Aligning Systems

We went through a training exercise at work not too long ago called “Aligning Systems”. This exercise basically discussed the importance of having all of the various integrated components and moving parts of a larger “system” properly aligned and in sync with one another to be able to operate as smoothly, efficiently, and effectively as possible.  This was an exercise intended to maximize results in the corporate workplace but there are huge parallels to be drawn in how we align each of our own personal systems in order to maximize our everyday results as we strive towards our real life goals. As I look at the races that I have on my calendar between now and the end of November, I find myself in full system alignment mode. I am at that point where I am taking a lot of inventories and trying to determine what I have done right, what mistakes I may have made, and what I need to do to try to tie all of the pieces together.

The best way to describe this process is that it dissects all of the things that are required to reach your goal. First, you need to know your goal – and that is a big problem for many people. But once you have defined what your mission is, you need to determine what all of the things, people, or “systems” are that will assist you in attaining your goal. Once you have the systems identified you need to examine them and try to determine if each one is operating as efficiently as possible to get the job done.

Picture this analogy… most people have entertainment centers of some kind at home and they may have a number of wires, cables, extension cords, or power strips all plugged in BEHIND the furniture. When you turn on your electronic devices, they all power up so what’s the big deal right? Well, I would be willing to bet if you took the time and pulled the furniture away from the wall and examined each cable, wire, and plug and made sure it was connected in the most direct way possible, that you could probably eliminate some unnecessary something and make things a little more efficient. You would also eliminate some clutter.

The Chesapeakeman Ultra Distance Triathlon is less than two weeks away. It is another iron distance race consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. Am I ready? I’ll answer that after I cross the finish line. From a physical perspective I think I will be fine. But of course “fine” is a relative term and I could always be more fine or less fine. I have crossed the ironman finish 10 other times and I am not too concerned about finishing. I’m sure I am in a good enough place physically to complete the race and smile after the fact. Of course there is nothing I can do at this point to get more fit before the race. What’s done is done, and the hay is in the barn, and whatever other cliché is appropriate in this situation. I do need to walk through some things mentally to completely dial into this thing. A couple more easy relaxing swims this week will help and a good head clearing run next weekend should do the trick. That will at least align the mental and physical systems for the most part. But this IS ironman; a distance that needs to constantly be treated with respect no matter how ready one might feel. It’s a distance that could chew you up and spit you out if mistakes are made. (and even if they aren’t).

All in all, I feel really good. I feel confident, at peace, and in a pretty good place. That was not the case a week ago so something must have happened to lift a little of the fog and point me back in the right direction. It could have been the bike ride this past Saturday, the run on Sunday, or the news of Ethan’s Zohn’s relapse. But something gave me my focus back. I usually do a pretty detailed race recap after events of this enormity so keep an eye out for that. And it looks like we have quite an entourage traveling to Cambridge Maryland for Chesapeakeman. That should make for a fun time.

Also keep in mind that “Chessyman” is not the end of my season. The NYC Marathon looms in the shadows and November 1st will be here before you know it. But aside from training and fundraising for this effort as part of Ethan’s team, I can’t really think about NYC. And I can’t even think about the fact that I am also doing the Philly Marathon three weeks after NYC …. Someone just might commit me. Anyway, my focus needs to be on Chesapeakeman for now.

Plenty more to follow. Thanks for everyone’s continued support.

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