My Role Model

This is Gene.


Gene is my role model.

Gene shows up most mornings at the Wave fitness center, at about the same time. He’s always smiling, just like this.

Gene greets folks, then gets on the elliptical for 20 minutes to an hour of light cardio. Then he seems to do some other stuff, but maybe not so much; I think he does resistance training, but I never see him sweat.

He’s never overtrained. He’s never fretting about being undertrained going into a race or event. He’s never injured. He seems to be in great shape and great health without needing an entry blank to stay motivated. He’s trim and fit and energetic.

Gene always has a good word to say. He raises people up; he praises or encourages, as the situation fits. He will good-naturedly deflect any negative comments and redirect the conversation into a grateful direction.

I misspoke above – I should not have said that Gene is my role model, because one hopes to emulate a role model; I don’t think that I could ever be Gene, or even a low-rent Gene substitute.

Gene is a manager at the local liquor store, but I’ve never smelled a drop on him, or seen a red eyeball. When I’ve gone in there during the holidays, buying gifts, sometimes I see him behind the counter, and he’s the same Gene at work that he is at the gym.

I would love to be Gene. Or even somewhat like Gene.

Today is Friday, and as sometimes happens, this is my day off from training this week. I’m 15 weeks out from Ironman Arizona, and I’m in terrible shape. I’ve had injury after injury this year; physical therapy on one knee, then surgery on the other. I’m still trying to get into shape for IMAZ while having to admit to myself that it’s not going to happen – and then going back and still trying.

I’m usually exhausted, almost always hungry while wishing that I could lose weight, and sore. After the last year of hard training, I’m currently slower in the swim, much slower on the run, and have an FTP on the bike that is 10% lower than last year.

Every year, I’m out of shape, and then the next year, I try to get back into the shape that I was in the previous year, when I was out of shape – and failing. Miserably. I’m not holding back the darkness any more. I’m just trying to generate a little light.

I wish I could be Gene.

Who knows? Maybe I could be Gene. Maybe prayer and discipline could free me from this cycle, and I could go to the gym, five or six days a week, and hit the elliptical for a half hour, and maybe do some lifting.

I’ll pray to be like Gene.


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