Thursday, July 28, 2011

An odd pair of bumber stickers

I was driving down I25 yesterday south of Denver and saw the following bumber sticker

"Sea Level is for Sissies"

I found that to be funny. I got it. Tongue and Cheek.

On the same bumber I then saw one of those white oval stickers with the nubmers

If only I could have pulled up to that guy at a stoplight and said
"Half marathons are for Sissies"

It has been a long time since I have run a half marathon. They are tough because you have to run over your LT threshold. They are tough, but anybody can do them if they put the time and effort into it.

If I had come upon this car at a stoplight, I would have been tempted to say
"half marathons are for sissies"

I don't get those stickers on cars. I have an LPTR sticker on mine, and that is it.

Maybe I am a sissie. I live at only 500 ft.

Good luck to those runnign Voyageur this weekend. If you see Bill P, tell him this is his Sawtooth test.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ultras are not for the water cooler

I use "The Water Cooler" as a metaphor.

Water Cooler = Place where co-workers gather to brag about their recent accomplishments.

It is bad karma to use ultra running accomplishments as your "water cooler" moments. Ultra aint' about that.

Other similar sayings I have for these type of people are

"One and done-ers" = I just want to do one so I can brag to others the rest of my life that I am one of them.
"Belt notchers" = I want to get my belt full of all of these "accomplishment" so I can show the rest of the world how awesome I am.

Okay.... us as bloggers might be accused of this as well. Feel free to fire away.


So a few weeks ago I was on the road, eating dinner at a restaurant/bar. Minding my own business, reading Born to Run.

The dude I sat down next to asks "Whatcha reading?". I show him. He responds by saying (and kind of puffing up his chest) "I have run with that author".

I think the dude expected me to be in awe, but instead I responded with a "cool, well I am a trail runner so I get it". I didn't say that I know a bunch of people who not only have run with him, but know him. And, that I have met a some of the people mentioned in the book.

See.... this guys was showing his stripes as a "water cooler man". And he made the mistake of puffing up his chest more, and in his studliest voice say

"You know, I have run a 100 miler."

I am sure he expected oohhs and aahhss from me. Instead, he got an "awesome, me too". His demeanor changed a little bit. He was a "one and done-er". And he admitted he barely got it done on one of the faster courses with one of the highest completion rates. I said "Any 100 is a huge accomplishment. I have DNF'd more than I have finished.

I don't share my accomplishments, unless asked, as I know what was done yesterday has no bearing on what you can do today. But once he heard my resume (again, he asked), he paid his bill and left.

In Tom Wolf's I am Charlotte Simmons, Wolf describes a street fighter who was taught to always go for nose and knock the guy down who you are fighting. But, 1 out of 100 people you knock down will get back up and fight. Then you are in trouble.

Now, I am not a fighter, but it is a similar analogy. I think I was the 1 in a 100 he has bragged to who wasn't all that impressed.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND - I am impressed with almost all 100 mile runners, just not the ones who brag about it to strangers in a bar.

Okay, I am doing a little chest pounding. But I have to admit, I got a kick out of it. He actually understood what a Sawtooth belt buckle meant.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Learn from success, not failure

Last week I was talking to an someone, and wandered into the subject of nutrition. I tread carefully with people on this subject, as I do a lot of reading on it and consider many opinions and philosophies. I have a hard time buying into "absolutes" and don't buy into major media "hype".

The topic landed on sugar, and this person went on a rampage about how artificial sweetners are so bad for you. Of course, I joked about how great cane sugar is for you. This person did not laugh. "At least it is natural", they said. I responed by saying "in all of my years on the trails, in the countryside, in the south, in the mountains, I have never come across cane sugar naturally in the environment".

They responeded by saying "okay... it is processed, but.............." I don't remember what was said after that, because that is funny in itself. "It is processed, but natural". Watch a video on making sugar from sugar cane, it is hardly something that can happen in nature.

But here is the best part, the person saying this to me was obese. So was this person's spouse. I find it interesting when obese people give advice about diet and excercise.

I know I have mentioned the evil "High Fructose Corn Syrup" here many times. I use this as a benchmark example of people going crazy for the wrong reasons. People think I have said HFCS is good for. I have never said that. I think it is bad. I think it is just as bad as cane sugar. In small amounts, I don't have issues with either. The problems with both are a result of EXCESS, or even moderate consumption.

Fine you can say one is bad, and one is good. I don't care anymore. I consume very little of both.

What does this have to do with the title of the post? I will tell you. Rewind 15 years.

I was with my boss from 15 years ago and we were talking about relationships and marriage. I was newly wed from the prior year, and he gave me some advice. It was capped by
"Trust me, I know... I am on my 3rd marriage".

Wow. You must be a marriage expert.

Okay... I know. You can and should learn from someone's mistakes. But why do they get more credit than a couple who has been married happily for a long time?

I think it is because our society is a pessimist one, in general.

I used to be laughed at for reading motivational books. I figured out a long time ago to learn from successful people, and avoid advice from the not so successful. Sounds easy, right?

Wrong. Every step of my life and career I seem to run into buzz-kills.

Author Marcus Buckingham wrote a great book titled "Now, Discover Your Strengths". He talks about focusing on your strengths, and developing them while minimizing the damage your weaknesses can do. He does not say to improve your weaknesses, just do damage control. The hard part of the strenghts is finding out which ones you are good at. Buckingham help creat The Strength Finder. It is cool, I suggest you try it. Can anybody guess what I am? I didn't know, but all of my co-workers did.

The point of all of this is............

Success is something we must learn from. This applies to running, diet, relationships, etc.

I am reading a couple of books on the above topics, and I am more inclined to buy into the thinking of someone who has shown what they preach through their own results.

My converation with the obese person about my health just could not get out of my head this week... hence, this post.

People think I am "lean" and "fit" due to genetics. They discount all of the hard work, discipline, and lifestyle I choose to live to stay this way. My dad is obese, and he has given me more bad advice about food than many people I know. But I still love him.