Monday, November 06, 2006


On Sat, I wrote down the plans for next season. I reflected on last season. What I did good, did bad, area that need improvement...strengths...weakness...

A large part is planning my training is ensuring that my life and my priorities are align. When I talk about alignment, I am considering am I creating the optimum enviornment for me to train. Taking a holistic approach. For example, to have a night life of going out 2-3 am at night will not be a good alignment to training (especially if I have to get up at 6 and do those long bike rides).

From last season, I learnt that life has its up and down. Sometimes, training has to be tune down for other priorities (a death in the family, increasing work load etc.) To design a training to rigid without taking them into considerations will be dangerous (mentally and emotionally). In other words, a training program should be flexible to allow sudden speed bumps along the way.

To expect training 12,15,18 hours a week without any changes to my daily schedule is foolish. Here are some of the things I am willing to sacrifice for Ironman:

- side business with friends
- msn and internet at night (big time killer)
- blogs (if you notice, I stop posting as much on comments...)
- tv (not a big issue but I do have 20 min tv time per week where I just veg)
- Church commitments
- reduce social gatherings (once a week is once a week, go home early is go home early)

On the other hand...I do love getting up early on Sun morning, bike down to the lake and watch the sunrise. Priceless!!

There are four areas in my life that is my priority:

- Church and fellowship(for my spiritual growth)
- Family (I don't think I need to explain this one)
- Training (Ironman)
- Job (we all need to make a living)

Note: One area will dominate more of my time than the other. Example, if I have a new job, I will need to spend more time and energy to learn and other areas will be tune down. When summer comes, training will become a higher priority.

What about friends? This is a very touchy subject.

One can say that a true friend will support what you do. There are times when a friendship becomes more of a transaction. You invite me and I will come. When I invite you for my social outings, I assume you will return the favour. If someone breaks this unwritten contract, the friendship falters.

I meet up with my university friends (about 6 of us) every 3-4 months. Our friendship grow even more than when we meet at school everyday. I am glad and enjoy that the friendship prospers despite the lack of contact we have with each other.

I do not enjoy analyzing friendship too closely. I found that I become too harsh (you don't come out when we meet, not a friend). My friend and I were discussing about how some friendship become stronger and some become weaker. The best way to view is that everyone goes through life and at one point, the friendship might be 'weaker'. In the future it might grow again. So I will take it as that.

What I am trying to do is not to have negative emotions with friends. It is very easy to say..'oh this friend is no longer a friend b/c I invite him and he never comes out.' Well sometimes he is just busy and he has other important things in life. Sometimes my friend get mad b/c he can't make it to something we plan. That's cool. No need to get upset over it.

A few Friday ago, I had two friends bailed on me. One supposed to play squash. He was snoozing when I was waiting at the court. Normally I would get mad b/c I expected him to keep his commitment. No biggies. It is just a social thing. I had my swim gears so I hit the pool instead. Later that night, I was suppose to celebrate with a friend b/c it was her b-day and she had no plan. She ditched us and went with her friends to clubbing. Oh well, I had a great time with other friends at a pool hall.

I hope just b/c the title of this post is sacrifice, I ain't here to say I am sacrificing my friends :)...just flowing with my thoughts.

Back to sacrifice. Last night, my other friend had a problem about making a decision that will affect her life. Throughout the discussion, I advise her to find out what she wants (her priority) and what she is willing to sacrifice.

The more I live life, the more I realize that it ain't always about accomplish or accumulate as much as you can. Rather, it is about sacrificing what you can do (or even tempt to do) and focus on what you want to do. If I don't know what I want in life (be it building a closer relationship with God, or taking care of my family), how will I know which decision to make or what am I willing to sacrifice to get me there?

For example, I get a big promotion and a big raise. In return, I have to work 70 hrs a week. If my focus is to spend time with my (future) kids, how will I have time to do that? My goal and my actions contradict (not align) each other.

Enough thoughts for a Monday morning.


William said...

You must have lots of friends Cliff. It is a nice thing that they want to spend time with you.

Good luck in 2007, it's going to be a juggling act.

Hilda said...

I think in life we have stages, in some you care more about friends, but it doesn't last for ever.

Hope you can find balance, but still there is not enough time for all, with nedd more hours a day :D

Steven said...

Looks like you have your priorities straight, Cliff.

Best of luck on an outstanding '07!

Trisaratops said...

Well put, Cliff.

IM has a way of sorting everything out for you. Those who will understand, will understand. Those who will not, well, you try to help them understand as much as you can and then if they still don't, then you just have to move on, you know?

A hard lesson I had to learn. But, you will be overwhelmed with your friendships come race week and day, no matter what happens. It will all be worth it, and those who know you well and know how hard you've worked to get there will be with you somehow.

Rachel said...

I think it's great to approach life like you do with triathlon training. Write out your goals and then plan how to get there. That's how dreams come true.

On the friends issue, I can relate. I used to over-analyze who was a friend and who wasn't. Guess I'm kind of picky. Now, I'm more flexible. If they're willing to spend time with me and reciprocate my efforts, they're a friend.

Robin said...

I love reading your posts. Very intersting comments about friendship. You will balance things well from now to IMLP. I know it. You are mindful of it, and that is half the battle.

Lora said...

Beautiful job evaluating your life and learning from it. Makes the journey more meaningful. Those in your inner circle are lucky to have you.

Anonymous said...

18 hours of training is a lot. I calculated my training times in the 6 months before Dublin, and figured I did about 8.5 hours on average. And that included several weeks of 70 miles. To more than double that would be a huge amount of training.

Anonymous said...

I want to train for an IM in 07-08 but it's going to take up a lot of time - sleep less? work less? something will have to give!

Unknown said...

Good thoughts Cliff. There is no doubt that Ironman is a huge commitment and will take quite a bit of sacrifice to achieve. I think your priorities and faith will get you there.

Tri-Dummy said...

I believe if you put Christ first, the rest will fall into place.

Training time provides you with an outstanding and abundant time w/your God.

Dios le bendiga, my brother.

Sarah Lukas said...

Wow- these are some awesome Monday morning thoughts.

I tend to find myself thinking the same things when it comes to holding a social life outside of my biking. Me and a friend were talking about how he slowly backed off from racing this year because he found it difficult to be traveling like we do all the time and still keeping close friends here at home. I agree, but then I began to learn like you said, it's all about sacrifice. I found when I sacrificed things I truly loved back at home, I still found other things that I loved in place of those sacrifices. They find a way of balancing all on their own, even with all the speed bumps.

Afternoon Tea With Oranges said...

The fact that are realizing what the commitment will entail shows that you will do what is needed to succeed. You seem to have your priorities right...I can't wait to follow your journey!

Bolder said...

thanks for the shout outs Cliff!

i'm here in Toronto.

look forward to dinner with you tomorrow night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!