It always seems that a book or way of thinking is brought to my attention at just the right time when I need my thoughts redirected. Recently Dr. Susan Biali introduced me to Seth Godin’s “The Dip” which helps readers discover when they are in a Dip or a Cul-de-Sac and decide whether or not it is appropriate to quit or stick it out. The other book that is one of my favourites is “Good to Great”by Jim Collins.
The last two months have been challenging for my business and myself. Fitness World was once a place of growth, but it had become my cul-de-sac or dead-end. After weathering the sale of our strategic partner for eighteen months we decided in June of 2011 that it was time to quit and find a new home. Even though I had become lost and unmotivated, unclear of why I started Lifemoves others still knew what Lifemoves is about.
When I created Lifemoves I wanted to build a brand and company that stood for something, made a contribution to society and that had a unique selling position. Until recently I had forgotten how to articulate this. It took speaking with a Physiotherapist, an outsider who believed in my business to help me reconnect to how unique and wonderful Lifemoves is, what we can be the best at and how much potential we do have. It is also clear from the enthusiasm from our clients, employees and her that the growth and changes are positive. Thankfully all of our clients have stayed with us.
We are a health and rehabilitation company founded by
a Kinesiologist which is focused on getting clients with
medical conditions, disabilities and or injuries moving for life.
Further Inspirational Reading
Endurance running was never something that I had focused on so, I never became all that great at it, however I was proud of what I did achieve, including a 4:08 hr marathon after training for the half (not recommended, but I knew I could do it and that his a another story). In the early 2000s I was trying to prove to myself that my knees were capable of running great distances without giving me grief.
What is measured and acted upon will always improve. The past few months my training has solely been on the Grind; with very little endurance training in between. Entering today was a whim, inspired by a few friends who said let’s do the James Cunningham Race and see how closely our Grind times correlate. The point of today was to see how fit I was compared to ten years ago, as well as set a baseline for future training.
In the book The Running Edge, which I reviewed, the authors mentioned that a 10 km race pace is approximately equivalent to your lactate threshold pace. I had not done a blood lactate running test since a few months before Seek the Peak in July.
It was cold and raining before the race as everyone was huddled under tents trying to stay dry and warm. Unfortunately we didn’t have any warm-up time, but the rain did subside before the official gun went off. In big crowds I never seem to get my starting place right. The first ten minutes were spent bobbing and weaving as I strived to find a place to get into a running rhythm. My Garmin was set to beep and if I went below 8.3 mph or above 9.5 mph and every 1.475 miles which was one quarter of the distance. Eleven minutes went by and I was setting a good pace then a stitch hit me like a brick which made it difficult to ran faster without pain. My heart was 183 beats per minute. This is about 5-8 beats above my lactate threshold.
To continue I had to slow-down. I was holding on for the second quarter trying my best to slow down and deepen my diaphragmatic breathing to get rid of the stitch. There were even instances where I drafted behind someone to see if they were going at my pace. In a lap race like the seawall – take the shortest path, the inside lane; most of the time I hung there and somewhere above 7.4 mph. Along the third quarter someone kindly asked if I got rid of the stitch and offered advice about how to get rid of it. It subsided, but never really went away.
While climbing the Grind and now on this running race I noticed that I get a stitch if my heart rate goes above my lactate threshold; there is a lesson there. By the time I hit the fourth quarter I could see a friend ahead in the distance. 7
I repeated the following mantras in my head to stay motivated “Just keep going, place one foot in front of the other and pick up the pace a little”
I caught up to my friend as the tents of the finish line came into view. We encouraged each other as I passed by him. Seeing the finish line, I sprinted to finish in a time of 46:19. This is a minute and a half slower than 2000.
Age Graded Finish Times
How did I do? Do I compare myself to me 10 years ago? My age graded time is 57.7% and 55.6% of the world’s fastest times for 10 km. On the Grind my times are about 78% of the fastest in my age group; still in the top 30 As a fitness professional I have always believed that participation and self-improvement are important and need to be celebrated, however as a someone who participated in sport at a National level I still have the competitive drive. It is great to see where I fit on a regional, national and world-class level. To be the best at something you have to know where those standards are. When I competed in Biathlon international competition spots were given on a basis of how close you finished to the top as a percentage of time; the standard to meet was usually 90% or more.
Lactate Threshold and New Pace Zones
Today helped established new pace zones. I use The Running Edge: High Tech training for Peak Performance (p.54) Pace Zone Index to establish my training zones, which need to be evaluated every 6-8 weeks as fitness changes from training stimuli. Since my last blood lactate test this has dropped from 32 to 36.
Seek the Peak is awesome event which I trained for specifically by building my base then going for specific interval runs on the terrain that would be the event route. I want to in top physical condition related to my age as I age for both physical strength and endurance. That leaves me with a few things to focus on the half-marathon, 10 km, Seek the Peak and the Grouse Grind. Overall placement is not important however gradual improvements relative to previous years as well as percentage improvements relative to age group are important. I want to be in the 80% – 90% at the very least.
Now it is time to build a plan around these new standards and goals. There are striking similarities between high performance and business: the need to review, set standards, set a new plan and take actions.
PS – I find it confusing when the chip time and gun time are the same. I pressed my stopwatch when I stepped on the mat, which was a minute after the gun time (see the age group results – here). Either way I placed 16th in my age group and have four more years to reach the podium.
Find your age graded pace – click here
I am still very happy with the last six months of events and training. What are your standards? What are you measuring and taking action on?
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.
Learning to lead the climb to the peak is forcing me to grow as my business grows. We just hired two Junior Kinesiologists (1st and 4th-year students) and one who recently graduated. Brielle and Nicola started their first week at Lifemoves by standing at our Move for Health Day table.
In October 2000, I started my first job in health and fitness after graduating from university as a Kinesiologist. This was after being rejected from several rehabilitation schools and being told to get more rehabilitation experience (even though I had volunteered at several physiotherapy clinics and a prosthetics clinic for the prior three years). Dejected, I decided to get into personal training with a focus on rehabilitation.
- Decide Your Destination
- Set a Path/Create a Plan – Get as detailed as you want (even down to the day)
- Decide on the Next Action from #2, then Take Action
- Repeat #3, based on #2, with #1 always in mind
As we aim for our peak performance or being the best at something, many of us get wrapped up in comparing ourselves to others. But, when it comes down to race day or the day we are making an important presentation, we can only manage what is under our control.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics relight the fire and energy I had as an athlete competing in Biathlon. As an Anti-Doping Chaperone, I had the opportunity to be on the field of play, in athlete areas and surrounded by world-class athletes.
This experience also reminded me of the sights, sounds and smells of competing in Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing. Ole Einer Bjoerndalen, a celebrated and highly successful Norwegian Biathlete who is now in his mid-thirties, even said he would compete in Sochi 2014 when he will be close to 40 years old. We have such amazing athletes who have either grown up with disabilities or have overcome the loss of a limb to cancer or a spinal cord injury, competing at world-class levels. No longer are age and disabilities limitations for accomplishing anything world-class, athletic or otherwise.
To me, being an Olympian/Paralympian means being world-class, setting an example and inspiring others to follow. It also means finding ways around, through or over any obstacles in ethical, moral, legal and fair-play ways to reach your peak performance.
As a former national athlete, these past several weeks of athletic celebration inspired me to get back to my roots of training and competition. I aim to find and create excellence to become outstanding in my business, my personal relationships and my health.
This is not a single destination, but instead a journey with many steps. This means setting the new standards and adhering to everything I believe in, including myself, even when others don’t or won’t.
Remember, there will always be naysayers who will think you are not capable. I always have hope, create a plan and then take action. I remember last summer when I set a very high goal of knocking 17 minutes off my Grouse Grind time by my birthday. And that is exactly what I did.
I know how fit I was in 1999. I know that I was able to complete a marathon in 4:08 in 2005. When I was on the BC Biathlon Team, I didn’t have the confidence, but I had the talent to be on the National Team.
I now have the confidence, talent and knowledge to accomplish my athletic goals this summer. I plan to complete the Grouse Grind Mountain Run in 30 minutes and the Seek the Peak Race (16 km mountain run from Ambleside Park in West Vancouver to the peak of Grouse Mountain at 4100 ft) in under 2 hours.
The last things are training and smart work. I know this dedication to being the most fit I have ever been will translate to excellence in my business and my relationships.
Seek the Peak is my personal and business theme for 2010. How are you Seeking the Peak?