Friday, September 05, 2014

Embrace the Suck

I have had this post in draft for a long time and feel it is appropriate for many facets of life.
Mark Devine from SEALFIT wrote this is on his blog a couple years ago and I think about it often to help me push through tough times.

Embrace The Suck!

Today I would like to introduce another habit of the masters – I will simply call it “Embrace the Suck!”

To embrace the suck means to develop the habit of suffering in silence. The obvious corollary is that you will not shy from suffering – in fact, as you learn to embrace the suck you look for actions and goals that require an unusual element of suffering to succeed. Soon you will come to appreciate and enjoy the hard won rewards of your personal growth earned through this trial by fire.

The habit of Embracing the Suck is developed through the deliberate internalization of any expression of pain or discomfort during periods of suffering. When you hit the sweet spot of the workout and the pain is intense, or you are so cold you can’t stand it any longer, that is when you must embrace the suck. Those are the times to double down and feel the aliveness of the moment, feel how utterly indomitable your spirit actually is. You swallow the natural yearning to wince, cry out in pain, whimper and project weakness…all acts that will undermine your mental toughness and the team’s trust, especially if you are the leader.

Turn Your Focus Outward

Others in the same boat as you will be suffering alongside you, and they will naturally follow those who can bite their lips and turn their attention to helping others. Nobody wants to participate in your pity party and you can only make life better for yourself and others by embracing the suck and being helpful rather than selfishly think you are the only one suffering.

A good way to start learning to Embrace the Suck is to put a smile on your face in the middle of the challenge – when you least feel like smiling. You will, admittedly, find this difficult to do…however this simple action will give you strength and train your pain tolerance to a new level. Another thought is to repeat the mantra “pain is weakness leaving my body.” Soon you will notice that the pain begins to dissipate, transmuted into strength.

As you grow tolerant of pain, and can turn the inward strength that embracing the suck develops into an external expression of control and resolve, you are on your way to mastery!

Now go do something really sucky and revel in it! Hooyah! Coach Divine

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

France 2014 - Day 3 - Bayeux to Arromanches

The second day in Bayeux would be a full day of riding and dinner on our own in the city.  The route for the day was a loop from the hotel to the town of Arromanches which was a major landing site for the Allies.  Known as Port Winston the port would serve the landing of 2,500,000 men and 500,000 vehicles during the invasion.

We started our day with a warm-up run through Bayeux.  I absolutely love touring a town by foot this way.  We can cover so much territory in a short period.  


We followed markers that led us to 21 different historic spots in the city.  Each spot has a descriptive board to read.  It was like a mini treasure hunt because some of the markers we had to really look for..  It was the most fun we have had running together.

After we returned to the hotel we had breakfast and our pre-ride meeting.  This would be an everyday occurrence so we could review the route, identify tricky turns, get restaurant recommendations and know of any time schedules.  After our morning meeting we headed out to Arromanches 22 miles away. 

The beautiful country side was predominantly farmland.
Just like back home.....cows on the farm.
The on bike selfie with Brenda
Also got a picture with Joe.

Former priory which is now a horticultural school
Aimee loved seeing the poppies everywhere.
Old door at the priory

We saw hydrangea like this everywhere

Classic Citroen
In addition to the Priory we stopped at a family run umbrella factory called H2O Parapluies.  We looked around and one of the daughters gave us a great demonstration of their umbrellas and explained why they are guaranteed for life.  Aimee bought a beautiful blue and pink umbrella with little bows on it.  It is a compact one with an automatic opener.

At the umbrella shop

The Hill du Jour before getting to Arromanches

Finally arrived at Arromanches

One of the beached Mulberry's.  These concrete structures were used as floating docks.

Aimee next to the Mulberry to show it's size.

The objects in the back ground were also part of the temporary docks.


This is the same statue from the picture above
Our guides, Bruno and Sophie, told us that mussels were in season and to get some for lunch.  We grabbed a table at Au Six Juin and ordered the mussels with fries.  We were expecting to get a small bowl with maybe a dozen or two mussels.  Little did we know we would be served a POT of mussels.  We estimate that each pot had about 40 mussels inside.

Did we eat them all.....heck yeah.  And they were delicious.  Forget about the fries, there was no room after eating all of the mussels. 

After lunch we walked around and Aimee put her feet into the French Channel.  At least that is what Bruno told us it was called.

One last stop in Arromanches was at the 360 degree movie.  Old footage was put together showing the Battle of Normandy.

We rode back to Bayeux on the medium option so we could visit the Normandy Museum in our base town.

Approaching the city of Bayeux we saw the cathedral

Aimee got her picture of the red poppies
The museum was very nice.  It was cool to see the equipment used during the battle, how the battle progressed, etc.  We tried watching the movie there and found ourselves falling asleep.

As we walked back to the hotel we noticed these little shutter stops.  I thought they were the coolest piece of architecture we had seen so far.

We bought a cheese sandwich to last us until dinner.  Our reservations weren't until 7:30 so we had some time to clean up and rest at the hotel.

We joined Brenda and Tonya at Le Moulin De La Galette.  Galettes are the dinner version of crepes.  And of course there were crepes for dessert.  We had a great time getting to know our travel companions.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

France 2014 - Day 2 - Paris to Bayeux

Our second day in France, Sunday, was the official start of the trip with Vermont Bike Tours.  We had breakfast and then gathered outside to board the shuttle bus with our fellow travelers.

Our trip leaders would be meeting us in Bayeux 2.5 hours away.

Warning:  There will be A LOT of selfies during this trip.

After almost an hour of driving I couldn't stand the silence anymore, I was also driving Aimee crazy.  I walked to the front of the bus and introduced myself.  I led everyone through introductions which helped break the ice and started many conversations.  Our trip-mates would be Dylan & Vicki, Frank, Alex, Linda & Neil, Bob & Sharen, Jim, Joe, Rich & Maryanne, Gary & Sheila, Brenda and Tanya.

In Bayeux we met our trip leaders Bruno and Sophie.  From the very beginning this husband/wife team was friendly and looking forward to giving us the best trip possible.  As Bruno took our luggage to the hotel in town, Sophie took us around town for a small tour.  We had two days to experience the small town feel of Bayeux.
Mill wheel powered by the river that flows through town.

Bayeux of many we will see on the trip

Our group touring Bayeux

The first of many Yellow Cars we will see.

The history of Bayeux is very extensive but during the 70th Anniversary of D-Day it is important to know that Bayeux was liberated by the American forces on June 7th.   One day after the landing this town was reclaimed and the damaged was very minor.  Considering the amount of damage incurred at other towns due to bombings and deliberate destruction by the German Army, it was a miracle  Bayeux survived like it did.  The majority of buildings are original. 

After the tour we had some time to unpack, get some lunch and walk around the town on our own.  Aimee and I grabbed a ham & cheese baguette from a small shop and ate outside.  Walking back to the hotel we bought a meringue pastry that had a layer of cream filling.  The box it was packaged in felt empty as we walked out the door, but it was oh so delicious. 

We re-grouped and were fitted on our bikes.  Once Sophie and Bruno gave their safety talk we headed out for a quick 8 mile ride.
Bruno and Sophie

Ready to ride

Dylan (son) and Vicki (mom)

On bike selfie

Back at the hotel I made some minor adjustments to my bike and took it back out for a short ride through town.  This allowed me to get my bearings in the town on my own.  We still had time to kill so Aimee and I visited The Bayeux Tapestry.  This historic tapestry is 229 feet long, 19 inches high and relates the conquest of England by William the Conqueror, from 1064 to the outcome of the Battle of Hastings.  It is an impressive work of art and is listed as a "Memory of the World" by UNESCO.  There are so many details involved that the audio tour couldn't cover it all but told a great story.

Back at the hotel we had our first dinner together as a group.  Our hotel Le Lion d'Or took care of us with food and lodging just as it did for the English press during World War II.