Balance.jpgYou hear a lot about balance in peoples life. It’s especially the case with ironman athletes probably because training takes so much time if you want to attempt to reach your potential. Something I heard YEARs ago has always stuck with me:

“A time management expert is giving a talk to trainee management consultants and he holds up a big jar which he fills with rocks and asks if the jar is full. He gets a enthusiastic yes from his audience. He then gets some pebbles and pours them in giving it a little shake to fill up the gaps and asks again “is the jar full”. Catching on to the theme there are a few ‘no’s from the audience. He then pours sand in and fills all the gaps. “Is it full now”. “Yes!” is the response to which he pours in a little water filling it completely.

He asks the audience what they think the moral of the story is. One bright spark answers “no matter how full your day is you and always squeeze in a little more work”. This answer gets nods of approval.

“No” he replies “the moral is, if I’d not put the rocks in first they would never have fit”

The important things in your life are those rocks. Make time for them first since if you don’t it’s so easy to fill your life with sand and water – those minor items can take over.

I feel lucky at the moment that my rocks are Jo and triathlon training. Luckily the latter is a rock for Jo and I hope I’m one also. It means we’re pretty in balance and can fully enjoy being out here training. Retreating to Lanzarote for 4 weeks gives a real feeling of balance – it’s only temporary balance but whilst we’re here life is so simple. Internet access is the local MacDonalds which means we’re ruthlessly efficient in our use of it. It also makes you realise that constant connectivity is really a tonne of sand and water in your life. We’re doing no less a job with our clients by not getting emails the instant they are sent. There’s better balance by not being able to respond immediately.

We’re lucky that we have friends out here as well doing similar things. Our days are a wonderful routine. In the sea at 7am for an hours refreshing swim before a leisurely breakfast and chat. For me it’s tended to then be out all day on the bike followed by a run. The day finishes with a leisurely dinner shooting the breeze with friends. I’m so tired sleep is an absolutely joy.

I’m starting to feel fit again. Been riding ever stronger on the back of 3 consecutive 7 hr days. This afternoon I did my second 3+ hour run in 5 days and felt great. My focus has been on comfortably, economic running and I feel I’m getting there. Swimming is getting strong though this morning I got a lesson in what real swimmers are like. Mark Racher is with us this week. He just (we’re talking 0.01s) missed out on the Sydney Olympics for 200IM. This guy has gone 2:01 for 200IM and 1:50 for 200 free. He cruised alongside me in the sea today and despite a much slower stroke rate easily went by. I hung on his feet for maybe 30 seconds and he wasn’t even trying. I tried to see what he was doing different but is so difficult to spot.  We talked afterwards … yes he has some physical differences that help – for instance, large hands, large feet and an arm span wider than he is tall. Thats not enough though … he also had periods of doing 100k of swimming a week for years ! This allows him to swim twice a week and still easily come out with the front pack of swimmers every time. Certainly puts it in perspective when I feel I’ve done a pretty big weeks swimming with 20k !

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