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"There Is No Tomorrow!"

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018

DESTINATION TOUGHMAN: 41 Days Until Race Day

 

 

Apollo: Damn Rock, come on! What’s the matter with you?!!

 

Rocky: Tomorrow… We’ll do it tomorrow…

 

Apollo: There is no tomorrow! (There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!)

 

--Apollo training Rocky in the movie “Rocky III”

To watch video, click here

 

 

Not everything about training for TOUGHMAN is full of sunshine and rainbows. Actually, at this point of the training program, I am getting absolutely pounded. Intensity is high. Distances are long. Work and family commitments cannot be missed. Sleep has dwindled down to 4-5 hours a night.

 

Every year I hit this point: Little enthusiasm, low motivation, and a growing numbness toward nearly everything just to get through the day. Why? Because there is a clear gap between whom I think I am and what my capabilities truly are.

 

The natural inclination of the “thinking mind” is to find excuses. The natural inclination of the “primal mind” is to find an escape. Both collude and attempt to convince the super ego to bypass the challenge all together. “Tomorrow. Tomorrow. We’ll do it tomorrow...”

 

But there is something unexplainable that is beyond the mind. It’s your spirit, and it knows better. It screams out in response, “Tomorrow? There is no tomorrow!!” And when those words are heard, it echoes right down into the depths of your soul.

 

This week is a big week. I am at a major decision point. Option 1 is to listen to my thinking, muddle half-heartedly through the rest of the training program, and focus on simply completing the race. Option 2 is to continue to approach the boundary of exhaustion and injury everyday in order to be a Top 10 Finisher for my division at TOUGHMAN.

 

Its moments like these that define who you are. Will you commit to completing the hard work necessary to be competitive? Can you escape the boundaries of your thinking and rely more on your spirit? Will you take a leap of faith to get to where you want to go, fully knowing it can turn into a free fall?

 

If history is an indicator, the training plan will force me to answer these questions by the end of the week. It’s time to see what I am made of.  

 

Pressing on through the malaise, even though my goal feels out of reach.

 

Until next week…

 

God Bless,

--Pat

 

www.freedomslight.org

 

Did this week’s message help you? If yes, here’s an opportunity to help other Great Americas, starting at just $25.

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Letters From Your Father – “Nothing Is Real, If You Don’t Believe Who You Are!!”

 

 

Adrian: We got everything but the truth. What’s the truth, damn it?!!

 

Rocky: I am afraid, alright?!! You want to hear me say it? You wanna break me down? Alright, I’m afraid. For the first time in my life, I’m afraid.

 

 

Continuation of video in opening section

Adrian confronts Rocky for his lack of heart in the movie “Rocky III”

To watch video, click here

 

 

Dear Girls:

 

This next major decision point takes place during a time of transition from the military back to the civilian world. The process is rough. Fundamentally, I experience a crisis of faith and stop listening to my heart. But fortunately for me, two sparks of hope entered my life and help me find my way back.

 

-------

 

It’s now January of 2003, and I’ve been on the midnight shift with several other former military peers at the Brooklyn manufacturing plant for about 6 months. I am the new guy to transition out of the service. Most had been out for quite some time.

 

Although I was learning a lot and enjoyed leading a team again, I noticed that I would get distracted easily. A news report, an email from a military friend, even a simple phrase like “parallel planning” would cause me to drift back to a memory. Some are good but some are not so good.

 

Not understanding why this was happening, I go to see my hiring manager Bill Miller. He is a West Point ’68 grad and someone I can trust. “Bill, quick question: When you got out of the service, did your mind ever drift back to a memory unexpectedly?” His response was instantaneous. “Absolutely. It’s normal.” Relieved, I ask him a follow-up question. “So when does it stop?” He smirks and responds, “Stop? Pat, it never does. I don’t go a day without thinking about my time in the military. Neither will you.” I then tell him thanks without asking any more questions. His response gives me great concern.

 

As the War on Terror continues, I begin to feel levels of sadness that I had never felt before. Starting in 2004, several of my West Point classmates, friends, and people I look up to are either injured or killed in action. Emotionally it puts me in a tailspin. Between the tragedy of September 11th and the casualties coming from Afghanistan and Iraq, I begin to reject some of my core beliefs about God and even about myself.

 

Additionally, I am challenged professionally on multiple fronts. My leadership style from the military is based on a philosophy that can be best summarized as “Love Them, and Lead Them.” As a leader, one should care deeply about all of the people you are responsible for. After all, you are putting your lives in each other’s hands! However, I find out that this closeness and care for people is frowned upon in the civilian world among managers. Across industries and work environments the behaviors that seem most rewarded are far more distant. It’s what I call the “Use Them, and Lose Them” philosophy. People are expense items. Use them to increase your profits. Use them to forward your own career ambitions. But, as soon as they become stale, get rid of them and find another person at a lower cost to do more. I was not at all ready for that. The challenge was figuring out how to reconcile living under these new norms that I could not change without giving up my own values as a leader.

 

Also, I struggle in adapting my technical skills. My West Point / Army experience provided me a strong background in operations management. One area where these skills translated best was in the area of manufacturing. However, by 2004 many companies begin “outsourcing” their manufacturing work to other countries at lower costs. Suddenly, what I became extraordinarily good at, was now becoming increasing obsolete. For those jobs staying in the US, there are high pressures to keep salaries low. It was as if my West Point degree was closing more doors than it was opening. Peers of mine who did not serve in the military already had years of corporate experience ahead of me and had already completed their MBAs or other advanced degrees required for leadership roles.

 

Combined I become very confused and pessimistic about the future. I slowly realize that although difficult, my 10 years at West Point and the Army protected me from a rapidly changing world. Yes, few civilians could every deal with the ambiguity of leading a platoon or responding to an emergency. But the exchange is that a service member does not have to worry so much about how to put food on the table, keep shelter over their family’s head, or deal with the ebbs and flows of an unstable economy.

 

By mid 2005, my confidence is shattered. Any success I experienced in the past suddenly does not seem real or relevant anymore. And, at its core, this growing concern of not being able to provide a happier, stable life for my family makes me feel like less of a man.

 

One of the biggest mistakes I make during this time period is that I give up leading with my heart. From all of the “pounding,” I just simply stop believing. This choice isolates me in a self-made, invisible prison that makes me very slow to adapt to the world around me. I lock out nearly everything, from friends and family to feelings of optimism and a belief in a better tomorrow.

 

Hope is not completely lost, though. Reflecting back on this memory, I am convinced that someone on the “other side” was looking after us. On January 15, 2004 and April 12, 2005, two sparks of hope enter my life. It ultimately forces me out of isolation and helps bring the dead parts of me back to life. With that stated, nothing happens over night. It takes time for the sparks to turn into fire, and for the fire to turn into light.

 

--------

 

Girls, the 3 of you along with your Mom played a profound impact on getting me back on track. This entry is the start of that process with Elizabeth and Lauren coming into our lives. Later, Julia comes to us with another “message” that strengths the family and makes the story complete. More on that, later…

 

What I want you take from this entry is that, when you hit a tough spot in your life, know that your father “gets it.” Please, come talk to me. I will listen. I will support. I will love you no matter what. Just don’t make the mistake that I made and try to tackle it alone. It’s risky. It’s foolish. It’s a waste of time. And besides, I will be returning a favor. J

 

More next week…

 

With Love,

--Dad

 

 

 

 

This Week in Training:

I’m at the razor’s edge of keeping this all together. I somehow was able to get 6 of 7 workouts in last week to include a 3 ½ hour bike ride with a 40 min run on Saturday. This morning I had to wake up at 3am to pull this journal together and publish before the workout.

 

I have to believe that this is part of the process in order to get where I am supposed to be. Letting go and flowing through it... On that note, here is this week’s workout plan. It has a long swim on Wednesday followed by a timed 13.1 mile run on Friday.

 

Monday: Swim 5-10 x 100m; Strength Training – Legs, Knees, & Hips

Tuesday: Bike 1 hr; Run 30 min; (3:45am Wakeup!)

Wednesday: Swim 2500m (~64 laps); Bike 90 min (3:30am Wakeup!)

Thursday: Swim 10 x 40m, Long Stretching Routine

Friday: Run 13.1 miles (3:15am Wakeup!)

Saturday: Bike 2 hours

Sunday: Tough Kids Training w/Girls