Greetings my people! I’m here with you, learning, living and experiencing life on this planet along side some of the most heartfelt individuals alive. I see now more than ever many are searching for freedom and desire this above any other object. Don’t fret, your uncovering of Self is there for the taking. Believe in your self, never stop fighting for truth, and remember that as the universe takes part in you, you also take part in it! 🙂
Here I am considering what I have been doing all along in my various training programs throughout my life. There is so much to say and to share, I’m not really sure on where to start. I’ll just start from the present and see where this takes me. Basically, I feel like I am having an evolution of awareness in terms of my understanding when it comes to performance development in the discipline of athletics. You see, track and field is a very specific, primarily individual, sport that requires much self-discipline and a completely refined physical structure. Basically, if one thing goes wrong, in regards to an injury of sorts in the majority of cases, then the athlete will find it difficult to train and compete. The frequency of this happening is high; thus, making it hard for track and field runners from generating enough financial support to fuel their world-class talent and skill. So much can go wrong and the marketability costs versus the potential rewards isn’t enough for major across the board sponsorship opportunities.
It’s hard to express exactly what I am feeling at this very moment. I’ll do my best to elucidate this feeling in the hopes that it will create an understanding of where track and field, with its myriad of scandals and problems, is at nowadays and a potential way to fix it. By fix it, at this point, I’m going to only touch base on some issues that are dear to my heart. For instance, focusing solely on fast times and distance. Below I am going to share a video off my YouTube page that describes a little bit about what I am starting to change in my own personal training regimen:
As you can see, it’s aptly named, “Running for the thrill of it”. Granted, elite world class athletes aren’t necessarily expected to change their training programs as many of these are tried and proven methods to success. However, what I am pointing to is a deeper understanding of why train in the first place and the present prevalent mental model of time/distance with its laser focus burning away any true enjoyment and contentment many runners dearly need. Look at it this way, there are soul surfers who, even if they compete, find total enjoyment in the waves and are still enjoying themselves when they can’t even get a wave on a flat day. For me this is reflected in running when the time/distance mentality gets overbearing and becomes an obsession. And to be frank, it’s most likely because the pros make money and need these times to win races and to get paid. But herein lies the conundrum. You have a system that is built off of this incessant need to refine the body to produce faster times from which a successful season means more income, but this very same approach increases the chance of injury which in turn makes the marketability of various non 1% athletes (e.g. Not the Usain Bolts, Mo Farahs) less desirable even though they are practically 1% of the world population.
Now, what am I getting at? For me, track and field needs to be more about entertainment than fast FAST times. The other day Nick Symmonds posted on twitter this tweet. What if track and field were 2-3 hour events with high level competition in a venue that was fun and an atmosphere of pure entertainment focusing on winning not total output of speed. In other words, while not disparaging the effort to break and make world records, these events could be properly marketed for maximum brand exposure and maximum financial support for elite athletes. The point is, as beings living on this planet let us not lose sight of what’s important by getting lost in numbers. It’s best said this way, “life is a journey to be enjoyed, not a problem to be solved in haste”.
This brings me to another video I recently shared on YouTube:
As of right now, I see the comprehensive training I am being taught at Fast Twitch South Miami as integral to an athlete’s success. I’m sure I am the newbie here as I’ve relied heavily on my Chen Family Taijiquan training alone in terms of physical health, but I still feel the need to share in case there are others who are unaware of such vital strength and conditioning training. Three key words I’ve heard there that best describes the methodology: Stability, mobility and prehab. Oh, and don’t think for one minute that it’s not hard, on the contrary, besides the strength and conditioning norm, their specificity can take a simple looking movement and make it dastardly hard (i.e. you question if you’re brave enough to continue LOL!).
With all of the above in mind, I think the salient point that keeps coming up for me is the process of trusting life and living life through the understanding that our future is not guaranteed and if we keep focusing and obsessing on that big race or that big goal then we miss so much of the good stuff that is passing us by. Moreover, because of this approach I really do believe that the present marketability of runners is a consequence of this attitude and the only way to change that is to change our perception as we are co-creators of reality with the ability to shape and influence life. Do we want to create a life full of joy and contentment or a life of grim determination? The choice is ours and then the outside world will reflect back for us what we have chosen. Pretty simple if you ask me! 🙂
Waking up this morning to torrential rain down here in tropical South Florida, and after a week of intense training sessions that left one of my hips tight and stiff, I decided to feel my day out leaving the training program to a decision made later on. I had planned for an easy 5 mile run barefoot on grass at the beginning of the week, but with the rain and the way my body was feeling it was better that I approached today’s session with wisdom.
As the day progressed, and one thing came up after the other, swimming sounded like the best option. I grabbed my goggles and headed to the pool for a relaxing easy swim for an hour. About 7 laps in I noticed my eldest fidgeting with his goggles so I stopped to help him. After adjusting them I grabbed mine and went to put them on when, SNAP!, they broke.
My first reaction was an expletive I’d rather not write down. The next reaction was playing the blame game like, “why did my eldest get in the way”, “if I only was able to keep swimming without interruptions”, and more blah like that. As I started to shift the focus towards a solution in terms of what will I do instead, “shall I just run later”, “borrow my son’s goggles”, “go home to get a snorkeling mask”, or “just stop swimming all together”, as it was just not my day; through all this I searched my feelings and decided upon doing some breaststroke without immersing my head under water. After a few laps this was not doing it for me. At that moment, side stroke came up for me and as soon as I started down to the other side of the pool I realized why I never thought of this before as the scissor kick in side stroke is so reminiscent of a running stride, for swimming related strokes that is; it’s a perfect way to loosen up tired muscles and joints as well as getting the blood flowing with water resistance. With the freestyle stroke’s flutter kick, I mostly use my arms for distance swimming primarily working a part of my body that isn’t going to assist with me being a better runner. And, even if I kicked hard all the time, it still won’t simulate a runner’s gait. I know the cardiovascular benefits are there, but the development of sport specific adaptations are not. Now, if you have an underwater treadmill, awesome, but for the majority of people who don’t have access to one or can afford it, the side stroke is a great addition to a runner’s program. I have also used the water belt that keeps you afloat, but I dislike how my legs don’t feel anchored not being able to grab onto anything.
Putting everything into perspective, it’s never a wise course of action to stay focused on a problem, as soon as one arises shift the focus towards solutions and search your feelings during these moments as one of the solutions will be the best fit. We are all given everything we need in life as all our challenges can be handled, just be open to the opportunities that are presented by letting your spirit flow free and clear.
I wanted to share a great quote that I came across as it states how I feel right now in my journey. Sometimes when we are discouraged and feel that we have gone ten steps back, in reality we have gained so much and learned even more. So, Today, Here and Now is where we are suppose to be, and today, I encourage those who feel they have lost time to remember that it’s better late than never and to continue working towards your dream 🙂
Do you remember when you were a kid and you made funny faces just to have your parents tell you that, “if you hold that face too long it’ll stay that way” and you just thought that was the silliest thing you ever heard as all you needed to do was change it at will?
In retrospect, there is truth to what your parents were telling you and there is truth to what you felt was possible in terms of returning to your original, so to speak, facial expression. It’s well known that the more something is practiced and used the more it becomes second nature and, for many people, an autopilot like scenario develops where one doesn’t even really have to focus on it to accomplish the task. This is best described through the example of driving. After you have learned to drive fully you start doing it without involving yourself in the moment. And it’s not uncommon to arrive at a destination to only realize that you don’t remember the trip there. However, even though there is a natural adeptness to this approach and it has its value one must realize that this also applies to other undesirable behaviors that, in effect, create our present reality.
I’m an advocate of taking full responsibility for one’s life and that having a victim mentality predisposes one to being a victim. I know its hard for some people to realize this, but the truth is that we can’t stand aside and play the blame game when we react through our programmed autopilot behaviors thus perpetuating the folly which is our life and continuing the struggle against our self. That’s a mouthful, eh?! LOL On a lighter note, a good movie to watch to get an understanding of the destructive nature of this, in a comedic fashion, is Click with Adam Sandler. Until we become aware of our programmed responses we will continue enacting them each and every time the environmental stimulus is present. Once we see these behaviors for what they are and take a step back, detaching from the situation to view ourselves objectively, then we will begin to notice how we sabotage our relationships in life and, with this new found clarity, begin to dismantle these doings one by one by not-doing them.
Remember as children when we thought how easy it was to return our face back to normal when we were chided for our silly facial expressions, the same willing applies to these behaviors. Having taking the first step in recognizing the times we fall into autopilot and then also believing – a very powerful act – that we do have the power to change them, just like we felt about our facial expressions when we were younger, then all that is left is to not-do each and every one of those behaviors through our daily life experiences.
In a nutshell: first, we need to see that our self and behaviors are not one in the same thing; second, believe we have the power to change them; third, start undoing them by being aware in the moment and SHARP with an edge to our existence allowing us the speed to change those reactions (doings) to true actions (not-doings).