Tag Archives: personal development

Welcome to the Suck

jarhead

The suck welcomes thee.

A book I read a few years back and enjoyed immensely was “Jarhead” by Anthony Swofford. It’s his personal story of being a Marine sniper during the first Gulf War and is both interesting and extremely well-written.

One line from the book that always stuck with me was the greeting new Marines would receive from their comrades when first getting to Iraq… “Welcome to the suck.”

470524_3298591025221_1281256846_3250509_233616841_oI must confess I get that notion a little bit of late.  As I begin to really hone my focus more for my May 6th Tough Mudder, I begin to switch up my training program from a primarily strength-focused regimen to one where I lift less and run more… a lot more.  Up until this point, most of my running was in the form of sprints (either on a football field or up a hill) or while playing a sport (usually soccer or basketball).  Running for the sake of just… well… running?  Sweet mother of God… why would anyone want to do that?  But here I am… a dude who is running in my super-jazzy new New Balance kicks (lovely, aren’t they?) and doing all I can to get myself into running shape for my race.

So where does the suck come in?  Simple:  My lifting (my pride and joy!) is taking a hit right now as I am spending more energy and recovery resources with running. However, my running is really not very good… at least not yet.  That puts me in the middle of a bunch of suck.  My good thing is becoming worse (although that should level out soon) and the thing I am spending a ton more time on… well… I’m still a bit awful at.  POWERFUL SWEET!

But this isn’t a post about wallowing in the suck, bemoaning my state of being to the uncaring Fates… ohh not at all, not at all.  This mucky middle I find myself in… this place where I am feeling all out of sorts… is actually a good place, even if it doesn’t feel that way.  This is a growth spot – a place where I am firmly out of my comfort zone and figuring out what I can do.

It hurts.  It’s frustrating.  It’s certainly not all that much fun.

It’s also supremely satisfying in a lot of ways (at least after the fact when I am done running, I feel good and I am popped on the couch watching Manchester United play soccer like I did today).

Tomorrow I will get up and run again.  It will (hopefully) hurt a less little and I will be a little quicker.

In short… I will embrace the suck until the suck it is no more.

Easy Morning Brain Expansion – No Stretching Required

About 3 months back I wrote a post entitled “The Quiet Drive” which detailed how I was looking to make different or better use of my daily morning commute to work. The reason behind this time of reflection was that it was proving to be a dedicated part of my every day life where I allowed myself to do nothing but think… umm… and drive. I guess if I just lapsed into navel-gazing reflection while doing 65 MPH on I-84, I think this habit would end itself (and me) rather quickly. I mean, I’ve got mongoose-like quickness, but even I would not be able to leap out of a car at full speed on a highway. I do appreciate the faith all of you have in me that I have this capability – it’s quite touching.

This morning I changed it up a little bit and decided to use a chunk of that drive for a little bit of brain expansion. See, with my switch to the Evil Empire of Apple for my computing needs, I started using iTunes again. I know it seems impossible that anyone with an iPod would use something else, but seriously… I hate it. Slow and controlling and bleah. It’s a little better when you are using a Mac, but I still have that part of me that rebels against the way Steve Jobs likes to keep everything closed and under his thumb in the world of Mac.

Back to the brain expansion. If there is something that iTunes seems to have done well in the time I have been gone from using it, that may be the inclusion of iTunes U. iTunes U is a free resource for downloading a rich array of course content from a variety of schools and educational institutions. The list is impressive: Harvard Business Review, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, Texas A&M, Yale, etc. There are interviews, lectures and even video based pieces for your perusal on a really wide range of topics. Thus far, I have not seen any you would even pay for, which is nice.

So give your brain a little morning shake up to go with your coffee or morning Diet Dr. Pepper (my choice for the AM pick-me-up). Hell, you might learn something. I did today… freaky.