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Lance Armstrong Livestrong
Lance Armstrong in his Livestrong jersey.

Challenging Oneself

Editor’s note: 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 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 healthily and exercise regularly, a complete turnaround from what I was normally accustomed to doing. I thought, ‘Why not try cycling?” So, I 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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