500 Miles

500 Miles

500_aThree years ago, a wealthy friend of mine noted, “While I live better than you, you seem to enjoy the way you live more than me.”

In reviewing my personal business plan, I realized that I had been knocked off my path. I’m smart enough to rationalize to myself the “why” of my historical choices but I also know that I am the only one that can get myself back on track.

Let’s start with the key points that have helped me over the last decade.

  • The quickest way to improve your financial position is to reduce expenditure — most of the money that I spend has little to do with the items that bring me personal satisfaction. My spending is largely fear driven.
  • If you want to improve your perceived standard of living spend time with people that have a lower one. This one is huge.
  • Collect experiences, not possessions.
  • Live a simple, healthy, outdoor life with good friends and exciting challenges.
  • Have your students come to you and be willing to travel to the best teachers.
  • If in doubt then wait.

My life has seen tremendous change in the last 24 months: my daughter’s arrival, near-total net worth implosion, career change via unexpected unemployment, and new business creation. The purpose of ManCamp was to re-connect with the life that I built for myself in my 30s and see what happened.

Before I get into my experience, I’ll share three traits that I’ve noticed in people that are “winning” relative to me:

  • They have superior experience — giving them the capacity to do more specific work at the right time.
  • Their lives are focused.
  • They have a willingness to take actions that I’m unwilling to do.

I’ve never “lost” due to protocol.

Rather, I was out-worked prior to the event, or out-competed during the event — both of these are a function of motivation. The most valuable form of motivation is restraint — that is what we use to overcome our self-sabotaging habits and patterns. Endurance sport is a field where self-abuse is often mistaken for doing what it takes.

As I mention from time-to-time, it’s essential to understand what you’re unwilling to do and associate with peers that share your values (AB, I’m extending my ManCamp 2011 invite and you really need to turn up this time).

It’s quite challenging to “do it right” and if you pull that off then you’ll be a long way ahead of the pack. You might lose some races to folks that cut corners but you’ll win the larger victory, which is over ourselves.

Chance and the decisions that I made over the last two decades have put me in a position where I can spend a week focusing solely on swim/bike/run. Over ManCamp, I managed to:

  • Win a local Oly race
  • Ride 500 miles, with 43,000 feet of vertical (TSS ~1800; KJ ~19,000).
  • Run five miles most days (another 4,000 feet of vertical)
  • Swim about 20k (no vertical)

All of the above at an average elevation of 8,500 feet — we really missed oxygen by the end.

It was a lot of exercise, more than I need for any reasonable purpose!

That’s another lesson. The concept of endurance success is inherently unreasonable — and a bit silly. So if you’re going to follow that path then you’d best enjoy doing what it takes (or share my pathological addiction to dominating peers while reinforcing the illusion of controlling my environment).

The rational side of my personality can see that camp has limited external value to my inner circle but Monica can see that I’m different when following my heart. The simplicity of an athletic life, the beautiful scenery, the steady stream of endorphins, the camaraderie of shared challenges… combine to make an enduring (addicting?) experience.

I’d encourage you to give it a whirl. My final tips:

  • Try to swim, bike and run every single day. The compromises that you make with yourself to achieve this are informative.
  • Generate most of your fatigue on the bike and ride point-to-point without bailout options.
  • Commit to structure for the swim workouts so you don’t end up zombie-swimming!
  • Set targets that are reasonable for your group. At our level that implied about 45 minutes of swim/run (each) in addition to the daily bike stage.
  • If you want your friends to come back (!) then figure out ways for everyone to “be strong.”
  • Resist the urge to race in the first 48-hours of a training camp. I always say this, it is always ignored, but that makes the inevitable suffering easier to bear!
  • Build slack into your plan — slack allows naps, down time and avoids a feeling of being rushed. It takes all day to train 4-6 hours per day — even with support.

To beat an athlete, you need to be willing to out-train them.

No waiting, no whining.

Categories: Lifestyle, Training

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