1. zapmamak

    zapmamak
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    1. California...

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    Bare Lee - Interesting thoughts. Ok. Forgive me here, but I might just take off on a tangent with this subject. I have little self control ;-)

    I think the last category could also be summed up as the 20x category (although this is a number and I truly believe it could be anything for anybody in an emergency situation or even when you want it bad enough). It's the theory that you are capable of 20 times more than you can actually do. Its about belief. I've been struggling with this lately and have been having to make some changes in my mental attitude to adjust for this with my upcoming race. Check out this video:

    I surprise myself sometimes, but usually when I don't think too much about something first. I don't count the weights on the bar anymore and when I run I run from aid station to aid station and try not to think about cumulative miles left. Sometimes I have to believe there's this invisible well of strength. Sometimes I can tap into it. Sometimes I can't. I'm getting better, but if there's one thing I've learned with all my training is that you can't do sh*t if you don't believe.

    That's not to say we don't have physical boundaries. We do. But we can surpass those and we should recognize the we don't really KNOW what our true capabilities are just like we really don't KNOW what's beyond the universe or what happens after death. That "not knowing" shouldn't limit us though. That "not knowing" can be the catalyst for so much potential in all of us. I'm so done with limiting my body with my mind. I'm ready to release myself and start to explore my potential beyond what I think my body is capable of. But for that I have to believe. :)
     

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  2. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Yah, I dunno, let me go off on a tangent as well and see if my thoughts contribute at all to the discussion.

    I have a background in adventure, up until my early thirties, and I guess it was possible not so much because I believed, but because I didn't disbelieve--I didn't have any preconceptions about what was possible. I became the first foreigner to earn a black belt in the Ashihara style of full-contact karate in Japan, when all I came for was to earn a little more traveling money teaching English. I cycled across Africa, the Middle East, and Europe on a whim--setting out from London on a ten-speed, second-hand Peugeot with my backpack strapped on the back rack--after a British friend I was staying with suggested it late one night when I complained about getting tired of hitching rides and riding buses, trains, and boats on my travels through Latin America and Asia. I did high-altitude hiking in the Himalayas and Andes with no prior experience and almost no gear. And so on.

    Still, through all this, I almost never came close to testing my limitations, in terms of physical exhaustion or hunger or mental stress. When I did, it was mostly because my whatmeworry? naivety had gone too far, and I was too unprepared.

    Fast forward and now, as a recreational runner and lifter, I find myself kind of taking the opposite tact of the 20x protocol. Maybe call it the 90% protocol. I do everything 90%. I allowed myself to get out-of-shape while doing fieldwork in Mozambique, and when I started getting back into shape Stateside, I started pushing things a bit too much, and had a number of setbacks, mostly because I didn't understand how the repetitive stress of running requires extra preparation (i.e., stretching and massaging), but also because of a nagging shoulder injury and just generally being in too much of a hurry to get back to my previous level of fitness.

    With the 90% protocol, last Saturday, for example, I ran 11.58 miles, my longest 'continuous' run ever (barefoot of course), when I could've run more. I had another mile or so until home, with the possibility of tacking on another half mile somewhere to make it my first half-marathon-distance run. But around the 11-mile mark my outer quads began to feel fatigued. Not strained or sore or anything, just tired. So after a bit I stopped and walked the rest of the way home. Why? Because I know, for me at least, that my long-term adaptation would be hampered by going past the point of fatigue, and this ties back into the original topic of this thread.

    Although the definition of 'training to failure' may depend on the activity involved, I do agree with some of the recent stuff I've seen on lifting sites, like that of Jason Ferruggia, that there is often little benefit to it, and it may often hold one back. http://jasonferruggia.com/training-to-failure-part-1/. Yesterday I felt fine after my long run, not beaten up at all, and I got in a good day of work, several hours playing with my kids, and a nice, full, mid-body strength training workout along with a little bicycle commuting. Today I'm set to run some hill repeats and sprints. I don't know if this would be possible if I had pushed much beyond the point of fatigue on Saturday. Maybe, but maybe I would've lost a whole week or more of continuing progress to TOFP or ITBS or PF or some other dreaded initialism.

    Obviously, for the ultramarathon runner, the whole point is to go beyond fatigue, to see what N x you're capable of, and there's no real way to train for those 50-to-100-mile distances outside of the race itself. But I think there's another angle to the 'just believe' approach, and for me, it's just believe that the results will come eventually--just keep plugging away, be consistent, but don't overdo it. I don't know if I will ever be able to run a marathon or ultramarathon distance employing this version of the 'just believe' approach, but if I do, I know it will be fun, easy, and I won't have had any setbacks getting there.

    I don't say this antagonistically to the 20 x approach, which I think can be worthwhile for a lot of people. I'm just offering it as an alternative method for achieving the same goal of seeing what one is capable of. Maybe not 100% of one's potential, but 90% is still pretty good.
     
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  3. zapmamak

    zapmamak
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    Wow. That's awesome. I've never EVER pushed my body as hard as I am now (except maybe HS x-country in which I had the pressure of coaches - but even then I was a solid 2nd placer who felt I had 1st place in me but always backed off from the pressure.) I used to backpack a lot and while I wasn't as fit back then as I am now I still pushed my body, just never beyond what I believed were my limits.

    So NOW... after a few life-altering events that have happened recently, I'm ready to explore beyond. I can't explain it. I've been going through some serious life transitions one of which is the feeling that I'm not here much longer. My time is ticking and I don't want to bail without knowing a few things about myself.
     

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  4. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    I can totally relate to that feeling, it's just not where I'm at right now. With two young kids, and taking care of two aging parents, I'm training for longevity, not the here and now. For at least another year, I would like to get better--a little faster, a little stronger--but I don't foresee spending much more time or effort on fitness. I'm just trying to let the gains come to me. Like I said, I think both of our approaches--the highly focused, and the lackadaisical--are valid. The main thing is find something you enjoy that keeps you coming back for more, because consistency is key.

    I hope your own feeling of impending doom isn't based on medical science, but is more metaphorical/philosophical in nature. All the best in your explorations in any case! Trust your instincts and obey their instructions!

    Ha! I haven't participated in a good thread-hijack in many a moon. Thanks.
     
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  5. zapmamak

    zapmamak
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    Yeah... I hope there's no impending doom soon, just a feeling of mortality I guess. I've got two young boys that I want to be around for for a while. Still... I can't shake the feeling. :)
     

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  6. Sid

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    Maybe you are sensing that your telomeres are shortening. Fortunately, you're an ultramarathon runner!
     
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  7. zapmamak

    zapmamak
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    Damn telomeres - I was always blessed with long ones. ;)
     

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  8. Bare Lee

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    I had a dream last night about ultramarathon running. I think it was something to the effect that one day I was out running and ran clear to Wisconsin, then someone said "you've become an ultramarathon runner without realizing it." Sid's telomere reference explains the weird elongated floating shapes that accompanied me as sort of guardian angels.
     
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  9. DNEchris

    DNEchris
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    Are you sure they weren't inside your eyeballs? :p
     
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