Averages

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  – Jim Rohn

Wednesday morning at the gym (still can’t call it a box), and we had our normal 6am crew.  We show up, we work hard, we go about the rest of our day.  The coach this week is JC, who also does all of the programming, and can be beasty – he’s a great coach, and he pushes hard and expects maximum effort.  So we did the WOD, which this day included lots of power cleans and an interesting front rack carry that was harder than it had any right to be is going to have me sore for days.  We got done about 10 minutes early, so he had us cool down with a bunch of band pull-aparts, and then I started gathering my stuff to go.

At this point, two of the guys get on the floor and start doing situps.  I’m sure the look on my face was interesting – “what fresh hell is this?”  When I asked, they said that they wanted to get in 100 situps, so that’s what they were doing.

Well, hell.  Now I’VE got do situps or I feel like a lazy bum.  So I get down and start doing situps.  And then an extraordinary thing happened.

The whole class started doing situps.  Nobody left.  The 7am class had to start their warmups while dodging us, because we were all doing situps.  We could have left, but we didn’t – there was work still to do.

From now on, when somebody asks me how I’ve been successful at my weight loss and health journey –even if somebody asks me how I’ve been successful in my career or anything else in life – my answer is going to be that I upped my average.  We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and my average has gone way, way up since I started Crossfit.  So here’s a question – do the people around you push your average up or bring it down?

Saddle Up

It doesn’t get easier, you just go faster.

                                        – Greg LeMond

 I went out for my 3-miler this morning, and immediately felt crappy.  My legs didn’t feel like they were waking up, and there was a general tired-ness about the whole affair.  I knew two minutes in that this wasn’t going to be one of those enjoyable runs that comes around every now and then.  Nope – I had a slog on my hands.

I’ve been thinking lately about an upcoming running / racing schedule.  Back in 2013, I had my goal of running an event in every month, with a couple of big, checkbox, kind of events out in the future (Ragnar Tennessee, RnR Va Beach Half Marathon).  Those things helped motivate me, and I got enough nerve up to register for a full marathon.  Though my nerve got me to register, my brain didn’t compute all of the variables.  I made it through my 16-mile long run before I realized I’d never be able to get all of my training in during the winter.  Early spring marathons, it turns out, are really tough for people that live where it snows and gets cold.  So instead of attempting the full, I switched my registration to the half marathon.  I let the goal get away despite the fitness level.

But the goal didn’t die.  It exists.  I’ve got my half marathon in January, just registered for a 10K in April (Star Wars – The Dark Side Half Marathon weekend at Disneyworld), and then … nothing planned.  But I will be checking that marathon box.  My parents taught me (quite literally) that when you fall off a horse, you have to get right back on – for your sake and the horse’s.  I’m back on the horse.  Fall of 2016 – here I come.

This all ran through my mind as I was slogging through a random Thursday 3-miler.  The zombies made me run hard just once, and so I was able to let it wander.  And then I got back to the house and checked my pace.  It was still slower than I know I’ll be able to run – but it was the fastest run I’ve done since I quit running last July.  It sucked because I was running “fast”.

I’ll take it.

Fitness as a Skill

I ran across this the other day:

http://lifehacker.com/fitness-is-a-skill-not-a-talent-heres-how-to-develop-1651281013

To summarize – things like motivation and willpower are finite, and not enough to get you and keep you fit.  Instead, think of fitness as a skill that must be developed, which includes a lot of underlying skills – things like knowledge, going easy on yourself, etc.  The small underlying skills build to the broader skill of “being and staying fit” in the same way that the small underlying skills inherent in playing guitar (right hand technique, left hand technique, chord knowledge, etc.) build to the broader skill of “playing the guitar”.

I find this to be quite inspiring.

When we are acquiring a skill, we fail.  Generally a lot.  But, over time and with practice, we can improve our skills.  And that’s what is so inspiring – I can get better at this, not because I somehow got stronger as a person, or found some motivation lying out on the road, but because I grew my skill base and helped make it second nature.

Beginning in early 2013, I spent two years eating well and exercising well and generally building that skill.  In the end, the whole “getting and staying fit” picture failed, but I still built on the underlying inherent skills, and I can still build on those.  I can still get better at this, if only I will.

Cool.