Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year, New You? New Approach!

Does this resemble the long list of things you'd like to do differently in 2010?

If so, perhaps we can pin-point the FIRST thing you can do differently... end the year before more intelligently (read: more realistically)

The truth is, this time of year is a reflection by default phase. Everyone and their dog is asking what they can do differently and better this week for next year; while the most successful people out there are asking this question all of the time.

This new year's, instead of having a resolution, with no preparatory steps, action plan, or accountability program... simply accept that stating a goal without understanding goal setting and then the pursuit and mastering those goals is like deciding to go on vacation tomorrow with no money, plane ticket, destination, or ride to the airport. It simply isn't going to happen.

Another fault of new years resolutions is that people rarely think small. They want to lose the weight that's been plaguing them for 10 years, or pay off their mortgage. If planning and goal setting is not part of your skill or experience set; then we're setting ourselves up for failure.

So, want to reinvent yourself this year? No problem... but start by reinventing your processes and what you try to achieve. By starting small here, you gain momentum to tackle bigger things. I'm quite certain very few marathon runners are finishing 26.2 miles as their first run ever- they probably started with a 5 or 10km run, and then had the confidence to take bigger risks and the experience on what to do differently with their training.

Goals in other areas of our lives are no different... start an exercise routine before declaring you're going to lose those 20 pounds, learn to balance your budget before saying the mortgage is getting paid off, and learn how to manage your time and personal balance over a weekend getaway before saying this year you're going to the moon.

Start small and finish tall rather than over-promise and under-deliver to yourself (worst of all).

Happy new year, happy new approaches, happy new YOU!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Develop a Winning Personality

For many of us, the beginning of a new year brings along new goals to be accomplished. Part of creating a good plan to achieve these new goals includes re-inventing ourselves to think and act differently than we did the previous years. Developing the traits of a winner starts with us as individuals and how we view ourselves. The mindset we possess will determine our actions, whether we win or loose and ultimately if we are to accomplish our goals. Below are some winning qualities that we can re-invent ourselves with and to develop our own winning personalities.

It takes just as much mental energy and effort to focus on the things you don't like as it does to focus on making the things you don't like better. Winners think positive and make the best of even the worst situations by thinking of solutions. Having a poor attitude will automatically set us up for defeat because our first reactions are that we do not have control. The reality is we have control over every situation and it all begins with thinking like you do.

Studies have shown that the top 3 percent of people in every field looked upon themselves as owners. They treated the company and team as if it belonged to them personally. They saw themselves as being in charge of every aspect of their lives. They took everything that happened to their company personally, exactly as if they owned 100 percent of the stock. Take ownership over your job and the team you play with. If something is not right make it better and do not wait for someone else to fix the problem.

The difference between winners and losers is quite clear. Winners always accept responsibility for their actions. Losers never do but instead always have some kind of explanation for why they are doing poorly. Taking responsibility over our actions can be very hard for us as we always try to defend our what we do especially when we screw up. Fact is that we are human and we make mistakes. If we make a mistake, we must own it, learn from it and try not to come up with excuses as to why it happened.

Time Management:
Many people out there waste a lot of time by looking for the easy road in life. These people come in a little later, work a little slower, leave a little earlier and have the attitude that anything extra is someone else's job. They spend most of their working time in idle chitchat with coworkers, taking care of personal business, reading the paper, drinking coffee, and surfing the internet. Winners arrive a little earlier, work a little harder, and stay a little later making the most of their time.
Adopting the above principles will lead us to excellence no matter what it is we do. Why do anything in life if it is to be done less than excellent anyway? In 2010 think and act like a winner - choose to be a winner in everything you do!

Friday, December 25, 2009


In 1897, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, an assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia, whether Santa Claus really existed. Virginia O'Hanlon had begun to doubt there was a Santa Claus, because her friends had told her that he did not exist.

Dr. O’Hanlon suggested she write to the New York Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.' While he may have been passing the buck, he unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question, and address the philospohical issues behind it.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

—Francis P. Church

I like to think that Santa Claus represents all that is good in the world, as espoused in the famous letter, and that Francis wrote the absolute truth when he wrote that the most real things in this life are the things we cannot see.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Virus

And so it's nearly Christmas... a time of year when we're sure to read things like "try and spread this feeling throughout the whole year, not just Christmas" (which is true, we should; yet true we don't). The key is to understand at this time of year we (most of us) inevitably come to feel a certain way that opens our hearts/ wallets/ time to and for those around us; often not limited to our immediate families.

The issue becomes - when the parties, the shopping, the Christmas lights, the carols, and the other euphoric events and stimuli begin to disappear; the sentiment goes the way of "outta sight, outta mind".

If we truly wished to make the world a better place and spread the Christmas spirit, we need to know tangible ways of doing so...

1. Set a goal for how many random acts of kindness or how many people you'd like to help
2. Set a month by month charitable plan for the entire year, share it with those you know (could be money, time, gifts, resources, anything)
3. As a family choose 1 gift you each receive that you will be donating to charity
4. Involve the Earth in the above movements (reduce, reuse, recycle, and choose sustainable and environmentally conscious products, restaurants, and other businesses to shop at)
5. Share what you are doing. One person can make a difference, but only if they never allow their good decisions and actions to remain as '1 person's idea'.

Hence the title of today's blog post; if you really believe in doing something to make Christmas year round - you must spread the tangible methods of creating good will to other's like a positive virus; an infectious Christmas virus that snowballs into change that is not seasonal; it becomes regional and perhaps even global.

Do we really want to unknowingly and unconsciously re-enter the rat race in 2010?
I don't think so - get spreading the news.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Gleesons

The Gleesons by Natalie Anderson, West Vancouver Coach

No matter how many times I have had to say goodbye, it never gets any easier.
I met Shaun and Emma Gleeson in August of 2009, a lovely couple from England who I had the pleasure of training individually once a week.

They seemed like your 'average run of the mill' suburban family and I got along with them like a house on fire from the minute I put them on the bikes to warm up.

The first clue I had of their selflessness was when they sponsored me for the my very first adventure race in September. I was delighted and followed up with the token email and photograph.

Now I don't know what happened in October but there seemed to be a turning point in Shaun's thinking. It was Nutrition Challenge month and I encouraged both Shaun and Emma to enter. Shaun's ultimate goal was weight loss as this was directly correlated to his high blood pressure and for Emma, more about education and accountability, as she had done the challenge so many times before. However, this was Shaun's first and final experience. The nutrition challenge involved writing daily logs about food consumption, completing weekly fitness challenges and participating in events. Initially, Shaun was sceptical as he had to travel a lot during this time, but along with fellow trainers Richard and Dave we convinced both of them to do their best.

So week 1 down, 14 excellent food logs later and 7 delightful yet useless facts from Shaun - made reading and analysing every one of them tolerable!

Week 2: Emma was impecable with her logs, even calculating calories burned during each workout. Shaun on the otherhand was traveling in England, socializing with friends and working... in that order! I received a few late night emails... and to my surprise he was still sticking to the guidelines of the challenge. Shaun required very little motivation, he was so tuned in to succeeding he even ordered a salad in front of his mates.

Week 3: Shaun is back, he has booked in extra sessions to make up for his time away and is coming in on his 'off' days to do an hours cardio! This week both Shaun and Emma completed the 24th hill fitness challenge! A credit to them both, who suffer from back and knee injuries respectively.

Week 4: By this time Shaun is focussed, his eyes are on the prize. This man is getting super fit... In fact I think during the month of October he spen more time at IF then he did with his family. Everything was going so well for them both, it was falling into place.

I was training with Emma one night and I noticed she wasn't her usual bubbly, chatty self, I felt close enough to ask if everything was ok... and with a glazed look in her eyes, she replied, "Shaun's work wants him to move back to England in December." At this point I must admit I was very selfish - thinking, but I will miss you, who will I laugh and joke with? Not even thinking how hard it must be to uproot your family to another country. I put on a brave face and thought a lot can change in three months.

This weekend was the 10km Turkey Trot. Shaun and I were registered and I decided our game plan was a walk run combo as he had not run that far in 2 years since his injury.

Its race day and I let Shaun set the pace, '5 minute run 1 minute walk,' I say, trying to convince him it is a jog, not a sprint. We set off dodging and weaving fellow runners (thank goodness for those agility exercises). 5 minutes into the run and Shaun has set a steady pace and with dignity says "I don't need to walk, let's keep going!" So with no ultimate goal, other then to finish the race, I agree. At this point fitness was not the issue, it was weather his back and knees would hold up. 1 hr and 8 minutes later we crossed the finished line having jogged the whole way around without stopping. I was so proud of him.

Weigh in day of the Nutrition Challenge: Now neither Shaun nor Emma won, as it was based on a cumulation of points. As cheesy as it sounds though, Shaun did win his own challenge. Neither one of them missed a log and Shaun lost the most amount of weight during the 4 weeks out of everyone that entered the challenge at West Vancouver IF.

And so I think, 'that's the end of that, back to reality now,' but I was wrong! Shaun continued to come in to the facility during every day 'off' and always made up sessions that he missed. We even decided to do the Chief Hike as it was one of his goals before he left for England, we unfortunatly had to pull out due to poor weather.

Richard and I continued to 'up' the intensity during each session, challenging him more and more. Shaun proved to be an excellent workout buddy, and I spent many a session working out beside him, while he danced his way through a squat press or reverse lunge bicep curl. Emma called it his midlife crisis music. We even had a few of our own 'Ashes' matches, Australia VS England in cricket with our makeshift half blue foam roller cricket bat!

The 10km Fall Classic was coming up and I challenged Shaun to complee it in under an hour, if he did I would buy him a vivianno from Starbucks, which he had religiously after his workouts at IF. And so one afternoon after his workout I had to buy him his viviano - he did it in 56 minutes. Good on you Shaun, it must have been those new running tights.

3 weeks out from their expected departure date and Shaun is booking extra sessions and Emma is rescheduling every session with me to fit it into their moving plans - Quote 'I can't miss my IF workouts!' Ironperson of December: Shaun Gleeson for his dedication, hard work and commitment.

Next challenge for Shaun was the 5km Santa Shuffle in under 25min! It was a fun event and I dropped a hint that Emma should bring the kids down for the 1km Elf walk. To my surprise, she did, 3 years at IF and this was her first and last event!

Donned with Reindeer antlers, I met the Gleeson's at the start line, we took some photos, complained about the cold weather and Shaun and I were off. Again I said, 'you set the pace.' And at the time I wish I could have taken it back!

So apparently this one was a sprint! It was an icy morning and Shaun sprinted off overtaking the social runners, his technique and form resembled a Kenyan completing a marathon. I grinned and ran along side him, thinking - he won't be able to keep this up. 2.5km into the run and we are still sprinting like we are being chased by the cops. In between breaths I manage to gasp, "your getting fast!" 27 minutes later we crossed the finished line - disappointed but not defeated. We spent too much time at the beginning trying to get past the pack.

As 1 of many send offs, Shaun, Emma, their two children Oliver and Ruby, Kate, Richard, Kati and myself went out to lunch after the Sanata Shuffle and relived their fond memories at IF. A couple of stories that stuck in my head:

Quote: 'After I got home from my first session I cried, I said to Shaun, 'What have I got myself in to?' Now I can't miss a session, I love it. I asked for a medball for Christmas so I can still do my woodchops when I leave.'

Quote: 'I was sceptical, I didn't think I needed another person to push me, my first few sessions I had to go home and have a sleep on the couch!'

Dave, Richard and myself decided that we would make the last few weeks of the Gleeson's IF experience a blast. Dave did an awesome whiteboard workout for Emma which involved traveling around the world, en route to England - rowing to Australia, hiking up Ayres Rock with a backpack, just to name a few. I also had my first cardio core workout with Emma, while Oliver and Ruby played DS and drew in the corner of the facility. I lost count after 180 crunches, but chuckled very loudly when during a 30 second hold of a back extension on the floor, Ruby kindly slid a drawing right under Emma's nose, so that she didn't have to look up. I loved training Emma's cardio core hours, I use to do hours of research for new and challenging core exercises. My favourites were the worm, where your legs and arms are extened, lieing on the floor you must roll yourself from your stomach to your back without using your arms of legs, reverse v-sit on the lat pull down with leg drops (she hated this one) and V-sit kettle bell crunches - I had a killer ab combo for this one!

Emma got her revenge at Train the Trainer. She had written down every exercie I was to do and had all the equipment prepared, all while hollering at Shaun to 'watch the kids!' - who might be asking for a treadmill for Christmas this year! Shaun was much more leaniant, all I had to do was give him a nasty look and he asked, 'are you ok?' - he is much too nice to be a trainer.

By the last two weeks Shaun was dialled in to burning calories. So Rich and I did the 1000kcal challenge. In my attempt to have Shaun burn 100kcal, I worked out with him and had him on the treadmill at the highest level he has ever done... NICE. But I came in short at 987kcal. Not to worry, Rich had a crack at him 2 days later with 1000 and something kcal, nice workout both of them.

It was profiling week and Emma convinced me she didn't need to do it. Actually no... she flat out refused! However I convinced Shaun we should take his girth measurements just for interest sake. He lost over 10lbs in 3 months, and 6 cms from his waist, and after an office medical was told he could come off his blood pressure medication. I was so excited for him, he had worked so hard, there was no better reward.

After what I thought was his last workout with me I gave him the Gleeson Gladiator Gauntlet whiteboard workout. Shaun had to reschedule his last workout with Rich and ended up with me. Unfortunatly the night before was his going away party and Shaun was not up to the slaying I preppared - having to dash to the bathroom on numerous occasions. He left me standing with the dumb bells a few times looking bedazzled because I didn't know where he was.

1. Working out with Shaun and he is spottng me on the chest press and a drop of sweat from his forehead onto my nose..eeww gross!
2. Dave giving Emma thunderclaps for the Santa Shuffle, or slow handclaps as they are known to the Gleeson's - she hates being made a fuss over!
3. Shaun shouting profanities during peak of the hour and sometimes during the warm up if we were lucky!
4. Shaun's dance moves - there is nothing more to say about this...
5. When Emma suggests that the exercises I have chosen are not real, they are made up exercises - how rude!

Leaving Day: The Gleeson powerpoint is showing on the big screen, a poster on the door read 'goodbye Gleeson's, we will miss you,' a card is signed by all the IF coaches, a collage of photos has been printed and framed, and the IF waterbottles and jersey are prepped.

I turned down the music, stood on the small box and declared what a loss for IF it was to lose not 1, but 2 of its most valuable - not customers, but friends. Emma compared finding new trainers, like finding a new hairdresser - which I totally understand, which is why we got along so well. Nowhere else will they find a gym where they yell your name when you arrive. Emma and I both joked that she will arrive at her new training facility and announce in her propper Brittish accent, 'Hello everyone, I am here!' I've also jokingly mentioned to Shaun, that when he is back in Vancouver for business he should come back for a session, he boldy stated that he would like 2 hours in a row!

All was said and done, gifts exchanged, I got through my whole speech without breaking down. It was definatly the team huddle with the 'Lets break on Gleesons in 3... 1, 2, 3, GLEESONS' followed by a round of thunderclaps that did it for me! The tears rolled down my face and with as much dignity and courage as I could muster, I said thank you and goodbye.

Special appreciation to the team at IF West Vancouver for your support. Rich and Dave my co-coaches, Kati for looking after Ruby and Oliver, Justine for giving me the freedom and opportunity to work with the Gleesons, and Josh for your advice.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wooden on Leadership

Leadership starts with self-control. Remember, control of your organization begins with control of yourself. When you lose control, you sanction the same behaviour for those under your leadership—the team. There is never an excuse for violating this imperative, and when you do, your credibility and consistency as a leader diminish accordingly. — Coach John Wooden

John Wooden is without question one of the most respected and honoured sports coaches in history. But it wasn't winning games that drove him; it was ensuring that, regardless of the final score, his players always put forth their utmost effort and performed to the best of their abilities. For him, it was never about the number of wins and losses: It was about how the game was played.

In fact, his players say they don't recall their coach ever stressing the importance of winning a game. For Wooden, it was about sticking to the fundamentals. "On the first day of practice, I remember him saying, 'I'm not going to be talking to you about winning or losing because I think that's a by-product of our preparation. I would much rather be focused on the process of becoming the best team we're capable of becoming,'" says John Vallely, who played under Wooden on the 1969 and 1970 UCLA national championship basketball teams.

Judging from his relationships with former players, perhaps the greatest business lesson to be learned from Wooden is how leaders should treat the people around them. "Make those under your supervision understand that you really care for them, not just for what they're doing in the corporation but that you really care for them," Wooden says. "I think anyone in a supervisor position has to do that." For him, that meant letting his players know they weren't playing for him, but with him as they worked toward a common goal. "Team spirit, loyalty, enthusiasm, determination. . . . Acquire and keep these traits and success should follow."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And a Santa Shuffle to Finish....

Innovative Fitness was out at the Santa Shuffle this past month with their customers taking part in the 5km event. A great event that tends to be more ‘fun’ then competitive – especially with our reindeer ears and Santa costumes. For 1 family in particular this was a special event as it was their last with IF. They’ll be heading back to England come the new year... but what better way to end of their time with us then out at a great event like the Santa Shuffle.

In Shuan’s words...a Santa Shuffle to finish.. 

I Had a great time at Stanley Park running the Santa Shuffle - my wife Emma (also a West Van IF member) and my two children Oliver and Ruby also enjoyed themselves at the Elf Walk. There was also a lot of sadness on the day as the event marked mine and Emma's last as IF members as sadly my company wants me to return to London :-(

This will bring to an end 8 months of association which is not a great deal (Emma has been there for 3 years!) but is a long time considering what I think I have achieved.  The headline grabber is the weight I have lost (22 pounds and counting!) which comes hand in glove with the body toning and extra energy I now feel every day.  Another by-product is the reduction of discomfort I feel in my back - a long standing problem which will never go away but less weight and greater core strength makes things a magnitude more bearable.

As good as these achievements are, the most notable for me is the transformation of a sceptic into a believer - i.e. someone that never thought a personal trainer could extract from me more that what I could extract from myself during solo gym time.  Well I was wrong - get a trainer to push you and you will see the results both physically and mentally. I stand corrected to myself!

A large part of the credit has to go to my trainers Natalie Anderson and Richard Alm who always knew the right balance to apply (when to push harder when to not etc).   This also came with an unwavering positive attitude, great patience (including with my jokes!) and a tireless supply of help and advice as and when I needed it.  Thanks guys, you made a real difference.

So off to London now and a very long list of things to organize as soon as Emma and I touch down.  Sure we have to get a roof over our head, the kids into school etc, but right up there on the list is the enrolment with a personal trainer and a club just like IF.  Once a sceptic, never a sceptic again!

Thanks a million Team IF!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

She Said It Best

Over the last 3 months,

my colleagues and I in Calgary have been able to start with 3 eager molds of clay. Three people ready to work hard and make a change in their lives, even if they didn't know what that would take.

I think Helen, one of our 3 finalists in the Calgary Herald Health Club, explains the process better than I can. Read her comments via the link below,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let's get excited about winter

Here is a race report by Jen S. from early2009 that I read again today. I was excited about the snow!
24hrs of Sunlight
Race Report
I'm back home now in Squamish to where there is oxygen in the air and I can breathe like a normal person! The race was awesome and I can't wait to go back next year. However, I will be giving myself a full week to hang in Gunnison prior to the start. Coming from sea level to try and compete with the high altitude mountain folks is just plain hard!!!

So, Friday afternoon we made the drive to Glenwood Springs with crew members Ben and Agnes. It took 3hrs along this gorgeous twisty mountain road and we arrived in time to register, meet 3rd crew member Keith, grab some food and head to Sunlight Mt to our slopeside hotel. Now, Sully and his crew knew what was going on and knew what it takes to dial in this race. Our hotel room as only a few steps away from the transition tent at the base of the hill. Perfect for our crew to dry skins, make food and exchange gear for us! The evening was spent trying to make me a 2nd pair of skins for my rando skiis - mission successful! After cutting a pair of Keiths skins (so nice of him) and bending the crap out of the front attachment and using a carabiner from Ben's key chain, we had a sweet set-up for me to hammer on and switch out. I was so ready to hit this race in the morning.
Had a good sleep and things got under way at 11am! I felt great the first few laps, climbed well and logged some sub 40min laps. However, by 2pm, it was a different story! The altitude was making me sleepy. Frick I thought, how am I going to survive 24hrs of this if all I want to do is curl up on the side of the ski hill! Luckily, as night approached, my adventure racing mentality kicked in and I woke up! Maybe it was my coffee from Beans Around the World that I had brought down (oh ya, we gave it a new name "the 24hr Espresso Special.")My laps times stayed pretty much under 1hr and I was happy with that. I continued to lead in the women's category, putting some time on the 2nd place female with every lap. For the most part, I felt great out there! Ben, Keith and Aggie did a wicked job of feeding me every lap (about 100 -200 calories) and filling my bottle with nuun. We had a great sytem going and the transitions were kept to about 1min each lap.

However, by 4:30am, Things are not going well!!! My breathing became super hard and I just couldn't get the oxygen in. I would skin for 10 steps, stop, gasp for air, feel like having a heart attack and then take another 10 steps. Embarisngly enough, my 16th lap took about 1hr30min or so. Yikes!!! This was not good. I was so dizzy at the top and could hardly focus despite having all the other encouraging competitors doing the team category around me! I only had a 35min lead on 2nd place and thankfully, had put a 3 lap lead on 3rd place. I skiied down to the bottom and we decided that I needed to take a break, get out of the cold, drink hot fluids and try to heat up my lungs. They took me into the hotel room and I layed on the bed, hacking up flem and gasping for air! I tried to sleep as I watched my 1st place slip away!!

What could I do??? The crew kept their eye on the results for me and Dina from Jackson Hole, WY (now in 1st place, ) put some solid laps in on me. However, 3rd place (Polly McLean) was still moving steady and in order to secure my 2nd place, I had to get my butt back out there and suffer another few laps. Frick!!!! It was so painful to move again. 8:15am, I trudged back out, put the skii's on and tackled Sunlight Mt, a few more times, just to be sure! It wasn't pretty but I got the job done.

The real kicker was this......I was so ready for this race, more than I realized. My legs felt amazing and I attribute this to my CrossFit training in Whistler! You'd think that after 24hrs of going up and down some 30,000 vertical ft my body would be tired, but it just wasn't! It was my lack of acclimitization that got me and cost me the the race. I'm happy with 2nd, all things considered, and cant wait to race this one again!

Sully killed it again like a true champion. He did just enough laps to win the men's solo and did it very easily at that ( I think he took 2 x 2hr naps)! The race atmosphere was great and it was well put on! Highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a fun winter challenge! Thanks to Sully and our wicked awesome crew for taking care of me and showing me what true Colorado Rando Racing is all about!

Monday, December 14, 2009


With the end of year upon us, many of us think of all the things we want to accomplish in the year to come and how we will do it. For example, athletes will plan how they will be faster and stronger than the previous year while businesses create new plans on how they will grow and remain profitable. For the upcoming year to be successful; now is the time each of us should develop a vision of where we wish to go and the strategies on how to get there. Consider the 4 points below when creating strategic plans.

Without it we lack having clear and defined goals and without goals we cannot even begin to consider our strategy. Vision comes with knowing what we are passionate about and what our personal values are. The sooner one can develop a firm direction of where we want to go the sooner effective planning and strategizing can take place to get us there.

2)More or Less:
Each year consists of setting and meeting a series of short and long-term objectives. The immediate aim is a short-term objective that leads to the long-term goal. It is not a simple matter as long-term strategies are complex and constantly evolve. Often the issue is not in the realm of Yes or No but more in that of should there be More or Less of one tactic versus another. Before removing a strategy from your plan, consider if it is one that has to be done less while another one more or vice versa.

Seeing our vision through depends on whether we can execute our strategy or not. While formulating a strategy is an intellectual process, following through on it is a test of willpower. A great plan is only as great as the willpower we exercise to not deviate from it and to carry out the necessary tasks to meet our short-term objectives. Often times we will have to make the hard decision between what we want to do and what we have to do.

Understand that each day is unpredictable. As much as we wish there to be certainty in our days there is very little we can be sure of. Weather, resources, people and our tools can all change forcing us to develop a new approach. The one thing we have control over is how we adapt ourselves to the ever-changing situations of our day. Being adaptable means being able to develop new ways of doing things. Change is hard but often the determining factor if we are to be successful or not.

Developing strategy is an important step to attaining our goals. We all have different tactics, some more effective than others and the ones we choose will determine if we are to be successful or not. Remember vision, more or less, willpower and adaptability when planning. Best wishes in the up coming year for happiness and prosperity!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Holiday Fitness Challenge

A customer sent me an article written by Tom Venuto 2 years ago - I saved it and have sent it to all of my customers this years asking them to partake in the 'Holiday Challenge,' and I would like to share it with you. As of writing this, there are just under 3 weeks until the end of the year, why not step up your expectations, step up your standards, step up your nutrition, step up your training, step up your actions and step up to the 'Holiday Challenge' when you finish reading this, and see what happens.

Media reports say that most people gain between 5 and 10 pounds of body fat in the 6-weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount is much more modest, just over a pound. However, even the modest holiday weight gain may be cause for concern. A study by the National Institute of Health, found that this seasonal weight gain, even just a pound, is usually not lost after the holidays; it simply adds to the 'weight creep' that 'sneaks up' on us as we get older. Whether it's a pound or ten pounds, have you ever asked yourself why holiday weight gain happens at all - here are some common answers we've all heard.

I'm too busy over the holidays to work-out as often as usual.'
I have at least three parties to attend, and then there's Christmas and New Year's, so its impossible to stay on a diet.
No one can tell me not to enjoy myself over the holidays, so I'm just going to eat whatever I want.

These answers all have a few things in common. First, they assume that it's and either/or proposition - you can either get in better shape of enjoy yourself, but not both. Stated in reverse, you can either deprive yourself of holiday enjoyments, or gain weight, but it has to be one or the other. The truth is,either/or thinking is a very limiting form of thinking.

Second, these are all excuses or rationalizations. For example, 'I'm too busy' is always an excuse because I have never known someone who was too buys to make time for his or her highest life priorities. The problem is most people do not make exercise or eating healthy a priority. We all have the same amount of time - 24 hours a day - but the way people prioritize the use of time is the difference between success and mediocrity. And remember, words mean little, actions reveal a person's true priorities.

Third, none of these are the real reasons most people gain weight over the holidays to begin with, The real reason is because an intention was never set for the opposite: to get in better shape over the holidays. Most people set a 'goal' to get in worse shape over the holidays. It's not consciously set, of course, as few people would intentionally set out to gain fat. They simply do it by default. In their minds, they accept that it must be just about impossible to stay in shape with everything going on over the holiday season, so why bother? Once the decision has been made, then the rationalizing continues:

Why should I deprive myself?
Family is more important
Worrying about diet and exercise during the holidays is neurotic
I don't care if I gain a few pounds, I'm going to enjoy myself anyway
It's only these two or three weeks that I let myself go wild
I'll start the first week in January and lose the weight then

As a result of the 'negative goal setting' they expect to work out less, eat more and gain a few pounds and the don't seem to even consider alternatives. What would happen if you set an intentions and a goal to get in better shape? What would happen if you decided that it was not an all or nothing proposition and that you could enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and get in better shape at the same time? And, what if you decided that your health and your body were the highest priorities in your life because you realized that you couldn't enjoy anything else in life, including family or holidays, if you don't have your health.

The idea that you can either enjoy the holidays or stay in shape, but not both, is dangerous and limiting. It's dangerous to your social life, your emotional life and your physical life. Life is not an either/or proposition; it's a matter of balance. Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself, re-evaluating your expectations and acting in accordance with all of the above.

Your expectations will become your reality. What are you expecting? Are you expecting to be in better shape after holiday parties, celebration, banquets, dinner, and desserts? If not, then why not? What's preventing you from enjoying tall of the above and still getting in better shape? Do you have a limiting belief which dictates that it's one or the other? Could it be that you never set a goal, intention or expectations to do it? Could it be that you're rationalizing and making excuses? If so, then I challenge you to change it this year, and then keep the change, for the rest of your life!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Your LCD is Showing

As much as I'd like to convince others or fool myself, it snows a LOT in Calgary. Some years are relatively white-free; however this is not one of of those winters.

The reason I bring this up is to remind us all of a simple lesson...

When adversity strikes (in the form of a snowfall, terrorist attack, or tsunami) our greatest strengths and the purest of human spirit is revealed for the world to see.

So, unfortunately, are our ugliest traits. Things like honking, watching a grandmother shovel a pregnant woman's car out while strapping young men drive past, the snipers shooting at relief workers in New Orleans post -Katrina... that sort of thing.

We can't control what happens to us or our world... but we can certainly control how the world sees us and what our fellow man thinks of us.

Be careful when adversity strikes - either your true character or you Lowest Common Denominator will surely be showing!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

friendly reminder...

Have fun out there!!! 
We don't have to be going for the win every time. 
We don't have to be top athletes to enter races. 
ENJOY YOURSELF in everything you do!


Friday, December 04, 2009


Perfectionism does not make you perfect. It makes you feel inadequate. You are not worthless because you can’t do it all. You are human. You can’t escape that reality, and you can’t expect to. Self-acceptance is the goal.

Life is a marathon. It’s an endurance event played out over time. You can have and be all the things you want to be. Just do it over a lifetime. Don’t try to do them all at once, because you can’t. If you try to, everyone around you will suffer – mostly you.

Comparing how you feel on the inside (bad) to the way someone else looks on the outside (great) is a losing proposition. It’s an impossible standard. We will always come up short. Humility means accepting yourself – with every plus and minus, every defect and asset, exactly as you are today. It’s stepping back and appreciating the whole picture; where you are today; what you’ve done and what you want to do. Humility means neither beating the hell out of yourself nor glorifying mediocrity. Today’s picture isn’t set in stone. It will change. That’s self acceptance.

So don’t set yourself up for failure trying to win an award in every area of your life. But do set high standards for yourself. Decide what a realistic ‘excellent’ means to you in each area and go for it. I’m not talking about settling. I’m talking about setting obtainable goals that will keep you stretching and growing.

The key is to stop concentrating on the negative and turn positive. Try not straining for a goal that you can’t possibly achieve. Reach forward, beyond yourself, stretching for the limits of what you can achieve today. Your life is like a mosaic. You have to figure out where the pieces fit and put them together for yourself.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Scoreless Win

Before you read today's blog, take a few minutes to consider your close relationships. They could be friendships, your spouse, a partnership in business, or extended family.

As you think of each person in turn, no doubt your mood and perhaps even your facial expression will change. The reason is that of course, you find some relationships more rewarding than others. Now while it's true you can choose your friends and not your family - sometimes we remain friends with people long after the mutual benefit to that relationship has ceased.

It is in that context I want you to read today's entry... relationships that are mutually beneficial. For a relationship to be truly mutually beneficial; both parties must a) be unharmed by the association and b) must derive at least some benefit.

If you give, and your partner takes - that is by definition a one-way relationship.
Now while not all relationships will enrich our soul, they must at least benefit us.
Whether it's a business boost, someone who makes you laugh, someone who teaches you; you must find some benefit to associating with each person in your life. And of course - you must bring something to the table.

If you don't know what you are bringing to another person- ask. Communication is one of the most common sources of relationship breakdown, and this conversation is either going to cease an unproductive relationship, or deepen it. Either way it's a positive.

One thing you don't have to do (rather, shouldn't have to do) is nickel and dime that friendship. The best friendships to have are those that both parties feel like giving, and aren't worried about what they're getting. If you're not keeping score on the relationship, even if it's not 50/50 it's at least reciprocal in some way. That, my friends, is what we can call a scoreless win.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Would you look at a horse and wish that it could fly like an eagle? Or would you ever look at a seal and wish that it could run like a cheetah? I bet that no one in his or her right mind would wish one creature to do what another does best. When watching any animal we appreciate it for what it is and what it can do. It would be crazy to think otherwise but why then do we often wish people in our lives to do what they are not good at and wanting them to be someone who they are not?

The difference between humans and god’s creatures is that we are capable of changing who we are and therefore becoming better at what we are not. However, any of this change can only come from the individual. While it does not hurt to encourage people to change their circle of behaviors our attention and our challenge each day should focus on this:

Accept that everybody like earth’s creatures is different and each having their own role in life. Accept the people in our life for who they are and recognize what they are good at. If we think about people this way we will ultimately get more enjoyment out of life.

Friday, November 27, 2009


If you or someone you know is dissatisfied with their job you can probably narrow it down to one of three things - the position, the people, or the person.

The position is probably the most straightforward of the three, you applied, you accepted, and you committed. What isn't understood is that that process just gets you the job; it doesn't advance you or even guarantee that you will always have it - you have to work to keep it. So why do so many of us complain once we get there?

We signed the contract, agreed to the terms and understood the requirements before we began but maybe we didn't understand the real question - what are you willing to sacrifice?

You have to be willing to work to keep your position but you have to be willing to sacrifice to move ahead in it - you can't have everything. It's simple, in order to do very well in one area of your life you need to devote more time and energy to it, and that will take time and energy away from other areas of your life. You need to make the decision about what's most important to you and understand the consequences of said decision. It's not wrong to choose to devote more time to family and friends during a given period of your life but recognize that if that's the case you're not going to be advancing at work and vice versa.

Maybe you didn't read the fine print and it feels like the demands of the position are greater than what you are willing to sacrifice. If that's the case, you need to shape up or ship out, step up or step down because someone else is willing to go that extra mile and no one wants to hear you whine about why you think you can't.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's the point?

Today we are talking about goals.
We are talking about life.
We are talking about objectives.
We are talking about tasks, roles, and to-do lists...

and I hope we are talking about things created FOR you BY you.

Look at your inbox right now
Now look at your to-do list for today
and finally- your deadlines if not covered above.

How many items from the above list were generated by you as they relate to achieving things that are important to you? How many are handed down to you and you just said 'yes'? How many got handed to you from peers or co-workers and you didn't take the time to think, say no, or defend yourself if someone else is taking advantage of you?

Don't get me wrong - I work my tail off for other people and the success of the organization IS my success. However - my job is not my life, and I have a choice as to what sort of employment environment I place myself in.

If all of your goals and all of your tasks are dictated to you instead of at least some being generated by you... eventually, in a frustrated and defeated moment...

you are going to ask yourself the same question this blog title did today... and you won't have any answers that satisfy why you have to get up and do it again tomorrow.

Wake up tomorrow as though you meant to and do something you can feel really good about, even if it's the starting line (coming up with your goals in the first place).

Aren't you worth at least that?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Training Fleas

How to train fleas? You can place fleas in a jar with a lid on it. The fleas will of course begin to jump, repeatedly hitting the lid in their attempt to escape.

After about 20 minutes, the fleas begin to learn that they cannot escape and stop jumping as high as they did to begin with, to avoid smacking their head on the lid.

Once they become accustomed to the fact that they cannot escape, you can remove the lid and the fleas will continue to jump at a height just short of the top, never escaping the jar. Since the fleas BELIEVE they cannot escape the confines of the jar, they stop trying. Because of their experience with smacking their heads repeatedly, every time they tried to escape, they never even bother looking up to see that the lid is no longer there.

Interesting hey…Sometimes, people who are just starting on a new goal (career, relationship, physical..whatever your goal may be) have never bumped their heads before. They may believe that the sky is the limit and there is nothing they cannot do. They are already planning all of the ways they are going to get to where they want to be. This is a great attitude to have. However, often times if someone has never bumped their head they may give up and quit easily when they discover that it is harder than they expected.

Then we have people who have hit their head so often in the past, that they are afraid to even try to jump. They don’t even attempt to get to where they could be because what’s of the attitude of ‘what’s the point.. they won’t make it..’ They are afraid to get their hopes up again, only to have them dashed another time. So afraid that they haven’t even noticed that the lid has been removed…

How many times have you hit the lid when trying to reach a new goal? Have you stopped to look up and see if the lid is still there? This applies to all your beliefs of what you can and can not do - to everything in your life that is holding you back. Have you stopped trying, or assumed there’s a lid in place because of past experiences?

Don’t let life’s failures ‘train’ you to stop trying. Instead learn the lessons so you can jump even higher the next time. The lid only stays in place if you keep it there, and you’re the only one who can remove it..

Friday, November 20, 2009

You Have to Name It to Claim It

Get clear about what you want, and take your turn. Common sense might suggest that one of the easiest steps in getting what you want from life is to ‘place your order’: to stand up and declare what it is that you desire. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you cannot name, and name with great specificity, what it is that you want, then you will never be able to step up and claim it.

Most people do not know how to describe what they want, because they don’t have a clue what it really is. Indecision creates inaction. Inaction leads to results that you do not want.

Not knowing exactly what you want is a major problem for a number of reasons. We live in a world where the most you will ever get is what you ask for. That’s true about your major goals as well as your day to day desires.

Since naming what you truly want is so basic to having it, you must proceed with great care in deciding the answer. Being wrong or misguided about what you want is even worse than not knowing at all. You must also pay attention to the time element associated with what you really want. Opportunities for getting what you want are time limited. They have a shelf life that can and will expire.

By being specific and defining your goal in as many different ways as you can, you’ll develop a more intimate understanding of what you want. As a result, the choices you make along the way will be more goal-directed. You’ll be more likely to recognize your goal when you get there, since you’ll have so many criteria by which to measure it.

Claiming it takes resolve and commitment. You must be willing to step up when the time is right and claim what you want and deserve. Understand that this is a competitive world in which we live. There are a lot of people who are ready, willing, and able to take from you that which is rightfully yours. Why would you want to make it easier for them? Why leave your windows open for thieves? Once you have strength and resolve enough to believe that you deserve what it is that you want, then and only then will you be bold enough to say, ‘It is my time, it is my turn; this is for me, and I claim it, here and now.’

Claim what it is that you want and deserve, because no one will do it for you. No one can step up and claim your place for you. If you don’t then it doesn’t get done. Make the resolve, now, that your wants are worth having and that when the time comes, you will claim you’re right to have them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Learning to fail... again

thanks to Jen Segger for writing about her experience.

Well, this bog post wraps up the 2009 race season. I’ve just returned from 2 tiring weeks in Portugal racing at the adventure racing world championships. My apologies to start; I know the race website was a complete disaster to follow. Feel comfort though in knowing that the race was a completely chaotic experience for everyone and we spent 7 days on the race course not really knowing what we were doing, confused and guessing.

But, let’s keep this in the positive shall we! I got to see incredible areas of Portugal. We were so remote in these crazy villages, wedged high on hillsides, cobblestone roads, little cafes in every nook and cranny. We purchased bread from moving trucks as we went, we tried to speak the language and we got to see lots of old race friends.It was quite the way to see the country. We had a mix of rain and sun which kept it interesting. I rarely took off my arcteryx beta LT and managed to only wear tights 1 night. I think we climbed and hiked every hill in the country. Actually, it’s pretty safe to say that maybe 40km out of 900km in total was actually flat. We had a great guy by the name of Mecca who so kindly volunteered to crew for us, leaving his regular Portugal team to do so. We were so fortunate and very grateful. My achilles held out (YEAH) but, the road to recovery now will be long and slow. I will not run again until I am 100% better as I suffered a great deal on this race course to make it through. My feet are in excellent shape except for 2 bad toenails, thanks to my Salomon XT wings and my SOLE Footbeds.

Ok, so the race itself. As we knew going in, we would be racing European format style and it would not be a typical adventure race. In other words, it would not be the fastest team that would win. Going from our 6th place finish at last year’s worlds would be very hard to duplicate. And we were very right. This year was a race of strategy combined with luck. Faced with an overwhelming amount of checkpoints (and I should mention that if you want CP3 to count for example, then you need to get 3A, 3B, 3C and sometimes 3D just to get 1 point) cut off times and rules that seemed to change and bend non-stop. I felt like we spent out entire race strategizing, not really knowing what CP’s to go after, not knowing what position we were in and do we make those cut-offs and then what happens? Hmmm, this was a game, not a race! I found it to be very frustrating, as did many of the international teams. I can see, though, that when you understand what you need to do, it could actually be fun. So I guess this race was just a big learning experience (albeit it an expensive one!) It was rogaine format so yes, the goal is to get as many CP’s as possible. But there were so many other factors involved that we spent way too much time analyzing and debating. Even this year's winners, Helly Hansen, didn’t complete the race course last year. It’s a type of format that you just need to learn by doing.

As far as my team, nuun-FeedtheMachine, it was great to go through the experience with my trusty team mates. We had no bike mechanicals which is always a plus.Besides my achilles, Matzke suffered some bad knee tendonitis which took its toll on him as we began a canyoneering section early one morning. And of course, there was the usual “sore ass” issue as we spent almost 2 straight days on our bikes due to the mess of a race that we got ourselves into. Rinn and Matzke had a good wipeout on their rollerblades during a death trap session through some bustling Portugese town. I thought we were all going to die for sure as we flailed our way around round-abouts and cobblestone crosswalks. But wait, no, it would be the crazy downhill sections of shear terror where you couldn’t see the next turn or even worse, STOP if a car suddenly got in your way. All in all, we have had some good laughs out there and we crawled our way to the finish line on Saturday afternoon (having not brought the map with us that would take us to the end, it was a long long, very long ride to the end.)

My mindset now is to just take this race as a chance to have learned a new skill as a racer and to put it behind me and move forward. I’ve decided not to dwell on it because 2009 has already been a great year of racing, exploring and pushing my own boundaries. I am excited that today marks day #1 of R&R and I thank everyone who has given me support and encouragement to always move forward.

“If we do not fail, we do not learn” and to this I can truly attest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old Dogs and New Tricks

After just returning from a weekend where I was able to tick another goal off of the before I die list, it's important to share and remind people how it feels to do something new. Something meaningful and new.

I have been watching NFL football for 20 years. To go see my first game, with 69,000 new friends, was outstanding. While some people have been to many games (that was my wife's 13th NFL experience), others will never care to see one, and that's okay.

What is not okay, however, is to take yourself out of the game to sit on the sidelines and watch others play before your time. I don't know when my time is, and neither do you. While I may not have as much stubborn relentlessness as I did as a misguided teenager playing football and thinking the world was mine for the taking... I have learned to harness a little more focus and some valuable experience along the way.

This has made me realize that there are some stages we go through in life, some great, some unfortunate and forthcoming if we're not careful.

1. The wide-eyed youth. This can be literally a youth who is excited about the notion of possibility, or it can be us at any age when we have our eyes opened to new sports, career potentials, and other new possibilities.
2. The sophomore. Still lots to learn and we're probably quiet around upperclassmen, but around freshman we're eager to dish out all the advice we've earned in our first year university/ 1st running race/ 1st year of business/ etc. We're hungry to learn but scared to show our perceived inexperience.
3. "The vet". The senior in college, the years-experienced manager, the couple who's been married for 5 years talking to newlyweds, etc. Here is where a relative wealth of experience has the potential to close our minds and make us think we know more than we do. After repeated success with our own proven theories, we begin the think they are more universal and time-tested than might actually be the case.
4. The old dog. The grandparent or retiree, the coach or business owner. Someone who has been at it a lifetime it seems who is resistant to learn and just wants to get to the point quickly because they've "seen and done it all before"
5. The new old dog. This is the kind of person I aspire to be. I know that when I'm 75 I may have to scale down my physical goals compared to what they are now. I may have more of a philanthropic and social/ family focus and less of a business one. But to me a 'new old dog' is someone who could probably teach their peers as much or more than anyone around them, yet is still the most willing to learn, and often the last to speak.

Learning and challenging ourselves are supposed to be lifelong engagements. While the content and focus of these new experience may change shape over time, when they stop altogether- at least in my humble opinion- is the day we truly begin to age.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Haney to Harrison Relay by Cory M

On November 7th IF Kitsilano participated in the Haney to Harrison Relay, which is an 8-person running relay that spans 100km from Maple Ridge to Harrison Hot Springs. Much like any other destinations that us coaches participate in we brought along customers to create their own teams and participate in the run, but this year the IF Kits crew used this relay as a great opportunity to team build and grow as a coaching unit by having an all-coaches team. Each coach would run a specific section of the course, with the different legs of the race ranging from 9 to 15km and terrains varying from flat to mildly undulating, to the steep uphill or even a downhill sprint. At each transition the baton, or in this case a timing chip worn around the wrist or ankle, would be passed to the next coach.

Luke took the first leg of the race to set the pace for the rest of the group. Because of the length of the race, start times were staggered early in the morning to allow plenty of time for most teams to finish while the sun was still up. So Luke took his start at 6:45am, wearing a headlamp and brightly coloured shirt so that traffic would see him clearly. It also being well into fall in the lower mainland area, which also meant rain, and lots of it! The first leg was a mildly undulating 9.3km, and Luke made good work of passing people from the start and pushing his pace. He pushed hard enough even to the point of loosing breakfast along the run... twice! Setting a good pace, he finished 4th out of 28th in our corporate division.

At the next checkpoint, Jeff Berger took the reins and headed out on his 13.5km leg of many winding, rolling hills. At this point the rain started to pick up a little bit more with winds blowing right into Jeff’s face. The pace started out well, but around 7km into his 2nd leg of the race Jeff started to feel a lot of pain in the front of his shin. Slowly the pain increased until he could no longer deny the onset of a stress fracture that was now hobbling his run. Race directors who passed Jeff along the highway has seen his limp and worried about his health. I was picked up from the 2nd transition point where would be taking the 3rd leg of the race and was brought to where Jeff was hobbling along the course. Not wanting to be relieved of his leg of the race, Jeff pushed on for the remaining 3km with me jogging beside him.

Finally they both reached the 2nd transition and I took off on my 15km leg of steep uphill, followed by steady downhill. Rain now coming at me sideways it was impossible to stay dry. Especially when most of the race lined very closely to the highway and oncoming traffic would splash puddles in the direction of runners.  Cheering people on along the way, I made up pace and passed a number of other runners in our corporate division. We had lost a bit of ground due to Jeff’s injury and it would be up to us as a team to get it back. I finish my long leg of the race and pass the timing chip off to Ashley.

Up until a year ago Ashley had not been so much of a runner. Previous knee injuries had prevented her from tolerating the long duration of impact to her joints. Recently however she has developed into one of our facilities more avid runners and has made huge strides in her run progressions. Her leg of the race was a 14.4km run of steep downhill followed by a nice long stretch of relatively flat farmland. Coming down the final stretch, we could see her make a final sprint to pass one last runner before Kevin would take over.

As Kevin’s leg of the race was a relatively flat and not overly technical for his 13km, the difficulty of this leg is consistently pushing the pace of the run. It is very easy to get caught in a relaxed and comfortable run on the flats, so it takes a lot of mental toughness to keep speeding up and not settling into that tempo. Give Kevin credit for doing a good job of this and moving us as a team up the leader board.

At each of our transitions we were fortunate enough to have some amazing volunteers who spent their day driving around to each of the drop off locations and hauling around a carload of sweaty, wet runners. Thank you very much to Brittany and Reuben for helping this happen for the Kits team. It was also mandatory for each team to provide a volunteer who would marshal a specific section of the race and make sure that no one was lost and that all transitions happened smoothly. Our ex-receptionist/ current Support Center extraordinaire Nikkie Ruud jumped at the chance to help us out and we are all very grateful… even if it meant that race organizers seemed to have made up a job on the spot for you to “count trains”!

Moses’ turn came to run the 6th leg of the race, where continuous undulating hills lined 13km of path in front of him. The tricky thing about running in these later legs of the race, especially with the weather being as cold and rainy as it was, is making sure that our runners weren’t too cold from standing around supporting our other runners all morning. Being ill prepared for the run could result in muscle tears, cramping, or worse of all, a slow run time! That’s why we took lots of preparation in warming up adequately before each leg of the race and taking the baton in full stride.

Devon Goldstein was a previous trainer with us in Kitsilano until she left to pursue other career options. Although she no longer works with us here at IF, it was great for her to want to come back and contribute to the team by participating in the 7th leg of the race. Her previous run experience and Marathon training made her an excellent match for the steep uphill climb that rose in front of her 13.5km leg.  But what comes up must also come down. So Devon was rewarded with her hill climb with a speedy downhill descent into the last transition.

Kara is another one of our coaches who has made huge strides in her run progressions over the last couple of months. After just completing her first Marathon in Kelowna, Kara had the strength to “bring it home” for the team. Although she had a shorter leg of the race with a relatively flat 8km, she sprinted the entire way and made that final push to get IF Kits up the leader board and to a final team time of 8 hours 18 minutes.

The big take-aways that I personally got from the race this year interestingly enough reflected closely the keys that we use as a company to be successful.
High levels of communication- at each point along the way, from getting participants ready months in advance, to the day-of communication between all participants and volunteers, the high level of communication that we had made our run go as smoothly as possibly.
The right people will play- meaning that we had the right people in the right place for us to succeed. People with the same attitude of success pushing towards a common goal. (i.e.- Luke pushing himself to puking, Berger fighting through the adversity of his stress fracture, Cory running with his teammate for motivation, and everyone fighting their best to come from a 26th place start to a 12th place finish in our corporate category)
Follow the systems- Our key to success was laid out in front of us every step of the way. Our training programs were laid out clearly for us to follow, our race directions and maps were made up for us to get us to each transition smoothly, the itinerary was laid out clearly in the A-Z. Being successful was as easy as not deviating from the path.

I am very excited to take part again next year in the Haney to Harrison race as it was a fun way to grow as a team and be competitive. I look forward to both West Van and White Rock also getting a team together so that we could potentially set up a little bit of a friendly wager… anyone interested?

Monday, November 16, 2009


On Monday November the 2nd we posted a new idea about ‘Currency’ and that every person has different currencies or values that are unique to their individuality. Depending on the stage of life we are in, values or currencies may change while some remain forever the same. Understanding this as well as knowing that when we live by our values we are more likely to succeed, think how far we would get if we accepted ‘Challenge’ as one of our personal currencies.

Embracing ‘Challenge’ as a personal currency means that we appreciate the value in doing new things and avoid the complacency we often naturally accept instead. Doing something new brings the opportunity to learn more about life and to experience things we have not before. By being open to challenge we will ultimately find ourselves accomplishing more than we ever thought we would.

Here are some simple challenges that we can consider to better our lives:
1) Rather than doing the same 30min treadmill run week by week, try it outside and build up week by week until you can run for a total of 60min. Not many people can run for 60 straight minutes, which usually is enough to cover 10km.
2) An artist who enjoys drawing and painting could try using computer applications to create what they normally would on canvas. Conversely, those only ever to use computer programs to draw can try simple pen and paper.
3) At work, try something different. A hair stylist could learn how to color hair rather than only be known for their cuts. A teacher could start coaching one of the school teams to find a new way of connecting with the students.
4) If you play on a sports team, try playing a different position. It will give a greater appreciation for other viewpoints as well as improve your weaknesses.

The hard part of challenge is just that – it is hard. New challenges take us outside of our comfort zone, force us to work at what we are not usually good at and often make us fall on our face. Yet falling followed by the act of getting back up to make another attempt is one of the most powerful choices we can make which forces us to grow and be better. Challenge brings adversity and perseverance through adversity does not just build character, it reveals it.

While challenge promotes growth, it is important not to take on more challenges than one can handle at a given time. The best way to approach a challenge is to face it head on, learn and master it before taking on another. Having challenge as a personal value is something that will shake the foundations of routine, overcome plateau and make us stronger individuals better equipped to face some of the tougher challenges that life may throw at us when we least expect it.