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Be Intentional

Maintaining a winning mindset is a conscious choice and a key component is being intentional.

Sometimes if something goes wrong, we don’t stop and look at how we might have impacted the outcome.   When we examine that and stay conscious with our actions and thoughts, we can end up with a much more intentional life.

Being intentional means pay attention!  My Mom taught me that pain is the body’s way of telling you there is something wrong; don’t ignore it – listen!  Being diligent in listening to your body is part of being intentional.

Setting goals was the best thing I did in anticipation of my post cancer surgery regime.  Goals gave structure to my game plan; it made me intentional.  This was key both physically and mentally.   Goals, when you stick to them, make you accountable to taking intentional actions.

Being intentional will keep you focused.   You have to be intentional about your everyday actions.  That intention with your actions will keep you focused.

Being intentional has been easier for me post-cancer, for two reasons.  One, I had very specific goals to get through my cancer fight and two, I was competing for something greater than myself, a Cause that was making a positive impact on society.

 

 

Perseverance

Coach Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether  you get knocked down, but whether you get back up.” The definition of perseverance is the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.

Setting goals like I did to get through cancer is a first step.  When you do this, at those times when you are discouraged or feel like giving up you have something to move toward.  Perseverance is in your mind.  When your situation looks bleak remember that it is temporary.

You must consistently  proclaim and visualize what you are trying to achieve as though it were reality.  Then, when you feel like giving up, you can train your mind to go to what you are trying to achieve.   Perseverance becomes a habit.  It becomes a mental drive to look beyond what is right in front of you.

Perseverance is a life choice.  Sometimes the first step is saying to yourself, “I will persevere , in spite of what is happening.”

Perseverance is about keeping on with something even when you don’t see immediate results.  It comes from having the faith and tenacity to know that the process will produce the results.

Perseverance is often what separates people who accomplish great things form those who don’t.  Some people are willing are willing to do anything to accomplish their goals.  Others fade or give in to discouragement.

 

20 Things Men with Prostate Cancer Wish Healthy Friends, Family Knew — Prostate Cancer News Today

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was 57. My PSA (prostate-specific antigen) remains undetectable seven years after my surgery. I expected there’d come a time when I’d give up my cancer survivor status. I thought I’d return to thinking about myself in the same way I thought about myself prior to my diagnosis.…

via 20 Things Men with Prostate Cancer Wish Healthy Friends, Family Knew — Prostate Cancer News Today

Choosing the Right Mindset

The dictionary defines mindset as a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations.  This is an intentional act.  It does not happen by accident.  A positive mindset keeps you focused in the right direction.  Conversely, a fixed mindset focuses on a negative outcome.

Immediately after learning of my cancer diagnosis, I had a fixed mindset.  I felt sorry for myself. I was ready to give up and avoid the challenge.  During my cancer battle I made the choice to shift my mindset from fear to determination.  It kept me focused.  Armed with a new mindset, my effort and attitude determined everything.  I embraced the challenge and  persisted despite the obstacles.  Without a doubt, mindset impacted my journey.

With a growth/positive mindset, look up and forward to what’s ahead and beyond your current challenge, struggle or goal.  The right mindset takes courage and diligence.  It can help you step out of your comfort zone.  Your mindset is key in the choices you make, and the habits you create.    If you are suffering from an illness, try focusing your energy on healing instead of feeling like a victim.   Mindset simply must be considered essential, not an optional add-on that pops up on good days and disappears when the going gets hard.

DEAR KONA

Dear Kona,

Next Sunday, you have a rendezvous with my brother Tom Hulsey as well as all the other competitors, at IRONMAN World Championship, the Super Bowl of triathlons. Understand, we all know you will put up a fight, that you will not go quietly into the good night. The conditions you’ll throw at them are downright inhumane from rough surf to unforgiving & unrelenting heat to time that never seems to end. You intend to break them, to cause them to lose their will to keep going, and ultimately, to quit.

But understand this, my friend, you don’t know Tom and you will find him to be most uncooperative with your plan. To Tom, the word “quit” is the ultimate and unmentionable four-letter word. It is a word that does not exist in his vocabulary, and frankly, he has no time to waste learning what it means. Try as you might, he will not quit.

Instead, you will find Tom to be relentless. He will not stop regardless of conditions, regardless of how he’s feeling. This is a man who has stared into the great abyss to overcome cancer in the last year. Sure, he had his down times dealing with it but I never heard him ask why him or feel sorry for himself. Quitting, giving in was never considered. He just kept going and started making new goals. He also realized that he had a message of hope he could spread to others and has done so with ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer where he has become a valued fundraiser and team member. Just a little over 2 months ago, he competed in the full Ironman Lake Placid 2016. You ask did he finish? Of course he did! What kind of question is that?

You need to understand that long before cancer, his outlook on life was formed. In the ‘60s, Tom grew up in Wisconsin during the glory years of the Green & Gold, listening and learning the gospel of Lombardi. Nothing short of giving it your best and going beyond your abilities wasn’t just something that sounded nice – it was expected and anything less was not tolerated. I know this to be completely true as I was lectured many times as Tom’s little brother. Later, Tom was further shaped by the 1980 Miracle on Ice. While he loved the team and reveled in the Miracle, he most admired Herb Brooks, the coach responsible for putting the team together. Brooks was another coach who expected nothing but the best and would do everything to ensure the success of the team including some of the best mind games ever. I have no doubt that if Tom had played for Team USA, he would have been the guy wanting to keep skating Brooks’ infamous “Herbies” when the rest of the team was dropping. In years since, I’ve heard Tom say that if he could have, he would have loved to have played for Lombardi and Brooks.

I give you this brief glimpse into the background of Tom Hulsey to let you that no matter what you throw at Tom on Sunday to stop him, you will fail. If anything, the more obstacles presented during Ironman, the more determined & motivated Tom will be. You should move on to the next person because I assure you that you will be disappointed. Your efforts to break Tom will be unsuccessful.

Good luck, Tom! You can and will do it! Expect nothing less than the best and go for it!

Brian Hulsey

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KUPA’A

IRONMAN World Championship – A Celebration of Life & Making a Difference     #endprostatecancer

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October 8th represents a most memorable milestone for me.  It had been a 30-year dream to go back to Kona and race at the Ironman World Championship – one more time.   Without a doubt, it is the most grueling single day endurance test on the planet.

In order to even get to the starting line, I had to overcome the biggest obstacle in my life – CANCER.  I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on my birthday in 2015.  17 months prior to Kona, I was getting around with a walker and wearing 2 catheters.  With the encouragement and support of my wife (Lauren), I made the decision to fight the cancer and embrace the Ironman motto – “anything is possible.”  I set goals to get beyond the hard times, culminating with Ironman Lake Placid 2016 in July (14 months post-surgery).

In March of this year I decided to share my story and joined the ZERO Endurance Team.  Subsequently, I was invited to represent ZERO and race at Kona.  Even though it was only 11 weeks after Lake Placid; I welcomed the challenge and more importantly, have the opportunity to share my journey and have an impact on a much larger audience.

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Sharing my story of hope, inspiration and awareness at the Athlete Charity Panel

Ironman is a metaphor for life.  There will be ups and downs; it is how we deal with the challenges that define us.  Life is full of setbacks, success is determined by how you handle them.  As I articulated in my blog published July 28th, WITH PERSEVERANCE, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE; I had many challenges at Ironman Lake Placid, missing a DNF (did not finish) by 22 minutes.  Lake Placid made me question if I could even complete “the most grueling single day endurance test on the planet.”  Little did I realize that my Lake Placid experience was making me tougher mentally.   That mental toughness would serve me well in Kona.

The theme of this year’s Ironman World Championship is KUPA’A.  This means having the strength to stand firm, to believe in and be loyal to yourself and your surroundings.  Achieving the goal of finishing the World Championship requires dedication, passion and courage.

What separates Kona from all other Ironmans are the intimidating conditions.  These include the ocean swim, biking & running in the black lava fields, heat, humidity, and the cross winds coming off the ocean.  Another obstacle in Kona this year was a lack of water.  Three aid stations on the bike course ran out of water (I chose to stay focused on my goal and not dwell on this).

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As in life, we learn and grow from our mistakes.  There were lessons learned in Lake Placid, e.g. nutrition.  I applied those lessons learned and built a strategy for Kona.  Executing that strategy required mental discipline – staying true to myself.  Examples include: not letting the adrenaline take over in the swim and go out too fast, resisting the urge to stop at all the bike aid station bathrooms (I cut the visits in half, compared to Lake Placid), going with an all-liquid diet during the race and walking at the aid stations, only, during the marathon.

As in life, having a plan and setting goals is so important.  To quote my idol, Coach Vince Lombardi, “the quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence.”  In Kona, I stayed focused and executed the plan and beat my Lake Placid time by 2.5 hours!

Running down Alii Drive to the finish was filled with many emotions; crossing the finish line at the Ironman World Championship is one of the most incredible experiences in my life.  More importantly, and what I am most proud of is the impact I am having with ZERO.  It was a privilege to have the opportunity to represent ZERO and share my story with an international audience.

To date, I have raised over $30,000 for ZERO.  My 2016 fund-raising goal is $32,000. Knowing that   97 cents of every dollar is spent on research, education and family services, is a big reason I have embraced ZERO.  Every small donation has a huge impact.  My ZERO – End Prostate Cancer fund-raising page…    www.zeroprostatecancerendurance.org/ironman2016/tomhulsey

A special shout out to my other sponsors; O3inspire and Vitality Sports Medicine.

LIFE IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT

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With Perseverance, “Anything is Possible”

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Lake Placid provides a stunning backdrop to a very difficult course

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”  This quote by my idol, Coach Vince Lombardi, never resonated more with me then at Ironman Lake Placid Sunday.

Ironman (IM) is a perfect metaphor about life; it’s the journey.  You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other; there will be unexpected challenges, some far more severe than others.  The IM motto is “anything is possible.”

Completing IM Lake Placid 2016 was the long-term goal I set 17 months ago, after I was diagnosed with cancer.  IM Lake Placid is considered one of the toughest IMs in the world.  Many asked why I did not select an “easier” IM.  People that know me know I would not have it any other way.  With Lauren’s (my wife) unflinching support over the past 17 months, I crossed the finish line at Lake Placid, but not without challenges.

The 2.4 mile swim was brutal.  There are 3,000 athletes (that’s 12,000 churning limbs).  Who said swimming is not a contact sport?  Imagine being in a washing machine; envision playing hockey without pads.  I was already dealing with a shoulder injury sustained in a skiing accident in March.  Being  hit or hitting others during the swim stroke was painful.  This does not happen when you are training in a pool with a lane to yourself!  The contact cannot be avoided, but it definitely hurts (and saps energy!).  IM swim strategy dictates that you save your energy for the long day ahead.  Being kicked in the face and receiving a bloody nose compounded my obstacles.  The strategy of starting toward the back of the pack did not work.  When I raced at IM Lake Placid 2010, I had broken ribs and could not afford a kick to the upper body.  The strategy of hanging back worked in 2010.

The 112 mile bike was tough on the sore shoulder; all the vibration transfers to the shoulders.  Having to change 3 flat tires did not help my time.  Also, one of the side effects from my surgery is bladder control, I had to stop at every aid station (one every 10 miles) – yikes!  Hot weather is my ally; sweating means less visits to the port-a-potty!  Lake Placid was mild Sunday (most would say the weather was awesome!).

The 26.2 mile run started out well.  The shoulder felt better.  The discomfort shifted to feet.  I developed hot spots, eventually coverings a majority of the bottom of both feet, making each strike to the ground painful.  I stopped to get medical aid; they recommended soaking my feet in ice water.  I reluctantly agreed, knowing this would take precious time.  It worked – for about 10 miles.   The pain came back, so I returned to the medical tent for the same treatment.  With the focus on my feet; nutrition was neglected.  I was weak and dizzy.  Drinking cola at the last aid station helped and sustained me to the finish line.

So, getting to the finish line at this IM was tough – physically and mentally.  I have completed every race I have started; I was determined for this race not to be my first DNF (did not finish).  Half the challenge of an IM is mental (some say more).  During those really tough times in the darkness on the run, I kept thinking about the reasons I chose this race: a goal I set to focus on beyond my health issues, to honor my dear friend Bill Rollings (this horrible disease took him away too soon) and all the people that have been impacted by my story of hope, inspiration and awareness.

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Remembering Bill Rollings

With all this said, IM Lake Placid was a celebration of life.  I am so grateful that I was able to get back to the point where I could be active, train and even race!   I beat cancer!  High-fiving the “Voice of the Ironman,” Mike Reilly, at the finish line was a special moment.

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Ironman 10x with Lauren

I am humbled to know that my story of hope, inspiration and awareness Is making a difference in the fight against cancer.  I am so honored to be representing ZERO – End Prostate Cancer.  So far, I have raised over $20,000 for ZERO.  Knowing that 97 cents of every dollar I raise goes to research and education is a big reason I have embraced this charity.  Representing ZERO and racing at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in October will give me an international platform to continue to spread my message to a much larger audience.  Every small donation has a huge impact;  Click here to view my ZERO fundraising page.

I would like to thank my generous sponsors Vitality Sports Medicine and CyberDefenses, Inc.

LIFE IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT

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