Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Theodore Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

In my life I've been each of those men; the critic, the pointer, and way too often, I've been one of those timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. Now that I am into the second half of my life, I'm ready to change that. Actually, I've already started a year ago when I began training for and doing triathlons.

In triathlon there's a phrase used to describe a timing strategy of making the second half of each discipline (swim, bike and run) faster than the first half of each. It's call a negative split. For example, if you are swimming a mile then you want your second half mile to be faster than your first half. And the same with the bike and run. The goal is to finish strong. It's hard to do. Negative splitting is a learned skill. It takes lots of practice, discipline and patience.

I'm into the second half of this race we call life and it's time to pick up the pace. Time to turn and burn. I'm not sure what that will mean. I only know that it's time to get my face marred with dust and sweat and blood. Time to strive valiantly and probably err and come up short again and again. Who knows what great achievements can be accomplished then. And if I fail, as Roosevelt said, " ... who at the best, knows in the end triumph of high achievement and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."

1. Rodney Dangerfield - He sold aluminum siding for years while he struggled as a writer and comedian. He didn’t get his first big break until he was 42.
2. Al Jarreau - The famous jazz vocalist didn’t release his first album until he was 38.
3. Julia Child - Her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was published when she was 49. Her television debut came a few years later when she was in her early 50s.
4. Charles Bukowski - The famous novelist/poet worked at the post office for years. He was 49 when his first book was published.
5. Laura Ingalls Wilder - Her first book, Little House in the Big Woods came out when she was 65. It was the first of her 8-volume Little House series.
6. Stan Lee - He was in his early 40s when he created Spider-Man and most of his other legendary superheroes. His partner, artist Jack Kirby, started drawing The Fantastic Four when he was 44.
7. Colonel Sanders - Didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 65.
8. Robert Duvall - He was 40 when he acted in The Godfather.
9. Raymond Chandler - The famous novelist published his first short story at age 45. His first book, The Big Sleep, came out when he was 51.
10. Buckminster Fuller - The visionary architect and inventor didn’t truly begin his career until he was 32. Instead of committing suicide after going bankrupt and losing his daughter to pneumonia, he decided to conduct “an experiment…to find what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all of humanity.”


debbie said...

WOW!! Now thats thinking outside of the box. You have BIG shoes to fill though Randy, and I am sure Karen and your five well adjusted children will agree. The first half of your negative split life has already been way more successful than so many other people. You are very inspiring. We should all live as if today is our last day. Here's to Second Halves!!

BreeWee said...

Cheers to happy 2nd-half Randy!

I wish you would have started your 2nd half in your under wear with us this morning at the run!

This post is perfect for me today... good timing! Hugs to your family!


This week is our last week in our brick and mortar house. We have started sleeping in our fifth wheel, going to work during the day and sp...