I ADORE you and loved reading this post. My ring remains the same and is balanced these days between the challenge of creating a new physical dream for myself physically and navigating economic challenges with courage and heart. I know that feeling of wanting to run away and realized the other day, who was I kidding. ..I mean where would I GO?-:) Because there’s no place else on earth I’d rather be than right in the middle of my rich, lovely, and at this particular point in history, challenging life.

    I love the picture of you with your punching bag. You look MIGHTY!
    Thank you for the GRRRRRRR! And the STAYYYYYY! Thank you for the inspiration. I love you.

  8. Hi Art,
    So happy to see your entry today. You made your deadline 🙂
    I love that You are Staying In the Ring!!I can see that you are enjoying your punches to the heavy bag too.
    Till next time,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s