men, mice, and the art of planning

No mice (or men) were harmed in the making of this blog post – nor are they really involved, except as part of a humorous title, chosen as a less boring alternative to “my plan for the next phase” or something similar…

So with that said, this week has seen a return to relative normality, after a couple of months of slacking off! My Garmin is kindly telling me that I’ve been “de-training”, and I am sure it will take more than one week of activity to get back to “productive”, but that’s the idea…

Fully rested after the long weekend around Busso 70.3, this week I have achieved 3 main things; swam, rode and walked on multiple occasions, paid attention to what I was eating, and made a conscious effort to drink a little more water. Sleep was also a focus (getting to bed on time), but that’s almost been a by-product of the other items.

So 2 rides, 2 swims, and a walk off the bike after ride 1 was the net result, and has kick-started things back into action. Having chatted to coach, Anne, at Busselton, the aim for the next 8 weeks is to do 2 runs, 2 rides and 2 swims, no pressure, no detailed plan, and fitting them in as my schedule allows. I see this as a sort of “pre-season” build to the real training cycles that will kick in between December and May, then May to December…

Those two phases correspond, of course, to the half ironman 70.3 event in May 2021, and the full ironman event in December 2021. Both are in Busselton. After all the chaos that has come out of 2020, it’s nice to have a clear, logical path spreading out in front of me!

Not wishing to tempt fate, but with things on the work front settling down again, my head back in the game, and a couple of really amazing goals for me to achieve, I am going to make 2021 the best year yet.

Starting now 🙂

a rest is as good as a change

I have just spent the weekend watching and cheering on club mates and other friends, at the Busselton 70.3 Ironman event. This is the one that normally takes place in May and was rescheduled to October thanks to the pandemic.

It was a brilliant weekend, and I really enjoyed watching people achieve personal goals, smash through barriers, and also the way everyone was so supportive of each other, with on and off the course.

I had originally booked time off work from Wednesday to Monday, as there was a chance that I might be taking part, as part of preparation for the December Ironman event. When that was cancelled, I cancelled the extended accomodation booking, settling for one night in Busselton instead. I left my annual leave booking in place though.

This left me with 2 full days of doing nothing before heading down to Busselton, and 2 full days of doing nothing after getting back. It has been absolute bliss!

Having caught up with a few household chores, I was able to fully relax, unwind and chill out before getting up at stupid o’clock on Friday to drive to Busso. The club tent was set up in next to no time, which provided an opportunity to grab coffee with head coach Anne, wander around the expo, and catch up with the PTC club members as they started to arrive.

Saturday was another early start, hanging out at the tent as the troops gathered, before wandering down to watch the swim starts, some of the swim exits, and then heading back to the tent. It was fantastic to see everyone putting in gritty efforts, especially as we were in prime position to see the pain and elation on their faces as they headed towards the end of each of 3 laps.

After hanging around after the finish, congratulating people on their achievements, and enjoying the last remnants of the event vibe, it was time to take down the tents – which was even quicker than putting them up! With my camp chairs loaded into the car, I then headed back to sunny Baldivis, I was tempted to join the crew for dinner in Dunsborough, but also liked the thought of sleeping in my own bed, and not having to drive (or do anything) the next day.

Sunday was exactly the day I anticipated – doing bugger all. Well, apart from the bit where I signed up for the 70.3 event next May… this was aided in part by Triathlon WA posting that registrations were open, but this wasn’t a whim – this is part of the plan!

And so today, Monday… another day of having nothing specific to do, and I have to say that after a tough couple of months, I am feeling the most relaxed, refreshed, alert and awake that I can recall for a very long time!

Must be time to get back to training huh?

and now for something completely different…

at some point I will be posting about training, progress towards the 2021 ironman, and so on… today though, after several weeks of navel-gazing, I wanted to talk about something completely different.

firstly, the navel-gazing… somehow, I always knew things were heading for a low point, after the highs of 2013-2015, after walking (and a little running) 5400km, after thinking my life would head in a very different direction… well, things kind of went into freefall, and landed me back to a very familiar position.

working for the same government department, fitness slowly sliding out the door, fatness slowly creeping back on my frame, and mojo an increasingly rare commodity.

but in recent times, having hit what I think was the low point of this particular cycle, it really came home to me that things are very different now – despite being out of shape, and not as lean as I had become, I can swim, cycle and walk (not really run), have a very different mindset to before, and am actually in a very good place where I can contrast and compare things with how I felt before.

so, effectively starting again, what did I learn and how do I move forwards this time? what brought about all the successes before, and why did it all crash?

I believe three words are relevant to this – law of attraction. It’s something that Napoleon Hill basically talks about in the guise of “Think and Grow Rich”, it’s the topic of the movie “The Secret”, it’s something that gets talked about by every self-help “guru” and zenned-out life coach you can find.

let me make something clear – I believe there is a lot that is valid with this “law”, though the way it is talked about and presented online (in my opinion) makes it inaccessible and incomprehensible to many people.

depending where you are getting the information, it tends to get wrapped in layers of guru-speak, pseudo-science, long impressive psychobabble words, religious under/overtones, completely whacko “out there” storylines and more…

it has put me off the subject many many times – though now when I look back over my story to date, I can see how various things were at play, and one thing I hope to achieve here is to maybe explain that a little, in plain language, and without invoking magical or mystical realms…

as I have noted before, the first part of my journey, getting to the point where I was overweight, unfit, and unhappy, was basically the net result of not setting goals, having negative beliefs, and drifting around aimlessly.

in law of attraction terms, I believed that things never worked out for me, I believed that setting goals was pointless – and that put me in an operating mode where I would generally notice all the things that confirmed those thoughts and beliefs.

next, after a bit of an awakening, I changed my lifestyle, felt amazing, and set a huge goal to prove that “anyone can do this”. riding that wave brought about an epic walk across australia; I was so invested in it, believed it would happen without any doubt, and poured so much of my energy into it, that opportunities and options would present themselves, and my brain was attuned to those, and my default operating mode was to seize anything that would help things happen.

it all flowed, instead of focusing on things that went wrong, I made a basic assumption that everything would work out, and it invariably did. and after 4 months of things working out, I landed in a place where I thought I knew everything about where my life was heading next, what shape it would take, how I would earn a living and so on.

I did everything I thought I needed to do to make it happen – and therein lies the issue. “make” it happen.

it turns out that the moment your ego says “I’ve got this”, and you seize the controls (instead of just having an overall idea, and letting things flow), things actually stop working for you. it seems that the trick is to be obsessed with something, have what Napoleon Hill called a “burning desire” for something, but to make that the thing that burns in the background, and steers you at a very high level.

having a tight grip on the same topic, in the front of your mind, somehow seems to choke the life out of it.

it is now 5 years on from crossing the country, and most of those years have seen something of a downward trajectory. the end result, this year, was a constant feeling that I was about to be ill, absolute dread that I was heading towards an Ironman race and would not be capable of finishing it, and a general feeling of dissatisfaction about many areas of my life – notably, work was not one of these, where I have been on an upward trajectory for those 5 years…

since Coronavirus impacted the world in unimaginable ways, I have yet again been taking stock, trying to figure stuff out, and doing the work to switch my mindset. when i say “work”, I mean trying to meditate, reading, listening and watching all kinds of self-help / motivation content, and observing what did and did not work.

so here I am now, with a feeling that things are moving forwards, the ironman event rescheduled for 2021, and all pressure off. and the main change that has taken place is that I have reconnected with my vision of the future – my triathlon goals, my health and fitness goals, and goals relating to my personal life too – and once reconnected, I have made efforts to let those desires bubble away in the background, not get too bogged down with trying to force those things to happen, and instead just focus on finding things to appreciate, feel good about and draw happiness from.

my prediction? by following these feelings of happiness, most, if not all, of those goals will be realised, and often in ways that I could never have envisaged looking at things right now.

over time I hope to find a way to explain all these things in fairly straightforward language – I truly believe that everyone can benefit from the mindset shift that it entails, and everyone can live the life they have dreamed of…

well I did say it would be intermittent…

about a month between posts I think? ah, who is counting? come to think of it, who is reading anyway? last time I checked, me, me, and me…

so what has happened in the past month? not a lot to report really. I have been enjoying some downtime, recently caught up with a few tri club clubmates (which was fantastic) and generally been feeling tired, fatigued, constantly feeling as though on the verge of a cold, and really not feeling much in the way of mojo, to be honest.

I had hoped that a few weeks’ break would rectify most of the above, but it seems it’s not just rest that is needed. I recognise the signs to be honest, and it’s probably an iron deficiency, and probably one that’s caused by a pretty poor diet (just being honest), and that’s probably going to be a great area to focus on next.

so in the spirit of the idea (from way back) of adding 1 and removing 1 habit per week, I will add getting back on the low carb eating plan (with real food and no crap), and remove energy drinks (which have re-emerged as a thing since trying to get through each day). replacing energy drinks with water will double the benefits of that, and with less “stay awake” stuff in my body, perhaps my sleep will improve too.

oh yeah, sleep has been crappy. I actually can’t remember the last time I slept all the way through the night, and definitely can’t remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed! so it will be good if that is helped by changing eating and drinking habits…

that’s all for now – will let “you” know how it goes…