I believe in extremes: black coffee, dark beer, walking to work when my co-workers drive, training for marathons when I don’t have time to sleep, and starting a business part-time while working two other jobs. My life demands progress, in every area, in every way, all the time. If you ask my fiancee she’ll tell you that I am a very intense person. She is always pointing out my extreme behavior and mocking me at every opportunity. One of the catch phrases of my life is, “It’s a great day!” which I proclaim with an extreme game-show-host style melodrama, but I mean every word. As a marathon runner I train in all types of weather conditions, which can be discouraging in the bitter Boston winters. But I don’t gauge my happiness or success of any run by the way I feel. I track my progress by the difficulty of the obstacles I face – the tougher the challenge, the greater the reward. The glass of my life is half full, so, rain or shine, hot or cold, blizzard or hurricane, as the weather gets worse my adrenaline gets pumping.
I truly do believe every day is a great day and that my extremist tendencies allow me to experience almost everything that life has to offer. I have, by definition, a Type A personality: “characterized by ambition, high energy, and competitiveness, and thought to be susceptible to stress and heart disease.” I do things because “I have to,” though experience has shown I don’t have to do anything, I choose to think and act this way. Though this characteristic is one of my greatest assets, it is also my most notable liability. I fully understand and accept the consequences of such a lifestyle and I say bring it on, stress, heart disease, and a full head of grey hair by age 30.
The running of my first marathon was by far the greatest physical and mental challenge of my life up to that point and I had every excuse to quit. The weather was awful, the course was very hilly, I hadn’t trained nearly enough, I lacked the gear I needed to stay warm and fueled . . . You get the picture. As I finished, I looked like hell, stumbling across the finish line way after my goal time, cursing the pain all over my body, miserable beyond description. But none of that mattered as soon as I had a medal around my neck and could revel in the moment. I had defied the odds, gone to the extreme, and permanently changed the way I viewed my own abilities.
And that’s why I’m ambitious. That’s why I set tremendous goals. That’s why, with a big grin on my face and a half-full glass of Guinness in my had, I chose to shout, “It’s a Great Day!” as I cross the finish line of my latest marathon and wouldn’t have it any other way. This I believe.
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