Ego…and leaving Gorilla Suits for Gorillas

So, when it comes to dealing with young people…well, the ones that have ambition actually (many..most? do not), at what point is it good to say “well, that is not your destiny; do something else?”

The reality is that few of us have the talent to be truly elite at anything; most of us have to work reasonably hard to be “good.” I remember seeing a case where a player who mostly rode the bench for a 2-10 Big Ten football team really thought he’d get a shot at the NFL. Seriously..and he was coached by someone who knows NFL talent when he sees it, and he had some playing time the year before. Sigh..

Which lead me to remember this:

I bought this book as an undergraduate when I wanted to get stronger. What I didn’t get is that most of these guys were on steroids (yes, Dr. Todd talked about that in the book) and that these guys were outliers; they had natural ability to work with…then they put in the work to become champions.

Most bodies, mine included, do not respond to training in that way. So about the title of this post: Todd talked about steroid abuse and then became a staunch opponent of it. He explained that he saw the damage its abuse caused in the lives of those who used them. And he once wrote (in a column for the Austin American Statesman, I believe) something to the effect “leave gorilla suits for gorillas.”

Of course both he and Jan actively supported the Texas powerlifting club..and Jan once got me to help spot someone doing a 700 lb. squat. (there were 5 of us). I was benching 310 at the time.
They also supported less formal contests, such as a “how many reps can you get with your body weight” (I got 11 reps with 230).

But, I suppose the bottom line is “don’t beat yourself up for not attaining the unattainable” and that applies in many areas of life.

Ego and social media
I’ve enjoyed social media. I like the discussions (at least, sometimes, when they don’t involve math). And yes, I do get ego boosts. When?

1. Sometimes it is fun to see people “meet through me” and go on to become friends…and yes, on occasion, they become friends and one of them blocks me! (LOL)

2. On twitter, I really don’t count “followers” nor do I care about the number. But the WHO follows me does tickle my ego a bit:

a) when someone who has a ton of followers but is somewhat selective on who THEY follow follows me…well…I get the happy face.

These two accounts are followed by a ton of people, but follow relatively fewer accounts themselves.

b) then there is the “famous people”: one is a US Senator and presidential candidate; the other is a former boxing contender who once came within 20 seconds of going the distance with the lineal champion Wladimir Klitchko in a title fight.

Pre-race reflection

There is this little 2 mile course I do when I am doing my “last warm up run” before a race that I am aiming for. For Peoria people: jog down Cooper St. past Bradley Ave. to Moss, turn left on Moss and run to MacArthur and then retrace my route. It is about 2.05 miles.

Way back in 1983-1984, it took me 24-25 minutes to do this course; I weighed 230-240 lb. and it was an effort. I huffed and puffed…but that was better than the 36 minutes it used to take me to walk 2 miles when I was 320 lb.

Anyway, this little warm up workout reminds me of where I came from, and no matter how poorly tomorrow goes, I cannot forget my progress. Of course, I have no intention of having a poor race. 🙂

It looks as if the weather will be good for it, and so I have no excuses. (half marathon: C goal is sub 2:20, B goal is sub 2:15 and A goal is sub 2:10…my real goal is to run the whole way and finish with a bit of dignity. Key is to keep the pace easy for the first 5 miles).

And all of this reminds me of a couple of 23:xx 5Ks I ran. Back in 1985, I was a first year graduate student at the University of Texas. I lifted weights regularly and had worked up to a bench press of 310 lb. at 230 lbs. I still ran 2-4 miles fairly regularly. I noticed there was a 5K race on the campus of St. Edwards University and that it finished in plenty of time for me to make the Texas Longhorns football game that day. So I entered and ran it in 23:00 (I recorded my time). Little did I know that this was to be my last running race for about 11 years.

In between: I was able to get my Ph. D, get a job, and gain about 90 lbs, and subsequently lose to about 185 in 1996. By then I was doing those little 2-3 mile runs and I decided to enter an on-campus 5K to test my fitness. It took me 23:15 to do and I finished “sort of in the pack” of mostly students. Yes, I wore high top basketball shoes!

When I walked home after the race..I …cried. Really. I was FINALLY “back home”, so to speak..and I’ve been doing races regularly every since. Since then I worked my way down to the high 19’s for the 5K, to a 3:38 marathon (and yes, a 1:34 half), a 100 mile walk (23:40) and then have declined…badly. Now, a sub 28 5K counts as “good” for me. Whatchagonnado???

Anyway, time to dig out my long distance race stuff (electrolyte tablets, clothes and socks I want to wear, etc.) as I haven’t done a long race since October 2018.

workout notes: easy 2 mile jog, 1 mile walk, stretching…knee stretching.