Sunday, August 5, 2012

Achieving Athletic Goals - Lessons from Gardening...

I realize this is a Triathlon Training Blog, and one might expect to read about triathlon experiences ONLY, but I have learned about many different facts of life through gardening, and one of those lessons actually applies to attaining goals like being ready to participate in triathlons... :)

So here I am, copying and pasting from my personal life blog about gardening, and about having the faith to get out of bed and go work out - believing that it is possible to attain your triathlon goals. :) Here are my gardening lessons...

This year I have learned some very different things from before from gardening, and I think it's worth remembering, so here I am to tell the tale! :D

First of all, this year is the year I thought I would plant early and have a huge crop (since my garden beds were finished - with exception to getting new soil for the planters). OK, so I think that every year! :o LOL But you know what? This year, I didn't even FINISH planting. That's right. In addition to the planter boxes having nothing done with them, there was an entire bed that I had not planted it, with exception to one small corner. In that corner some of the plants died. I had many plants die this year... But I also had some unexpected pants come up as well. I think I'll tell you about the plants that died first, then about the plants I didn't plant...

It was really important to me to have GOOD SOIL, so I would not start my garden until I could get fertilizer for the soil. This is good, but I made a couple mistakes...

Mistake # 1: The reason that part of the garden was planted REALLY LATE and part of it WASN'T PLANTED AT ALL was simply because I was determined not to plant until I had fertilizer to create the "perfect" soil... even though it was way past time to plant. Looking back, I think the bare sections would have produced more than the nothing they are producing now even if I hadn't added fertilizer; don't you agree? So my first mistake was allowing high expectations that I didn't think I could meet - keep me from planting.

Reflecting on this, I realize I have entirely missed out in a few things in life waiting for the "perfect" opportunity - or the perfect situation - or the perfect "whatever" - I missed out on the first Annual Sprint Triathlon in Hayden (2011) on account of not being "perfectly ready" (I could have swam on my back in a wet suit! :o done it). It is good to have high expectations, but even better TO LIVETo DO our best and be content with our best whatever it may be.. NOT ALLOWING HIGH EXPECTATIONS TO KEEP US FROM LIVING!

 


Mistake #2: Once I obtained the fertilizer I OVER APPLIED it. There was a time when I thought "more was better" and though I thought I learned that lesson I have come to realize that I had much more to learn on the matter. :o When I first created my garden I followed instructions and placed the fertilizer down before the soil. This kept the fertilizer deep in the ground as the foundation, but away from the new young plants. I mixed a little compost soil with the fertilizer just up from the fertilizer, then had compost soil on top without fertilizer. This worked very well and none of my plants ever died. This year I had to dig down into the soil to add the fertilizer, then place the soil back on top. When doing so, I decided to mix a little fertilizer in with the soil on top... I did not realize it at the time, but the purpose of having the fertilizer down deep is crucial to the plant's development. FIRST it encourages the plant to grow the roots DEEP to get to the fertilizer, thus making the plant stronger. SECOND, a new plant doesn't have the strength of an older plant and the FERTILIZER actually BURNS AND KILLS young plants! Young plants are NOT READY FOR FERTILIZER until they have grown some, which is another reason the fertilizer needs to be deep in the soil so plants can grow sufficiently strong before the roots reach the fertilizer. Just as babies need milk before meat... All thing need to be done in wisdom, order, and with patience. My friend Valerie kept me from injuring myself multiple times when I first started running with her. She knew that I needed to work my way up and train with wisdom and patience. Thank you Valerie!  :)

In addition to my garden having it's down's to learn from, it also has it's up's! :D (And these are my favorite lessons of all! :D) Since I knew I had only planted in a small corner of one of the beds, I only watered one corner of the bed. A few weeks went by and that corner began to grow while the rest remained barren. Then it began to rain - on the entire garden bed - including on the area in which I did not plant... To my surprise, seeds had spilled and were sprouting up. They were all in a little cluster with no room for the plants to grow large, but they were growing, and I hadn't even planted them! I was excited and hoped they might have time to grow produce, so I transplanted them, covering most of the rest of that garden bed. Now the plants are growing quickly and strong. And here are two more life lessons to be learned from my garden:

 *Like the the rest of the garden, these plants required very little effort on my part, 
and yet, I know they will give so much back. 


*Despite the fact that my garden isn't perfect and still has a couple barren spots,
  it is still beautiful and good!









I think the natural man in each of us can get overwhelmed rather easily. We see the BIG results that we want and we sometimes imagine that we will have to give up our entire lives and work harder than we have strength to work to make them happen - BUT IT ISN'T SO... Just as Heavenly Father sends the rains, He sends the experiences we need in life, and people who have been there before and can show the way. All we have to do is BELIEVE Him, enough to obediently follow the few simple instructions He gives us, and He will cause our small efforts to produce great blessings! Here again is one of my favorite quotes...
"God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities... God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe."
PS. I think all of this applies to my triathlon training as well as to any other goal or ambition in life. As I set aside a small amount of time to consistently train, my skills and strength improve and I am able to do and be more than I was before. Isn't it awesome the way big results come from small daily actions? 


Have an awesome day!
Corine :D

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