#109: Wait, was that a cry for help? YES….HELP

If the vision is to cross the finish where it all began, the mission is to get to the starting line.

On 10/11/14 it would taste better IN HAWAII

Where do you want to be 35 weeks from today?  If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to say where you’ll actually be in a few days, let alone 245 days into the future. But where you’ll actually be and where you want to be are two totally different questions. The truth is, I love a good plan.  To me, it’s like a work of art: plenty of logic (point A connects to point B, etc) keeps my inner geek happy, lofty goals satisfy the optimistic-adventurer, and laying it all out adds the proper dose of “oh don’t be fooled, it’s urgent” to my all-too-often loudmouth internal procrastinator who is very happy to reiterate that 245 days is two-thirds of a year man. Perhaps the thing I love the most about a good plan is it makes me question myself.  It forces me to say “do you REALLY want that goal?”, “are you ABSOLUTELY sure?”……”in light of ALL of that work, are you CONVINCED this is how you want to spend your time?”……”are you really willing to make the sacrifices required?” – It’s the ultimate gut-check. 
More specifically, in this case, the question is – “Am I willing to do everything it takes to show up in Lake Placid, NY on July 27, 2014 stronger, fitter and more focused than I’ve ever been; ready to lay it all out for a chance to do something extraordinary?” And if I’m being truthful, I’m not 100% sure the answer is “Yes”…..yet.

The Liabilities:

  • It’s been 6 months since I’ve written a blog post; something that keeps me focused – not much different than a journal I guess…..except others are allowed to read it. 
  • I am busier than ever both professionally and personally…..and although this is my least favorite excuse (it’s happens to be the most common), most people who are excelling at ultradistance triathlon are putting 20-25 hours of training in per week….so time is a realistic limiter in this case.
  • Training for an Ironman takes time that is (given my status as a “functioning workaholic”) already precious, away from my family…..see last bullet point.
  • I’m not at all sure, even if everything goes right, that I can meet my goal….some of this is confidence and some of it’s just the reality of the unknown.
  • I can’t seem to push as hard and I don’t seem to recover as fast as even a few years ago – I’m struggling with the idea that “I’m getting old”…..since so many greats in the sport seem to defy age – but switching from training harder to training smarter has not been easy for me.  Maybe the first step is admitting the problem?
  • Despite being in the best shape of my life, I didn’t meet my goal last time in the same event-distance….again some part confidence, some part more to learn
  • I’m currently at 20% of where I need to be from a “frame” perspective (i.e. the resilience to injury I’ll need to do it safely) and 50-60% of where I need to be from an “engine” standpoint (i.e. fitness/strength/power/endurance)…..this is actually the least of my worries, a shift from previous years.
None of this is what I’d like to report……but that’s the funny part about great plans, which I believe-in wholeheartedly…..if the potential exists and you’re both honest from the outset AND willing to do the work, the right plan can get you there DESPITE the context….warts and all.

The Assets:

  • Even though It’s not super urgent to me (it’s a lifetime goal)……I REALLY REALLY want to achieve the goal (qualifying for Kona).
  • I very rarely give up on something I care about – some might even argue “stubborn”.
  • I’ve gone this distance x2 already and have learned a TON along the way (many “what not to do” moments as well as a few “wow, that worked well”).
  • As difficult as it is, the people around me are behind me and want to see me succeed
  • My family has also been through this x2….and they too have learned a TON along the way (they’ve gone from passive observer, to actively engaged…..hopefully this time to “pusher”).
  • Since my last attempt, I’ve added to my “mental bank” of what I can endure including a 50 mi ultramarathon – something I will rely heavily on when the inevitable “going gets tough” sections of the journey – nothing better than being able to say “I’ve done worse”, when you’re questioning “why” mid-race.
This, of course is the stuff I like to talk about…..and although without these assets there is no chance of success, like none, they are unfortunately not enough on their own to push me over the top. 
The Opportunity: 

So if likelihood of success = the sum of assets and liabilities, then the focus of the plan should be about getting more assets, i.e. converting liabilities to assets where possible, minimizing the ones I can’t convert and finding new ones altogether right? And so I find myself wondering: 

What about the liabilities I don’t even know that I have?  What about new insights about potential assets that I previously undervalued? Unless I assume I know everything (which despite my absolute love of information, data and evidence [and contrary to the belief of some], I actually don’t assume), this is a pretty big variable to discount or brush-off.

But there is one absolutely CRITICAL link in my plan that I still need to figure out…..something I can’t control-for yet, but I still need…..and that is YOU.  Yep, if you’re one of the (few I’m sure) readers – I need you on my team.  I need your help.  Please don’t take this lightly – I’m still learning and growing and asking for help is not something I do often (or particularly well)……but that’s what big goals do…..they push us, to ultimately become a better version of us……

Maybe you’ll be on my coaching staff, maybe you’ll be my mentor, maybe you’ll be my Physical Therapist or trainer, maybe you’ll be my psychologist……these are only a few of the available roles….there are many.  I’ll need cheerleaders & drill sergeants, sleep experts and nutrition czars, I’ll need gear-geeks and data-nerds, I’ll need the occasional kick in the ass and I might even need a hug (be forewarned, I’m not a hugger, so please don’t linger there)……maybe you’ll read along these next 35 Sundays and leave a comment now and again, maybe you’ll be there only occasionally…..and you’ll just shake your head and wonder why, but one thing is for certain – I need all the help I can get…..and since I’m just about ready to write it all out….It’s time to start penciling names into those roles.  

I’m not there yet….not even close, but unofficially starting last month, and yesterday, after almost two hours of butt-crushing work on the bike-trainer celebrated with a Kona Brewing Company “Longboard Lager” (which I’m sure is a Ha’ole brew, but about the only thing you can get in NJ in Nov and a hugely appreciated gesture from Lindsay who reiterated she’s “in” for a spot on Team RED-iculous 2014) and a serenade of “What a Wonderful World” by IZ, the RED-iculous effort resumes……I hope you’ll consider joining my team – because I need you!

Join the effort,

Mike E.