Laura McLeod, a girl I went to school with through childhood here in Yellowknife came by the other day to drop off my Garmin Forerunner 305 after she used it in her triathlon. With her came her bf and my long-time good friend whom I grew up with, Mr. X. Both are very good friends of mine and it was entertaining to have them over for those few minutes the other night. They are a funny couple at times, bickering and fuelling each other’s arguments. I’m not trying to totally destroy Mr. X here, but I think some of the topics he covered are interesting and can be used as good examples of potential low quality behaviour. Hahah, that sounded brutal… I even told him that I was maybe going to tear a strip out of him in my blog…luckily he doesn’t read it. To the extent of my knowledge anyways… The reason why I am using Laura’s name and not Mr. X’s is because Laura specifically asked me to mention her in a blog article.
But anyways, so Laura is training for marathons these days. She is running the Yellowknife Marathon in August and then the Victoria Marathon at Thanksgiving. She’s used the old Forerunner a few times on some of her longer runs and I’ve been chatting to her quite a bit about her training. She is very disciplined in life, possibly due to her Dad’s past as a high-up military man, and she has been taking her running very seriously lately. There are definite places for improving her training, like drinking fluids when running over 2 hrs on a hot day, but this will come eventually with experience. I would say Laura’s definite strengths come from her self-motivation and her drive to succeed and I see these as very valuable traits that will get her far in life.
Mr. X though is a special case. He is one of the most talented individuals I have ever met. He is amazing at literally every sport and could easily become world-class at many of the sports he does. A lot of the time though he lacks the drive and confidence that comes so naturally to Laura. That is his only weakness.
So ya, they were having an interesting argument the other day, which I think I may have started. I participated in the same triathlon as Laura, running the 5 km leg for a friend. I recorded my run on the Forerunner and then I lent it to Laura for her run while her dad was still out on his epic bike ride. On my run I hit a max HR (198) and was working close to maximal for nearly the whole time. This is a good thing. It shows that on a given day I can push to my max and work at that level for some time. Laura on the other hand, her max barely broke 170 bpm and her average was in the low 160s. I said that the only difference was that I could work maximally for a given chunk of time and she couldn’t. (I did explain how it was a bit tough to compare cause her 10 km run took her almost 50 minutes and my 5 km was 18:35). Mr. X proceeded to talk about how it was good for a girl and Laura took minor offence to this. Mr. X was saying that if he were to run a 10 km that his time would be faster. He then back-pedaled explaining that in relation to top guy runners, his time would be worse then if you compared Laura’s time with top girl runners. Laura then started to shred Mr. X apart, reaming him out about his laziness and his lack of training lately (Mr. X is on a big University track team – he does 400s and 800s). Mr. X then went on to say that he only trains when he starts to put on weight, which caused Laura to fume and boil over. Laura started lecturing him about how he may or may not have the right reasons for training for his sport.
But yeah, I will end the description there because I think that is sufficient as examples for a few of the ideas I want to convey.
As a high level athlete, a lot of training is about routine. Many days look the same when all you are doing is training and then recovering from training. Such a life makes it easy for bad habits to form. That’s why it is important to constantly be pushing the envelope and challenging yourself in various ways. This could be as simple as being disciplined with a bed time. (Not simple for me unfortunately, I went to bed after midnight last night!!! Jeeze…) It’s about not settling for mediocrity, like Mr. X may do sometimes. It’s about constantly striving forward, challenging yourself and improving the process. It’s all about the process after all. The journey. The process must constantly be refined, tweaked and made better. Try something new, like a different sport drink, or more sport drink during a workout. Stretching for 10 minutes during every recovery period. You are the one who controls your process, you choose the tweaks you want to make. Just so many little things that add up to make the difference. Watch Al Pacino in his speech from the movie “Any Given Sunday”, he sums it up nicely with his speech about fighting for inches. You must fight for inches.
I think much more can be talked about in terms of Mr. X’s occasional lack of drive and self confidence. These are things that are lacking in many people in society. It may be fueled by many things, like fear of failure or commitment, a non-motivating environment, or even good old laziness. A good example of the fear of commitment is when my own dad was attempting the back yard rope climb. It wasn’t a matter of not having the strength, (he does tons of push-ups every day and has some brutish old-man strength) just a fear of going for it, overcoming mental barriers, and achieving the apex of the rope. Like Lululemon says, “do one thing a day that scares you.” Or this one “do it now, do it now, do it now!” Here is a shot of Mr. X readying himself for the rope climb.
You mean I’m not allowed to use my legs?!?!
Unsuccessful. Which begs the question: Is it mind or is it matter?
Mr. X does have a few stunningly good attributes in sport and training that make him a force to be reckoned with. The other day I did a track workout with him. He was a great training partner that day, asides from being brutally late getting ready and making me stand around waiting for him. He had really good input into the workout and was a solid guy to have around for some of the harder stuff we did. He definitely shows the elements of work ethic and undivided attention once in a while for workouts. Another thing that he is known for is his competitiveness. Growing up he would often get really worked up and animated about certain things in sport. His competitive-nature would show flashes of his dark side in the occasional mini-tantrum. These days, he has learned to harness that energy towards better things. When there is a close battle being fought, he has an amazing ability to focus every ounce of energy into bettering his foe(s). He has the mind power and patience to kick at the end of a running race. He can remain calm and collected while under pressure (if the battle is worth winning and he is able to do so). He’s also really good at getting into your head. A well placed comment here or there, or the intimidation factor from a winning point in tennis (or vball, or pingpong, or badminton, etc.. – the list goes on). Even though I have ripped him apart earlier in this blog, he still has a ton going for him.
I suppose those are some of the thoughts that I have had recently. Thrown about and pieced into a sloppy blog update.
Mr. X and I penguin diving at JT’s cabin at Prelude Lake.
It doesn’t matter what your profession is. Strive towards greatness by setting daily goals and focuses.
Don’t settle. Attack! Push yourself.
JT can hold his own on the rope climb.
Yellowknife is shrouded in smoke on many an occasion during summertime. “Salamanderson” is about to huck the YK bridge. From the railing!!! That’s right…