SteveO, great thread. I like the way you link the experience in sports/hobbies with "real life" experiences and investing. Thanks a lot for this inspiring text.
The adventure threads that were going around were great discussions. They are relevant to the Fastlane for many reasons as were mentioned in the threads. There may be even more dimensions to this as well.
As I have stated on other threads many times, I am an avid runner. It is not just for health and fitness. I do it to compete. Competition is a way of life for me.
I have gone through many stages over the years. Usually with the same goal in mind... to be faster.
Who the competition is has changed.
In high school, I was part of the cross country and track team. My times were pretty fast. I won a lot of races, set some course records, and lettered varsity as a freshman at a large school in San Diego. The funny thing is that I took it for granted.
I knew I was fast. I figured others knew how fast I was. There was a shitty cockyness about me that I thought was cool. Sometimes in a race, I would shadow the front runner for fun and flash peace signs (dating myself) and smiles each lap. Then pass the runner and dart out as far as I could on the last lap. Not a bad race strategy but certainly not a great spirit of sportsmanship.
One time I dropped out of a race because I couldn't win. My teammates were pissed. I cost our team points by pouting instead of finishing the race. There were points issued for the first 3 places that contributed to the overall team points.
I was getting in trouble at school for various reasons and eventually got suspended from a race by the vice principle. But, I showed him. I quit the team.
By the following season, I had been kicked out of school. Amazing how sour I was at the time. I went on to get kicked out of the next school as well and never ran another race in high school. My career was done in less than one and a half years.
Smoking was my next specialty. In fact, I was so stuck on myself that I had even started the habit while I was still on the track team.
One day while in my early twenties I came up with the bright idea of lacing up my shoes again. I had just kicked the smoking habit. It couldn't hurt to go for a few miles. Ha! It hurt like hell. Especially when after a few blocks I was so worn out that the ground got in the way of my feet. Spat!!! My hands an knees were shredded.
Could it be that I was no longer a natural runner? Was my talent gone?
I hooked up with a friend of mine that ran in high school. He was not anywhere near as fast as I was back then. He was a lot faster than me now. Try as I might, and train like a fiend, I could not keep up with him.
We ran together for the next five or six years. I never could catch back up to him but it didn't matter. I was now competing against myself. There were not any races that I could be viewed as competitive. I had lost what I had once thought was God given. Accepting that was tough.
Running continued to be part of my life. I had children and coached their teams. Life was busy. But, I continued to find the time to run.
I was working at HP and learned that they had a track team. I started participating in some of the events. Mostly 10K races or the occasional relays. Over time, I became fairly embedded into the system. We usually entered more than one team at a time, A, B, and C. I was usually on the B or C team.
This continued for years. I worked at HP for 19 years and ran on the track team for about 17 of those. Eventually, I started making the A team. We won a lot of races. I ended up captaining the team for a while. We had a couple of sponsors which didn't pay but gave us free equipment.
At some point I refocused my life on apartments and investing. When I quit my job, food must have found its way into my life also. I gained weight. I still ran, but a bit slower. Ok, a lot slower.
Life has a way of waking you up. I realized one day that all I had worked to regain with my running was slipping away. I found a running group that was about 50 people strong and hit it with a renewed enthusiam. Reinvigorated.
We would meet 3 time a week. For many of us, each workout was a race. We would get out and charge as hard as we could.
I picked up racing again. This time, it was marathons. I had always wanted to run fast before. Marathons seemed uninteresting to me. But, that is what this group trained for.
We all trained very hard and had long fast runs every weekend. Our hard charging seemed to be making us fast. We had a goal race for the inaugural Rock and Roll Marathon in Phoenix.
Slowly our group of fast runners started breaking down. By the time the race came around, most of the fast group was out for injuries. Seven out of the ten in the fast group did not make the race. Only two of us finished but niether with good finishing times. It was very disappointing.
We continued to run though. The group changed a lot but there was still an overall large crowd. I picked the four fastest runners and entered us into a marathon relay race. We thought we might be able to win the team division. I was wrong. We got our clocks cleaned. Three other teams beat us pretty handily. Two of the teams were women.
I set out to find them. They had to have some secret to their success. They were fast!!!
I finally did locate them. The Bandido's. What I did find was that success was no accident.
They had a plan. It included three group runs a week just like my other group. But, this one had programs.
Tuesday night was track night. We would do intervals which would change depending on the team's target races. There would be many groups based on your current level. You would run with the pack based on your last race time. There were targets. Your goup would keep you on pace and focused.
More of the same on Thursday nights. Only the running and patterns were for longer distances.
Sunday was the long day. Usually 16 to 22 miles with accelerations defined at certain points.
The runners would encourage each other. Each person on the track would be cheered. We looked out for one another in all situations.
There was more. On race day, all those not racing would come out to cheer. Some would travel at great expense to pace someone on a race or be there to cheer for them.
My mindset changed. I don't care which of hte Bandido's beat me in a race. In fact, I want them all to run faster than me as long as I make my goal. I really enjoy watching our team sweep the awards at some races. I fondly recall a race in San Diego that I used to frequently run with my old team from HP. I went with my new group and the announcer made the comment "There sure are a lot of people from Arizona taking these awards". It was mostly our team!
I was now new and improved. My entire way of thinking about running has changed. My times are showing it too. I have won my age category in some large races.
I have actually worked my way onto the main part of the team in team competitions. We usually win. I have a renewed sense of what it means to compete at this level that will never again be taken for granted. This time, I won't drop out.
SteveO, great thread. I like the way you link the experience in sports/hobbies with "real life" experiences and investing. Thanks a lot for this inspiring text.
Competition ran most of my life as well. I was never outwardly cocky but it drove my every move.
My first karate tournament when I was about 6 or 7 I was in a division with 2 girls. The 3 of us competed and I very clearly remembered saying to myself "Oh I'm going to do my form and they are just going to do kicks and punches, I will take first place for sure!" On top of that I was 1 belt higher than those girls. Ended up taking 3rd place. Ha ha. I remember swearing to myself that would never happen again. I trained and trained and trained competing in tournaments all over the U.S. and very rarely taking less then 1st in several divisions. Forms, Fighting, Weapons, Musical forms, it didn't matter. I trained normally 8 hours a day just to beat my competition to a pulp.
After 16 years of competition I started to see things in a different light. As silly as it sounds if you watch the movie Fearless with Jet Li. The stories and outcomes are similar. Although mine not so dramatic. Years went by and I cared less and less. Every win was emptier and emptier. And if I lost it was just as miserable. Winning and losing really had no meaning any more. I remember telling my Sensei I just wanted to be the best... I wanted it so bad... to be the best... I would train and train until my knees gave out. Until I couldn't walk for weeks and then I'd do it again.
I finally had a light bulb go off it me... why? Why was I wasting my life trying to beat the same 3 people in a silly martial arts tournament? It's not the NBA or the NFL... I'm not going to get a huge million dollar contract. All I get was this stupid trophy that said I did better than that person on that day. What was I really searching for? I figured it out. I just wanted someone to notice me. And since those few people I really cared about my friends and family didn't notice me, I'd show them, I'll be the best and then everyone will respect me and love me.
I've learned a lot since I stopped competing about 3 years ago now. Competition is not a bad thing, you sure learn a lot about yourself. I have a pretty thick skull so it took a couple years to get it.
Now I let myself do what I've always really wanted to. Serve people. Care about people. Care about improving their lives. And nothing makes me feel better than to have done just a little bit of good in someone's life.
And this is what I will continue to do.
SteveO Rep+. Brought up some good memories. Thanks.
StephenHilgart.com - My Blog on Personal Development and Business Philosophy
I am going to cut and paste our weekly newsletter on here just to show the support. This race had 30,000 participants but was not a big one for our group. Many of the fast runners are targeting Boston and did not participate in this one. I changed the names although they are posted in the race results.
I just wanted to show a bit about the team environment and support. I sat at this race at mile 19 handing out bottles of water to runners that were having difficulty. Not just to our team, anyone that appeared to be suffering. This is a spot where many marathoners break down.
Congratulations to everyone that ran the PF Changs RNR Marathon and 1/2 Marathon on Sunday!
In the marathon:
Suzy 2:52:39 (won her division)
Bob 2:52:48 (won his age group)
Jeff 2:56:56 (6 minute PR!)
Tanaya 3:02 (who lost her chip, but PR'ed by 27 minutes!)
Marc 3:10:40 (9 minute PR and Boston qualifier!)
Sandy 3:47:16 (Expert pacer 2 marathons in a row!)
Vicki 3:47:32 (PR and Boston qualifier!)
In the 1/2:
Jeff 1:17:30 (age group winner)
Dan 1:36:08 (4 seconds slower than his 10 year old PR)
When: 6:30 P.M.
Where: Canal and 44th St.--about halfway between Indian School and Camelback Roads. Park on the small side street that is just north of the canal and runs east off of 44th St. (VERY small grassy park on the corner
What: Boston Marathoners: 12 miles total with 4-5 miles @ MP
** Sunday Plans **
When: 7:00 A.M.
Where: South Mountain Park--San Juan Road. Park at the bathrooms, just past the guard house at the entrance.
What: 12-16 miles total on the hilly course
**Breakfast at my house after the long run on Sunday!
I can live anywhere that I want. This team keeps me here.
Teams are important in your life and with your investments. You want to be where there is encouragement and everyone has the same goal. Sort of like this forum....
See you at the B&P!!
You professional runners are crazy, but here's my story, not quite as impressive, but definitely inspiring for any aspiring distance runners....
I've always been active and played baseball, basketball and football in HS. Never did track or XC, but did run a PR of 5:32 in the mile when I was 16. From there it was downhill, back then I was a trim 6'2" and 175 and didn't hit the 200 mark until after HS and since it's been a struggle to get back down(currently at 6'4" and 258). In fact I got on and off with cardio once I put on the freshman 50, yes not the 15, but 50, as I "ballooned" from about 200 to 250 after my first semester of college. After seeing how bad I looked in pictures I decided I'd do something about it and went on one of those low-carb diets and mixed it with a decent cardio routine that lasted about 1hr total(treadmill, stairs, rowing, etc) and it took about 4 months to drop the 50lbs I gained in my first 2 at college.
The following year I gained a little more back, I guess you can say my weight issues in college had to do with leaning on food as a crutch, wouldn't quite say depression, but it was close and was one of the deciding factors to why I transferred to a new school. After I transferred I stayed active and joined the club baseball team at U of I(intercollegiate, but not NCAA sanctioned, pretty much for those who were of walk-on ability, but didn't want to put up w/ the b.s. of playing as a walk-on) and got out to the gym atleast a few times a week, consisting of on and off workout plans(never really stuck to any though ).
It was this year that I experimented with running and started my own program of 4 miles every other day for two weeks and adding a mile the following week, ultimately doing this on and off for 2-3 months, getting to 7 miles every other day before I experienced the dreaded "IT Band" issues. Now keep in mind I was running in a worn out pair of New Balance walking shoes and was in bad need of dedicated running shoes. Well I went to a running store and had the gait analysis and bought a decent pair of Asics, but never really ran in them, in fact I probably played more basketball in them
So that was my previous experience in running, flash forward April of 2007. While in Zurich, Switzerland I saw something that would change my life- The Zurich Marathon! While I know it's not Boston, New York or London, it was still an amazing experience. After seeing some of the non-Kenyan runners I thought "gee, I could do that!" and to top it off it was on the first leg of a 14 cities in 14 days tour which involved one of my favorite activities, day-tripping, which in my eyes is seeing as many sites in one day and moving to the next city . So the light-bulb went off and I thought "I love to see major cities and I need to get back in shape, I should start running marathons!"
On top of that, I saw an inspiring story about a woman who didn't start running until she was 40 and had ran a marathon on all 7 continents(yes there is one on Antarctica as well!) and on top of that she's legally blind! So now I knew I had to do something with my life so to say....
The actual journey started in Feb of last year and thinking that I was running 4 miles at an 8min/mile pace as recently as 4yrs ago this first run should've been a breeze. Well going at a brisk pace, or so I thought, I was literally winded within 1/4 mile and had to walk the rest of my first 1.5 mile training run. From there I got the will and determination to do this and made sure that I finished EVERY run(even if I had to throw in a few walkbreaks) and while I didn't start every run on my schedule I did about 400 miles of training runs in 7 months on my way to the ultimate goal- The Chicago Marathon!
To say that this was a once in a lifetime experience was a major understatement. Considering the largest crowd I had ever performed in front of was maybe 1000, I wasn't prepared for the 1 million+ supporters that were there every step of the way! In fact I credit the support of not only my lovely fiance, wonderful parents and friend/running partner, but the rows and rows of wonderful and supportive fellow Chicagoans to my completion of this monumental task!
The first half was relatively easy, even though I was on pace for about a 5-5.25hr time, but then I had those IT band issues that I avoided for most of my training from proper stretching and hydration, add to that the humidity(we were at a "Code Red" heat advisory for most of the run, one step below "Code Black" which means course closed) and developing blisters and after mile 14 it was a struggle to survive. In fact, it seemed like the mile markers were getting further and further apart and that I'd never reach that finish line. Well once I got to mile 25 I drew my inner Rocky Balboa and played pretty much the whole Rocky soundtrack on my "mental" ipod(mp3 players are supposedly prohibited even though there were hundreds of runners using them ) and I was off, all the way to the finish line where I just broke down into tears b/c I had done it!!! Yes, plain old me, no formal training and still not in the prime shape I was as a teenager, had finished a marathon!
Now the goal is to not just finish, but to improve my time and of course work towards the goal of running all 50 States and all 7 Continents, but most of all to narrow in on one of the many great charitable causes I saw represented throughout the course so I can run for a higher purpose- to help others!
Thanks Steve-O for inspiring me to share my story even though I posted my own thread on this experience, I figure it's worth repeating to motivate anyone else who wants to start their own "foot racing adventures"
"Not trying is the only way not to succeed"
|--Accounting and Tax Services | Professional Tax Preparation | Tax Preparation Phoenix--|--Facebook --|
Book links provided by Amazon.com affiliate program. Sponsored ads/links are not endorsements or recommendations from MJ DeMarco and/or Viperion Corporation.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)