Lance Armstrong was like the Achilles of today. A shining example of true American resolve, competitiveness and of course, winning success. Only a small spot on his heel would be able to strike him down after having survived testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. Passing every drug test they made him go through, nothing could stick to Lance.
Now there's proof of a scandal. People have jumped off the Lance Armstrong band-wagon and interestingly enough it comes when he isn't winning Tour de Frances anymore. Does this change his achievements, his struggle, training or even how we feel about using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)? We believed in him and could this backlash be more about our own pride of being duped or is it appropriate outrage for cheating with PEDs?
With the Lance Armstrong, Oprah interview, now on the back-burner, conflicting reports have Manti Te'o anywhere from at the heart of the girlfriend scandal, being a willing participant and a very great actor (according to anonymous teammates) or simply a naive, young man who wanted to believe in the mode of communication we most frequently use now...the internet. These two options and anything in between is where we find ourselves today with Manti Te'o and the hoax. Will the complete truth ever come out? Probably not. There will be plenty of spin put out by Notre Dame, the Te'o family, supporters and detractors and the NCAA will more than likely become involved too.
How deep are we willing to bury our own realities in hopes of creating what we want to believe is true? Armstrong and Te'o are extraordinary examples of the human capacity to believe in happy-endings, of overcoming turbulent waters and finding the shore on the other side. That is what we want for other people and for ourselves.
We tweak our lives, our stories and our fitness. We want to believe that a 50 minute workout is just the same as 60 minutes so we can say, "I workout everyday for an hour." That 5 mile run today was really 4.86 but 5 sounds better or it's just easier to round up. Going to the gym daily is a great habit to form but how hard are you pushing yourself or how much time is spent talking with friends?
Don't condemn yourself for exaggerating your fitness life but rather ask the question, are you being honest with yourself? I had to do the same thing. Tracking my calorie burn with www.mapmyrun.com and a Garmin Forerunner has given conflicting results at times. You better believe I choose the higher calorie burn or better results. It's human nature but it is also something that can be adjusted and improved upon. Did Armstrong and Te'o ever think that their actions would turn into such large scandals? Probably not, we make small decisions everyday without seeing the broader implications and big picture.
If you are meeting your goals and expectations, there's no reason to lie to yourself. If you're not meeting them, you want to develop the determination and resolve to make yourself better. Fitness is not just about physical development but all around health. When you look in that mirror and see the physical results of your training, that's honesty. You'll know if the psychological, moral and other parts of your wellness are developing as well, and have such a sense of joy because you were honest with training.