I was Mountain Biking at Fox Creek in the Adelaide Hills a few weeks ago and had an experience that lead to a thought, which lead to a blog. This blog.
The experience: At the bottom of a downhill run, that converges with a few other downhill runs, I intersected with a fellow rider.
I acknowledged him and he started talking in what sounded like an excited tone- his full-face downhill helmet was muffling his voice.
“Sorry I can’t hear what you’re saying mate!” said I.
The other rider removed his helmet and said something quite enthusiastically- I can’t remember what he said because I was in shock.
When this guy removed his helmet, what he revealed was long, wispy white hair, about shoulder length but with a bald top. He had wrinkled, leathery skin and squinty eyes. He would have had to have been about seventy years old- at the very least.
“Are they your mates over there?” he said.
“My mates don’t come out riding with me, they’re all bloody old wimps!” He exclaimed. Bear in mind he had just come flying down one of the Black Diamond Downhill runs- think massive jumps, tight bermed corners and terrifying drop-offs.
We chatted a bit as we walked our bikes back to our respective cars. His wife was waiting patiently in the passenger seat of his ute. She was knitting. I am not joking. This actually happened. Ask Max Martin if you doubt me.
This got me thinking about my wife’s recently deceased Grandfather. He died in his early 90s, and had been ‘living’ in a nursing home for about 7 years. Prior to that he existed on a lazy boy armchair plonked in front of the horse racing channel on pay tv. He had done this for the previous ten or so years.
When the Grim Reaper finally pushed his door open and signalled ‘time’ on his life, Grandpa’s response was probably ‘It’s about bloody time mate, I’ve been waiting 15 years for you!’.
When Death goes looking for my old mate from Fox Creek, he probably won’t be at home on the couch. Check the garage Grim. I bet his bike isn’t in there.
Old mate will be out at Fox Creek. If he gets the tap on the shoulder at the top of a downhill run, he’ll probably say ‘Come on Grim, can you just let me have one more crack at this track and catch me down the bottom?’
When it’s my time to shuffle off, I hope I am hiking up a Himalayan mountain, or wake-boarding, or kicking the footy with my Grandkids, or Great Grandkids. When Death comes looking, I’m gonna be hard to find!
In the month of September there will be approximately 70,000 Australian participants agreeing to walk, run, swim, cycle the equivalent of 10,000 steps per day for 28 days. The event, ‘Steptember’ which is ran by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance is aiming to raise awareness and funding for services and research for people of all ages suffering from Cerebral Palsy.
Now for some people, 10,000 steps per day (which is the minimum recommended by the World Health Organisation), for 28 days in a row may be quite difficult. If this is you and you’re struggling to find motivation half way through the challenge it is important to remember why you agreed to sign up for the event in the first place. Cerebral Palsy is a horrible condition that affects a sufferer’s movement capability. There are different forms and severities however for most sufferers there will be some abnormality with their movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflexes, posture and balance (Refer to the picture below to see how the different types can affect the body)
Despite the impact that this disease can have on a sufferer and their families there is still no cure. To make matter worse there is an alarming number of people with the condition with a child in Australia born with Cerebral Palsy every 15 hours. This equates to 1 in 500 children suffering from the condition.
To make sure that you complete your equivalent of 10,000 steps per day have a look at some tips below:
- Walking to and from work – It’s spring, the weather is warming up. Start and finish your day with some exercise, vitamin D and fresh air. If you are unable to walk the whole way, then look at alternatives such as parking a few km from work or getting off at an earlier stop when using public transport.
- Team up with a friend – Make the exercise a social outing
- Mix it up – your steps do not have to be around your neighbourhood. Try a new walk in a new location.
- Be mobile at lunchtime – take a walk before you eat your lunch to increase metabolism and refresh for the afternoon.
- Spread out the steps – You are far less likely to complete all 10,000 if you knock off work at 5pm and have 8,000 to go. Make sure you get a significant amount completed before the afternoon.
For more information or to find out how you can donate. Visit:
This time of year many Adelaideans are in the final stages of their preparations for their big running goal for the year. The City to Bay is only two and a half weeks away- and The Yurrebilla and Operation Flinders Ultra-Marathons will be following shortly after.
If you are having a crack at one of these, I wish you the best of luck! I also encourage you to relax, and enjoy yourself. I train a lot of runners and help guide them to the start line for events like these.
I have noticed a trend in recent years which worries me a bit. The fun seems to be evaporating. These days it is very easy to track your running progress. GPS watches are getting cheaper and yielding more and more info.
Smartphones with Strava or RunKeeper or Movescount or any number of tracking apps are easily attained alternatives. These are great tools. They can give you objective data on your progress and can also log your training sessions- which is great for accountability.
But I am noticing more people evaluating the quality of a run, or of themselves as a runner based on what their numbers say. ‘I can’t wait to get home and download the data to see if that was a good run’ is a paraphrasing of a mindset I see often.
When I go for a run the criteria I use to judge it on are:
- Did I feel good?
- Was there a fun descent that I ran well?
- Did I see anything beautiful?
If my average 1km splits are 7 seconds slower than the same run I did last week, so be it. That is not one of my quality criteria. It is nice to see progress. And if you run regularly and are training appropriately you should see a trend towards improved performance.
But improvement is not linear. Sometimes you run after a stressful day at work; or a bad night’s sleep; or you are fighting a bug that is lingering just under the surface. If you don’t reach your standard every time your run, cut yourself some slack about it! And in the end, why do you run?
If you run the City to Bay in 61 minutes and you aimed for 59 minutes, who really cares?! You just ran 12km, give yourself a pat on the back! Unless you are aiming to win the bloody thing, the aim should be fun, I reckon.
Many of us lead busy lives and we juggle multiple deadlines from multiple sources constantly. Don’t let your leisure time become just another pressure you place upon yourself. In the end, no-one except yourself really cares about how well you run. So relax and enjoy the ride. That way, you can’t lose.
Well, the last few weeks have seen me starting to clock up a few kms on the new steed, and I’m absolutely loving it. Having purchased the right bike, and being fit to it properly has made a huge difference to my enjoyment on it.
By the way, do you know what the right number of bikes is to own? Apparently it’s N+1, where N= the current number of bikes you have! On hearing this, my wife, Nina, corrected me by saying it’s actually D-1, where D= the number of bikes purchased leading to Divorce papers being filed…. Oops!
But I digress…!… What I’d like to chat to you about in this post is one of the foundations to successful performance in any field: having the right team around you!
SETTING UP THE RIGHT TEAM
As I alluded to in my last post, my physical endeavours over the years have led to the accumulation of a few scars, and stiff joints – although luckily never a broken bone! Add to this the fact that I’ve just had my 42nd birthday, so my muscles and connective tissues are not quite as subtle as they used to be! Those of you that know me will have heard me say that I don’t like it when people use age as their excuse, as after all “age is just an accumulation of behaviours” (there you go, I just quoted myself…). However, I would be going against all physiology textbooks if I didn’t grant the fact that we do lose some ‘pliability’ as we age! Throw in the mix the fact that neither of my parents were Olympic athletes or superheroes, so I have to make do with less than impressive sporting genetics. All this just means that I need all the help I can get to stay in good shape!
A large part of this help comes from a great team of Allied Health professionals, which in my case includes a chiropractor, a couple of physiotherapists (with different areas of expertise), a podiatrist, and the input from my trusted Exercise Physiology team at iNform! Oh, and once in a while, a psychotherapist helps ensure I don’t take my kid-like sporting loves across to other areas of my life! So as you can see, I’ve got all bases covered!!
But this is should not just be the case just for someone of my age or older trying to tackle all that life has to offer, but also for the younger athlete wanting to maximise their performance. My experience in Strength and Conditioning, and a short stint in coaching runners showed me that a key to long term success is strongly correlated to one’s commitment to being supported by the right people at the right time. Quite simply, the harder you want to push yourself, the more likely it is that little cracks will appear. And these need to be well managed, and managed early, to avoid significant set-backs down the track.
So, moral of today’s story: Get the right team around you… in every area of life. To run a successful business we use business coaches, marketing consultants, financial planners, accountants, etc. So why should your body and active pursuits be any different?? If you want or need more guidance on this, drop me a line, as helping our clients manage these teams is one of the key things we do!
As I mentioned earlier, these last couple of weeks have seen my riding increase a bit! In fact, on Saturday we had our first ride as a group with some of the Ride As One group! It was great to meet some of the people I’ll be sharing these journey with, and we did a nice 60km loop around Adelaide! The downside of the last couple of weeks has been a bit of a dichotomy between having been swooped a few times by magpies who seem to be out in full force at the moment with the coming of spring; but also, a lot of rain which makes it feel like winter is holding on for as long as possible! To help deal with the weather side of things (any advice welcome on how to deal with the magpies! Other than being told to toughen up!) I’ve logged a couple of long mountain bike loops that are looking after the strength in the legs just nicely!!
This is a nice segway to next week’s topic – one of the key principles towards avoiding injury and enhancing training longevity and enjoyment: Variety!
And don’t forget to sponsor the ride at http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/iNformMaxMartin17
One is in awe of all the Facebook love; to promote the awareness of mental health. With all the ‘likes’, sharing and so forth (bless our nucleus accumbens!). The second Thursday of September 2016 marks “Are you OK day?”. One doesn’t need to explain the definition.
But; Perhaps flip the coin, directing attention on the self. Why the self?. When was the last time you got in touch with your inner meta-cognitive dialogue? I will touch on reaching out at the end….However, placing emphasis on the self first, can then enable the opportunity to reach out to others.
To be vulnerable, one must surrender shame. When shame is surrendered, one can be ready to show compassion. When feeling numb, self cannot connect, because self is dis..connected. The same can be said with mental health. Mental health is much more than depletion of neurotransmitters & a lottery of SSRIs & MAOIs!
To further delve, please do follow the links above to find out more…
Let’s say that self is ready to reach out to others in need. Trying to say/think of the right words can be incredibly difficult, especially if the topic is sensitive. However; listening, reading facial expressions, feeling ones pain (without taking on the burden) and touch (within respect), are all powerful non-verbal tools, which can assist the compassionate empath…YOU!
My dream for the future, is that humanity won’t need a day of recognition to remind us all to be self compassionate, emotionally intelligent, empathetic… Friend, husband, wife, brother, sister, colleague and neutral.
As Donald Hebb once postulated…
“neurons that fire together, wire together”
Repetition, repetition, repetition!
However; it is wonderful to see so many organisations getting behind mental health & starting the conversation.
Be well, be kind & BE compassionate🙂