We base our goals on what we know. Early in June I knew that my ideal time had to be adjusted or I would end up feeling frustrated, defeated and sad. However, this did not stop me from going after my original plan of participating and proving that I could complete the 16km and 4,100m journey from Ambleside Park to the top of Grouse Mountain.
Ever since I was bullied in high school, I have had trouble being happy with my accomplishments. The art of being happy is connected to the gap between our actual self and our ideal self. How often do we live in the gap between these two when we don’t meet our goals? Entrepreneurs tend to set these wild and somewhat unrealistic ideals, invest their life savings and then come out on the other side with nothing but bankruptcy.
We need to mitigate our risk by evaluating our goals as being realistic while still pushing the boundaries. Ever watch Dragon’s Den on CBC? Some people have some very interesting ideas, but no sense what their idea is truly worth or whether there is a need for their widget or service.
When I started my training for Seek the Peak, my ideal was a sub-2-hour time which, with my knowledge and endurance training background, I could achieve with the appropriate training. However, this training was promptly side-tracked by my adding staff to Lifemoves in May and June.
A few weeks before July 4th, I completed a couple of Grouse Grinds and my time was around 44-46 minutes. So, based on this, I predicted a finish of 2:30. A few days before, I came up with a race plan of warming-up properly then, as the race started, gradually increasing my pace using an increasing heart rate as the race progressed to ensure that I didn’t fatigue too quickly. My background as a Strength and Conditioning Coach gave me skills to have a plan for my heart rates, but the missing part of it was a detailed nutrition plan.
I only ever looked at my watch to see that I was at the appropriate heart rate — not going too slow or too fast. Sticking to the plan was crucial. About 10 years ago, one of my coaches gave me sound advice: Run your race. In other words, stick to the plan no matter what others are doing. You can control yourself — not others. Only you control your reaction to the environment around you.
My mantra the whole way was, “race your own race.” Prior to the race, I had not trained on the sections before the Grouse Grind, so I was really unsure of the terrain which, in the end, slowed me slightly. The trails on the North Shore are beautiful and I am looking forward to running more of them this year.
The first two stages were very nice and everyone was fairly spread out. Once we hit the Grind, my legs were starting to fatigue and we encountered all the other Grinders who were not racing. I struggled to get my heart to 175bpm; it averaged 165bmp instead, with a time of 53 minutes for this section as the traffic kept me at a good pace. At the end of each stage I felt really good and very happy with how much I was able to push and keep going.
Going up the last portion from the top of the Grind, around the chalet, and up to the top of the mountain were the toughest parts. We were encased in clouds and not able to see more than 10 feet in front of us. My mind wanted to run this portion, but as many experienced trail runners before me have said, “you will be walking steeper sections,” which I did.
Looking at my watch as I scurried around the pylon to make my way down, I saw that I was on pace for my goal. Knowing that it wasn’t too far to go, I picked up the speed and pushed myself until the end.
Near the Capilano Dam, someone said, “Pain is only temporary.” I responded with, “Victory is a lifetime.” It feels great to have completed something as strenuous as the Seek the Peak in a time of 2:24 hours. If I had not shifted my goal, I would have thought my time was awful and not experienced the joy that this race offered.
The gap would have been 30 minutes, and looking at it as a percentage, it still would be 80% which, in university, is a very good grade.
So what if you don’t reach your goal? Are you going to be unhappy and morose? Instead, think about how much progress you did make towards it and what lessons you learned. I stared from not being able to run for more than 10 minutes without stopping, to running 16km UPHILL non-stop.
Ideal – Actual 1 (start) – Actual 2 (end) = Gap (1). Ideal is perfection which we never reach. How often do you live in the gap instead of celebrating getting to Actual 2 knowing that you put your in your best effort? Time to take this new philosophy into my business goals. Stop measuring yourself against an ideal and perfection.
Stay Happy and Avoid the Gap.
1. Sullivan, Dan. “Learning How to Avoid the Gap: The Skill of Building Lifetime Happiness. 2004