The Chicago Super was glorious. Well, it was a ridiculous muddy mess, but at the same time it was glorious! Our team of newbies rose up and did fantastic work; I couldn’t be more proud of their achievements. One year ago, there were 5 racers taking on Chicago and 50 1DOS members. Our dream at the time was to get to 100 members. Today we have over 270 members, with 15 runners in Chicago. It’s surreal (and utterly fulfilling) to see people setting crazy goals and shattering them.
Just Some Dude
My 1DOS partner Amy told a story this weekend about one of her trainers. He had lost a ton of weight several years ago, got crazy fit – now he runs sub-6 minute miles and elite endurance races. As Amy told it, though, he still comes to the start line, looks around and wonders why he’s there with these athletes. He still sees himself as the obese guy, out of shape and not in their class. That makes him a great trainer; he knows where people are coming from and can relate to their experiences. He truly has been where they are and can help them on their journey.
Amy and I have talked about feeling the same way; in fact, we have a running joke about it. “I’m just some dude! Why are people looking to me??” It’s borrowed from a Kids In The Hall skit; I used to quote it all the time just being goofy. Now it’s the first thing that pops in my head when someone in the group thanks me for helping them reach a new level. “Me? I’m just some dude. What could I have to offer?”
Currently we are running our Second Annual “We Thought You Said Rum” Team Challenge and we brought several of our fabulous members into the coaching ranks this time to run their own teams. We’re trying to expand the circle and embody the “you are one degree of separation from someone who can help you” spirit. It doesn’t have to be Amy, or me, or whoever – we can all lift each other up. One of the coaches told me he realized that people were looking to HIM for advice and leadership. That it was weird and humbling and scary and all of that – EXACTLY what I feel sometimes. It is an amazing feeling, and I’m working hard to learn to embrace it.
It’s great for Amy’s trainer friend to be able to relate to people – it clearly makes him better at his job. He also needs to be able to step beyond that and be the voice of authority, of experience, of leadership. It can be a hard transition – easy to slide into arrogance or be overly self-deprecating. Either way can cost you the respect of someone who would benefit from your talents. We talk a lot about the physical side of the wellness journey, and repeat the “progress not perfection” mantra all the time. The same rule applies to the mental side. Whether you have spent 1 year or 40+ years feeling like you are not an example people should follow, it is hard to step into that role.
It starts with believing in what you are doing. If you know in your heart that this really works and you can live it, you can pass it along to others. Going through the motions won’t cut it for this process – either as a coach or a member. People see through that sooner or later. That takes time; if you told me three years ago I would be here now, a lot of laughter would have greeted you. Even a couple months in, when I was losing weight and making progress, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and the bottom to drop out.
After logging at least some of my food intake and weight every day for 540 consecutive days, I stopped last week. I still have the scale, and will keep an eye, but realizing that I don’t have to micro manage every calorie or macro has been freeing. Be aware, yes – but my focus is now on developing strength and athleticism. The healthier eating habits are firmly in place now, and I have learned to balance intake and exercise to keep that going. That does not mean I’ve “beaten” anything, but I am in a good place.
Learning to accept the role of someone people look to, well, that is hard for me. The funny thing is, I expect to be the answer guy at work – but outside of that I lose my comfort level. I get shy, embarrassed – after all, I’m just some dude. I think that is the key – by being real and not assuming that we have “won” or have all the answers, Amy and I are helping others to see that they can get there also. People see results and gravitate to success – but truth and honesty keeps them coming back.
Where do we go from here?
After the Rum Challenge, we will continue fundraising for the 1DOS Foundation. Fast approaching is the time we will start accepting applications for sponsorship. I’ve got some small races over the next month, but the next big one is the Beast in September to complete Trifecta #2. It’s going to be great!