The Argonauts: An Exploration of Life

Challenging Oneself

This recent guest post arrived just days ahead of a news story about Lance Armstrong full of controversy, upset and — maybe — inspiration.

My love affair with cycling began more than a decade ago, when the shocking news of testicular cancer having spread to his brain and lungs was made public by cycling’s infamous Lance Armstrong in October of 1996. I was not much impressed nor overly fond then of Lance Armstrong then as I was fixated on working long hours at the office to be able to send my four children to the best universities.

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. ~ Lance Armstrong

A year after he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, I was surprised to read in the newspapers that after undergoing surgery and aggressive chemotherapy, Lance Armstrong had been declared by his doctors cancer-free. By George! Here I was, an overweight man in his middle age, with no regular fitness regimen and unhealthy eating habits, someone highly at risk of either suffering a stroke or a heart attack who if he didn’t change his current lifestyle would never get the chance to see and play with his grandchildren.

I challenged myself- I’d lose my beer belly and excess weight, eat healthy and exercise regularly, a complete turnaround from what I was normally accustomed to be doing. I thought, ‘why not try cycling?”. Searched online for mountain bikes and accessories from Tesco and bought my very first bike.

If Lance fought so hard against his cancer and won, I, who did not have a debilitating disease and had as much to lose would try to change my life for the better in my own small way. I quit smoking (cold-turkey), cut down on alcohol and biked around the city every morning and late at night when I got home from work. The first few weeks were pure hell and often I ended up questioning myself, ‘is this truly worth it?’.

Now I am 20lbs. lighter, nicotine-free and a proud grandfather to two toddlers. Yes, I can say that all my pain and sacrifice to become a healthier person has truly has been worth it. Lance Armstrong got it right when he said: “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

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