Evolve

Into The Unkown / Arrowhead 135 Extreme Endurance Ultramarathon

Sometimes, head down, into the unknown, is the only way to go.

Changing course can be a stressful event. Exchanging comfort and control for the unknown is often too much for one to handle. From personal experience, I can attest to this. Recognizing, though, that time moves quickly, and making transitions requires taking action, I’ve become more open to evolving. Opinions, priorities, habits, people all must at some point be questioned. The desire to be yourself must be greater than the need to be liked or to fit in.

Have I become stagnant? Am I moving forward? Is my mobility upward?

Honesty, with yourself, is essential. Self-assessments can be harsh. You must remember that it is easy to judge yourself harshly. Comparisons (to others, and society) are easy to make, yet often disregarded is the fact that your (my) goals and direction may be different from the common human. Moving through life, living true to yourself, accepting the discomfort of alienation (self or group imposed) requires maturity and confidence. Thus continuing to evolve, your positions should be questioned and challenged.

It’s up to you. If you are happy with your current trajectory, by all means, continue onward. For those of you that are still curious, don’t fret, you are not alone. Take comfort in that. Understand that your self-confidence is paramount to living an authentic life. Evolve from within. Learn new skills. Disengage from that which may be holding you back. We all know what those things are in our lives. Evolving requires honesty.

Do not be afraid to use the knife on the reins of your existence. Freedom is always one swift slash away.

2012: An Honest Assessment

The first ultra-experience, Jemez 50k 2010

The first ultra-experience, Jemez 50k 2010

January 2012 was a turning point.  It was time to all-in, or continuing in that middle-area, of “OK” at lots of things, but “good” at none.  I had just completed a 6-week strength training block in the studio, working up to a 40 pullup max, and 5×315 deadlift.  This was great, but in the end I didn’t feel accomplished.  I was now weighing a solid 165, but was that the goal?  Train in the gym to be better in the gym?  Was I another “crossfit guy”?  Did that motivate me?  The answer to that question was no.  The gym is a modality, a tool to make you better at Sport.  It is not Sport nor can it substitute for it.  Thus, my energy turned toward my real passion… endurance.  Specifically, competitive distance/ultra-running.

Endurance is a strong word.  It says a lot.  When a person has endurance, to me, they are tough, strong willed, dedicated individuals.  See, you can’t fake endurance.  Profound, lasting endurance is earned day in and day out.  An endurance athlete has the ability to recover quickly, relentless pursuing the next goal or event.  Training through fatigue, learning how to actively recover and envision a future of breaking through barriers.

It was at that point, when others had begun their new years “resolutions” that I decided to make 2012 the year I gave endurance my focus.  Being a fairly impatient person, enough time had passed without giving this effort 100%.

Let me summarize happenings thus far.  I’ve competed in 9 events with 2 more coming up soon, from trail and road 10k’s to 50 mile endurance races.  My season will culminate in the Flint Hills of Kansas at the Heartland 100.  I’ve begun the process of building an endurance “base”.  This will take years, but the ball is rolling.  In each event I am a competitor and am racing.  The goal is no longer to finish, but to push my limit, or to out what and where that limit exists.

To say that I’m excited about the process would not do my emotions justice.  I’m thrilled to be in this position athletically.  Having a goal is key.  The mind needs to experience the urgency of competition and deal with the limitations of time.  Each day is a day to improve, take charge, devote energy to, focus on, and make that deposit towards accomplishment. Confidence is gained when you feel satisfied with the sacrifices made the previous day or week.  A bit faster, longer, harder each week.

I have a long road ahead.  Sport specific fitness for ultra-running takes time.  The human body transforms slowly, but nonetheless steadily.

Ask yourself if you are ready to commit… to be all in.  Give it 6-weeks, address the goal, want, or need and devote a portion of each day to it.  It’s like flossing, if you can floss every day you can make progress in the gym.  Don’t have the time or discipline to floss?  Good luck changing your body or accomplishing a goal.  Be honest.  Give it 6-weeks.  Assess where you are at, what was hard, what went well.  Make changes and keep moving forward.

Embrace the suck.  It takes guts to change.

Accountability and Initiating Positive Change

Operating a private personal training studio is a really unique experience.  Clients are seeking my services out, knowing a good amount about what I am providing already.  This makes the transition from potential client, to active client, a rapid process.  Goals are expressed immediately as are opportunities and limitations.  The process has begun.

Example: I am the initiator of positive change.  Last week I was approached by a women in her early 50’s who was very frustrated by the recent changing in her body, brought on by inactivity and the hormonal changes that occur in a females body at that time.  She knew how much weight she had gained, where she had gained it, and what additions and subtractions needed to be made in order to succeed.  She also knew that a personal trainer or fitness coach was the next piece in the puzzle to initiate positive change.  Creating an outline, following a plan, sticking to the schedule will bring success.

The hardest part about making incremental positive changes is accountability.  When we become adults we have less people to be accountable to.  Parents, teachers, and other authority figures are not a part of our daily decision making process.  We are free to eat what we want, sleep whenever, spend our time any which way we choose.  Our fitness is often one of the first things we lose during this transition to adulthood.  It’s the thing that we “worry about later”.  Sometimes it is a slap in the face or reality check that is needed to elicit the need for positive change.

Everyone needs accountability.  Whether that be registering for a marathon, hiring a trainer or coach (health, business, life, financial, etc.), or even as simple as a book club.  In order to move forward their needs to be a direction, and ultimately a culmination of the process.  As an athlete that direction is the daily training and that culmination is the race day.

Success is the ultimate positive.

Commitment is the only way.

Get Fit.  Be Healthy.  Stay Confident.