#71: slogans, mantras and baby steps….lots of baby steps

I’m a sucker for a good quote or slogan…..I don’t really know why, but I really like reading them…..and when they resonate with me I often find myself thinking “yeah, you nailed it”….as if the person who thought of or said it was looking for my validation.  

Some of my favorites have become personal mantras of sorts, often representing the thoughts that push me through when I’ve hit a roadblock or dead-end.  This week I ran across a few of my old stand-bys and even though it was a down week for training volume (intentional and welcomed w/open arms) and I only needed them briefly here or there, I still appreciate seeing them to stay focused on the end goal:

“ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” (or Adidas’ spin: “Impossible is Nothing”)
This is part of the IronMan branding machine…..and I love it.  As far as I’m concerned it’s something everyone should run their life by; the idea that if you’re willing to do the work…..truly you can achieve ANYTHING you set out to.  Just enough optimism for my liking and they tie the slogan to all sorts of amazing video clips that get me all juiced up to work hard.

“WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN OR YOUR THINK YOU CAN’T…..YOU’RE RIGHT” (I like Apple’s “Think Differently” here too)
– Henry Ford
This is an all time favorite in our house…..it’s been read and re-read out loud by both me and Lindsay…to the kids and to ourselves.  No need for explanation….the ultimate “for good or for bad, it starts in your head”.  Love it.

Not really sure who this is attributed to….there are a few quotes out there that speak to this same theme and Jim Collins’ book Good to Great speaks to it, but it’s become part of our fabric at Pro-Activity and at BaseCamp31 and a personal mantra and part of the vision for my life.  I have a simple mission in life – to be a doer of amazing things – and yet I know that I am starting with a set of very ordinary skills and tools to do it.  So quotes like this fuel me and keep me pushing forward.  I saw a great blog post this week (text at bottom) that was a very practical view that to me continued to support the notion that extra effort is the pathway to the Red-iculous for me.  

So this week, which has been a week with a (much needed) recovery emphasis and some checkpoints (testing) has done just that…..it has allowed me to take a step back from the physical aspects of training and work on the mental focus.  Exactly as it is supposed to.  It’s helped me to recharge my mental batteries and again prove to myself that the extra effort is paying (not paid as in past tense by any stretch) off.  That I’m getting “there”……but I have a long way to go.

When I last reviewed my goals (HERE) 3 weeks ago, I said that within the next 30 days I felt I needed to:

  • improve my next 1000m TT in the pool by 10%
  • run x 15 miles below lactate threshold at a 7:35 pace
  • continue to improve my bike splits to the point where I can cruise at 20mph x 50 miles

This week I tested all three disciplines and feel decent…..but never satisfied.

  • Improved the swim TT by 2.5%: not the 10% I was hoping for, but real nonetheless. I’m continuing to realize how much concentration and how painfully slow improvements in the pool are going to be for me.  Perhaps 10% was aggressive…..not sure, but I’m still after it.  My over-the-top goal would be a 25% improvement from St. George last year.  My pace is currently around 20% faster….but of course there’s no direct comparison to pool and race.  Verdict?  Keep working hard at least 3x/wk in the water, 4 where able.
  • 15 mi TT on the run @ 7:14 pace and HR 163 (threshold +/- 165-170) on a course that had nearly (within 100ft) as much elevation as the marathon course in Aug: Success and perhaps I underestimated my fitness.  I think I could have done better too.  I didn’t bring any fuel and only had some water at the 8mi mark.  Thought I could gut it out and ultimately it worked, but there was a DEFINITE decline in pace and equally notable increase in effort after mile 10 and then fatigue by 14.  Generally this was fine…..and it helps me to believe that I’m on track here.
  • On the bike I wasn’t able to get out and test a 50 mile course and I’m not really sure I’m ready for that yet anyway, so I decided to repeat the “hour of power” test that I did on Feb-14 (quite the Valentine’s “gift” to myself).  This is arguably the worst test as far as I’m concerned b/c it is an all out effort for an hour that not only tests your aerobic power and muscle endurance but your will too.  I’m happy with the progress here +15.3% (average power) from the last test….but I always feel looking back “I could’ve pushed a little harder”….”mental will is as important as physical skill” (ME).
STATS for the week:
  • +/- 6 hours of training when all done (one session left today)
  • +/- 30 miles of running
  • +/- 3300m in the pool
  • 1 miserable bike session on the computrainer
  • +/- 5000 extra calories burned

And so…..the down week is just about over and it’s time to start ramping up the volume to somewhere b/t 12 and 15 hours this week; to get a couple of good long rides in and continue to move the run mileage back in line; to put the final touches on “the heel that’s almost there” and to keep adding skill in the pool……

But before I do any of that….it’s time to head out for the final run of the week…..as a little tribute to Caballo Blanco (Micah True) of “Born to Run” fame who’s larger than life character in the book inspired many to get out there. Never met the guy…..but sometimes when you know their slogan…..you don’t have to.  

I’m setting out to find a trail and do my best to RUN FREE!!

What’s your slogan?

Mike E.



Doing something that is amazing isn’t an accident. Living an extraordinary life doesn’t come naturally. What comes naturally is for you to just be ordinary.

Which is how most of us stay.  That’s what is normal.

So we invented a new word to describe something that transcends mediocrity.  A word that communicates more than average. More amazing than everything else ahead of it. We simply call those “extra-ordinary.”  Not ordinary. Something extra. But even that begs explanation.  How does it happen? How can you manufacture something more than ordinary?

Extraordinary starts with you.

It starts with an ordinary person at an ordinary job doing ordinary things on an ordinary day. No special advantages.  No remarkable skills that can’t be duplicated.  No larger bank account. Just all-around “ordinary”Then that ordinary person decides to do something extra. Something a lot-a-bit extra. And not just one time.

They do it day after day after day after day.

And then one day, all of us watching them notice that “ordinary” is no longer the accurate description for who that person has become. For what they have done. And all we can do is simply shake our heads and remark that what we have just seen is extraordinary. Because it was. And because they were. And that’s how extraordinary happens. By not being satisfied by what is ordinary.  By doing something extra.