Monday, January 27, 2020

No Pretensions

Every now and then as I look around at the sports world and society I just have to shake my head. What I see led me to write the following. I know I have posted it a few times in the past but some things are so relevant that they are worth repeating.
Let me say this first and forgive me for editorializing---most of those around who think having multiple "tatts", piercings, weird hair and effecting some kind of demeanor makes them hip, edgy, tough or whatever, have it all wrong. It's all on the inside, it's what you do, it's how you live. Now don't get me wrong--you can be a "freak" and be the real deal but the way I see it is that there are far too many poseurs out there. Think about the following:

Standing alone, I am what others see and hear,
Without pretension,
Having no need to effect a look or manner by adopting vain extraneous appearances.
I exude a quiet confidence derived from a life that is disciplined, yet open and welcoming to new challenges.
I view my physical training as an opportunity to grow and be fulfilled in all aspects of  life.
This training is as vital to me as my relationships and my vocation,it makes me complete.
I feel no need to explain or prove the validity of the way I have chosen.
The merit of one's life can be measured in part by his disposition and how he treats others,
Yet one's words and actions often betray what he espouses.
My running and training burn away my weaknesses and faults, but the fire must be kindled each day.
Life can be hard and filled with uncertainties that overwhelm the unprepared,
For many, the joy in this life is thus lost.
The way I live,though strange to most,
Provides a peace and comfort that cannot be measured and is not tangible,
But it is the path I've chosen and it's worth is validated each day of my life.

Advice From An Unexpected Source

Bruce Lee was much more than a martial arts film star who died young. He was an innovator in his sport,a ferocious trainer,a philosopher and an incredible athlete. He struggled against, and overcame, the many obstacles he encountered during his all too brief life. There were times he became discouraged but he persevered and found a way to achieve what he desired.
An example of this was when he suffered a serious back injury that required he wear a brace for 6 months,Lee used this time to author the book that eventually became, Tao of Jeet Kune Do, a work that summarized his martial arts philosophy and viewpoints.
Bruce Lee believed life was to be lived to its fullest and that an ideal life was one that offered challenges.
What follows is another take on the subject of goals:
"A goal is not always meant to be reached,it often serves simply as something to aim at."
Although we may believe that we'll eventually reach the goal(s) we have set for ourselves,sometimes it doesn't happen.
The good thing is that having a goal(s) gives you a purpose and life to your training that you will never experience if you just go "out there" day after day.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Herb Elliott: His Training, His Greatness

As you read the following(taken from Runner's Tribe) below, remember, Herb Elliott was a miler.
I find that orthodox training is drudgery because it’s so unnatural to run for hours on end on a circular track.”   - Herb Elliott
Personal Bests:
      800m: 1:46.70 (estimated from 880 yard time of 1.47.30)
  • 1500m: 3:35.60
  • Mile:  3:54.50
  • Highlights 

    Olympic 1500m Gold, Rome 1960.
    • Commonwealth Games Gold One Mile, Cardiff, 1958.
    • Commonwealth Games Gold 880 yards, Cardiff, 1958.
    • Former world record holder over 1500m and Mile. Held the 1500m world record for 9 years and the mile world record for 4 years.
    • Herb's1500 meter record set at the 1960 Olympics was extraordinary. Barely beaten by the winning runner at the '68 Olympics (7/10's of a second), it was otherwise the fastest time till the 1984 Olympics, and who knows, with the increasing use of p.e.d.'s over the decades, it would not be unreasonable to wonder if that time was tainted by drugs. Let me quickly add that I am not accusing anyone of cheating but with the revelations of drug use in track and field that have come out in recent years you do sometimes wonder.
    “I like to vary my training venues day by day, running on a golf course one day, the next day in a park, then on a racecourse, up and down the hills flanking the Shrine in Melbourne, along the Yarra River and even over cow paddocks. The change of scenery, the music of the birds and the sight of grazing cattle and sheep is soul-freeing and makes a training session real joy.”  Herb Elliott
    I train eleven months of the year, half that period devoted to strengthening work. Here is one of my typical weeks when I was eighteen years of age. (Younger athletes perhaps should not attempt quite so much and older ones a little bit more. It’s really a matter for personal judgment.)”  – Herb Elliott

    Monday: A ten-mile run at any pace I felt like setting, always finishing hard over the last two miles or so.
    Tuesday: Six or seven miles in the morning. Weight-lifting in the evening.
    Wednesday: Ten miles hard against the clock.
    Thursday: Six or seven miles in the morning. Weights in the evening.
    Friday: Rest.
    Saturday: Faster ‘fun’ work-out at lunch-time on the track. A hard five miles or so in the evening.
    Sunday: Eight to ten miles in the morning. Eight to ten miles hard in the afternoon.
    As Elliott matured, base training consisted mainly of long hard runs of between 8 to 16 km. The occasional (once a month on average) 32km run was also completed. As were sand hills (more below).
    The estimated average mileage during this period was 60 to 80 miles per week.
    “In the winter and spring of 1957 I must have run 2500 miles in training and lifted thousands of pounds in weights”  -  Herb Elliott
    A fascinating athlete and man.

    Insights on Achieving Athletic Success and Excellence, Pt. 2

    Continuing the theme from the other day:

    1. "Weak athletes avoid challenges,  Champions rise up and meet them.

    2. Fear is natural.

    3.The best competitors understand that there is no choice but to confront fear and turn anxiety into excitement and action.

    4. Fear: (F--False, E--Evidence, A--Appearing,  R--Real).

    5. You must focus on those things that you can do--Not on those things that you can't control.

    6.  Pressure will make you better.

    7.  Motivation is the fuel that enhances people's performance.

    8.  Everything counts.

    9.  Don't wait. Lock onto that new resolve to be the best you can be.

    10. You have to see it before you can accomplish it."

    Thursday, January 16, 2020

    Insights on Achieving Athletic Excellence and Success, Pt.1

    The following was written by former athlete and coach Skip Bertman.
    It's about achieving athletic excellence and success. The insights are extraordinary and motivating.
    Most of what you are about to read could have been written by Cerutty.
    Here goes:
    "1. To make champions, you've got to build their entire lives--their bodies, their hearts, their minds--around excellence.
    2.Excellence is quite simply the continuous, relentless, never ending commitment to improve, excellence is the gradual result of always trying to get better.
    3. Excellence is getting to the field earlier, training harder, practicing longer, working smarter and preparing more than others care or expect to.
    4. Excellence means making a special effort, doing more than is asked. Expecting more of one's self.
    5.Excellence is an all the time thing.
    6.Excellence is a habit. Winning is a habit.
    7.Good enough never is.
    8.Failure is a part of winning.
    9.You can't give up and you can't give in. You have to be relentless.
    10.All you can do is all you can do, and all you can do is enough.
    11.Weak athletes avoid challenges, champions rise up and meet them."

    Part 2.tomorrow--if you know anyone who might enjoy this Blog--pass it along--I try (key word try) to provide posts not found on most other running/athletic sites.

    Thursday, January 9, 2020

    Continuing That Theme--Going For it--Becoming Who You Want To Become

    The following is from someone you wouldn't expect to give inspiration and encouragement on going for it. The unlikely source is from none other than William Shakespeare. Yes,the William Shakespeare from Macbeth,Romeo and Juliet and so many other plays and sonnets fame. I think the last time I read anything by him was in high school. I may be revealing my lack of erudition but I never understood what all the fuss about him was,perhaps I was still too immature to appreciate his genius. I will say this though, he really nails it on this quote from Measure for Measure:
    "Our doubts are traitors
    And make us lose the good we oft might win,
    By fearing to attempt."
    Ever notice that as we get older, we get less bolder,less willing to dream and think big?
    When we consider something we want to do or accomplish, almost immediately negative thoughts and doubts pop up that say things like: "Are you nuts, have you forgotten how old you are?"
    Or this one: "Like my wife (girlfriend,boyfriend,significant other,etc) would ever put up with that if I....,"
    Another common thought, "What are you thinking? Do you really believe you have what it takes?"
    I recall a friend who told me that he wanted to do the Ironman Triathlon,almost immediately after saying that he began telling me how it would be almost impossible for him to even qualify.
     I suggested he take a look at last year's entrants,their ages and finishing times and then tell me if he still believed it was impossible. I also asked him if he really wanted to do what he said he did.
    A year or so later he called and told me he had just completed a Tinman and was confident that he would make it to Hawaii in the not too distant future.
    You've read it here before,the key to personal success is perseverance.
    Obviously, if you are of limited talent,toeing the line at the U.S.Olympic Marathon Trials is unlikely,but, you can achieve much more than you think you can if you commit yourself and reject those doubts. I never want to hear myself say, "I just wish I would have given it a shot."
    What an empty,crappy feeling to have to live with.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2020

    The Reward For Perseverance by Percy Cerutty

    Make 2020 the year that you become what you want to become. Step out of your comfort zone. Cerutty used this phrase decades before it became a cliché.
    "No door remains forever locked against the man of indomitable will and courage. What we most lack is the power to continue: continuity and perseverance--the never quit spirit allied to intelligence is the secret key to success: not great natural endowments,powerful friends and favourable environments." By Percy Cerutty.
    Is telling ourselves that someone else's athletic success is the result of their being a "natural" our attempt to ignore the probability that it was the result of hard work?
    The kind of hard work we may not be willing to do?