Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Freakout, The Zone & Wii

My athletes are in full Kona freakout mode. Cub fans (those who are awake) are in playoff freakout; IT IS ONE GAME PEOPLE...those other guys in blue and grey need two more wins the Cub path is just harder.

Relax...maybe it is my new role where EVERYTHING is on fire in some manner. You need to assess how the fire is burning and say, "Wow, that is on fire" and then do something about it. Change requires action - which is why it is so hard to change things. It is easy to arm chair quarterback and say, "Oh, just do this or that and I can swim under 1:00 at Ironman." Can you really? As well as bike and run...and lift and stretch...and live and eat and work? Not so easy is it?

I liken it to when I was really starting to understand how fat I was in the early 1990s. I remember watching the Eco-Challenge on TV and seeing guys who had run, paddled, hiked and biked across a continent with 3 hours of sleep in 10 days. My buddy Ross and I were at his apartment and drinking MGD and eating Doritos when some guy from Team Earthlink breaks an ankle about 6 miles from the finish and we start yelling at the TV. "GET UP you WIMP!"

Hold on there professor.

My new take on Ironman and now playoff freakout is simple...focus on what you can do and execute. For my athletes (all age group), that is simple - today's workout - think today ONLY. Tomorrow is a gift and we'll worry about that tomorrow. Just like in the race itself. Don't sweat the marathon in the swim. Your work should be to get to the next 20 feet. Then the next 20 feet. Think beyond that and you are toast. This is being in the zone. Zone thinking is really just about having your mind on what you are doing. Easier said than done as the human mind processes things all the time. Remember the last time you couldn't remember a song? Later in the day, when you aren't "thinking" about it suddenly you blurt out, "Satisfaction! That's the song!" Great athletes are so single track minded about things that they often give funny answers to things. Why? They aren't thinking about this conversation - they are thinking about what they are doing or about to do. My last Ironman my wife would ask me a question and I'd answer her telling her things like, "Well, that depends. It is like mile 60 of the bike. If I am feeling good then we can eat pasta tonight." Crazy sounding answer but I am already thinking of the race and what I'm doing. On race day, I will have lived my race 10,000 times and anything that happens (and my reaction to it) has already been thought through. This is how I remain calm while other athletes freak out of freeze. This is in life as well. Thinking through what "could happen" while driving, working out, planning bills and expenditures, saving...everything.

The cool part is that life will always throw you things you didn't think about. There is a saying I like, "Wanna make God laugh? Tell God your plan for life." If you thought of different possibilities - any adjustment is just a adjustment in your course and not a completely new direction.

The hand wringing about the Cubs last night and today locally is embarrassing. We've been here before...last year even. Relax. When the Bulls won all their championships with Michael Jordan - people forget that they normally lost the first game of the conference or NBA finals. If we loose tonight, everyone should shave their head and run around naked - that will change the mojo. KIDDING...

My back has suffered a Wii injury. Lorrie picked up a Wii as she has wanted one for about two years (or whenever they originally came out). I am putting on my clothing like a 90 year old; actually, whatever could be worse because my uncle Harold probably is doing better than I am. Just shifting in bed to get up is a driving me to tears. Yeah...that bad. I can swim alright. Haven't run on this yet. This morning at 4:03 AM I got up - in pain and bit down on a pencil to stretch. My back made two loud pops and woke up my wife. Feels better now but only about 10% better. I will try the elliptical machine at the gym tonight.

Be careful when you Wii.


  1. When the Bulls won all their championships with Michael Jordan - people forget that they normally lost the first game of the conference or NBA finals.

    Not so much. They won 6 championships which means they played a total of 12 conference or league finals series. They lost the first game 3 times -

    1991 vs Lakers (NBA Final)

    1993 vs Knicks (Conference Final)

    1998 vs Jazz (NBA Final)

    I do, however, agree with you that the panic over the Cubs game is ridiculous. I just hope the players don't feel the same way. It's going to be tense tonight in Wrigley so it would be a really good idea to get off to a fast start or else the pressure might just be too much for those guys.

  2. Dave - 3 of 6 that's 50% of the time right?

    Erik - baseball...I figured out how to hit home runs out of the park - throw your back into it. This is brutal. It hurts to lay down.