Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I've been thinking about integrity a lot, recently: my integrity, the integrity of my students, the integrity of my athletic ambitions, the integrity of my artistic ambitions, the integrity of my professional and life ambitions, the integrity of the people around me.

Integrity has to do with the alignment of all the parts of your being. Here's an example. Some students at my school made some bad decisions recently. No big deal, really—they're high school students and no one ended up hurt (no blood, no foul, right?). When the story started to leak out, though, they conspired among themselves to protect each other. Their desire to tell the truth was out of integrity with the urge to protect their friends. This is a perfectly understandable situation, especially if you are, say, seventeen and thinking about what a suspension might look like on your college applications. The big issue, however, is that their conscience wanted to do one thing while their ego wanted them to do something else—two different directions=impossible to act with integrity. Integrity loathes multitasking.

I am out of integrity with some aspects of my life. This being a somewhat light athletic blog, I will spare you the nitty-gritty of my personal existence, if it can be separated at all from my athletic existence. We'll start with some basic ones.
  • My core strength is out of integrity with my athletic ambitions. Despite knowing how important core strength is I continue to neglect it, thinking "It's only a half-hour of important could it be? I'm training 25 hours a week, what will 2 sessions of strength work do for me? My core strength and my athletic ambitions are out of integrity.
  • My weight is out of integrity with my athletic ambitions. I told Cliff, yesterday, that I'll get down to 175 by Boise 70.3. That's six pounds in three-and-a-half weeks. I've said I'll lose that weight for years, now. What part of me wants me not to be successful? I've been too light before, and I don't want to go back there, but a sensible leanness will only make me faster.
  • My misgivings about the sport are out of integrity with my athletic ambitions. I hesitate to identify as a triathlete, or as a professional athlete. These things seem to be frivolous or narcissistic to people I've met before, and I've taken those things on. So when I'm training one part of my brain thinks "This is amazing—I don't ever want to do anything else. I am the luckiest man on the planet." The other part of my brain is saying: "You'll never be good enough. You're just doing this to keep the demons at bay. You're doing this because you're horribly self-centered."
Having a lack of integrity can be exhausting, even if your lack of integrity is only hurting yourself. As the best boss I've ever had once said: "When you are dishonest you get warts on your soul and those warts do not go away." I see being out of integrity with one's self as dishonesty, even if it's something like being dishonest about your commitment to get one's strength workouts done.

Whew. Heavy! Sorry, folks. We'll return with light entertainment on Friday, for the FantasyTri update!

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