An Athlete's Diary
What a title huh? It took very little thought or energy.
Have you ever been to the Ozarks? I have. Let me tell you a little bit about the last five hours of my experience…
We knew the temp was going to drop. I did not anticipate what the fatigue would do to what that temp felt like. Lynn came over to me at 11:30 on Saturday night as I sat on one of the three lawn chairs “reserved” for runners. Jason had just left down the trail and I desperately wanted to keep up. Lynn bent down and said, “Jason and I will be just down the trail. You’ll catch us in a bit. Come on, let’s go.” Prior to that “conversation” I was convinced that my race was over.
Instead I could have died of hypothermia. The temp dropped to below freezing and I was not prepared. I did not have warm enough clothes nor did I anticipate moving even close to as slowly as I was. At 11:30pm I left the warmth of the fire and set foot into cold darkness. It wasn’t long before I knew I wouldn’t make it in time to the next aid station. With no cell service my option was to press on so that’s what I did.
Five hours later I made it to the warm fire where my brother, Jesse was waiting for me along with the volunteers who were beginning to wonder if this crazy man was ever going to come out of the woods. At one point I wondered the same thing.
Then, there was the Superior Failure that this writing is called. Imagine the same story, leaving the aid station when I knew I shouldn’t have, felt like death with five miles to go. This time it was the heat though and even that story isn’t what this is all about.
It’s about Superior ’15. As I reflected on my third 100 mile DNF I discovered something. I wasn’t about to die this time. I actually felt as good as I could 72 miles in. Why did I convince myself that my race was over then with just two miles until Sugarloaf aid? I had few answers in the couple weeks off the trail. I had no capacity for answers. I was still riding the high of a 72 mile day.
Once I had a chance to sit back and analyze my experience though I decided it all came down to one word. In ’12 and ’13 I had no choice. I was in real rough shape both times. What I had in ’15 that I didn’t have the other two years is control. In ’15 I had control and it was my choice to stop. It didn’t matter what anyone said to me in those minutes once I had made up my mind to stop. What I learned though is to listen to those people who have your best interest in mind in those moments when you feel there is no way. Some folks made some great suggestions that I brushed off. My mind had been made up.
As I look back on that decision to stop it bothers me sometimes. I only get one shot a year at that distance and to throw the opportunity away seemingly for no reason eats at me. That’s why, this year, I’m more focused than ever and have more confidence knowing that in ’15 I did most everything right. What I need to work on this year is finishing. I’m going to use that word in all of my life. From ’16 on I’m a finisher.
It feels good to have shared that with you so I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Now I can move on to the ’16 season. Stay tuned as in my next writing I’ll be sharing my ’16 calendar and you’ll get an inside look at how I block my schedule and what my rhythm looks like when I’m training for this four ultra spring/summer season. Opt in on the Home page to get my eball recipe for FREE. There’s even a video. It took me years to get it right and I still try different things every time I make them. If you want me to make you a batch you can get 10 for $35 just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might be familiar with the concept of Flow. Since it isn’t embedded in any one system, Flow is applied regardless of style or methodology. It pertains to human performance which we all experience every day.
As we continue to work towards this “sweet spot” called Flow, we can expect increasing engagement and improving performance. The increasing and improving doesn’t have an end. We are not reaching towards some quantifiable goal here. We are focusing on the steady improvement every day and while we will increase and improve, we’ll never get to “increasing” or “improving”.
At 10x Traction Wellness, LLC we are always working towards the flow tunnel with our clients. We do this by asking questions, listening and taking unified action towards increasing engagement and improving performance. Contact Jon Howard at email@example.com for more information.
Have you ever gotten in the best shape of your life for a particular moment in time only to have the moment pass and the shape change?
I’ve been thinking about build up and sickness the past couple of days during my exercise. It might be completely unrelated to your current situation but I’d like to share my thoughts. This could help when it is.
Over the past seven or eight years, in my experience as a trainer, I’ve witnessed it dozens of times when training clients for “events” and experienced it myself a number of times as well. It happens for weddings, graduations, vacations, races and I’m sure more.
What I’m talking about is overtraining. We train so hard and are so laser focused on the upcoming moment that we forget about our own wellbeing once that moment has passed.
Stress is undoubtedly the culprit and it’s not just the exercise either. It is the planning, preparation and movement on top of everyday life, which as you know, does not stop.
I think the message here is that while we train hard for events that are important to us for a variety of reasons, we do well to be considerate of the after.
Rest and recovery are a big part of any intense training program. When we feel our muscles don’t have much left to give we might be well off to take some time where our athletic competitive nature shifts towards recovery. What can I do today to set me up for a more productive tomorrow? How can I modify my intensity towards buffering lactic acid and resetting optimal range of motion, with special consideration to the areas of the body that might need it most?
One more quick thing. I’ve found that getting back on your feet if the post – event crash does happen is best approached slowly and considerably systematic. The mind often comes first and we can stimulate that piece by starting with a walk or a light set or two of shoulder strengthening movements.
So, next time you’re working up to a special event in your life or an athletic challenge of some kind keep in mind how your pre-event habits might affect your after – event life. And, it is possible to integrate healthy after – event life habits during your pre – event build up. That way when the moment is over the lifestyle and shape stay.
Training Edge Sports, LLC