Boxing the Air. And taking the W.
This blog excludes the aspect of my return to function and full training, as my wrist, hand, and IT band are all recovering and rehabilitation phases! But, so far so good!
Here is a topic that I was thinking on before the accident, and one that is still applicable!
How you do WIN at boxing the air?
I have a recipe, with the needed components to be VICTORIOUS against a shifty and invisible foe!
This past summer in Colorado has been awesome- there is never any lack of adventure! Among scaling 14,000ft peaks, scaling the 4 Great Traverses (Class 4/5 climbs on ridgelines), learning more skills of mountaineering and climbing, and discovering backcountry lakes and breathtaking areas beyond the Rockies, I have been blessed train hard to continue to improve performance and physiological parameters while LOVING nature! To be an efficient endurance and obstacle course athlete is seamless training methods for mountaineering! Interval workouts and long efforts on the track, trail, cycle, and pool; specific doses of strength training, and diverse ranges of sandbag rucking have been integrated into my training regimes. There is no “event” or “race” on the schedule, but that won’t stop me from training just as hard and with the same consistency and mindset of excellence as though there were a race ahead! That in and of itself requires FOCUS. Remain true to what matters to you, regardless of external motivation. Be the best you, because it is ALWAYS in your power to become better, to learn, and to grow in humility.
Ok here we go, boxing the air.
I was cycling one of my favorite loops here in Fort Collins, and there are a series of awesomely humbling hills. I dieeee every time I attempt this loop- but huffing and puffing and driving my feet towards the pavement with every cycle for what seems like an eternity has been an awesome training stimulus.
Drivers of cars that pass by have got to think me to be nuts- …”can a cyclist actually go THAT slow? “
My loop takes me North to South, then around a bend, and then South traveling North. I was cranking out the first half of the loop, struggling enough with the hills, when intense winds picked up (typical of Colorado….). I fought the winds fervidly, as I tried to keep consistent cadence. I gritted my teeth and DROVE my legs, pump after pump. The winds were so strong, 35-40mph, I had to lean my bike off center to resist being blown over. I was nervous that I would be blown towards cars passing by me!
But, I made it to the “halfway” point! This meant I could now traveling South to North, the wind would now be at my back, and I could FLYYYYY. Woot. Lets go.
How silly of me to assume anything about Colorado weather.
The winds changed.
Guess who had to battle the wind, head-on, again.
Immediately, I had to check my attitude. Mentally, for one moment, I was annoyed. I was looking forward to having relief. I was excited to allow my legs a moment to recover and stop burning, and my lungs to get into a regular breathing rhythm. I was hoping for what was SUPPOSED to happen. My emotions were sourced upon that hope, something I assumed was assured.
In a few seconds of understanding my choice of mindset, I changed my frame of thinking. Now, super cool, I had the chance to maximize the training bout tougher, battling the wind for the entire ride instead of half of it. Without increasing volume, intensity, sets, reps…. It was a natural and unexpected chance to alter my structured workout to challenge my performance AND my focus and mindset.
Although fighting the wind AGAIN was not exactly “pleasant”, it was an opportunity to be seized. What a great workout and uncontrolled training variable – the wind. And I think I even got a better training result with the increased difficulty!
In the 1st half of the cycle, I knew I had to “duke it out” with the wind. But I had the hope of an “easier” 2nd half, which was helpful to motivate me during the battle with the wind for the 1st half. But when the 2nd half came about, and I had to “duke it out” again, I had to dig deeper. Instead of choosing to be frustrated and sour about the continued challenge, I chose to see it as an increased opportunity to be resilient.
Boxing the wind.
Ok, cycling against it.
“Boxing the air” is a reference from 1 Corinthians 9:26, but it has a universal application to all of us right now. We are all fighting some sort of formidable and invisible challenge, it may be adversity related to COVID, relationships and social life, career….fill in the blank. We are in the fight, and we are looking for the time of respite. We seek for the moment when we can relax a little…. But then, as life happens, the respite doesn’t come. And we still gotta fight. There is no let up. And we are left with a choice – how will we respond? What will we hope for, when nothing improves our current situation? How do you keep “boxing the air”?
The key is this:
What you focus on will determine your ability to FIGHT on. To progress, day after day, with resilience.
It will be the essential component that enables you EVERY day to press on, without expectation external accreditation.
Focus must be strong enough of a personal choice to remain steadfast, no matter how much wind is resisting you.
How much do you care about what you are focusing on? Is your focus strong enough, and do you care enough about it, so withstand inconsistency with life or unfulfilled expectations?
Focus. Choose to fight, to endure, to withstand the onslaught of adversity from all sides. Why?! Because those that persevere and endure, based upon an unwavering focus, are the leaders among us. It is also and indication of faith. By embracing a focus, and remaining steadfast, you lead others. You inspire. You influence. Those around you are given hope because of the example you provide and exhibit. Not by proud speech, but by GRINDING on, when an invisible foe ( wind, COVID, personal life flux…) threaten strongly to push you back. "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12). So, by focusing on the Life that we have for all eternity and fueled by a reliance upon the ultimate and overcoming strength of victory that God has already won for us, we can POWER on in full confidence. The wind, no matter how strong, or from what direction, will deter you.
Persevere, endure, and fight; the wind has NOTHING on you. Deny the focus on what is changing around you – Focus on what YOU can control. Your mindset.
The wind may be strong, but your fists, when powered by a FOCUS on serving the Lord, living people, and embracing growth in humility, will beat back the wind. No sweat.
Trying to box the wind on your own strength will make you pretty exhausted pretty quickly.
Where you derive your strength to pursue your focus will determine the duration and the resilience you can attain, and to beat the wind.
Fight on, you warrior!