I recently was involved in a life coaching workshop with FamilySportLife and as part of the first step I had to list my values. As long time readers know, this question is hard for me. I think I know what they are, but to name them, or to put a feeling down on paper and own that, well, just is out of my comfort zone. I thought long on it and came up with four in order to meet the task. They were: Wellness/Health, Compassion, Intelligence, Sense of Humor.
In looking at those I realize it is not just my values, but also the values I want in others with whom I associate. What is glaring, at least to me, is not just what I wrote down, but also what I did not write down. Most people, and some in the actual group, gave the standard answers that most people give; family, faith, honesty. I wonder when I see those why they are not the things that come immediately to mind when I am asked. It is not that those things are not important to me (they are) but I find them at times to be … what’s a good word … a bit pollyanna-ish (is that a word??). Is it bad, as a father, that I don’t list “family”? I was raised Christian (I am currently a recovering Catholic) but though I consider myself spiritual I am lacking in faith. I have written about that recently and my views on it, so I will not rehash them here, bit I wonder if people look at me different by saying that, or in fact, not listing that as a value?
I am not saying this about members on my pages, or in specific groups, but I think at times people list certain things because it is what is expected of them and they do not want to look “bad” in others eyes. I tend to immediately distrust people who wear values on their sleeves. It is a bit like those driving around with religious sayings on their cars, yet cut people off in traffic. I live off of a two lane road (Bell Shoals for those in this area) and it can be very congested. On this road is a church, actually two; St. Stephen’s Catholic Church and a Mormon Church. Needless to say on Sundays this can be awful, and because we have no light turning into my housing complex, and there is only one way in or out, we often wait for quite a while if trying to go anywhere either right before services or right after. One would think that good, church going folks would let us out, but too often we find these people blocking the exit, seeing us clearly mind you, but not holding up to let a car out. This is what feeds my distrust. It’s a small thing I know, but there nonetheless.
I am reminded of a saying by Louis Nizer that goes:
“True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess”
I love that saying, and truly believe that, so when I started thinking about what it means to be a “Fat Slow Triathlete”, or even a “Back of Pack’er”, I kept this in mind and wanted to start putting together a creed for the Fat Slow Triathlete group, the heavy people, the slow people, the core of the endurance world. I came up with those listed below, but would love to make it a nice round 10, so after reading this, please send me your thoughts on what else could be added.
Before I start, though, I came across people yesterday who I once more had to explain the term “Fat Slow Triathlete”. As a refresher, and for those of you who are new to the page, let me define it once more.
The term “Fat Slow Triathlete” has little to do with weight, quickness, ability, or even triathlon’s. It is meant to provide an inclusive atmosphere for the adult onset athlete, where support and acceptance can go a long way in bringing everyone to a healthier lifestyle. It’s way of thinking that doesn’t allow for obstacles to get in the way of the things you want to achieve. If you’re “fat” … so what? “Slow”? ….so what. It’s a way of saying, yes I am Fat (or obese, or overly tall, or old, or young), and I am slow (or injured, or tired) but I can get off the couch and train, and I can compete in and complete any race I set my mind to complete. It is the mission of Fat Slow Triathlete (and by extension Back of Pack Endurance) to promote the healthy participation in endurance events regardless of current fitness level. The leadership and members of Fat Slow Triathlete believe with proper and appropriate training, nutrition, and motivation, along with the support and guidance of a team, that everyone can complete, and even compete, in long course events.
With all that being said, here is the creed:
The Fat Slow Triathlete Creed
- Who you are now or where you have been is not important. Focus on where you are going and what you will become. Remember where you came from, and recognize who you are now, but do not dwell.
- Train naturally. Everything you need to become fit and healthy you carry with you at all times; your body. Machines have their purpose, but are not required. Don’t use the excuse that “I cannot afford a gym membership” be the reason you are not healthy. YOU are your GYM.
- You cannot outrun a bad diet. Eating right, and by right we mean whole, clean, food, is more important than training. You can become healthy without ever lifting a weight or running a mile just by changing how you eat. Remove the processed food from your life. If it comes in a bottle don’t eat (or drink) it. If it is not naturally occurring in the food, like sugar, do not eat it. This is not a diet. It is a lifestyle change. Embrace the farmers market.
- Mindfullness is the key to getting the most out of your training, and in life. Be in the moment at all times. Put away your cell phones when training or when you are with someone. We have become a culture that is easily distracted but everything but what is in front of us. Electronics have turned us into a 24/7/365 work culture, always connected, never “turning off”. Connect to what you are doing, and where you are, at that moment in time. Emails can be answered later.
- Show compassion for others. Everyone is on their own journey and need to be encouraged, and helped. Offer a hand when you see it is needed. Run races not just for you, but to help others. It is amazingly freeing when you know you run for a cause and not a PR. The PR becomes secondary when the race means more to someone else than it does, or should, to you. That PR you are trying so desperately to gain means little to the child going through chemotherapy, but the money you raise means everything. The heavy woman sweating through a bridge portion of a half marathon may only need someone beside them walking through that portion with them. I heard a story yesterday about my new coach for Team in Training at a past century ride actually got off his bike and gave it to another team member so that they could finish a race. THAT is what we should all strive to be. THAT is leadership, and compassion, and putting others in front of yourself.
- Take pride in yourself. Acknowledge your weaknesses AND your strengths, and actively seek out ways to improve each of them.
Those were my initial ideas. Can you add to the list?