Who's ready for a challenge? We're now five weeks away from my main event of the year.

I'll be celebrating fifty years on this planet at he Shoreline Multi-sport Festival July 18 and 19. What a challenging weekend it will be! I'm giving myself a birthday gift of running the half marathon on a Saturday followed by a sprint distance triathlon on Sunday. What better way to celebrate the milestone of turning 50 years old than by achieving such a personal challenge.

You might call it shugyo - a warriors quest.

"Only by knowing where you are today can you determine where you want to be tomorrow" Forrest E. Morgan. 1992.

This training cycle has taken a bit of a beating over the last few weeks due to an odd work schedule and two-weeks of a respiratory illness. With the main culprits identified and soundly defeated (the cold is gone and the work schedule is under control), I can get back to some serious training...and writing.

Being a little behind in your training plan or any goal-oriented plan for that matter can be a good motivator if you let it. With five weeks left before the next goal race I am truly in need of motivation.

Its time to train with shugyo!

What is shugyo? Glad you asked. Shugyo can be described as a quest or even a pilgrimage that takes a warrior to what we know today as the "next level".  I was first introduced to the theory of shugyo while studying various martial arts. Shugyo was evident in any number of texts I was reading at the time (1995).  Living the Martial Way (Forrest E. Morgan, 1992) but the theory of shugyo into an actionable that I remember to this day. Hence mentioning it here. Morgan describes shugyo as a practice you take on by yourself, nobody there to drive are the driver when training with shugyo.  It is an action taken on a special occasion, most likely outside of a gym and certainly not practiced in front of others. Rather, its a mindset in training and testing oneself.

Shugyo is a tool, a weapon in your training to be taken out. polished, and perfected as a means to getting to your "next level". I've been silently instilling this philosophy in the athletes I coach by giving them a special challenge on a weekly, monthly or seasonal basis. Its time to allow myself that gift a training challenge!

Over the weekend of July 18 and 19, 2015, I'll be taking myself to my next level. I'll celebrate being 50 years old by running a half marathon and a triathlon the following day.

I'll dig down deep over the next five weeks. I'll train with shugyo.

And I'll see you at the finish line!

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