It is all how you identify it in your mind.
Transport back in the future, about 12 years should do it. I had just graduated from college and flopped at my first job. It was in the field, working 20-25 days a month, in the middle of nowhere, and hating every minute of it. Once I returned to Calgary my girlfriend (who ended up marrying me in 2006) suggested that I read this book called ‘Awaken the Giant Within’.
I resisted at first. It is my nature to want to do the opposite of what others suggest.
I hate to admit it, but reading it really changed my life. I took the advice in the book and tried to implement as much as I could. Immediately things started to turn around. I found a job which led me to the career that I wanted and I continue to enjoy it today.
The one part that stuck with me all these years was Anthony’s comment about your state of mind; how you identify a problem in your mind will determine your outlook. He tells it in a story that goes something like this:
Two brothers, one a high powered executive and the other arguably less successful , are interviewed about the path their life has taken. Their father was as abusive to their mother and to both of them. When both were asked why they ended up at this position in their lives, they both responded “with the childhood I had, what else could I have become?”
It is all how you identify it in your mind; a positive mind set will change the way you look at yourself, the way others look at you, and the outcome of a situation. I don’t know about you, but I want to be around people who effect my life positively. Who am I kidding, I know that is what you want as well.
There are many ways to train your mind to respond positively to adverse conditions; be it a triathlon, boring meeting, or mid-fight with the wife. Anthony suggests a 10 day challenge where you resist the temptation to speak or think a negative thought. Sounds tough? It is, but it sure helped despite not getting past day 3 on several attempts. I have also completed the 21 Day No Complaint Challenge which I found helped establish not only a positive, but a solution focused mid set.
It has changed my life and is definitely worth it.
Question: What do you see?
Back to back weekly recaps. Lazy you ask?
Swim – 2:00:00 – 5200m
Bike – 1:00:00 – 26km
Run – 0:35:00 – 7.26km
Total – 3:35:00
In relative terms, lazy is about right. Lake Chaparral was my last race of the 2013 triathlon season, so this week is my wind down before I take a couple of weeks off from structured training. In hindsight, I may have taken it a little too easy, but with a pending vacation and work in full swing, I had to skip a couple of days.
Monday was a complete rest day after my race. After nursing my sore legs, standing desks don’t help with that by the way, I hit the bike for an hour on Tuesday for a easy spin. I tried the same for Wednesday in the pool but ended up with 16x25m sprints. That is the thing about being part of a club, there isn’t much room for individual requests. So I stuck with the workout because I would rather swim harder with the group, than swim easy on my own.
Easy run on Thursday and back in the pool on Friday. My swim coach has mentioned that he was looking to sell a couple of his wetsuits and brought them to the pool for me to try out. I took the first 15 minutes of our workout trying on, diving in, and swimming with each wetsuit, feeling each one. I have no problem getting into a wetsuit, but I have never done it wet before. It was more of a workout than the next 45 minutes in the lane. As I missed the warm up drills, I stuck around after the group was finished and completed my 400m, drill set.
So long story short, I liked the sleeveless ‘speed suit’ and took it with me on vacation to hopefully try it out in the lake a couple of times.
We are off for a family vacation, this time without the training gear and structured training plans. I love Sicamous; my family has been going there for a summer vacation since I was around 12 years old and we have gone each year since my daughter was born. She really enjoys it as well, so despite the mosquitoes in July, wasps in August, seaweed all year round, and a 6 hour drive, we make the trip each year.
More than the location, I am looking forward to some rest and relaxation. I have been going pretty hard this year, not taking may days off since last fall. I am going to try for a couple open water swims and one or two runs while I am away. Stay tuned to see how that goes.
I lent a book that changed my life, ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, to a buddy over a year ago. Every time we run into each other, he says “Dude, we need to grab a coffee and I can return your book.” I wasn’t angry, if it took him some time to finish it, no problem. It is totally worth it.
So this week, he invited me for a coffee and gave me my book back. Only this was a brand new copy and inside was a $30 gift card. He wrecked the copy I gave him and instead of returning a damaged book, he hooked me up with a crisp new copy.
That is stand up.
Question: What is your wetsuit preference? Do you dig sleeves?
Books, especially good books, are best when shared.
I am a reading junkie. Actually I go in waves. For months at a time, there will be a book in my hand every moment of the day. Other times, I will go weeks without looking at a book. There is no real reasoning for the switch, sometimes you have another titled already lined up, or it can just take time to find a new book after you are finished.
I have always kept a top five list in my head; books that if anyone asked me for advice on what to read, I would offer without hesitation. I think sometimes, I would actually offer them without being asked. Sorry.
So I thought that I would share this list with you guys. Listed in order of awesomeness, here are my favorite books I have read so far.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safron Foer
Oscar, the main character, is a pretty cool little kid. So cool in fact, I tried to convince my wife to name our son Oscar (I am not as good of a Salesman as I thought I was). With a vicarious 6 year old in our house who is similar in so many ways it is scary, I can relate with his mom. We have discussed ordering my daughter business cards in the past, as it would make introductions at the park a lot easier.
Hey Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland
I really like a story that is told from several perspectives and jumps around through time. Douglas Coupland has a knack for creating characters just weird enough that you know they are fictional, but not so weird that sometimes you go ‘that could be me’. The reason this book is number 2? How the books ends.
Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffs
A kids book on the list? I hear you thinking that. The story is pretty touching; that boy and penguin really loved each other. I understand a connection like that; I would paddle in an upside down umbrella if I was ever separated from my daughter.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
‘Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.’ With an opening line like that, how could you not continue reading? Needless to say, and without spoiling the book, it will change your view on society.
4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
It is cliché a bit, but this book changed my life. Tim made me look at my body completely differently after reading the first 5 pages. How can you crush a full BBQ Chicken Pizza and measure lower body fat 24 hours later? Seems insane. It isn’t just weight loss, I took his advice about muscle imbalances and evened my body out over a 6 week period. I have been injury free since.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
You know this one had to be here. As a midfoot runner and believer, I hate Nike after reading this book. Just kidding Nike, if you want to sponsor me, we’re cool. The story was great and the advice he gives about running and efficiency are on point. So much so, the thought of running an Ultra Marathon won’t leave my head.
One additional point: If they make your favorite book into a movie, don’t go see it. You will always be disappointed.
Question: What does your list look like?
Run 100 miles, maybe. Run 100miles over a couple mountain ranges in 40 degree celsius heat, no thanks.
I read, I read alot. Being on the bike for 5-7 hours a week, atleast half on the stationary, gives me alot of spare time. I have found that with my iPad and Kobo app, I can take a book with me an read while I pedal. So over the last 6 months, I have finished 8 books, ranging from self help to biographies. One book that really inspired me was Eat&Run: My Unlikely Rise to Ultramarathon Greatness.
I discovered the world of Ultramarathon through ‘Born to Run’ and further researched Scott Jurek in the following months. Not because his Vegan lifestyle, not for his fame, but to find out what makes him tick. Was there something he does that I can utilize in my life? Turns out, after reading his book, there was.
1 “Sometimes you do things”. Determination, focus, grit….call it what you will The ability to dig deep and continue when something is telling you to quit is easy in theory, tough in practice. Find your mantra so when your body says done, your mind says keep goin. I use a little of point 1, little of point 2, and a lot of smiling.
2 Focus on little victories. We have all experienced that feeling of wanting to shut down halfway through a training ride or 5km into a 10km race. By focusing on the next milestone, wether it be an aid station, crest of the hill, or the next competitor in front of you, you can split the race into little pieces. Once you achieve that small goal, you can relish in the small victory, and continue on to the next.
3 Give back to your sport. In a race, how many times have you passed a volunteer? How many time have you been a volunteer? I am sad to say many and none. Consider giving back and help out at a race next time you are able.
4 Acknowledge your fellow competitors. Most of them are out for the same reasons you are, whatever they may be. Don’t ignore or try to intimidate them, chat with them. I actually chatted with a fellow competitor on an uphill section of the Lake Chaparral bike course.
Question: What do you do when struggles arise?
Disclosure of material connection: I have received no compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brand, products, or services I have mentioned.