About leorust

Trail runner and outdoor enthusiast. Inspiring others to explore their environment and pushing their limits.

Insert catchy title here

I recently read this article by James Clear. 

So if success is linked to grit then why do we spend all this time wanting to find our passion?

Why not develop our grit? Why not spend time developing our staying power?

Well maybe because we believe the short cuts we are sold.

If only we have enough talent, if only we discover our talent, if only we find the magic pill, if only…

And it starts with small things. Daily rituals that lead to long term gains over short term potential losses. It starts with brushing our teeth. And then flossing! Ah here is already the rub. Who misses out on this part? Then we make our bed. Once we can do that we can try to do square breathing for 32 days continuously. Then maybe we can move onto the important stuff. Oh but hang on is the really important stuff not developing grit. So floss every day. 

And finally for those who want the full research article to back this all up:

“… these findings suggest that the achievement of difficult goals entails not only talent but the consistent application of talent over time” Angela Duckworth

Questions

Some of us have seen this article before. Either way it is worth paying attention to again.

What it illustrates is that we make assumptions all the time. We are wired that way. Our brain creates gaps in perception to free up space. We don’t notice the blanks because we fill them in. The problem is that these filled in blanks are sometime simply not true. Ultimately we make an assumption. A statement of sorts.

We assume a truth and do not consider for a moment that this might not accurately represent the situation. By stating “the road is clear” we must, on some level have asked “is the road clear?” However few of us consider that question. “Is it really clear?”

Actually we should be asking questions. Of our own reality and how others perceive theirs.

What a strange assumption to think that our “reality” is true for others too.

Without drifting too far from the cycling theme we could argue that the “gap” we require to navigate a given road safely may have completely different dimensions to that perceived by a driver.

Maybe instead of the statement: “The roads are unsafe”

We should rather ask: “How can we make roads safer”

Even better still: “What can I do to make my ride safer and more pleasant for all concerned”

That is taking responsibility and therein power.

STFD

Unlike HTFU the above acronym does not have its own line of clothing, incorporated into The Rules or being throw about on your average coffee ride. You won’t even find it on Google.

Meanwhile every magazine cover has their version of the “12 weeks to your best Ironman”. Completely unrealistic time lines and gradients to get a result out of yourself.  Beyond yourself.

In contrast Jiro Ono requires his apprentices to train for 10 years plus, go through 200 plus attempts at the simple egg sushi before the standard is reached. That is no mean feat and separates the men from the boys. It seems that your 10 000h is only the entry exam. Ultimately there are no short cuts.

The focus is on process. The struggle is real only if you lose focus and think of the end result.

Meticulous attention to what you are doing every day. In your training, relationships and life.

If you have to compare, compare yourself to yesterday. Compare yourself to the process.

A friend of mine recently did her first 5km, then 10km and now is steadily increasing mileage to complete her first half marathon. We have all been there. If we are honest we have all faced the inevitable collapse in some form or other. Some injury or other forced us to slow down. Or we have lost enthusiasm and taken up chess.

So why not Slow The F… Down?

Rather than building the highest sky scraper in town as quickly as possible build a solid foundation. Meticulous attention to every detail. Building an unshakeable base. Building something solid. Doing the best you can before moving on.

Why not try to run your best 10km before moving on?

Oh “Because it is hard!” you say. Well is that not the point.

Maybe STFD does not mean take it easy, quite the opposite. It means do the work, all the work. You have a life of progress ahead of you.

Mentors

Thanks Rosemary for posting this on twitter. And thanks Linda for posting.

Running is a great leveler. We are stripped down to our takkies and running shorts and we are all equal. We start at the start line of a race and we are all one. Even after the gun goes off we are equal. And so it goes. Yes one person wins and others follow. In reality though there is always somebody who is faster (and by definition slower) than us. The title of winner is very fleeting. And in this realisation we are all equal. In this equality we have the opportunity to support.

I look up to those faster than me and support those behind me. Knowing full well that tomorrow the roles can be very different.

In the same way every teacher has a teacher who has a teacher.

Every mentor has a mentor has a mentor.

It matters not if the runner in front of me knows that I admire (and emulate) their style. It changes nothing for them. And so it should with mentors.

Knowing that others look up to us offers us a great responsibility though. To be the best we can be.

For ourselves.

To go the extra mile. To be the mentor we would like to be.

This is an opportunity given to each of us.

Grab it with both hands!

In a garden as in life

IMG_4839I walked in my garden yesterday. I noticed some early spring buds pushing through.

A tree grows a millimetre at a time. A leaf unfolds little by little. A great gardener trims a little here, a little there. All relative to what is in front of him. He deals with reality. Takes an action then steps back and observes the effect before deciding on the next step. To do it any other way would result in a mess.

We however set lofty goals. Goals that stretch us. (remember the slogan “If a goal does not scare you then it is not worth having as a goal” or something like that). Often these goals are just out of reach, just that little bit too far. We tell ourselves that this is cool. Certainly our friends applaud us for this.

We become over committed publically and personally, (sometimes financially even) and hence we resort to shortcuts. Take running races for example. We overtrain because race day is just around the corner. We take pain killers because we are not up to the task.

Is it not better to look at what is and consider the next step, whatever that may be.

Thanks to James Clear for your inspiration here

Thoughts on the dead and the living

I:

“I made endless cups of tea. 

for visitors

for me

faces familiar

names forgotten

should have remembered

they were not there for me but for him, for themselves?

a moment alone

I promised

to myself

to look after his youngest

not sure if he heard

it’s not about me. 

 

I made endless cups of tea for anybody who would drink

too polite to decline

they cried on my shoulder 

in the second row”

 

II:

“Do you live for the living or for the dead?” I asked myself.

We lit a candle instead of going to church to mourn with the others, left behind.

I said I should go, for them, not for him, not for me. Is that a good enough reason?

For me, for you?

I celebrate in my thoughts your life and the positive influence it has had. Has.

But when that is gone then maybe it is time to move on.

Not dwell on the past, the what if’s, the what could have been’s, the if only’s.

To celebrate what we have right now.

Sometimes that includes sorrow.

But that is fleeting.

 

 

Table Mountain Top 10 trail routes: #8 Three Single Tracks – Rhodes Memorial

At first I did not get trail running. “Why would anybody want to run uphill?”

Two Ocean's Trail Run 22km

Two Ocean’s Trail Run 22km route map

 

The downhill part was obvious and I was used to it, even with a heavy pack, but running uphill seemed energy inefficient to me. The seconds saved over a brisk walk did not seem to warrant the extra effort required. So I started jogging along the jeep tracks from Rhodes Memorial towards the city bowl, choosing the more level ones at first.

In contrast I have always enjoyed single tracks, flying along, having to pay attention in order to avoid a stubbed toe, crash or worse: a tumble. When Trevor Ball introduced the genius Two Ocean’s Trail Run route he connected some of the best single tracks in the area to make a truly fantastic and challenging route. For normal folks this would take 3h plus to complete and a large dose of effort so here I describe a shorter version – manageable in a quick 1h30 to 2h session. My Movescount gps file can be found here.

Three Singel Tracks

PP: Plumpudding Hill, Q: Queen’s Blockhouse, K: King’s Blockhouse, 1-3 indicating single tracks

Start:

From Rhodes Memorial parking area take the single track path for 100m up to the first jeep track contour. There are several variations here that all lead to the same point. Turn right and follow the jeep track for a few hundred meters into a shaded area. The track turns downhill at a gentle gradient. At the first fork stay left as the track turns sharply left and uphill. Immediately stay left and head up Plumpudding Hill. 100% runnable if you are strong and trying to prove your manliness! 2/3 of the way up the jeep track turns sharp left. A lone tree is visible above.

Plumpudding Hill

Lone Pine Tree on Plumpudding Hill

The first of our three single tracks start in this corner on the right. The vague track dips into the gully and climbs up the other side to cross a rusted barbed wire fence to eventually join a jeep track. Enjoy the cruise along this. You will meet a T-junction in a s-curve of the main jeep track. The Woodstock shooting range is below you in the gum trees. Turn left and up the slight hill which levels out after a couple of hundred meters. Just before the dry stream crossing there is a jeep track going uphill to the King’s Blockhouse. (If you continue straight here you miss out the second single track but rejoin the route a few hundred meters ahead.)

Up this hill, once again 100% run-able. After a little distance the track levels out (maybe you get to pass some mountain bikers on this section). The branch to the right is our choice. This ultimately leads to Tafelberg Road and can be used as a short cut, but not today. Our second single track awaits on the right, where the ground turns grey. Easy running through fynbos at its best leads us into a cork tree forest. We slowly lose a bit of height to reach the ruin of the Queen’s Blockhouse.

Queen

The Queen’s Blockhouse ruin

From here it is a short but very steep descent to a jeep track. Turn left. [Turning right would take you back to the top of the hill above the shooting range.] Through a dip and out the other side. At the top of the hill turn sharp left onto a zig zagging jeep track which snakes up the ridge in large arcs. At a point where the track levels out in direction City Centre there is our third single track which starts with a few steps and is marked by a cairn. Up this to the signal cannons just below Tafelberg Road. Cross the tar road onto a single track leading uphill. 50m on there is a left fork. Take this and it will level out pretty quickly. This is the lower Contour Path. All the way along here to just behind the King’s Blockhouse.

When standing at the cannons below the Blockhouse it is easiest to take the gently descending jeep track to the left. This snakes downhill. Once you have completed a complete S-curve you will see a wooden bridge and mountain bike track heading down the crest of the ridge. Down this. Enjoy the baarp! You will be spat out on top of Plumpudding hill to your left (facing out). You can either head down this and back to the start or find the super steep single track directly down from the beacon to the jeep track that you started from earlier on. As you can see from the map there are many options for shortcuts and more (or less)direct lines to be explored.

The coffee and cake at the restaurant is much deserved, the view is not bad either!