Thursday, January 31, 2013

I, Tiger


You gotta go a little Rocky Balboa sometimes. Training is not always glamorous. Punches land. Occasionally one must deal with the fact that on some days, we fire on less than eight cylinders. There are events in which we place added emphasis, red letter meets, our A races or key workouts that, for reasons mysterious and obscure, we do not perform up to our expectations. Sometimes losing is better than winning. Redemption is a beautiful word. 

Yet we disappoint ourselves. We want more. We had hoped for better. We then become discouraged, frustrated and lethargic. In extreme cases we wallow in sorrow, toss in the towel and quit. What's the use?

I know this to be true because I have experienced it first hand. I have been there. I have downgraded my self worth because I failed to meet an unrealistic result. Or perhaps because I failed to see the long term forest from the short term trees. Maybe our societal values and contemporary attitudes on winning cause us to label everything less than first place as losing. If you aren't the champion you must be a loser. 

That is so wrong. So very off-base. Disingenuous and borderline criminal actually. 

If I run my best race (more on the IF to follow) and finish with a result less than I had hoped, I should do a few things:

1) Examine my training techniques,
2) Examine my commitment,
3) Learn the lessons, apply them to my training, and,
4) Go back and test them again.

With perhaps the fifth element of transcendence being the most important,

5) See this as a path, a process and allow the magic to mix with the sacred to gracefully orchestrate a higher frequency of power and success. In other words, DON'T GIVE UP.

You have not failed at all, you have simply created additional challenge in your personal quest for growth and excellence. And THAT is exactly how we succeed, by overcoming those challenges. NOT by deriding ourselves because the distance too long, the hill too steep, the foe too ferocious or our times too slow. 

Examine. Experience. Endure. Get back at it, smarter and with more presence than ever before. Be involved with every moment of training. Take responsibility for your effort. Give your best. Do not be concerned with the outcome as recorded in the results page but concerned with the level of your commitment to training and your ability to access your optimal self awareness as measured by power. Do that and you will never be disappointed again. 

I guarantee if you get to 85% of that, the music will sound a lot like Eye of the Tiger


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No such animals

OK, here is the truth. In a moment of (wait, how can I spin this to place blame elsewhere?) complete awareness meltdown, I allowed "an accident" to occur. By now you should know that I believe there exists no such animals, and all "mishaps" arise simply as a result of our spatiotemporal displacements, eg, not paying attention. Or not enough attention. So now I sit and type with a right index finger wrapped with ten yards of gauze, secured with black athletic tape and throbbing in semi-delayed syncopation with my saddened heart. 



Goes for slow typing I can assure you, especially for the hunter-pecker. 



Here is the story. You may consider this a public service announcement. 

After our 1000 TbP session I decided to save the company some dough. Instead of a costly service call to repair one of our noisy Keiser M3 spin bikes, I felt ready to tackle the job. I had some help. Paul, the savvy maintenance man had a room full of tools and an hour to lend. We dug in. At one point I was on one side of the flywheel holding a 5mm bolt with my right hand with a flashlight in my left to illuminate his work with the telescoping magnet and flat screwdriver as he held the lock nut perfectly in place so I could insert the aforementioned bolt. We managed to do this four times and then reset the plastic belt cover shroud and reassemble the cover. Took us an hour but we got it.

That should have been the end of the story. And they spun happily ever after. BUT NOOOOOOOOOO.

I felt empowered, even cocky in the completion of the repair and as I walked towards the shower room, I passed Keiser number 6. It had been making some noise of late and armed with the "victory" over number one and with the wisdom of that experience I felt like the same job on Old #6 would be a piece of cake, so I dropped my backpack and headed back for the tools.

Cover off, shroud loosened, inspection underway. I couldn't find exactly where the noise was emulating and in the process I ran my finger along the moving belt for the tell-tale tactile test. The tensioned belt immediately grabbed the finger and tried to run it past the tensioning pulley and in ONE SECOND had mashed, mangled and ripped open a pair of one-inch gashes, one atop, one under.  

I stood agog. Aghast. Appalled. Shocked that I had allowed this carnage to happen. Humiliated and embarrassed I sauntered to the locker room to access the damage and stop the bleeding. A deep, but clean, cut on top, and a severe mash wound underneath. We wrapped it tight and I headed back to clean up the mess. 

There is my sad story. I re-dressed it last night after re-filling my Safeway prescription for Malbec, and decided that it would be OK. Most likely. Maybe not. I have heard some pretty good guitar players with missing digits. 

In keeping with the metaphysical theme of the last paragraph, or for the Buddhists and/or social scientists among you, check this out on our fear of dying

On a lighter note here is a list of things you can do to lose those unwanted extra pounds. Two things jump out: Eat early and drink green tea. 

Lastly, is more ways to boost your metabolism.

You can always start with 85% of your estimated gear 15 sweet spot and dial it up progressively along with the onset of fatigue. As another example.

Just stay present. Keep your awareness chinstrap fastened TIGHT. 

Pic: Jerry swears there are no such animals. 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Heed the Call


Then something happens, or a series of things happen, and it’s 30 years later and he asks himself if he is happy, if he has done the right things, and realizes that his life has been rich because he heeded the calls when they came, and he resisted easy belief. He sacrificed some things. He parted tragically with his home. He left many things behind but he heeded the call.

Three items this Tuesday morning just prior to heading back to the BAC for another Training by Power session. Yesterday was a tough one, long and demanding. I got in three workouts and this morning my lower back is barking. I should rest, but if there is a seat open I will slug out another 2x20 session and push the overload another day. I am not ready to throw in the towel. I may be tired, beat-up and bruised, but I am not beaten. There are some bent parts, but no broken ones. I recognize that to get out of this tunnel and back into the light I must endure. I must fight. I must get off the canvass, balance and re-affix my gaze on the face of fear. That is who I fight. That is the call I hear. Fight the easy belief. 
First item is a feel good-piece about a handful of guys who answered their calls, going from sedentary to super-fit. I find these stories extremely motivational. Read here.
Second piece is a very crisp bit of writing, sampled above, that I want to share for both its content and its style. It is about us. About the call. About meaning and about life. Find it here.
Thirdly, and lastly today is the link to the Arms Around Bainbridge FB site where info on our Thursday night Video-Spins can be found. Here is the synopsis:
Feb 7 - March 28, 1800-1900, for eight weeks. Cost is $150 with all proceeds going to AAB for their local humanitarian efforts. That translates into us helping our neighbors by getting healthier. You spin, burn calories and have productive Thursday night fun as we raise cash for others in their time of need. 
All for today. Inspiration, introspection and a call to action.
He left many things behind but he heeded the call. I like that. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

White Horse


During, or immediately after, a particularly challenging hill segment this morning, with my heart and lungs co-conspiring to declare an unconditional mutiny, I encoded the message. As best I could translate under heavy fire, I yelled to the troops to fall back and take cover. This message needed to be received in unmistakable and unspinable form. Black and white. No gray areas for adding ego, spin, bias or cowardice. Come in Black Horse, we copy. 

When the truth speaks you had better listen. Or, more contemporarily, when the General issues a direct command  to jump, you ask how high, sir?

Here was the message: It is not the sole responsibility of the big muscle groups (the heavy artillery on the front lines) to always control the surge. Nor is it always the power of the heart or the volume of the lungs. You know this, you can feel this play out under varying circumstances, on changing battlefields, sometimes without food or water. WE WILL TAKE THAT HILL! As a good soldier of cycling you know there to be something else at play. Something keeping it all together, binding our efforts like super glue, bailing wire and duct tape. 

The transmission, filled with static and noise, continued: There are two elements that we can practice here, indoors, and now, today. 

The signal was suddenly clear. Oxygen flowed again. 

One: Your breathing. It was even suggested that we can turn to this skill under moments of chaos and panic. Deep breathing. Relaxing, restorative and rejuvenating. Heck, even fire cannot survey without it. It turns to smoke and then fades to charred coal. Breath is life. If you are going to dial up your living rate, as we do on a regular basis in the HoM, you need to practice this vital skill. 

Two: Your ability to focus. To hold a fixed and relaxed state of awareness. To work towards keeping your mind tied to your body and avoiding distraction as if it were evil. Because it is. It is another one of America's dirty little secrets. The more distracted you are the easier it is to rob you (legally) blind. Yes I am outraged when I sit in a greasy spoon cutting pancakes with my fork and paying two bucks for coffee as Howard Schultz gets a 80% raise. I can't fathom the PR nightmare Boeing is going through as a result of their oversights. I care little about Beyonce, the Sacramento Kings or anything to do with Downton Abbey. I do not have the time. Sorry. Further, I am NOT going to allow them into my consciousness while training. That time is too valuable to mindlessly waste simply by turning pedals as our minds vacation in Bali. 

The message is complex. It is not easy. I can't just say it and make it so. You, and I  have to practice, practice and practice again. 

Breathe right.
Distract not. 

The rest will take care of itself. 

Come in White Horse, do you read me? 


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Buy George


We are pleased to announce the latest promotion in the Mojo family. Mr. George H. Lynch has been officially promoted to the position of Kitsap County Sales Manager. RG, as affectionately known to thousands of triathletes from Los Angeles to Seattle, has been the 'local guy' assisting with driving duties, including Real Course Video production and Bernie's Big Adventure SAG work for over ten years. Prior to his wheel work he was a scratch golfer and certified health care provider. Now in his 80th year as a salesman, RG is pleased to be heading the Mojo line of compression hose in the Kitsap area. He can be reached at 206.225.3135 for questions and orders. RG: Get's You Pumping. RG reminds: "Deliveries are always free on Bainbridge Island."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

85%

Try 85,

or 90%

Nothing MODERATE about that!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fuel on a Plate



We all process nutrients at different rates. Same with the speed with which we burn them for fuel. Meaning, that what works for Johnny Fast isn't necessarily what Sally Strong needs for optimal performance. There are guidelines, such as this excellent overview of female professional cyclists from ESPN, this from Velo News on choosing the right foods for training and racing and this from Coach Nelson on the Aussie style of carb loading. 

Diet and nutrition fads come and go. What we are all eventually tasked with is to determine for ourselves what works and what hinders. To do this we head back to the lab. This test is one of those, along with riding at night, in the rain and sleet, on long slow distances without support and DEFINITELY not for the first time while racing, that is better (much better) done indoors than out. Yes, there are people who do all of the above. Don't be one. Unless, of course, you need more character. 

Test your nutritional strategies in the safety of the lab. At home, in the gym, at the club. This can be as important to your success as an additional 10% of functional power. Get it dialed in. Experiment. Test. Note the effects. Be a lab rat until you have the confidence that only experience brings. 

Bon appetite. 

Pics:  My carbs came on a plate with maple syrup this morning. A rare treat at the 305. The athlete's body, much like the sensitive equipment that measures its output, is fragile and must he handled with care. 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

White Board, Blackboard



Three quick, but highly useful, ideas this morning before I trot off for our morning Training by Power session. The first is from a power forum that stirs the training pot stew with frequent gumption and ferocity. Seems there is no 'one way' to do what every cyclist or multi-sport athlete wants: The quickest way to greater power. REALLY? Arguments, challenges, libelous innuendos, citations to bogus experiments, and occasionally some absolutely brilliant n=1 anecdotes are as common to the power forum as  smelly handle bar tape is to the intrepid randonneur. The collection of wisdom in the following  sentence keeps me coming back on a regular basis to search for these hidden gems. See if you agree: Your self-selected cadence is (usually) a natural representation of what is best to combat the present load for a certain duration of time at optimal efficiency for that duration. Brilliance in common language. 

The second piece is one of those white board cartoons that are starting to annoy me. I liked them for the first 100 uses but now they are more like fingernails on the blackboard, if I may mix that grade school metaphor. That being said, the subject matter is again absolute genius, and a message that needs to be heard, regardless of the medium. Here is a sample, Studies show that “low fitness” is the strongest predictor of death, beating out smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Obesity combined with inactivity is an especially bad combination, and here is the site of DocMikeEvans and his video message. Check it out. Class is in session. 

Lastly, here is Simon examining the big  gains of his athletes on his whiteboard.  Some excellent results from our Brit pals across the pond. Cheers!
Have a great day my friends. We have cadence to keep and healthy habits to seek. Enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fail Often



Failure isn't an option…it is a necessity. 

Mistakes don't make you look foolish -- but acting like you are a born expert at everything certainly will. 

I really like those two juicy quotes, cut from the article entitled, Give Yourself Permission to Screw Up

Additionally, take it from me, the undisputed King of the Screw Up, this sage advice is fit for royalty. 

I mentioned it to one of our spinners this morning and he countered with a anecdote on the subject that illustrates its valuable moral. 

"Guy loses one million bucks as head of R&D for Company X. Devastated and dejected he crawls into the office of the CEO to tender his resignation, filled with sorrow over his failure. CEO says to him, 'Failure, what failure? I just paid for your education.' 

I have no proof, but I suspect a similar situation takes place every day with many of us. We can't seem to get past the failure issue. One workout missed, one opportunity lost, one meal too rich with saturated fat does not a failure make. Failure is the systematic and chronic repetition of bad habits, reinforced by our softening of self respect as we sink into whatever comfort we find in the non-action of our lazy awareness. We KNOW we need to exercise. We KNOW we need to better regulate our diet and we KNOW we need to manage our stress with more grace and less grape. 

But we don't act upon this awareness the right way. We hide. We concoct absolutely brilliant excuses. We blame others. Or the former administration. Or our lousy genetics. We dummy down and become easy prey to the marketeers of the Gadgets of Mass Distraction. 

So fail often my friends. Fail to do your best today and vow to try it again tomorrow. Fail to hold 400 watts for ten minutes. Fail to use that 2 for 1 coupon for Big Macs. Fail to give up. 

If we are going to grow, to evolve, to achieve and to master, there is going to be a definitive time and place where this chasm is leaped in a single bound. Should you fail, do not fret, there is a built-in cosmic safety net awaiting your falling carcass. You then have the option to try again and succeed, or try again, and fail again. The net awaits with saintly patience. 

JUMP. Fail. Fall. Repeat. 

This is your education. Graduate with honors. 

Fail often. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Time and Space


Following on the heels of yesterday's musical theme, and of course you realize that we could do this for (almost) eternity, I was amused by a thread in one if my favorite "all things triathlon" forums, slowtwitch.com. An obviously obsessed heavy metal fan had asked a rather interesting question of the slowtwitch peanut gallery. The question, innocently enough, was 'name your first vinyl purchase'. As the comments and memories piled up they were quickly augmented by .45s, cassettes, eight tracks and finally downloads. 

I assembled my list and now share it with you along with one line of commentary, adding the time, place and space. You may add yours if a moment of eternity allows. Thanks. 

45: Mack the Knife. Bobby Darin. 1960 in my room in LA. 
LP: HELP. The Beatles. Same room, same house, much different vibe, 1964
EIght Track: Steppenwolf the Second. In my '65 Mustang at full volume.
Cassette:  Wake of the Flood, Grateful Dead  California to Washington, 1973. Eyes of the World. 
CD: Aja. Steely Dan The Methow Valley in Winter of 1977. 
iTune: Mysterious Ways. U2. My cabin, an island in the Y2K sun. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Music and Drugs



Interesting article from NPR on Music and Drugs. The concept is wrapped around everything we do in training. With the additional benefit being that we insist on only legal and organic drugs in our practice. We don't need the mind altering or performance enhancing variety

IF IT IS PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATION WE SEEK, in contrast to higher consciousness or the rewards found in victory. I have no problem with either, but traditionally we use endorphins, dopamine and serotonin at 0530 on Monday mornings. This ain't no disco. 

Here is some additional commentary from Dr. Dan Levitin,  and a video with guitar virtuoso Alex de Grassi on the subject, with solid commentary and wonderful examples. 

For our purposes, and I mentioned it again this morning, we all march to the beat of different drummers. We all respond in completely unique ways when it comes to mixing music with movement. The frequency that resonates when we mash up a magical combination of graceful movement, motivating musical accompaniment and the aforementioned organic chemicals, varies significantly by user. I think we may have knocked on the door this morning. I hope you were there to witness. 

We keep knocking until the request for entry is answered. And then we go inside.

To find that everything has changed. What was once no longer is. That ONE song, at that ONE cadence, with that precise amount of resistance, and with the perfect octane mix, somehow no longer gets us 'there'. And that, my dear friends is the importance of the now. Each now. Every cup of tea now, every breath now.

THIS SONG NOW.

That is the part of measuring and managing I really appreciate. The nuance of hearing, feeling, finding the zone, despite (or because of) that blend of rare and exotic ingredients. 

Some days you get them all, others one or two. The days without are the hardest because you must solve the riddle as to where they went. And bring them back. Rewind. And play.

Then it's magic again. Ahhhhh. Here is what we had this morning for sixty minutes of ascending climbs to reach the 'round'. Big numbers. Big value. The faster you go the rounder you get. 

A very good vibration. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Poor Lance




Poor Lance. Busted. 

Like this is a big surprise, catching us somehow off-guard. A SHOCKING REVELATION! 

Please.

There are tons of articles, opinions and stories about what took place in the wonderful world of professional cycling during what is now being hailed as the "Lance Era." You don't need me to recapitulate any of them. Not one. 

But I would like to say this:

STOP THE HYPOCRISY. 

Please.

Lance used PEDs, blood doped and ingested all kinds of other shit to win bicycle races. Like Letterman says in this video clip, "So what and who cares?"

I agree. Lance beat other riders who were taking the same drugs, under the auspices of their team, their managers, their coaches, the team doctors, the race directors and the team sponsors. EVERYBODY KNEW. 

Nobody is right if everybody is wrong. Further, I think I remember reading somewhere about a bunch of hypocrites armed and ready to stone a prostitute to death (the golden era of suitable punishment) when a single powerful comment caused them all to drop their rocks and disperse. 

You know the one: He who is without sin can cast the first stone. 

Lance cheated. He broke the rules. He lied. He is now scrambling to cover up, rally and minimize the collateral damage. The guy is done. By is own admission he is "a flawed character with no credibility."

I agree with that too. He is not alone in that demographic. I can relate. 

All he can do is try to accept the errors, the lies, the hurt and pain he caused to others, and then get on with it. Move along and try to learn the lessons of defeat.

Then he may well become a champion again. 

In the meantime he, and we, don't need the peanut gallery taking cheat-shots at a guy laying in the fetal position suffering from severe internal injuries. Let the poor guy deal with those demons, as we must deal with ours. Or does it make it somehow easier when we see others suffer for their sins on a national, public, televised stage? Do you feel better now?

Please. 

Poor Lance. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In the Box



Sorry so long. I'll be back. In the meantime, here is what has been taking SOME of my time....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The day after


The idea to quit remains present in our minds as long as reasons to quit exist, but the likelihood that we will quit only increases when we start to pay attention to them. Entire article here.
Never, ever, under any circumstance, give yourself a reason to quit. The dazzling brilliance of your cerebral debate team will rip you to shreds with valid and powerful reasons to cease fire. They will counsel you to stop for reasons that only you understand. But reasons that we all know. 
The best excuses center on age, fatigue, ego, failure. You know: Character. WHO YOU ARE. You start to believe them. You question your motives. You actively seek more excuses to validate your rapidly fading self image. We all slow down, but we don't stop altogether. 
Here is a promise: Once you sign on to this team, you may quit only with our permission. Further, THAT WILL NOT BE ON THIS WATCH. No sirrrreee Bob! 
We will quit the day after we're dead. 
Do not pay attention to those ideas. Do not listen to them. Practice the positive. Tell them to go jump in a frozen lake (or worse), and then get back to business. 
OK?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Too good to say no


The curried eggplant ratatouille was hot, the fire warm. It was the end of a long, but productive day. I, much like the gruel, was cooked. The only distractions in two days of labor setting the slate tiles in the new kitchen was a double spin on Saturday and a 10K run around the frozen track in the park yesterday. On Saturday my right hamstring held up to the load and yesterday the left piriformis barked only once. Good dog. Maybe positive process does present progress!

I am pleased on both fronts. The building and the re-building. There needs to be flow. A time to heal. It helps to have a point of focus. A task, a goal, a project. Meaning. It might work out, all tiles perfectly in row. Or it might not. There will be cracks, offsets, rough edges. Tiles will break. 

The process is underway. We are here. This is now. Perhaps the training diligence begun will one day create some small victory in some small event. Maybe the next tile will be perfect, unblemished, flawless. A snapshot of our light. Or maybe not. 

That isn't the point. 

The point is in doing. 

Risking an error. Taking the chance. Experiencing the creative process. Assuming responsibility for the victories as well as the defeats. Life.

Like a tile floor. Or a bowl of homemade soup. 

Too good to say no. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

DATA in FOCUS




The Friday QOD.

Quote of the Day. 

And please trust me when I say that the irony of the QOD is not lost upon me. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do the Homework

They call him the Doctor of Champions. For good reason. Jeff Spencer. Take a look at his opening salvo in this video and see if any of this rings a truthful tone for you. It is so beautiful. 

FOCUSED INSPIRATION and MOTIVATION. Is what we need, not more chatter, not more useless information, not more games or ways to spend our leisure time or disposable income. 

Nothing random. But nothing forced. We have been calling it a snapshot of the sweet spot. That groovy zone. Power, speed, focus. 

His calls it a blueprint. As if you are an architect planning, designing and building your dream house. And what a perfect metaphor, your dream house is, of course, YOU and YOUR BODY. Where you live, work, and play. 

Remember when the Real Estate buzz-pitch was Location, Location, Location? 

If you want to design and build your dream house, or finance a major addition to it, that idea of location, is…

HERE.

Now. Today. This very instant. You do not need to visit your bank and re-fi, you do not need to call your contractor friend for council, you do not need to start thumbing through Sunset magazine and you most definitely do not need to start to lobby with your spouse about the inefficiency of your current kitchen, bath or media center. 

DO NOT BE AN OPULENT, SLOTHFUL, SPOILED BY ENTITLEMENT, UNGRATEFUL, IGNORANT AND PROUD AMERICAN. See here for details. 

Train your mind. Perfect your focus. Bring the challenge here, today. Do this. Connect the dots. There is one defining temporal opportunity in every training session, and many in racing) that present us with that opening. You see it as clearly as you see a gleaming Boeing 787 overhead, you have this instant to execute, GO or NO-GO? Grow and advance or constrict and hide. This magnificent moment happens only when we are focused and clear, otherwise distraction and non-attention hide the gift in camouflaged wrapping. 

We can practice this. Daily. Food choices. Stress management. Training intensities. Rest and recovery strategies. Focus. Your very choice of words, and the stories that you tell yourself, about yourself. Structure. 

Be a champion today. Be a champion right now.

Do the homework and the test is easy. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Dog that Ate Eternity


I saw it yesterday and put it into use today. It was one of those sometimes pithy quotes over a picture of a young, agile, athletic and devastatingly healthy person in a pose suggesting outdoor competition. The quote from For the Health of It is meant to inspire. You know the ones, "A winner never quits and a quitter never wins", over a cool shot of a 100 meter photo finish. All sweat and clenched teeth. Yeah, I know, they get me too. Most of 'em anyway. Yesterday's was the quote: 'I don't have time' is the adult version of 'the dog ate my homework'. 

Pretty clever I will admit. I like it. So shamelessly, I slipped it into the warm-up monologue this morning, chancing plagiarism and intellectual property infringement. And that opened the flood gates. 

Strange things sometimes happen with the sudden release of peptide neurotransmitters during the execution of high intensity indoor cycling intervals. From the pragmatic idea of time management to the metaphysical challenge of spatio-temporal situational awareness, we went, at mach 5, to honoring eternity by our devotion to the present moment. That nanosecond in the vast history of our minds that corresponds with quality, suffering, value and pain. 

Because it is only by total acceptance of the yin/yang connection of those opposites that we endure. 

Lessor species fade, forgotten as the strong move forward, living to fight another day. In the searing heat of athletic battle, the strong survive and the smart find ways to finesse life. You can run through the wall or scamper around it. Power versus speed. Brawn versus cunning. Or you can practice both. Adding art to science, muscle to movement and sheer force of will to dedication and desire. 

Whatever your choice of weapons, they must have the proper and adjacent mental component in the form of focus and a keen ability to hold that 'total presence' for long periods of time (defined here as somewhere between a nanosecond and eternity). In sprinting it can be as little as ten seconds. All out. For the Ironman it is more like eleven hours. Try THAT sometime! I had a friend once tell me that he couldn't even sleep for eleven hours, let alone swim, bike and run for 140 miles while maintaining a vigilant state of relaxed focus and performance flow. 
So our discipline to keeping mentally alert and finding that zone is a major part of our practice. Holding a power value while the body seeks release. Fighting the tendency to seek the path of least resistance. Taking the hard road. Inviting challenge. NOT MAKING EXCUSES. 

If we do anything less that our current absolute best at this, we lose the opportunity of the now. We lose the majesty of this moment. The now is wasted, and we will never get it back. EVER. Do not lose this moment folks. Use it wisely. Because,

HE WHO WASTES TIME, INJURES ETERNITY. 


Monday, January 7, 2013

Choir Bruce

When I sing to the choir, the choir sings back. It creates a higher frequency. There is accord, agreement, teamwork and harmony. We are one voice. A big happy family exercising our freedom and joy. One need not look deeper into than than.

It feels good.

You can dissect it, examine the cross sections, run it through a series of tests, send it to the lab. The final results will remain readily apparent to anyone outside of the smokescreen of the American Marketing Machinery who has the presence to feel for herself: THIS MOVEMENT IS GOOD. THIS EFFORT PRODUCES BENEFIT. THIS MOTION SETS IN PLACE A NUMBER OF VALUES POINTING TO QUALITY. THIS IS NECESSARY FOR BALANCE AND GROWTH.

I could go on SHOUTING, but I think you get the message. So why is it then, that we continue to get bombarded with dummy-down drones of doubt?

Glad you asked. IMHO (thanks for the forum) it is because of two reasons, both brought to you by the AMM referenced above.

1) The American Marketing Machinery thinks you are an idiot. They think (and have proven) that you will use the pipeline they have created to speed the process that separates you from your money. You will buy worthless crap if it offers you some type of immediate benefit at a (sometimes) reasonable price. So you charge an Abominizer on plastic instead of cutting wheat and hops from your diet. Or a Bowflex, or some other instrument of torture where you oogled a hot young model display its ease and effect while watching Star Trek reruns (instead of walking in the park, stretching, or taking a yoga class). This is indisputable folks: WE ARE IDIOTS.

90% of us anyway.

2) The other 10% are just lazy. The organic and natural way to good health and fitness, or the path to improved athletic performance (they are the same) requires something from you. You gotta show up and do the work. You have to eat right. You have to rest and recover properly and you have to manage your stresses in a successful and non-toxic manner.

And this, my friends, takes time. And dedication, and diligence. And courage. And community. And faith and trust.

The last two traits because you need to listen to and translate the language of the body. You have to transcribe the song of the soul and you have to learn to cognitively disassociate yourselves from the manipulating message of the media. I cite as example one hysterical line of dialogue from Finding Nemo:

I AM NOT A MINDLESS EATING MACHINE!! We, much like Bruce the Aussie Shark, sometimes are what we meet to collectively avoid.

Listen to your body folks. Let the Mad Men market. Get up get and out of the door.

These two stories, one about the value of youth sports and the other a marketing treatise about healthy food, both reek of journalistic sloth. Watch the video in the latter piece and see if you walk away quickly, like I did, to wash your hands and face.

Listen to the wisdom of your body.

Let us sing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Ramp-Up CEO

Ramping it up consists of increasing intensity at regular intervals. We did four sets this morning. We worked on keeping focus relaxed, on measuring the perceptions of effort and following the protocols. This for 90 minutes.

Along that gentle upward slope, we talked of the role that lactate acid plays. And how we can train to accommodate graciously its arrival. How to get over the burn and on with the work. How 60 becomes 90 and 90 becomes 120.

The progression of overload. Work, accustom, experience, accept, grow, augment. One day, perhaps a year, perhaps ten, you wake up and your body has an announcement to make. You are called on the carpet. It is just you and your ego CEO. It has been your experience that when this uncomfortable face-to-face happens, the news is, well, something less than fantastic.

But today is different. The CEO, grinning, says that you have reached a plateau. You are fit. In the one percentile in fact. Healthy and strong. Ready to rock. Congratulations, she says, standing and extending a hand for shaking. I am proud of you. Way to go.

Whoa. Me? All this training and testing, resting and recovering, measuring and managing, losing the old habits, thinking in new ways, challenging the status-quo of convention, facing fear and going hard must have been worthwhile. Paid a dividend. Maybe fatigue IS a mental construct after all.

Yes, you have reached the mesa of your optimal fitness. Where did everybody go? No crowds up here. No traffic and no cheeseburgers. You are in the one percent now, and if you want to STAY HERE, you need to get a little smarter. Or you risk sliding back down the hill and rejoining the ninety-nine. You need to fuel smart also.

Just because you work out (hard and often) doesn't pre-qualify you for a platinum all you can eat card with no annual fee. Because not only do you now burn lactate acid as fuel you must also create an ultra healthy octane mix by adding only the finest ingredients. Or you give it all back.

Top five carbohydrates for the athlete:

1) Sweet potatoes
2) Steel cut oats
3) Wild rice
4) Bananas
5) Garbanzo beans

For the last three days I have been fueling only with and incredibly delicious mix of
yams, mushrooms, garlic, kale and chickpeas. I cover this sauteed pastiche with hummus and wrap in a pita. I can editorialize in one word: YUM!!!!!

I also enjoy a post workout protein smoothie with vanilla soy and mixed berries.

This ramp-up combination I find effective for fat control, as high octane fuel to train hard and recover effectively and best of all, the tastes remind me of travel and adventure (with hints of love).

Keep up the good work, the CEO says, showing me the door, indicating, evidently, that there is more to be done.

Pic: Rampage illustrated. ToC 2012 in NorCal.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A True Professional


After successfully navigating through the automated entry maze of AT&T on-line support, I was greeted by Steven. He asked the same information again while my pledge to remain civil was tested anew. This all starts a month ago in Barcelona when I received a twenty cent text announcing that my $240 bill had been successfully transferred and I was now AT&T debt free. 

$240?

I was on the phone to them faster than the Spanish barrista could pull me a double espresso. To their credit they have instigated a program of hiring  American Veterans and I spoke with a former Marine who was very helpful in getting me the right plan for my trip. I paid the $220 bill when I returned promising, once again, when I travel to change my wireless plan. 

So why did I get another HUGE phone bill, I asked Steven, semi-politely. 

He started to investigate while I tried to game their bundle usage plan system on-line. What a nightmare. Scam is a better word. A Ponzi pyramid pricing stricture that the Mafia would kill to manage. 

Steven came back on the line and began the story. There is a reason they are now known as Customer Service Professionals, and I was witnessing the upgrade. He told me that I was in Spain on the 10th, but my billing cycle starts on the 11th and that my International roaming minutes were not used at wholesale, so he was going to see what he could do to lower my current bill.

Thanks.

Back to their website, vowing to go back to a vanilla pay as you go service should Steven fall short in his professionalism. 

OK, we're making some progress here, you have 5,000 roll-over minutes but texting is at .20 per message, all OK, but your data usage is where the issue is. 

Always, I agree. 

Let me put you on hold and do some calcs. Don't go away.

Sure, I replied, glancing at the cobwebbed ceiling corner. 

To be fair about it, I love my IPhone. I am of the media, I provide content, I manage events while traveling, I need communication. I also find it comforting while on the road to get an e-mail from a friend. There is a weird satisfaction in telling some-one I can't make the run at six because I am in London for the day. And while I have added twenty dollars or so to expense reports I simply cannot justify $240. 

Sir?

Steven.

I found some ways to reduce your bill.

Excellent. I am still on-line and see a big green $125.02 CR appear on my statement.

DUDE, nice!!!

Steven chuckles slyly, announcing that he's not done yet. 

Finish strong buddy, roll up your sleeves and dig deep my friend. 

Yes, here is another, we'll retro activate your data and (I hear him punch the enter key and wait for the algorithm to sum),

You owe…..

Yes?

Nothing.

Nothing?

Actually, and I am checking this because i have never seen this before, yes. WE OWE YOU!

You owe me?

$1.98.

You owe me a buck ninety-eight?

That is correct sir. It wasn't easy and please be sure to change your plan the next time you travel internationally so we don't have to do this again. 

Yes, sir. Thank you. And Steven?

Sir?

You are a true professional. 

Have a nice day and thank you for using AT&T.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

START


START.

Is the way to get anything done.

Every day with an objective.

Every day with a movement session.

Every day with a glass of water.

With the hardest chore on your desk.

To focus on process.

To improve efficiency.

To eliminate distractions.

To refine your diet.

To upgrade your relationships.

To learn one new word.

To learn one new skill.

To breathe deeper.

To relax your neck and shoulders.

To center and balance from your core.

To build in recreation time.

To manage the stress.

To appreciate the silence.

To add speed, volume, distance, intensity.

To consider the concept of passion.

To listen to your heart.

To do something soulful.

The ball rolling.

The wheel spinning. 

The shoes pounding.

The lungs panting.

The song singing.

The joy sharing.

The happiness happening. 

The kindness enacting.

The love growing.

The poverty lessening.

The hypocrisy ending.

The fear fading.

The violence turing to respect.

The greed shrinking.

This today, and

DON'T STOP.

Here is a follow up to the "fat is OK" story from yesterday. "Sensationalism" as a journalistic tactic came to mind. Stop.