Archive for January, 2013

Records are Made to Be Broken

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2013 by brianestover

Break one Mark did. This past weekend at the South Africa 70.3 Mark destroyed not only the M40-44 field by 16 minutes, but he also broke the course record in his age group, a course record he already owned. He was able to knock off 6 minutes off his previous best time using a 1:23 run to cap off the morning, which was the fastest he’s run in a half.

If there is one thing that will help your placing in any triathlon, it’s running fast. Mark used his run to grab 21st overall and cross the line as the fourth age group athlete on the day. This is Mark’s first race as an Accelerate 3 athlete, which really means being in the M40-44 Age group just got a whole lot tougher for a whole lot of people.

In the northern hemisphere, James and I have been discovering mountain bike racing. James is doing much better at it then I am. He’s grabbed a couple of top 10’s overall in his class, while I teamed up with Accelerate 3 athlete Jeff and a few friends to do a 4 man team at the 12 Hours of Papago mountain bike race. Who says you can’t ride when it’s <30F out?

Damn it's cold out here!

Time, Choices, Organization & Habits

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by brianestover

Time. I had a friend of mine tell me you can’t stop time. Which is true. No matter what is happening it has to end sooner or later. Tick tock, there goes your clock. As an athlete time is a precious commodity. The more time you exercise odds are the better you will be. But no one is fortunate to have unlimited time. If it’s 15:00 and you find yourself 2 hours behind, you can’t stop the clock, you can’t rewind it and start over. This is especially true if you are a triathlete. It’s already a time consuming sport with training, especially if you are doing long course races. Add in work, a family, social obligations and suddenly it may seem that all your time is accounted for. If you want to spend more time doing A, that time has to come from B or C or D, or from all of them. You can’t invent more time, you can only spend it more wisely. You can’t avoid spending time, so spend it very wisely.

Which leads to choices. Everyday you to make a choice. You have to choose how to spend your most precious commodity. Think of it as your bank account. In and out, debit and credit. You have X and can’t spend X + Y. There is no overdraft fee. You can choose to spend more time working out but you have to debit it from something else. You can choose to spend an extra 30 minutes in bed, but how will that impact the rest of your morning or afternoon? What is something goes wrong late in the morning. You’ve chosen to spend 30 minutes sleeping in, now something is choosing for you to debit you another 25 minutes. Suddenly it’s 2:30 and you realize it should only be 1:40. You spent 50 minutes that you can never get back. No overdraft fees to save your ass. Now you spend all afternoon rushing around, trying to get everything done and you are forced to spend even more of your time in the evening catching up. Your initial 30 minute investment in sleeping in became a debit in your time account for later in the day, or your family time account or your work account or your working out account. After you add in depreciation you might have actually spent an extra 30 or 45 or 60 minutes all because you choose to delay what you could have done straight up. Before you choose to spend that time you will never get back, you should spend 1 minute thinking about the ramifications of your choice. What happens if A or B happens, how does that impact others, what negative connotations will this have what positive connotations will this choice have? Maybe you still choose to sleep in, maybe you choose to get up, what ever you choose to do, choose to spend carefully.

Since you have a finite amount of time, what are a few things you can do to help you spend less and/or get more for the time you do spend? Get organized. Don’t delay, do what needs to be done now and do it now. Don’t cut corners. I never really appreciated my grandfather, Dad or Mom telling me to do it right the first time. But now the wisdom of those words are clear. Spending an extra 3 minutes now can be like an interest bearing checking account, you get 5 minutes back since you’re not going to have to spend another 6 or 10 minutes fixing what you should have done the first time correctly. You should figure out a system that works for you. I use a white board, actually I use a couple. But on my daily white board I have every one listed I need or want to call or email that day. I have every schedule that I need to write that week. There are notes jotted down about what needs to happen, what needs to be accomplished. I’ve put down appointments like going to the dentist, or if I’m heading out of town. The white board becomes a living extension of my day, add and subtract to keep me on track. This helps me so I can make the choices I want on where to spend my time instead of being forced to choose where I want to spend my capital.

Finally developing a few habits can help you in your organization, the choices you have to make, where and how you are going to spend your time. Do you drink coffee every morning? Fill up the coffee maker, set the timer and have it ready for you so you don’t have to do it every morning while you are trying to workout then get to work. In years past I used to wake up, run, walk the dogs, boil water for tea while making breakfast, then eat in the office while doing email and my computer work. I would get home in the evening and always had about 10 minute of work left to do on the computer. I did it in the car. Once done I never had to worry about spending my most valuable asset on that computer work in the evening. it became a habit. That habit enabled me to put a credit in the time account to use before bed.

Now you’re probably thinking that sounds great but my life is chaotic. I have news for you, everyone lives in chaos. It’s how you choose to handle that chaos. You can be rational or you can screw yourself by adopting a whoa is me attitude. You can be disappointed about how your days went or you can choose to make yourself more habitual, choose to spend wisely. You can choose to be more organized and give yourself a greater chance of spending your time the way you want to.

The Beginning of a Beginning

Posted in Random Stuff, Stuff with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2013 by brianestover

We use Dec 31 as a marker to end a time period. But it’s really just an arbitrary marker. Things most likely don’t get better or worse just because you’ve rolled into a new year. If you’re in some complicated project or completing a task, the changing of the year really is just another day. Most things don’t abruptly just end because one second ticked away. It’s easy to use the 1st of the year as the beginning of a training log or a starting point for something. It’s a great time reference. It gives you an anchor to set goals, it’s very black and white. That was then, this is now. Boom, start of a new year, start of a new something.

I always have some trouble with the new year and the start of things. As a coach I think in seasons starting with the down time that begins after the final race. Seasons could have 47 weeks in them or they could have 58 weeks in them. Where it ends for me is after the last race. I’ve been labeling schedules with 2013 for over a month now. The work now is for 2013 and beyond, not 2012. Sometimes I’ll have two or three seasons planned out due to an athlete’s goals, with the calendar year only as a reference.

2013 will be a little different for me, at least I think it will be, a little bit anyway. I filed what I think is the last of the estate paperwork, something I started on July 22, 2011 when my Mom passed away. That seems like an eon ago yet it also seems like it could be classified as just an age ago. It’s definitely been an era of the most continuous bit of stress I’ve ever dealt with. Sometimes a lot of stress, made more difficult by things out of my control or people getting in the way, sometimes the stress has been lessened by the overwhelming kindness shown by people I’ve never met. On the whole I’m a big skeptic of the human race, but several people over the last 17 months have restored a little sliver of faith. I can see an end to this process. Unless I’ve missed something, there are two or three things left to do, most of which consist of me signing my mother’s name, then writing the word by, then signing my name then writing the word executor.

There is a weird thing that bad stress does to you. I can look back on some very bad stressful times of my life – divorce, my dogs passing away, the death of one of my favorite people, going through a few rounds of layoffs. I look back at those periods of time and realize all that stress, all the shit that comes with it really did help prepare me for what I was going to have to do. Making the decision two times to put your dogs down is nothing to explaining to your mother, the person that gave you birth, that had been there for you for 39 years, and as a RN knew, had seen the consequences many times of the decision that you were about to make to pull her NG tube. The tube that was keeping her alive. You, her son, were about to condemn her to death sooner than she probably would have died. And she knew it and you knew she knew it. Then you have to explain that not only to her, but to your family why you are doing it. Since there was a communication gap due to neurological problems from the shunt, she was unable to 100% communicate if that was the right or wrong decision. I still grapple with that decision. What did Mom really think of my decision and thought process? Did she think I was wrong? That I should have waited? Did she think I just wanted the process to end? What did she think? While I didn’t realize it then, having to make the decision about the dogs helped frame the thought process. Sometimes in life though you will never know if the decision was the correct decision or if you made a decision that directly impacted someone’s life and they disagreed with you. It sucks.

As I look back on the process of wrapping it up a few things come to mind. Look losing a parent is never easy but the paperwork involved with death makes living so much better. Don’t die, it’s really the best advice I can give you. If you insist on disobeying my orders get all your paperwork signed, notarized and handed out to those who need it. Only then should you even consider kicking the bucket. Here’s another tip: live in the same time zone as the person who is going to be the executor or executrix. While flying back and forth the country numerous times has it’s perk’s, it’s not all glamour. All that flying did allowed me to get back in touch with some friends, which was great. I spent a lot of time in NC hanging out with friends that I rarely get to hang out with. It was also a time saver. Instead of continuing to spend a ton of time online looking at dogs at the shelters, then having to drive there, pick out the one you want, drive back a few days later to pick them up, I just inherited a dog. It’s pretty cool to have a dog that think’s your her best thing other than breakfast & dinner. I think the biggest thing it’s given me is the ability and confidence to know no matter what, it’s all going to work out. My Mom’s dying allowed me to shed the silver shackles that bound me with no fear of failure. The reality is I’ve made the two hardest decisions a lot of people have to make.

Now I have the beginnings of a new period of my life. Even though it’s January 1 and the beginning of a new year, my new beginning isn’t tied to the calendar. I can see it well above the horizon, close at hand, but it’s not quite here, yet.