A marathon is more than running. It’s diet, determination, and strength training. Unfortunately, I have always hated lifting weights. I enjoy running and playing sports…but have always dreaded the weight room. I convinced myself at a young age that since I’m not naturally strong to avoid the weight room and save embarassment. Whenever I went to the gym I would walk around and observe the mystery weight machines and try to figure out what the guy in the picture was doing. I felt like an archeologist trying to decipher cave drawings. After walking around in unchartered waters I would retreat to familiar water. This was generally a cardio machine of some sort or the basketball court. The fear of embarrassing myself prevented me from achieving my fitness goals.

A year ago I started dealing with back issues…getting old is real. One of the recommendations from my doctor was to start implementing weight training and core strengthening. Fortunately, my wife is a fitness machine and Beachbody Coach. She recommended a DVD workout program where I could do all the lifting in our garage. I reluctantly agreed to give it a shot.

At first I hated it. Why am I doing something I’m horrible at when I could doing something I’m good at like running or playing my baseball video game? I’m very good at that!  Then, I did my first run after three weeks of daily lifting. I was shaving a complete minute off of my usual pace. Turns out I had only been using my legs when running. By strengthening my core and upper body my posture was better and allowed me to run significantly faster. The squats, lunges, and leg routines also contributed by making hills a lot more manageable. I’m not Heman…but I can honestly say that I now enjoy lifting weights.

The fear of failure is poisonous to our professional lives as well. Most of us stick to our same methods because it’s what we know. Each year I challenge myself to learn something I’ve always been afraid to do. This year it was using the DSLR on manual setting for all photography. I’ll hedge my bet by putting the camera in automatic to get a couple of shots I know will be “useable”. Then I flip that bad boy onto manual and go to work. I watch YouTube tutorials and chat with “real” photographers at events to try to improve. Most photographers have been very willing to show me some pointers and tips. Am I ready to start my own photography studio? No. But, I’m very comfortable being at an event and setting everything manually. The end result…my pictures are far better this year. A few of them I’m actually proud of. I would never have achieved this by staying in the safe zone.

Next thing I’m scared of? Running 18 miles on a forecasted warm and muggy Saturday morning.