For this I’m not going to explicitly say there is a purpose or a goal. I’m not looking to teach anyone anything. I’m looking to ask my self-questions here and am opening it up to others in the hope of…Who Knows?
Often I look out at the sky and I wonder who or what I am going to become. Immediately, a vision pops into my head of me becoming a pro triathlete. I taste the joy and the accomplishment. It’s the thing that would provide absolute nirvana. At least for a little… It’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed and the thought is right there the second I wake up. However I have to ask myself do I have what it takes? Are my dreams a delusion or can I reach out and grasp them? Even more importantly, why do I suppose lose track of the goal, why do I make mistakes?
I am driven every day to prove myself to myself and to reach the pinnacle of self-actualization. However, there are many setbacks and how do I deal with these. I wish I could be perfect but is this even a real thing?
Over the past week, a little hip injury came up and I was forced to take a week off from running. Through this pain was where I really came to learn about myself and how I relate to triathlon. I was torn from not being able to run and felt as though I was losing progress. But even more importantly I remembered why I love it, for the pure simplicity running provides. More questions bombarded me, do I have the genetics to become what I want? What are other’s doing and how can I ever become as good as them.
Additionally, I often succumb to major chow downs of food. I know that I should eat healthier but sometimes the urge to do something stupid is enough of a reason in its self. Besides after all it always gives me more of a reason to go and work hard afterward. But why? Why can’t I just always keep the goal in mind?
I don’t always feel motivated. I don’t always love the sport, hell sometimes I hate it. I still get the work done though. Today all I wanted to do was sleep and be lazy. Instead I did two runs, a swim, strength training, and core work.
At the end of the day what matters is that I always look to improve. But accomplishment at the sake of all enjoyment is not living. Sometimes we have to knock ourselves down only to have the joy of being able to stand back up again. Also, I have many doubts about my dream but that doesn’t stop me from believing. That’s why it's called believing and not knowing. Don’t let these doubts stop you. Let the dreams loose.
What is the journey to perfection? How do I get there? How do I know when I am there (if ever)?
I wanted to discuss the principles behind eating right to help fuel your training and allow you to achieve your best results. I have spent lots of time sorting though different options to eating healthy. It appears that everyone has something different to say about how you should eat. Ultimately, none of these ideas sold me as they are so complicated and require such intense effort that the potential benefits are lost. Also much of it is based on faulty science and has intentions to sell a certain product. Of course some well known facts to b taken into account as an athlete are that you need to time your meals accordingly with your workouts; fuel before before workouts, during, and post workout. I wont talk about this as everyone essentially knows this if you are a serious athlete. I am more interested in what to eat and I boiled all the "science" and ideas into one RULE.
Eat as much as you want so long as you keep it healthy.
Your probably asking, how can it be so simple? so let me explain and also let me be clear this only applies to a competitive Ironman athlete who is already in good shape. In the sport the a huge majority of the competitive athletes eat too little and lose strength because of this. Ironman is a strength based sport!
Additionally, I recommend to do this anytime it is not race season because you do not need to worry about being at your "Race Weight" all year round. In fact most pros are 7-12 percent of their race weight heavier in the off season. Being heavier allows your body to be better protected at handling the stress of training, is less prone to illness, and allows you to build strength. Race season may call in some regulation so as to get to your absolute fittest state for a brief period.
The other truth is that if you are an Ironman athlete you will be burning tremendous amounts of calories. Your body needs the nutrition. I doubt that much weight will be put on if you follow the rule correctly. Following it correctly means that you have to eat healthy. For example, eat as much of a spinach-chicken salad as you want But obviously you shouldn't eat as much ice cream as you want. This rule is effective because it allows you to have freedom and eliminates the stress behind eating. Additionally it creates a healthy lifestyle where you refine your food choices to what is naturally healthy. At first I had to always tell myself not to eat unhealthy food but know I don't crave it very often. Following this rule allows you to listen to your body and learn which foods it likes! Instead of following a pre-written plan you create your own that works in conjunction with your body this is why it is so effective.
A final caveat is that you should absolutely reward yourself if you are feeling in the mood. It has been shown that nutrition follows the Pareto principal like many things in life. This means that so long as you eat 80 percent healthy, that the other 20 percent can be less so. Thus treat your self and you can create long term positive habits. Of course, as you become more in tune with your body treating yourself may become strawberries with whipped cream or dark chocolate as opposed to Twinkies and Cheetos!
It’s become apparent to me that what we are taught all through life is how to answer questions. School appears to have the purpose of training us to answer questions. What do we do when we take a test? We answer questions and we answer more questions. However the real purpose behind learning how to answer questions is actually learning how to ask questions. Nothing comes from simply answering questions. Value in life comes from answering questions that you yourself have asked. For once, I sat down and asked myself why do I want to become a professional triathlete, why do I love swimming, biking, and running and why this?
Most questions in life are easily answered but these questions I realized had deeper answers, answers I almost couldn’t answer. Yes of course I run because it makes me feel fit/healthy, and I enjoy the ability to feel like I am good at something, and because I see my work pay off directly, and because it involves going outside, and because I love competing and testing my personal limits. But the deeper question is what about running, cycling and swimming in its self do I love. All the things I listed above could be things I would be able to get out of anything I am good at.
The answer is a little disappointing but at the same time eloquent and beautiful. My answer is that it is in my nature. It is literally who I am. My parents have told me stories of how when I was little I would have to be walked in a stroller every night before I went to bed, about how I would crawl out of my crib and wonder around just for the sake of moving. Then I remember how I could bounce on the trampoline for hours because of the movement and the ability it gave me to be in my own head. I realize that I love movement and that it is truly who I am. It allows me the ability to transcend my body and to let the imagination flow. I become one with the spirt of the world and shed what makes me human for the wondrous moments that I am allowed to move. That’s why I do what I do at the simplest level and the other factors are external societal factors. Factors that are motivators not aspects of who I am.
I believe a message to be taken from this is that there are things that are just meant to be. There are things about each of us that we cannot deny. They are our soul and need to be fed. These are the things we dream about and if food is the body’s necessity to live than dreams are the soul’s food. My other message is that while things such as being good at something motivate me and being admired is something we all enjoy. These are not real dreams, these are incentives. Ask yourself what is truly something you can’t deny yourself, what brings you surreal bliss even if you are terrible at it. This is what your nature is and this is where your dreams are born.
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to the life he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.
-Henry David Thorough
I wanted to take some time to talk about my personal fears in the sport of triathlon and some ways that I have overcome these fears and opened up new horizons by following by dreams.
I remember crossing the finish line after my first Ironman and feeling an absolute sense of elation. People always talk about it, but quite literally it was the best feeling I had ever experienced in my whole life. From the minute I crossed the line, the question came into head when’s the next one? My love for the sport goes so deep and it truly is a significant part of who I am. The everyday gruel and grind is what attracts me the most about it (insanity…?). Additionally after the Ironman, many people encouraged me to take it a step farther and helped aid me to reach for the stars. I needed an external push to commit to myself. Why was this considering it’s what I love?
For me, the biggest factor in deciding to become a pro was the concern of making it financially. I would have a head in my voice saying well “yes, try and go pro but when you’re hungry and have no house you will regret it.” I listened to this and it stressed me out to the point where I had told myself that I was just going to do triathlon for fun. Even after the Ironman, when I decided I was going to follow my dreams I still held back a little mentally. I was always thinking about trying to line sponsors up and doubting if I could make a career out of it. This is why I didn’t tell my parents about my new “career decision” for 3 months. Money crept in and become a primary factor of whether I would follow my dreams.
Over the last month I have had a profound realization. I have decided not to worry to an unnecessary extent about money and how it conflicts my dreams. I am no longer as stressed about sponsors or whether I can make it in the sport. I have surrendered it to the greater good. I know in my head that if I just focus on becoming as good as I can and follow my dreams that truly this is the highest point of living. As Paulo Coelho says in the Alchemist “everything in nature conspires to help one achieve their personal legend.” I believe in myself now and know that when I reach a high enough level the economics of the sport will come. Also, if I fail there’s always a neither option. So what’s the message?
Money and our dreams are conflicting factors. We often have dreams and don’t follow them because we worry they will set us back financially. While this can be true, it’s a risk that is worth taking. Additionally most of us need support from others around us to get the push to follow our dreams. Surround yourself with people that believe and you can reach your dreams. Money is only a thing of transfer, and there are bigger components of life than monetary wealth.
Hey Everyone, sorry its been awhile I have been swamped down with lots of stuff going on and also the internet deleted my last post for some reason (WTF). Anyways I'm back and I wanted to talk about a critical aspect of what I think creates success in triathlon and for that matter life. I believe this distinction is the ability to focus and hone in on things and then other times to intentionally focus out.
Focusing is the art they teach in school at work and in most aspects of life. We are taught that we cannot succeed in life without having the ability to focus extremely well on things. Obviously I agree with this but there are times where we shouldn't focus. Dissociation of focus is what meditation or just living without an immediate goal (which is quite hard to do) is. It is an aspect of life that provides such enjoyment and is quite rare. Triathlon provides a link between the two.
Whats the best way to run a "fast" pace for a long amount of time. The answer for me lies more in what I do mentally than what I physically am capable of. What I have tried this last week is first believing and telling myself that I'm actually not running fast and therefore the pace should be easy and I can therefore relax. This is an amazing trick you can use with your mind. if you start anything saying it will be really hard, it is going to be! Sounds crazy but it works. We are all capable of anything and the energy already exists, it's just a matter of harnessing it. The second step is finding a "zone". This zone is an incredible space where time is not a factor and the rational molds away. You lose track of who you are and movement becomes the mode of expression for the soul.
This zone is the ability to disassociate focus at the proper time. One has to use focus to hone their speed to where it needs to be and then have a secondary focus (this is why we train so much after all!) to maintain that pace without thinking about it. From here one needs to enter a "space" where your not thinking about running or anything in life. Thoughts almost are not their and you become one with the energy of the world. Doing this is how you can accomplish great feats in athletics for yourself.
This week I managed to truly believe that I can do it and I swam faster than ever before, ran 5 minute miles in a tempo run and also did a 20 mile long run on 6:25 pace!All feats that would have been a race effort and I did it day after day.
So my Friend go out and try easy!
What is the thing we want most in life? Why do we get out of bed everyday? What most of us yearn for is finding a period in time where the cosmos seem to come together and we feel genuinely happy. I'm going to call these moments particular moments.
Our society is set up in such a way that we are taught to believe that we must go through a gauntlet of tasks to reach one moment in time, and only then will we become happy and feel complete. We are moved along like cattle and told to keep the light at the end of the tunnel in sight. We always tell ourselves if I could only be there, If I only had this, If I had acted differently just this one time. I propose that this is a deeply troubling and dismantling way to live our lives.
I was talking to a friend the other day and asked him if he was happy. His answer was a calculation of all the things that were good and bad in his life, along with all the regrets and joys of life. This rational perspective of viewing happiness as a sum of life is destined to lead to feelings of inadequacy. Happiness is a in the moment feeling, you can be happy and in a terrible situation. happiness comes not from what surrounds you in life but from within. Allowing yourself to be happy is something Americans choose to deplete themselves of. Feeling unhappy becomes a weird state of being that we despise but yet for some unknown reason, we like it clouding our heads. (I propose that if we are unhappy, than we can avoid following are dreams and thus coming to terms with the truth of our personal realities).
Back to particular moments, the thing we want most in life, yet never seem able to achieve. The reasons for this are that we are always looking for are future selves where we will have more things and that we sum are happiness in a rational perspective that excludes the inner soul. These distracting components stop us from living a life full of joy. Particular moments can be reached any time and involve seeing the world with a lens of grace and beauty. One example can be reaching the top of a mountain. That is a particular moment but only if your not thinking about the next mountain you will climb, or how cool it will be to tell your friends. Particular moments are all around us and we just have to seize them.
As i told my friend,
"Stop thinking about doing it, and just go and do it."
I wanted to discuss how we become who we are and whether there is even a true thing as the self.f Hopefully, I will provoke more questions than definitive answers...
I am currently in a Bio-psychology class which studies how the nervous system affects behavior. Their conclusions on the study of the mind is that it is produced by the balance of chemicals in the brain. From this,logic follows, that we are not ultimately in control of who we are and essentially decisions are made from the peculiar balance of chemicals every individual has. Some even believe that there becomes no free will because everything is controlled by the biology of our brain. How do we come to accept this? I know I would like to feel responsible and in control of my life.
On the other hand, a friend and I were discussing how we become what we think about. essentially if you think all day about triathlons, work, or woman (haha) than that is what your personality becomes. The key is that you have the courage to act and carry out your thoughts. Doing this puts you in a cycle where you think about your dreams, you execute them, with a result of making you think about it more and doing it even better. But where do these thoughts originally come from? Who's right and who's wrong?
I believe we construct what goes on in our minds. I think this works in conjunction with Bio-psychology because we have a set of predetermined chemical balances that we learn how to manipulate. I think we all have a different way, that we have to learn as an individual, to seize control of our own minds. This is what I think Plato meant when he stated know thyself.
With me I have truly seen the power of positive thought and how it can turn everything in your life into a spark of like. Perhaps the Nueroscientist would say that it is just because I have so many Dopamine transmitters firing because I work out so much that I am able to be so happy. However, I think its because I choose to shape how I view the world. I play a mind trick on myself and convince myself of hope and goodness in the world. By thinking it, I find that I see the world as happy and good. my entire experience of life changes and fear of failure or any other predetermined fears that are set in our mind by society meld away.
I think it is this ability to control how we view the world and to decide what we think that allows us to make the world what we want it to be.
I am going to outline some of the little details involved in athletics that can make the difference between you and your competitors on race day. The truth is that it comes down to doing the little things that will make you better than others and allow you to improve as fast as possible.
One obvious area that deserves to be looked at is recovery. the athlete that recovers the fastest is able to perform the highest training load consistently. Some aspects to look into so that you can speed up your recovery include Epsom salt baths, ice baths, plenty of sleep, hydration, eating properly, a strength routine, and timing naps appropriately. Obviously this is a lot of stuff to wrap our heads around.
lets start with the basics; sleep and a functional strength routine.
In order to properly recover the body needs plenty of rest. Sleep is the most critical time for your body to recover from the stresses placed upon it. For example, when I am in a high training load I find that I have to sleep far more than usual. When doing 13-14 hour weeks I am well rested with only 7 hours of sleep. When I increase my training load to 18-20 hours I find that I need 9 hours of sleep a night to fully recover. The overarching point is don't sacrifice sleep and if you cant find time to sleep you may need to reduce your training volume.
In addition to sleeping, taking naps is a great way to boost recovery. the trick with naps is to keep them less than an hour so that you don't throw off your circadian rhythm. Besides you get the essential Human growth hormone by merely falling asleep.
Creating a schedule that is consistent and allows you to optimize sleep, it is crucial to success. Find how much sleep you need and do not allow it to be cut short.
Secondly, many endurance athletes overlook the much needed strength program. Or they have a program but it is not optimal for their sport. America has been infiltrated with the Arnold Schwarzenegger mentality of body building. We believe that a program should include lifting lots of heavy weights and that it will cause us to bulk up. This is all completely wrong. A program can be designed that is used to create mobility, stability, and then to build strength on top of this. One reason I suspect that the injury rates of runners is so high is because they don't take time to build the base of stability and mobility. I will not outline a program here as that is not the main focus of this blog post but I advise you to look into a program that is not centered around the common theme of weight training. Lastly when going into the weight room check your pride at the door and make sure you are doing everything right without worrying about how much weight you are lifting or how "good you look."
Another critical component of your strength routine is to make sure that it includes lots of core exercises. The core connects the whole body and allows you to optimize the strength in each individual muscle allowing for optimal efficiency of body movement.
Stay tuned as I will be writing about more ways to recover fast and get the edge on your competitors.
“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.”
―Seneca, The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters
Anything is possible. The only thing that defeats us is ourselves giving up from within. Nothing else is defeat. You can get get beat but never be defeated if you never give up from within and gave it everything you had. Look around the world and you see amazing stories of people coming back from way behind in sports. Miranda Carfrae came back in the 2014 Ironman World Championship of a gap of 14:33 to win the world title. Sebastian Kienle, the male winner, almost dropped out of the race the week leading into the race but realized that he was great (among other things) and ended up winning. After finishing he couldn't stop mustering I don't fucking believe it, I don't fucking believe it... After calming down he said "don't ever judge yourself on one bad day but on the best day of your life..."
What makes me write this is watching the Packers-Hawks game. Seattle managed to come back from a 16 point deficit and win the game, all in the last four minutes. Belief that you can do it is everything. Stay strong in your mind and the body will follow.
This is why Ironman is such a beautiful sport because it challenges your self-belief and teaches you about grace. Anyone who has ever done a Ironman knows that in order to reach the finish line you have to have something deep within yourself. Ironman is about being fit but equally about being spiritually aware. This spiritual awakening that comes from pushing the body so far in life is the ultimate goal.
In addition the overcoming of pain in the sport is what teaches us how to love. Love is not always the romantic scene of buying flowers for someone or going out to nice dinners. Love is about fighting for someone else... Ironman teaches you to presevere and to have the light in the tunnel whether it is a week off or ten years off. It teaches you to believe in someone and at the end of the day this is what matters. Ironman teaches you to be a better human being and gives you the devices to hopefully make the world a better place.
I got a tattoo of the word MANA on my back which means spirit or energy of the world. It is my underlying philosophy that drives me to do everything I can in life. It makes me thankful for every waking moment. I believe that self-belief is what has been coined as god or other spiritual concepts. Belief is powerful and we all have the ability to harness it. Belief makes the impossible, possible.
My blog is a collection of topics including training, nutrition, sponsorships, and becoming the best man I can be. In addition, I write about my spiritual realizations that are intrinsic to the sport of triathlon.