December #GoTheDist: 1049 miles

While trying to think of wintery themes and things to write on, I asked twitter what they thought a good theme would be. @BodyWontBreak said "Motivation:  how do you find it? how you keep it? how do you motivate others? or maybe forging your own path?" I let my mind wander on this one.

I started thinking about I'm very lucky to know some super awesome people online and in person and how they have motivated me.  They do biathlons, triathlons, 5ks, 10ks, 10m, half marathons, marathons, ultramarathons, and Ironmans. They're really badass. Because I see them do all sorts of awesome things (1) I want to do awesome things and (2) because they succeed, I know I can too

But the one thing I've come to realize about all of these people, and especially the people who have come into athleticism late in life, is that they know they cannot do it alone.  While they might be the only one who can run the race, they depend on the support of their trainers, their support crew, and their friends and family.

I also started thinking about what @BodyWontBreak said about forging your own path.  While I think each person's individual journey is specific to that person, I don't think we're reinventing the wheel each time.  We see how a balanced diet + exercise + sleep + honesty --> weightloss/healthgain.  It's not a huge mystery to the people who have given up all the fad diets and easy fixes.  We realize the path we've been trying to avoid (the long, hard road) is the path we need to take.
Enter the Iditarod:  the race where your team carries you the whole distance of 1049 miles over a span of 9-15 days.  Though you don't have 4 legs and a tail, you are still part of the pack.  The pack depends on your specific skill set and expertise (i.e. navigation and being able to distribute food) to get the whole team across the finish line. Though the trail never changes, the conditions are never the same.

The motivation for the dogs goes right to their breed -- huskies and malamutes were bred for their strength, their stamina, their disposition, and mostly their desire to run.  They are amazing athletes in their own right (for example, The average Alaskan husky running in the Iditarod burns about 11,000 calories a day. To put that in perspective, compare a 44-pound dog with a 175- to 180-pound human in an endurance event like the (Tour de France) bicycle race. On a body-weight basis, an Iditarod racer eats and burns about eight times as much as a Tour de France cyclist.), but when working with the right set of other dogs, they are a precision team.  Lead dogs, swing dogs, team dogs. and wheel dogs need to work together, but are chosen to fit certain roles.

I don't know what the motivation for the human is, because the prize money pales to the cost of maintaining the team.  But I'm willing to bet it is the same for many other athletes -- to push the boundaries of what they know or think they can do, and then go further; to say they are among the elite.

I often get a little mopey when I realize that because of my back, I'll never be able to participate in the kinds of races listed above -- but I have my own pack to run with:  my #GoTheDist team.  It doesn't matter if we're pursuing different modalities, the goal is the same:  to cross the finish line each month, doing what we set out to do.  When one of us succeeds and meets our goals, we all do.  That's my motivation.  That's what I carry with me when I'm in the gym busting my butt to beat my PRs, or even to just put in the time.  It's all about remembering that nifty little point about self-efficacy -- when we see similarly-situated people (i.e. our peers) succeed, we know we can as well.  (And we all know what it's like to fall short of a finish line and have our team love us all the same.)

So the December #GoTheDist theme is:  What do you bring to the #GoTheDist team?

How are you specifically qualified on any given day to be an agent of change not only in your life, but in the life of someone who might be looking to you for motivation, support, or mentoring (whether you even realize they need you or not)?

So while I might be the musher, I want to see what my puppies can do!

How to Join:
1. Click on the SUMMARY PAGE (bookmarking it would be a good idea as you will be using it often).

2. Fill out the next available line on the "Summary" spreadsheet (do not use Columns F or G, J or K -- they will automatically calculate once link your sheet).  I repeat.... START ON THE SUMMARY PAGE!

3. **CREATE YOUR INDIVIDUAL PAGE** (Look at the line you filled out on the SUMMARY PAGE -- find the corresponding number on the bottom of the screen.  This is your individual page!).

4. Rename the tab "@[twitter name]" or if you don't have Twitter "[nickname]"  (If you want to link your page back to summary spreadsheet, go for it.  It's a huge help. Column F will look like this (minus the brackets):  ='[your tab name]'!D43  Column J will look like this (minus the brackets):  ='[your tab name]'!E43)

5. Fill out the sheet as you wish.

6. Update your own individual page as needed (if tracking is too hard, consider printing out your page and filling it out by hand and updating it online once a week). The total mileage will automatically be updated on the Summary tab as you report on your individual page.

7. Follow #GoTheDist on Twitter for support if you need it or to support others when they do, to announce achievements, and find new/old friends!

8. PLEASE DO NOT DELETE LINES OR TABS! Do not SORT.  If you want to add columns, please add them to the RIGHT of the page.  Please do NOT move your page around! You CAN bookmark your individual page using your browser to find it easily.

I'm also quite happy to see how #GoTheDist and #MeFirst can work hand-in-hand.  Consider taking the #MeFirst pledge! Also, check out the #MeFirst Blog!

So grab your #GoTheDist buttons, use the hash tags for each month, and get out there! We're all behind you!

At the end of the month consider answering these questions:

  • How do you think you did over the course of the month?  
  • Did you overestimate or underestimate your capabilities?  Why is this?  Is this representative of a larger trend in your life?
  • Did you learn anything about yourself while doing this? 
  • Can you apply what you've learned in ##GoTheDist somewhere else in your life? 
  • Did you make any new friends through #GoTheDist -- were you able to support each other?
  • What was the hardest part of the challenge?  (physical? mental/psychological?)
  • What do you think you did really well this month? (doesn't have to be about #GoTheDist)
  • What do you think you could improve on? (again, doesn't have to be about #GoTheDist)
  • No matter the numbers you already entered, are you going to finish strong, or taper off? 
  • Did you go the distance? And no, I don't mean did you hit 100% of your goal... did you put yourself out there and really try for it?  Is 80% still something you can be proud of?


I need me some inspiring today so


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<3 Robby