Sunday, October 08, 2006

Citius, Altius, Fortius

The last time I posted, I made the bold claim that I am a “better person” than I was because of my increasing fitness. I begged you, the reader, not to jump to conclusions about what I meant, because I don’t think that skinny, fit people are necessarily “better” than average, sedentary people. I personally believe I am under a moral imperative to be a good steward of the physical body I have been given, whatever its merits or limitations. At the same time, there are plenty of fit, skinny people who are vain and self-absorbed, making them morally stunted as compared to an obese person who is devoted to serving others.
So what did I mean by fitness making me a “better person?” On this post particularly, I speak only for myself. I was never a football player, a basketball player, or a baseball player. Let’s face it, the middle school and high school economy does not hold pep rallies for the band and the National Honor Society. For someone who was already inclined to be an introvert, the lack of athletic affirmation tended to increase an inward focus, and color it negative. Discovering endurance sport has given me physical confidence and made me comfortable in my own skin.
By gaining some physical or athletic confidence, there is a very real sense in which I am now more able to love my neighbor as I love myself. I am citius, altius and fortius; but the adaptations brought on by my training are more than physical, and I would have it no other way.
Citius: I am swifter and faster to connect with the people around me. I want to be swift to smile, laugh, encourage, cheer, help, and rejoice.
Altius: I am higher in my aspirations for myself and for others. I want to be less concerned with I, mine and me, and more inclined to boost my friends to aim high and achieve.
Fortius: I am stronger in bearing the risk of holding out a hand to someone new. I want to be stronger to bear one another’s burdens, stronger to go the extra mile.
I guess that’s a long way of saying I’m happier.
Grandma Greyhound called yesterday while I was out training. When she found out from Mrs. Greyhound that I was doing a brick workout (again) and that I was signed up for Ironman Wisconsin, she told Mrs. Greyhound she needed to put her foot down on all this crazy stuff.
Mrs. Greyhound doesn’t want to. Not in a million years.


Sascha said...

I'm totally vain and self-absorbed! How can I not be with all that solitary time biking/running/swimming to think about myself! :)

On the other hand, I'm friendlier, more confident, more outgoing and more supportive of everyone around me than I ever have been before. And I love being able to help other people out and be a solid friend to them.

Bolder said...

i found it inspiring.

so, shut it!

Brent Buckner said...

You are doing well to have a spouse who "gets it"; kudos to Mrs. Greyhound. You have done well to have moved past the somewhat-unenlightened-in-this-area vision of Grandma Greyhound, and I am sure that is great for the puppy.

Spokane Al said...

Great post. I was also one who was less than athletic in high school and am thankful that I found endurance sports later in life and hopefully for the rest of my life.

TriBoomer said...

Our sport is a self focused sport.

Although we may have training mates and maybe belong to a club or have organized workouts many times we find ourselves training alone for hours. And although we may make friends during training days it's on race day we often find ourselves the most self focused people on earth. It's the nature of indivdual effort sports.

However, I believe that same inward focus allows us to see others more clearly more favorably. Turning all of the self efforts around to see the potential in another is not only a gift but a virtue.

G'dog, you are becoming a happier and, yes, a better man.

Iron Benny said...

I love reading your posts G-hound. It seems that we both have found something in this sport that we never expected. Our stories and outcomes are unnique of course, but I feel a sense of similarity in our journeys. Thanks for writing your thoughts and sharing your heart with all of us. We will be better people as a result. Keep it up and see you soon

Iron Pol said...

Whether it's the training, the personal improvements, or good upbringing, you were right there to help and kept an eye out for my kids in Madison. That says a lot, in my book.

And I hope Mrs. Greyhound responded as Mrs. Pol did. When I pointed out there was another IM opportunity, her only question was, "What will we do with the kids?" And she started thinking of friends we could bring along with us.

IM Able said...

You can see the link between redefining your own perception of limitations -- and how to change them -- and how you relate to *everything* in your world. Further evidence that you totally get it. Rock on, Greyhound. Rock on.

Allez said...

You're very lucky to have a supportive wife.

greyhound said...

I'm luckier than I even know.

Nytro said...

it's clear that mrs. greyhound knows what's good for her. how will she feel when a 167 pound athena kicks your ass in soma? aren't you afraid that'll diminish you sex appeal?

(great post, btw).

Taconite Boy said...

Great post. I'm with you. I'm so thankful to God that my wife is also my strongest supporter and friend!

Comm's said...

The French just came out with a scientific study that said skinny athletic people remember more words in a test than obese, non athletic people. In other words, fat people are stupid...thats from the show I watched on relating the study not me. So your on the right track.