Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sleepless... Thursday & a rant.

Here are a few pics from this morning's jogging. 12.5 miles slow and relaxed. And yes, I did run an extra 1/2 mile to even out yesterday. More drivel below the pics...








My baby boy Oliver is sick and was fussing all night long. At 3:00am I got up and made coffee. I'm operating on 5 hours of very broken sleep and my mind races when I don't sleep so this post might ramble.
I worked for a couple of hours then drove down to Golden (Boulder 2.0) and was foolish enough to run back woods trails in the dark (my head lamp is busted). GZ posted about running on ice with out traction devices (microspikes, yaktrax, etc.) and today I got a taste of this. I'm so used to running dirt roads and they are never bad up here. I ran out (uphill) with no difficulty, but on a short icy section I busted my ass and realized that I still needed to get back (I had every intention of this being a 21 mile run). I normally would suck it up but as you can see from a few pics, there were sheer drop offs with a skinny sheet of ice for footing and I didn't feel like running for 6 hours (yet). We were at a dinner party the other night with our neighbors and they said they pulled in to their house one evening last week and a mountain lion sauntered across in front of their car. They said he/ she simply walked casually and glanced over at their car. No fear. This is just 3 doors down from us. So I was kind of creeped out. Although I am dying to see a pooma, and I will, I want at least to have one useless defense at my disposal. You'll never hear it, or smell it. You'll probably feel it and I at least want to see it.

Something that I've been rolling around in my head for the last week is a comment that GZ made in regards to the blogosphere possibly being too positive. That's what I read initially but not what he said. It got my dander up (wtf does that mean anyway?) and blinded by my ego I failed to comprehend what he meant. He said something to the effect of: the blogosphere is often too positive to provoke thoughtful banter. Today I found myself going from being irked to completely agreeing with him. I'm not sure exactly what he meant, but this is my take.
I went through an extremely insane training period in 2004 where I was just shelling myself with volume. I was training more and possibly harder than any other (clean) Ironman athlete ever has. And something that really bothered me years later was that the friend that I trained often with commented that he saw me completely going over the edge. But he never said anything. This story (in my mind) relates to GZ's comment directly. We are often times scared to make comments to people that aren't completely positive for fear of offending or we don't think it's 'our place'. A couple of years ago I made an effort to improve myself and become a more positive (in the past I lived on hate) person for the sake of my children. When I did this I realized that my skin became thinner, which I still think is the best way to be. People with thick skin tend to allow haters to dwell in their lives (on their back). I get offended when I get an anonymous post, almost no matter what is said (but that's another issue) but I think I have been OK in welcoming constructive criticism. What I found myself doing recently for the very first time ever with one of my athletes, was not telling them the truth because I knew they only wanted positive feedback. They only wanted to hear what they wanted to hear. I begged this athlete to communicate with me more often and they felt slighted and accused me of bitching at them. So I backed off. They ended their Boston marathon build by getting severely (think hospital) sick. I could have prevented this had they allowed me to and I still have huge guilt from this.
My point of all of this? If we can't rely on our friends and fellow athletes to tell us when we are fucking up then who will? Most of us don't have a coach and our spouses often times won't get involved because often times they don't understand or they don't want to interfere with our 'hobby'. I read a few blogs and I see people doing what I feel (and know) is fucking up, but how do we tell them with out offending? I read the comments and it's all sunshine and puppy dogs and no one is stepping up with the truth as they see it which really could help or at least make them THINK. GZ of all people knows I speak my mind, but I think he's a bit unique in being able to listen and not be offended (much). I could easily just say 'great job' when the person isn't doing a great job. But how do you say 'you could be doing better'? I'm perplexed. And I also think when we get offended by truth, the truth will elude you. Meaning that if you get pissed when someone says 'you're messing up', then in the future that person will probably just lie to you or not say anything at all.
I think GZ is absolutely correct, but I also think the criticism need to be thoughtful and useful. If you post anonymously and start off with 'you're an idiot' then ya, people get pissed. Something about the whole anonymous thing I just have no respect for. But useful criticism is invaluable and telling me that I'm doing great when I'm not is just insulting and mean.
This turned in to more of just a rambling rant about what was going through my mind today.

30 comments:

Brett said...

Tim, I think one important thing to remember is that its a two way street. Even if you had potentially gone over the line with someone, thats no guarantee they would listen. Shed the guilt. Taking constructive criticism the right way is a very difficult task. And its compounded over blogs and email where its very difficult to communicate and describe things accurately.

Try sitting down with your spouse one night and have each person write down 5 things that bug them about the other. Or do that with your boss. Not easy, but VERY USEFUL.

I for one would not do those things that bug my wife or boss (like blowing snot into a hat and putting the hat back on) if I had only known sooner they were there.

But its a two way street. Nobody can do things on their own.

Lucho said...

Brett- One thing my wife and I have had from the start is very constructive communication. She knows I want brutal honesty and it really is the best thing! I have no problem not doing things that bug my wife. She's also very reasonable though.
My nature is to try to help people. I don't claim to be smarter or know more, it's just another POV. I fear that offering unsolicited advice comes off as arrogant too.

Lucho said...

Eric- I didn't post your e-mail address, wrote it down, deleted your comment (to not post your e-mail address), then lost your e-mail. Can you resend it please? Did you post more than that comment that I didn't post?

rocky wing said...

feel free to give me advice anytime that you want. my desire is to become a better, faster, stronger runner. i'd be an idiot to think that i could rely on my own knowledge to get me there. we all need perspective and that rarely comes through our own eyes.

Dave said...

Great post. One of the best I've read here. I think being humble has a lot to do with taking criticism. When I was in college I couldn't be told ANYTHING about my sports-and you know what? I sucked. What should've been an amazing college career was instead a "never was".
I've noticed (at least here on the east coast) that a lot of endurance athletes (i.e. triathletes) are all about the "look at me factor". With this comes being extremely conceeded, and not even coming close to taking criticism in a good way. They always hear what they want to, and even kid themselves into believing what just isn't true. It's really the sole reason I don't like to train with people out here. All they wanna do is talk about themselves.
I think criticism is one of the most valuable things ANYONE can give someone else. If I'm f*cking up I wanna know RIGHT NOW! Life is too short to keep grinding out the wrong things-both in sport and relationships alike.
You shouldn't feel guilty. Even if you said what you thought needed to be said, it may not have made a differnce. People are gonna hear what they want to. You're either gonna choose to drink the Kool-aide or you're not.

Mary IronMatron said...

I like you, Lucho. You're a good egg.
FYI, I love criticism really, I ESPECIALLY love to get pissed and then rail against it, but I almost ALWAYS listen in the end--(though my behavior might not reflect that.)
I'm not sure you know what you're saying, so actually, I'm not sure what I'm saying--but anyway. The BEST thing about reading people's blogs and getting reactions when you write is having your thinking complicated--don't you think?
I do have a hurt foot, and my blood levels weren't (aren't) exactly right. And you're a good coach to see that, and think about what that might mean. And I respect you for it. (not that I"m going to do all my work in zone 1, but still.... ) ;)
Also, I find it extremely hard to believe you were a person who was fueled by hate. Maybe so, but I find it hard to believe. People don't change that much.

Dave said...

Love the sentiments--stream of consciousness writing is always the most honest, and you have a gift at that type of expression.

Mary IronMatron said...

Also, those pics are unbelievable. Why do I live here?
And I like this particular wolf, which looks more like a dog to me, eager and friendly.
Also, dander is a reference to getting one's dandruff up. Maybe you get pissed and your hair stands up and you release dandruff????
I also read it has something to do with yeast and bread rising... so rising bread and rising temper maybe?

Lucho said...

Rocky (love the name)- I struggle with self coaching because I think I'm able to run a million miles a day when I can't (and still race well).

Dave- Thanks. I can see what you're saying. Try living in Boulder! But actually some of the most humble and low key guys I know are guys like Matty Reed, Tim DeBoom and Macca. I've trained with all these guys and you would never know they are the best in the world. Tim would much rather talk about motorcycles than triathlon and Macca his kids. Some AGers look more pro and think more pro than them!

Dave- Ya. That was sleep deprived caffeine fueled stream. Maybe I'll do that more often.

Mary- I didn't mean to be critical, I seriously only wanted to help you. This is one of those situations where I was far better off leaving a 'sunshine and puppy dog' comment. I was more put off by your coach's synopsis of the benefits of Z4 which were patronizing towards me and insinuated that the way I train makes me and my athletes "flat and slow". Results speak for themselves. I would also disagree completely with the benefits of Z4 as she explained them. I wasn't asking because I didn't know. And the question was asked specifically with Ironman in mind and I wanted to know YOUR opinion. I thought maybe you would think about why you were doing what you were doing and see that possibly it was hurting your foot. I never said it was wrong or anything, I simply asked why.
And WTF is up with all the Zone 1 comments? All of you guys made that up and put those words in my mouth, I never said that. You assumed that's what I meant and filled in blanks that I didn't leave. Zone 1 is junk mileage.
Ya, hate was my thing. I've worked hard, and successfully, to see things differently.

Lucho said...

If I remember right, the north east is gorgeous too! I love my wolves. Thanks!

Brandon Fuller said...

You teach me about nutrition and I will teach you about traction! The lesson is quick - order some microspikes. You graduate!

http://www.rei.com/product/774966

I have been blogging since 2003 and I have gotten my share of crap comments. I used to get many more of them when I would rant about things like something in the news, a product, some service I got, etc. The comments did change me over time. I don't care as much as I used to about telling everyone what I think about something...unless its me. The other stuff really has to ruffle my feathers to get me interested anymore. So at some level I toughened up some aspects of myself while doing the opposite on others. I feel like a more balanced person these days so its all good. I just don't provide as much entertainment value as I used to.

On the running advice, you clearly have some experience. You even charge for it. It would be one thing to run around blog to blog of strangers and tell them how they should do things. But I don't see that happening. You have a reputation of knowing what you are talking about and people listen. If they don't, it is their loss. So I think it is cool to "stay cool" with the tone of the comments unless you think people are actually physically harming themselves.

Lucho said...

Brandon- Damn. That was a quick lesson... you're good.
It seems a lot of people take the anonymous comment thing and run with it and say stuff just to piss people off. I don't have time for that. If you can let it roll then you're better than me! You seem to call a spade a spade which I appreciate.

Brett said...

I just read that thread Tim over on the other blog. I still don't think they 'heard you' or ever actually answered the question. Very interesting read through...

Lucho said...

Brett- I'm honestly not sure what happened. Like I said, I'm perplexed!

wende said...

I think sometimes it not so much what we are saying, but how we are saying it that ends up being so offensive to people---gee, who could I be talking about?? :) Seriously, sometimes great messages just aren't communicated very effectively. I know I tend to take things personally and if a good honest message is mixed-up in a tone that I don't like, I risk missing the point because I'm so busy railing on the person in my head, or I've completely shut down. However, there are some who just can't handle the truth no matter how gently you put it to them.

GZ said...

I have been trying to think what is more appropriate to say here ... that this is a brilliant post or the worst I have ever read. Both are sort of funny. Well, to me.

A little root in that comment was the conversation between the mythical Bob and I how the blogosphere can become a whole suck off fest.

You had me sold the first time we ran together and you got in my shit from the get go about Camelbaks. It only got better from there.

I struggle with how hard to push, how hard to nudge, and when to sit back and watch (note - with kids it is probably better to sit and watch first and then come and very gently nudge ... they will think you are an idiot anyway, so might as well act the part and enjoy watching them figure it out on their own - assuming they are not really hurting themselves).

Inevitably, the people I enjoy the most are those who look at me, laugh and say ... ah, you screwed up. And can take it right back too (this is why anonymous posters suck, or people who complain about how you blow your nose to their boss so it can go to your boss also suck). This is not always easy. But neither is running up a mountain or hundred miles. It is growth and learning.

JK1 should weigh in with whatever at some point here.

Claus Bech said...

Hi Tim, I would love to visit Your neck of the woods and go for a run on the, seemingly, endless trails. But it would have to be in the summertime, as I'm so happy to have escaped the, unusually, cold and icy Danish winter. Tucson is crowded with traffic, but the climate is well suited for riding your bike, so the only problem is keeping yourself from doing too much... It's great that You're back in business, running wise, and have that challenging goal, Leadville, indeed a daunting task! Did You read Anton Krupickas, http://antonkrupicka.blogspot.com/, race reports from lasts years race? It shows that no matter how experienced and well prepared You are, that race requires a careful approach. Zofingen is a unique race, I've done it once and it seems tailor fit for a guy like You. Keep up the good writing and sharing, Claus Bech

Lucho said...

Claus! Glad you got out of the winter. Let me know if you do make it up this way. We may still have a spare bedroom then. Not sure how the Tuscon traffic compares with the Boulder area but I think it's pretty good here. Thousands of miles of roads and a lot with biking shoulders. Tons of mountain riding.
Zofingen was my original goal before Ironman but I accidentally qualified for Kona and never looked back. Then when Benny Van Steelant won I looked at it again. Benny was one of my idols even though he was just a kid. I had dinner with him the night before he destroyed me in a duathlon in Florida once. Really nice kid. Zofingen would be brutal! And therefore FUN!
Cheers!
T

Lucho said...

GZ- I could probably comment for JK but this is a family blog :) Jeff definitely hates it when people blow sunshine up his ass. He a straight shooter.
Everyone is so different it's hard to judge. I admit completely that I'm sensitive to aggressive criticism. If I think the tone is wrong then I get defensive. If it's an anon post then forget it... I have tried to be a little more reasonable and listen to the content first before my assumed tone.
Kids, I think that's a whole other can of worms! And much tougher. You can't just blow off a child or get pissed and react... although unfortunately some people do!
Bob. He hates the blogosphere. I think he's told me something similar as he did you.

Lucho said...

Wende- I can't really deny anything there. I have always had a mouth than ran itself. Ben has taught me a ton in being more thoughtful about what I say. Definitely tone is huge and unfortunately in type it's lost. I think a lot of internet crap like this is miscommunication. The difference between 'ribbing' and insult is a fine line with out a voice. And like you, when I read something that pisses me off in the first sentence, I don't comprehend the rest of the words.

RunColo said...

http://www.amazon.com/Bright-sided-Relentless-Promotion-Positive-Undermined/dp/0805087494/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1

Tim, maybe you should have the wife check you out this book? I was looking at it the other day while at the Tatered Cover. Hits upong what you are talking about.

kerrie said...

best blog post ever! lol....
if you want somebody to blow sunshine up your ass, i'm not your person ;)
remember though that it's not so much about what your share, but rather, about who decides to listen. some people would just much rather sabotage themselves. and i say f*ck 'em.

Rick said...

what thread is brett talking about?
" just read that thread Tim over on the other blog. I still don't think they 'heard you' or ever actually answered the question. Very interesting read through..."

RunColo said...

http://www.runcolo.com/entry.php?15-Criticism-can-you-take-it

You inspired a post.

Lucho said...

Thanks for recommended reads Simon. The only time I read is right before I go to sleep and reading makes me sleepy. So I read a book in about 3 weeks.

Rick- I'll e-mail it to you.

Kerrie- Wait... I thought you were meek and afraid? LOL.

skatona said...

You're the pro here. If they don't like your advice - screw em. You can apologize while you run past them.

Lucho said...

Shaun- That's what I think sometimes too.

Anonymous said...

...red sky at night, sailor's delight! unfortunately, san diego's skies have been red in the morning this week..
ds

wende said...

I agree tone can be lost in the written word, but as blogs, chats, etc, have evolved, there are ways to make your feelings and tone known if you put some effort and some creativity into it--if you even give a crap, that is. FOR INSTANCE, I read the thread too, and I have to say, the impression it left was the coach came off as pretty defensive and maybe a little condescending. Maybe she thought you'd called her out in a public forum and challenged her wisdom as a coach? Its tough to be challenged by a peer, but if you aren't aware the person is a fellow "whatever", it seems like all too often, the tendency is to crush the person, instead of simply explaining yourself. BUT, on the other hand, who the hell knows? We're just reading something posted by someone we don't even know. It should be an internet rule that any joke should be followed by a :D or something. That way no one gets offended. :D

Lucho said...

Jo and I had this same conversation last night. I think the :) is important to make a point. Mom's coming out tomorrow :0 ;)