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"Wide Awake"

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018

DESTINATION TOUGHMAN: 20 Days Until Race Day

 


I’m wide awake!

Yeah, I was in the dark,

I was falling hard, with an open heart

I’m wide awake!

How did I read the stars so wrong?

 

I’m wide awake!

And now it’s clear to me

That everything you see, ain’t always what it seems

I’m wide awake

Yeah, I was dreaming for so long

 

I wish I knew then, what I know now

Wouldn’t dive in, wouldn’t bow down

Gravity hurts, you made it so sweet

‘Til I woke up on the concrete…

 

 

Katy Perry singing “Wide Awake”

To view music video, click here

  

 

So, here we are! The hardest week of triathlon training. High soreness, little sleep, and 5 exhausting workouts ahead of me before I taper down for some recovery time before the race.

 

At this point, it’s all about mental toughness. How do I patiently hold my form together throughout the long workouts and remain as frictionless as possible? How do I balance family, work, and training, so no one is negatively impacted? Most importantly, how do I maintain my focus, calm, and optimistic demeanor while under such intense stress?

 

First, there must be faith. The hard work is nearly done and no one can take that away. I’ve gone through the labyrinth of dark optimism and have come out on the other side far more prepared than any other year of training. Beyond physical preparedness, I’ve gained the inner peace of knowing my purpose and taking steps each day for being better aligned. Also, pulling lessons from the past and sharing them with my children has helped me become aware of my own blind spots as an adult.

 

Then, there must be humility. I realize anything can happen between now and race day. The most ironic thing about this experience is that I am willing to do so much to achieve my goal, and yet I am fully trusting that whatever outcome occurs is what’s meant to be. My role is simply to give everything I got and fight-fight-fight!

 

I feel very settled now. Maybe it’s because I’m wide awake. Body-mind-spirit reconciled... Aware of the infinitely large world around me… Never to be fooled again to chase what does not matter…

 

I’m wide awake and ready for the road ahead. And for those working alongside me on their own journey, so are you!! Keep the emails coming about your progress.

 

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 Americans, starting at just $25.

  • Fisher House: To donate, here
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Letters From Your Father –

Belief # 12: Life is Eternal. Love is Enduring.

 

 

“And when our work is done,

Our course on earth is run,

May it be said… WELL DONE!

Be thou at peace…

E’er may that line of gray,

Increase from day to day,

Live, serve, and die we pray

West Point, for thee”

 

Last Verse of the United States Military Academy Alma Mater

To watch video and listen, click here

 

Dear Girls:

 

This week’s belief pertains to how I’ve learned to accept death as part of life. I state this fully acknowledging that I don’t have all the answers. But, what I do have is some hope and optimism to share with you. Let me explain my belief through a story.

 

It’s June 2005. I am at a funeral for my West Point classmate Phil Esposito. Phil and I first met in high school when we were both applying to West Point. With such a competitive pool of candidates, both of us ended up going to one of the Academy’s recommended preparatory schools for a year in order to improve our grades and reapply. Both of us were accepted the following year and reported to West Point Cadet Basic Training (BEAST BARRACKS) during the summer of 1993.

 

Believe it or not, we didn’t see each other much while at school. When we did bump into each other, we talked about those things that all “stressed out” cadets normally talk about but managed to keep our sense of humor while sharing stories. Both of us graduated, served our duty obligation honorably, and decided to leave the active Army to pursue civilian careers. However, Phil saw it as his duty to lead as an Army National Guard Company Commander in addition to being a computer specialist for a Wall Street investment bank. With the Iraqi insurgency increasing in strength, Phil deployed to lead his unit in January of 2005.

 

And now here I am, looking at his casket for the last time just as the official portion of the funeral service ends. Phil was one of the most honest, forthright, and dedicated human beings I had ever met. He possessed a kind heart and could always be counted on to do the harder right over the easier wrong. What made him special is that he didn’t even have to know you to stand by your side. He was just that kind of guy. If he saw that something was not right, he would be there, taking the heat with you just out of pure principle.

 

Turning around, I see a few other West Point classmates. Without much discussion, our group surrounds the casket, grips hands, and says goodbye in a way that only West Point Grads can. Together we sing our beloved Alma Mater. After saying our goodbyes individually, we walk away from the casket and talk a bit. Still something is not right within me.

 

After everyone else in our group of West Point Grads leaves, I go back and touch the casket one last time and say, “Phil, if there is anything that needs to be done… If there is anything that needs to be said, please tell me. Know I am with you here on this side and will visit. If you can, please help me see my blind spots and give me the strength of character to do what’s right, even when it seems impossible. I’ll see you soon, brother… BE THOU AT PEACE.”

 

Although, I always believed in a spiritual world beyond what we can see, this is my first real experience placing one foot in this world and committing to have one foot firmly planted in the next. After that day, I send a similar message to all of my family and friends who passed before Phil and continue to offer this same invitation to those close to me still today.

 

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember them in some way. By remembering, I know they are present. They keep me grounded and focused on what is right and what really matters in this life and the next. I don’t have the right words to explain it. It’s just that when you have eternity on your mind, some of your youthful ambitions simply die. Somehow your senses become extremely dull toward what others might call temptations. Instead of focusing on instant gratification, your heart literally aches when thinking about long-term damage certain actions could cause. Yes, you always carry a touch of sadness but the benefit is that you’re wide-awake and able to see things more clearly for what they are. Then, you make choices for the long term good of your soul and the people you care about.

 

To close, we live in a world that sometimes minimizes the value of life and romanticizes circumstances surrounding death. It’s all nonsense. I can’t emphasize enough that there is nothing more permanent and sad than the loss of close family and friends. The heartbreak that occurs when someone dies before their time is incomprehensible until it is experienced.  But, here is my one point of hope and optimism I want to give you. Life is eternal and love is enduring. If you invite those you love to stay connected to you after they have departed, they will always be with you. The relationship is very different, but if you ask them, they will inform your heart, help you to see what others cannot, and provide you the courage to do what is right even when its hard. Invite them into your life and you too will have a cast of angels watching over you until your last day.

 

Next week, I will cover my final enduring belief. It is my strongest and most optimistic belief of all. And it has everything to do with you! Please make sure to read it…

 

Love You Forever,

--Dad

 

 

 

This Week in Training:

 

Before going into the results of yesterday’s West Point Triathlon, I have to acknowledge that this race had far more meaning than any race results. I wore my "Run to Remember" T-Shirt honoring my fellow West Point 1997 classmates killed in action: Eric Paliwoda, Matt August, Phillip Esposito, Michael MacKinnon, Mark Paine, Ian Weikel, and Jamie Leonard. Earlier in the morning, I ran into a younger West Point Grad who was wearing the same T-Shirt except with his fallen classmates listed. What we discussed should remain between us; however, we finished our conversation agreeing that we were here today to honor them by racing our hearts out. Seeing him after the race, I know we did.

 

As far as race results, I only have partial numbers at this point. The details will be posted later in the week. Here’s what I know: (RESULTS UPDATED 8/27)

 

Swim   TZ        Bike   TZ       Run       Total       Place

2012    16:46   2:25       48:11 2:00     29:22     1:38:41    16/29

2013    15:39   3:10       47:08 0:50     27:22     1:34:06     6/21            

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Total     -1:07   +:45       -1:03  -1:10    -2:00     -4:35

 

Without numbers by category, I can’t fully gage performance.   But overall, I am very pleased with the outcome. My initial plans were to take it easy on the swim and the bike, then let it rip on the run. Instead, I just let out a huge roar at swim start and the rest became a big blur. For now, the one big lesson from this race that I am taking with me is that I need to control the process of going from intellectual to instinctual when taking on the Westchester Toughman. Anyone can “roar” for 1 hour and 34 minutes! It will take some strategy and patience along with instincts to get through the 70.3 miles in less than 6 hours and 15 minutes and achieve my goal.

 

All in all though, everything seems to be going my way with regard to training. The workout manual makes a point that this is the week when I have to be very focused on technique and speed. Once I clear the bike ride on early Saturday morning, I’ll know that I’ll be ready for race day.

 

Here’s this week’s plan:

 

Monday: Recover from West Point Triathlon

Tuesday: 6 x 1-mile Hill Repeats (Fast!!); Swim 15 x 100m

Wednesday: Bike 60 min, Run 30 min (Fast!!)

Thursday: Swim 3000m; Bike 80 min @ 90 RPMs

Friday: Long Stretch, Core Strength Training

Saturday: Bike 4 hours, Run 1 hour (Bear Mountain)

Sunday: Run 8 miles; ToughKids Training w/Girls

 

 

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