Finding Your “Finding Ultra” Moment
A few weeks ago, I read a book I’d had on my list for a while. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll.
Never heard of Rich? He is a vegan ultra endurance athlete that has had a lot of success at going long. Not just everyday “long.” Not just simple marathons or even ultra-marathons. No, the guy does crazy things like five Iron distance triathlons in the span of five days long. Crazy stuff.
But, the crazier thing is everything that he overcame in his life, and everything he still had to overcome, to understand his gift in ultra endurance sports. He had been a serious alcoholic (who had since recovered), and was significantly overweight and leading a sedentary life the day he woke up and realized he had some issues to fix.
So, he started the process of fixing those issues, in a very grandiose way. Overnight, he went vegan. And he started exercising. And after doing these things long enough, one day he woke up and was a serious athlete at the age of forty-something. He “found ultra,” and his life has never been the same.
If Rich Roll can fix his issues and turn around his life, anyone can. But, we don’t all have to turn our lives completely on edge to find our “ultra” – our thing that makes us tick – or to live a healthy existence. Sometimes just making one small change, or a series of small changes can make all the difference. Sometimes, just having one thing a day that is off-limits to reschedule, a mandatory appointment with yourself, can be the change you need.
For me, it’s two things.
1) My appointment to exercise is non-negotiable six days a week.
Right now, because we are remodeling a house, I am working 50+ hours a week, and I try to keep some semblance of regular posting on this blog, my training/exercising schedule is not as robust as it once was.
Two-a-days are out the window, and triathlon season came and went without so much as a whisper. But, I have stayed active. I have learned to operate with a 30-45 minute session of intensity instead of my 2 hours a day of various “training.” I have picked up new and different things – like racing cyclocross! – and put dreams of bicycle centuries, long distance running, and Ironman on hold. And, that is okay. My “ultra” is really like “finding intensity” instead of endurance. I have always been more of an endurance junkie, so this shift to intensity has been very good for me.
Dare to try new and different things!
2) Nutrition is paramount.
I may not have a kitchen, but I can still control what goes in my mouth. Just because we’re remodeling is not an excuse to deviate from nutrition. It just takes some creativity and planning. I maximize the office salad bar (which is seriously like having a Whole Foods in the cafeteria), I bring accessory foods out to dinner and just order a very small something to complement them, and I think ahead about what I am going to have wherever we are going. Most restaurants have hidden healthy choices, you just have to find them.
I focus on meeting nutritional goals each day, plan ahead, and never put myself in a position to deviate from what I know is good. Now would be an easy time to slack off and just enjoy dining out, but I have to admit that I really detest dining out. I prefer to be in control of what I’m eating and not have someone else in control of it. Also, I know this to be true: It is much harder to lose weight than it is to gain it. So, I simply am preventing gaining it in the first place.
And, those two things, for me anyway, keep the Earth spinning at a reasonable rate and order amongst the chaos of our lives. Everything else is subject to change on a day-to-day basis, and I may or may not know what is going on in the world outside of work and our remodel. But, I have two constants that keep me on track.
Find Your Ultra
Your two things could be the same or different. Maybe you need meditation time, play time with your kids, or time to read the news/blogs/books. Or, maybe you do need to work on some nutritional aspects of your life. I’m not suggesting throwing your diet out the window and becoming vegan like Rich did, but perhaps a little nutritional tune-up is in order.
Whatever it may be that is nagging at you, that is preventing you from leading the life you want to lead, take a moment and think about how you can address it. And then for Pete’s sake, address it! You will feel better and your family will feel better as a result. I think sometimes we spend our days trying to please everyone but ourselves that we sometimes can forget to take care of Number One.
And with that, I’ll step off my motivational speaking tour for the day. My bike trainer is waiting. It’s time to go find a little ultra for myself.
Have a great weekend all!