Monday, March 4, 2013

How was your day? This might put your "horrible" day into perspective...........

4 March 2012-

I had the day off today because I test for E-6 tomorrow.  Most people spend the whole day studying and prepping for the test, but the other night my Dad asked me if I had been studying leading into the test.  I looked at him in shock and said "Really Dad you have to ask me that?".  After almost 27 years of him knowing me, he for one should know my study habits are poor and I have never given 100% when it comes to academics or studying for anything.  I don't really have an excuse other than I have other priorities right now.  I am in "full time" student status (2 courses at a time that are 9 weeks long), working a 40 hour work week, and training 15-22 hours a week for triathlon.  I think my education and achieving my bachelors degree is higher on the priority list at this point than E-6 as it will open more doors on either the military side or the civilian side if I end up getting out in 2014.  Anyways enough about that, back to my day.

I woke up at 0600 to depart the house by 0630 to meet up with local pro triathlete Barrett Brandon.  I have been training with him 1-2 times a week since December.  Really just depends how our schedules match up.  It is nice to have someone that can kick my rear in all 3 disciplines and to have someone that can train in the morning / middle of the day.  We got in a solid 3 hours of riding which included some solid intervals.  I then came home and had a snack and a quick shower.  Then proceeded to a great 2 hour nap, life couldn't get much better ;)

Then I got up and went and put in a quick 2400yds in the pool testing out my new wetsuit(s) (yesterday was the Zoot Prophet, today was the Wet Zoot 4.0), I think I am leaning towards the 4.0.  I then left from there to go help out at Daggett Middle School here in town.  The tri club I am a member with, FW Tri Club, has a volunteer program set up with the middle school which has started a "Tri Club" within their after school program.  Myself and a teacher headed out with 6 kids for an hour ride on the Trinity Trail.  We got in 12 miles and it was a great time.  I stayed up front with one kid who wanted to go faster than everyone else.  It was just me and him so we were able to talk for most of the ride.

I was asking him about the upcoming Triathlon in June that they are training for and he was telling me that he was looking forward to it and that today he was giving it "everything" he had because he wants to do good at the tri.  I asked him what his parents thought about him doing it and he said they were really happy for him.  Then he made the comment that he really wanted his father to go to the race but it was on a Saturday and his Dad always worked Saturdays.  Then he perked up and said "He promised me he will be there though, he is going to skip work to come watch me race".  I hope his father can hold that promise and be there for his sons first triathlon, the kid is training hard and I can just tell how big of a let down it will be if his Dad is not there.

After the ride I wanted to go get my car washed but also wanted to grab something to eat.  I was going to go to Chipolte as I had a coupon for buy one get one free, from the CowTown 1/2 Marathon.  I found one that was closer to the car wash than the typical one I got to, so I plugged it into the GPS (yes I still use GPS here as I can't seem to find my way around town).  On the way I ended up taking a wrong turn due to some road construction on the freeway and ended up going to the typical Chipolte anyways.  There was a reason I took a wrong turn.......

As I was getting out of my car there was what I assumed to be a homeless man digging through the trash.  The lady that was just entering the restaurant was laughing at him.  He stopped and was just standing by the door when I approached.  He looked at me and all he said was "Here sir let me get that door for you".  That buy one get one free coupon said on it "Bring a friend for buy one get one free", but I was just going to use it for myself and hopefully they would ignore the friend part and I would have a burrito for tomorrow or later tonight.  Well obviously there was a reason I took the wrong turn, a reason the coupon said bring a friend, and a reason that lady laughed at my new "friend" Tyron.  So after he opened the door for me I asked him if he was hungry, and he just looked at me shocked.  I was like crap hopefully he isn't offended by this.  He was more shocked that a young guy would offer to buy him dinner.  Little did he know I had my buy one get one free coupon ;)  So we started talking while in line and he told me the people there didn't like him and we might get yelled at.  I told him not to worry about it and that he was my guest and they weren't going to do anything.

We went through the line and I told him if he wanted a beer it was on me as well and I would even join in and have one.  When I ordered the beers the cashier made the remark "You know the alcohol has to be consume here".  Really? You had to say that, if it was just me would you have said that?  I wanted to say something but told her no problem, Tyron and myself would enjoy dinner here and we would drink our beers at the restaurant.

We sat down and got to talking and he was really thankful, he enjoyed his beer before even touching his burrito.  He then had maybe two bites and said he would save the rest for later.  He couldn't understand why someone my age would be doing something so good for him.  I just asked a question back instead of answering the question and said "Tyron, what have you done to me that gives me a reason not to buy you dinner?"  He just looked at me and though for a second, then he said well good point I never thought about it like that.  He then went on to explain how he spent the 15 years in prison, has been out for 10 years and can't get on his feet, $20 can keep him fed for 10-14 days by eating .99 cent hamburgers and a local night club pays him in beer for cleaning up around there but they won't pay him in cash.  He lives on a porch and is the only homeless guy in the neighborhood and he still couldn't figure out why the lady was laughing at him for digging in the trash can, "I was just trying to get food for dinner tonight".

As we were finishing our beers he asked for money, I responded with "Sorry Tyron that is the one thing I will not due, however I bought you dinner, I bought you beer and next time I am in the neighborhood I will do the same".  He explained he just needed it for the bus.  Said he needed to go to Lancaster, it is a street in the town.  I was wondering why and asked.  He said he needed socks and there was a place there that gave clothes out to he homeless.  Well lucky for Tyron I had a pair of socks in my swim bag, because I am lazy and hadn't taken them out along with my Cervelo beanie.  So I gave him the pair of US Military Cycling socks I had and then asked if he had been cold at night (it has been in the 30's lately at  night) and he said yes, so I gave him the beanie as well.  I just got an awesome HED beanie so no longer need the Cervelo one ;)  We went our separate ways and I told Tyron next time I was in the area dinner was on me as well as a beer or two.

It is the experiences like this that really open your eyes and make you reflect on what you have and what hand life has dealt you.  By all means my life hasn't been 100% amazing, it has had its ups and downs, but I will be the first to tell you that there are far more ups than downs in my life and I am thankful to have every bit of what I have.  I think all of us take for granted the roof over our heads, the heater that turns on when it gets cold, the running water, the many pairs of socks that we have and the car that gets us around.

I was raised by amazing parents, all 4 of them, I have amazing family and some truly amazing friends.  Looking into the kids eyes when he was telling me about his Dad being there for his first race, I never had to worry about that, it was something that I never thought of, my parents were always at every event myself and my brother did.  It was the day like today that makes me really appreciate everything that I have.  I have been dealt a great hand so far, there is more I want to do with it, there is more I want to achieve, but tomorrow is not guaranteed and I realize it could all end today and I could look back and realize it was one heck of a ride, even if it was only 26 years.

So if you are struggling today, just think about Tyron digging through the trash can, or the kid that is worried that his Dad might miss his first triathlon.  These are the things I take for granted, and in reality they are never a guarantee.

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