Monday, January 30, 2017

Pono Board Review

I am fortunate enough to get messages from companies every once in a while asking me to review their stuff.  I am a pragmatist and realize that:
1. they are contacting oodles of people;
2. they are contacting me because of some SEO that shows I get enough hits that sending me a product is well within their market budget to do so given the eyeballs reading my review make up for the cost of the product.

That said, I politely decline most requests, occasionally say yes, and even less frequently get blown away. Once instance where I became enamored with a product is Shurky Jurky.  A beef (and other meat) jerky product, I saw this at a local market in Portland, tried it, loved it and became a part-owner in the company (long story short.) It is some ridiculously good jerky. Read more and get a free bag here. But I digress.

The people at Pono Ola reached out to me and I was initially intrigued. As I utilize a stand up desk and have for years, I am always looking for a way to take pressure off my feet and remove fatigue. I am a writer but I am also a runner. I need fresh tootsies. So anything that is going to help my feet I am big fan of trying.

I had been utilizing an awesome product called FluidStance and wasn't really looking for anything else, to be honest. But as I said, I was intrigued. Getting the board in the mail, I knew immediately this was something different altogether.

The company really stresses a yoga/exercise/fitness vibe. I wanted to see how it worked for the person who doesn't want to do a downward facing dog backbend while working on their already perfect abs. So I put it to the test of replacing my FluidStance.  Now note, I love my Fluidstance. I love rocking back and forth on it while I write and type. It is fun. But immediately, the Pono Board showed me something else.

First of all, the board is a rectangular piece of flat wood in a lightwood color. Made out of pure bamboo, the board is meant to be sturdy, but it is also very lightweight (5.9 lbs). I was curious how it would hold up to daily wear and tear and my body weight (180 lbs).  Granted I have not had it long enough to know how that will play out but it seems incredibly well-made. On the four corners of the board are four grey balls which allows you to balance while using the board. (There is presently another option for the balls to be colored teal.) The balance feature is supposedly what makes the board the effective and useful device that it is.

I found myself, like the Fluidstance, bouncing back and forth a bit while I wrote.  I would be doing minor balance corrections which is supposed to help you work on your core. Obviously this alone isn't going to allow me to do laundry on my abs but it isn't going to hurt.  Most importantly, it was really comfortable. Surprisingly so. With regard to using it for this form, I was sold. So I wanted to try other things.

Every day when I come in from a run, I throw down 100 pushups in sets of three. I figured I could see what it would be like to do them on the board. Doing so added just a little bit of wobbliness to my pushups that made me need to try and stabilize without make them impossible. Believe me, from a guy who has always had upper body problem (two broken collarbones on both sides, dislocated shoulders, separated shoulders and so much more) if I am able to balance doing a pushup on this board, so can you.

Admittingly I do not do a whole range of other floor exercises that the board touts people using the board for but I could see immediately how one could do just that.  To say I am impressed would be an understatement.

The board retails for $140 which is a very solid price point. It has a weight limit of 250 lbs so if you exceed that, I guess maybe drop a few pounds before buying one. Or buy one and use that to help motivate you. The balls themselves can be adjusted using an included pump from between 5 and 15 lbs. With dimensions of 14.5 x 29.5 x 3.5 in, it is relatively totable while still being significant enough that you won't feel like you will step off the edges while moving around.

All in all, it is rare I am taken aback by how good a product it. The Pono Board is one of those times. Get yourself one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Goodwater 16 Mile Trail Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 12; 2nd Edition 
29.1 miles runs in 2017 races
Race: Goodwater 16 Mile Trail
Place: Georgetown, TX
Miles from home: 40
Weather: 60s; mostly cloudy;very humid

It is good to run a trail race every once in a while to remind yourself why you don't really enjoy racing on trails.

Now calm down, dirt-lovin' trail runners. We don't want the supposed kumbaya, we-love-all facade to be displaced because I dare besmirch the single track. As I have said for years, it is no great feat to appreciate running next to a babbling brook or a mountain visage as opposed to a parking lot strewn with broken glass and Twinkies wrappers. But racing on it is not necessarily my cup of tea. Well, since I have never had tea (or coffee) in my life that's a bad analogy. It isn't my cut of steak. (I like that one better. Let's start using it.)

So, why don't I enjoy racing on trail much? Mostly because I like to run as fast as I possibly can. On trails, that is more or less impossible. And yes, while you can trip and fall anywhere (broke my hand running on clear sidewalk a year ago) the odds you end up busting a face on trail are greater. I long ago lost, or have actually never had, any desire to seem to be macho by shrugging off wounds as if they are no big thing. I like my body to be in the non-broken state. I'm crazy like that.

All of that aside, I wished to take advantage of a weekend I was home, to run in a nearby park near my new town, and do so at a relatively low-cost event. The people putting on the race appeared to know what they were doing and had some good reviews, so I figured I would give it a go. The race was fairly organized, fairly well-marked, and there was a general good vibe to the weekend's activities. There were a variety of races going on (including a double marathon and a double marathon "relay" where two people ran the marathon in opposite directions, combining their times: something I had never heard of but thought was pretty neat) but by and large it appeared we would be running virtually alone. Again, not my cut of steak on race days but there you have it.

Race Morning:

I asked a few people what I could expect on the trail and got differing answers. I also realized that what one person considers "technical" is another person's driveway. Remember, the aforementioned downplaying by seasoned trail people.  As if warning about slick rocks, cacti, and whatnot might be against some code of "Learnin' on the Run!"

[side note: I have been writing this website for ten years now and one of the first articles I wrote was about the Old Dominion 100 mile race and how finding information online about its course was next to impossible.  A decade later and many race websites still provide a plethora of information but often hide the basics. Where is the race, when is the race, and what is the course like. This continues to baffle me to this day. ]

While some of the other distances were already underway, it appeared the only people we would have to contend with where those running the 16-mile and 8-mile races. As we would start together, there was no way of knowing who was doing what until the 4 mile turn around for the 8ers. I thought I may be able to win the race but based that on nothing more than intuition. The only way to find out would be to run.

First Four Miles:

From the start of the race, which began in the grass median of the parking lot and immediately dove into the woods on a crushed gravel trail before crossing two roads, I could see it would be very hard to pass anyone at all.  It was a single track course and it was clear from the start there would be next to no uniformity in the footing we ran upon.

Two chaps jolted out to the front and I just had a feeling they were running the 8-mile version.  Four other gentlemen were in front of me as we quickly separated ourselves from the rest of the  pack. For the next 2.5 miles I stayed in the back pocket of the last runner, trying to figure out who was running what, who was going to separate, and when might be a good time to pick things up. The footing was definitely on the difficult side and ever-changing. Roots and grass here, rocks and slickness there. I spent very little time looking ahead of me and most of it looking at the ground so I didn't become part of it. So much for enjoying the scenery. When I could take a second to look, it was a nice view.

The first runner in the four had separated himself and the next runner followed a bit behind.  However, I was tucked behind the next two and couldn't make a move.  Finally, I "onyourleft"ed and in a small opening bounded forward past these two in front of me. I soon was on the next runners' heels with the first runner vanished into the twists and turns ahead.

In the next mile, I kept attempting to figure out if this runner was in my race and if so, how I could get around him. We passed a section where the forest opened and we ran across some slate surface.  To our right was the lake below and it was a rather precipitous drop with nothing really stopping someone if they fell. It wasn't exactly "dangerous" but it wasn't exactly "safe" either. I can't imagine what someone running in darker conditions would do here.

At one mild fork in the trail, the runner in front of me went right. I saw a pink pin flag to our left signifying the correct way and yelled he was going the wrong way. He only lost about ten feet but it was enough for me to get around him. Finally, an open trail.

Not long after that the first runner overall running the 8-mile race came flying back at me.  A minute or so later the second runner did as well. As expected, the two I surmised were running the shorter version of the race were doing just that. That meant I was, at worst, in 2nd place overall in my own race. When I saw no one else coming back to me I figured the last runner was running the 16-miler. I approached the aid station at the 4th mile and saw him darting through the trees in the distance. Good. I will go catch him. 

I then promptly went the wrong direction.

To The Half Way Point

Running up the trail I popped out into a parking lot. I immediately knew I was running the wrong way. Damn it. I ran back and got myself back on trail. Or at least thought I did. I picked up the pace trying to ascertain if I was on the right trail but couldn't see the first place runner. I exploded out of the trail into a long opening and I saw no one up ahead. I assumed I would be able to see the lead runner here if I was on the right track. Bollocks. Nothing to do but keep pressing forward.

I ran up this small hill and into the forest again, pressing the pace even more. Half of a mile later, I finally saw the leader up ahead. I let out a huge sigh of relief knowing I was on the right path. He would disappear out of view every once in a while over the next few miles but each time he came back into my sight I saw I was closer. He had put a sizeable lead on me at one point and I don't know if it was because of my wrong turn or he was just running hard. Either way I was closing the gap now.

With about half of a mile to go to the turn-around, I saw three people sitting in a field. I thought this might be the turn around itself but instead they were the only spectators. Well, they weren't spectating but rather walking a dog. But one made eye contact with me and that sorta counts, like my high school dating life.

We hit a paved section and I recall the RD telling us this was the last bit before the turn around.  I dialed up the pace again and when the lead runner stopped at the aid station, I passed him. I ran another ten feet around the turnaround pole and decided to grab a cup of Coke at the aid station.  I was wearing my Camelbak Circuit and felt it would be enough to get me back but given the humidity and how much I was sweating figured grabbing fluid where it was offered was wise. I saw a can of Coke but the three cans they had out where all unopened. There didn't seem to be any cups at the ready with Coke already in them. Waiting for someone to pour is fine and dandy when you aren't trying to race a guy who is six inches from you but that wasn't working for me. So I grabbed a can of Coke, opened it up, poured a bit down my throat (never letting the can touch my lips), thanked the volunteers, placed it on the table, and took off.

To Mile 12:

Downhill. On Pavement. Now that is how I like to trail run! With the runner (Allen) behind me by a few steps, I knew it was now time for me to be the mouse and him to be the cat.  But I felt good in my ability to turn it on in this second half. I knew the route now, I knew what was in store and it was time to run to victory.

*slip* *Splat* *LOUD EXPLETIVE*

Down I went. After leaving the paved portion and hitting the trail again, I was soon not in my element. Right when I was feeling good, I took my eyes off the trail. I had just had a few people pass me heading out to the turnaround so as I went down and then back up a small hill on a curve, I looked ahead to make sure I wasn't going to run into anyone. That lapse had my feet go out from underneath me and sent me, ribs and forearm first, onto a rock. Sumbitch that hurt. I checked to make sure that I didn't break anything and still wasn't sure when I started running again. But it appeared I would just be leaving behind flesh, skin and blood.  Not the worst thing in the world, thankfully. The runner behind me (Allen) had caught me and graciously stopped to see if I was OK. I thanked him and waved him on. Since I was fine and sure as hell was going to try to beat him, I wanted him to keep going.

Now, more cautious, I began to try and make up the distance.  Surprisingly, I was still within striking distance of Allen, albeit further away than I would like. However, after picking my way back, I was his shadow once again. As long as I didn't fall, I would be...

*slip* *Splat* *LOUD EXPLETIVE*

This one hurt more than the first but didn't come with a bone crushing hit. Instead it was just a hand slice and some contusions on the other side of the body. Allen turned around to see if I was OK and once again, I point out this was a very classy move.  Yeah, I am pretty sure anyone who has a soul would do the same thing but anyway.  I thanked him again and said I think I was going to be fine.

A few hundred yards later we passed a stream crossing and I splashed water on my wounds to make sure nothing looked specifically horrible.  Fortunately it appeared this wouldn't require a doctor's visit. So once again I dusted myself off and began to make the trek back to catching Allen. For those of you scoring at home, this is the third time I have been in this position.  (And it is the third time even if you are alone. - Thank you, Keith Olbermann, SportsCenter Days.)

This time the gap to close was not as large as last time. As we entered the clearing from before when I had thought I might be on the wrong trail, I passed Allen. I told him it was awfully cool of him to wait and said "There's no room for ego if someone is hurt." We chatted a little bit here and there as we entered a relatively rocky and slick section. Now it was Allen's turn to be right on my heels.

I felt bad as we approached the aid station with 4 miles to go as I felt I might be holding him back a touch. I was cautiously traversing the rocks as I think one more fall would have done me in.  But he didn't seem in any hurry to try to pass me so we stayed this way until the water tubs on the table at mile 12.

Heading Home:

Again, even though I had the Camelbak on (and had been drinking from it) I decided to grab a drink here nonetheless. In fact, using the conical cups next to the jug, I took three drinks. Allen drank as well and then as I took off he was right behind me. We stayed this way for about two miles as the sun was beginning to penetrate the overcast skies.

My cautiousness continued but I didn't hear Allen as much. I previously realized my watch had stopped on my second fall so I had no idea really how much time I had left until I was finished.  With no real way to gauge distance until the finish, I was hoping to use my watch to help me through a rough patch or two. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Just focus on the trail, Dane.

As I trudged on I came to a rather steep hill that forced me to walk. I stepped to the side a bit to let Allen pass if he needed to. He wasn't there. Hmm. I started hiking up the hill and then behind me heard footsteps. It appeared I had started to put a gap between us. This race was mine to lose.

I continued to push the envelope with one last splurge of energy. I passed over the first road near the start and completely forgot there was a second.  My energy was waning as I figured I had to be close. Every bit of the trail looked like every other bit of the trail.  Finally with 100 yards to go I could see some movement through the forest that looked like finish line flags. Noise from a speaker filtered through the trees. Colored banners appeared and the clearing opened. Twenty yards later I was finished.

Crossing in 2:19:32, I had won.

Since it was a first year race, I also got the course record. Off the top of my head, that would be five course records I still possess. One can never be taken from me (Iron Horse 50 miler had parts of its course paved, making it much easier), one race seems to be dead (Dam 15 Miler), one is nearly impossible to find info about (Flat Ass 50k), this one, and then probably my greatest running feat ever the 84 miles on the Presque 12 Hour Endurance Classic. There may be more but those I know of (I can think of at least three others I have lost over time too.  Darn it.)

Allen finished a little over a minute behind me and I made sure to thank him for being such a
stand-up guy. I was greeted at the finish by my best friend Shannon who was coming back from a nasty ankle break this past Fall. This was her first trail race back and she picked a doozy. She wisely stuck to the 8 mile race just to be safe but it was no walk in the park, even if it was a run in the park.

The race atmosphere was very relaxed but nice.There was some food and drink for runners to nosh on and occasionally a runner would come from either direction finishing one of the many races. I wanted to stay longer but after receiving my award I knew I need to head home to tend to my wounds.  Not a bad way to start a weekend as I continue to get very lucky as a Master's runner. I have won or placed in a good percentage of the races I have run since turning 40, which, as I have always said, is just a matter of having people who are faster than you not showing up.

But life is about showing up. So while I know that on any given day I am not the fastest runner out there, I can only get to the finish by getting to the start.

Monday, January 23, 2017

FlexiSpot 27" Standing Desk Review

I started writing this review and as I do with many products and races, I hop online to see what others say.  I happened across this review and I will say two things:

1. I am not writing a review that thorough.  This chap earned his desk.  Egads.
2. I was shocked how I had almost started my review in the exact same fashion.  How I am a writer, that out of the blue, I was contacted by the US division of Loctek, and asked if I would review their new FlexiSpot sit/stand desktop workstation.

So now, even though I am basically thinking I am going to write the exact same thing as ole Adam, I will forge ahead nonetheless.

As I was already in possession of two VariDesk's products, which I great enjoy, I wasn't necessarily needing another desk.  But I thought, what the heck.  So I said yes to their offer of a product review of their 27'' model.

When I open the box, I saw that it came in a few pieces, mainly the keyboard shelf underneath would need to be attached. The thing I enjoyed about Varidesk is, that after many moves over the years, many visits to IKEA and many hours spent putting together furniture, that I didn't have to put a single thing together. This is hardly a biggie but hey, it is there.

I mention Varidesk as it is clear that my review of Varidesk is why they got in touch with me and they wanted a side by side comparisons of the two.  The thing is,  their closest comparable is actually the Ergotron Workfit-T given that its key differentiating feature is a straight up-and-down lift mechanism versus the forward arcing mechanism of the Varidesks.

I found that the lift mechanism used gas cylinders, not springs, which made it is similar to the older Varidesk with its limited number of stops. It also made me think that it was going to come alive ala Maximum Overdrive or Transformers. Which would make everything cooler.

Given the desk are a little heavy it does take a bit of a heft to move them from one position to the next, more so if you have more than a laptop on them like I did. Nothing wrong with getting a little exercise but it takes a few attempts to get them moving. Once you have the hang of it, it isn't too bad.  In addition, you probably aren't doing this 40 times a day so who cares, really?

Once assembled, I noticed was a slot in the front of the desk. I initially thought this was the back of the desk and the hole could be used for cords. Then I realized this slot was made to hold a tablet or iPad. Not a bad design at all. Not one I would take use of but innovative nonetheless.

Overall, I found the desk to be very serviceable with a solid pricepoint. I always hesitate to say how much because I know these get read many months later and there are sales and whatnot but I think the 27" model costs $289. This puts them about 90 bucks less than one of the VariDesk I reviewed. I think that both prices are about right.  By that I mean, I think the VariDesk is just that much better of a desk at the price but if you got the FlexiSpot you would be happy as well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Making Today Easier for Future Historians

This doesn’t have much to do with running but I am posting it here as I need to put it down somewhere.

I was a History major in college. One of the main reasons I chose that route of study came from the fact that I have always been obsessed with simply knowing “stuff.”  I want to know why things happened, how they work, and what may occur next. Growing up, if I wanted to know something, my father would tell me to look it up. While I grew up relatively poor we still had three sets of encyclopedias in our home. Funk & Wagnalls, Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book – the latter I received from my elementary school in some sort of giveaway. My principal (who was actually sort of an ass and if alive no doubt voted for Trump) knew that of all the kids in the school, I would apparently use it the most. He was right. I read volumes like novels. Ci-Cz tonight, for the win!

When the internet became a “thing”, I was astounded.  No longer would I need to go to the library or dredge through volumes to find information. I still, at 40, spend hours just looking up "things." .Meet a person from a town I have never heard of?  I look it up. Two hours later I am 14 degrees of separation away reading about the Smoot Hawley-Tariff Act. When people say “You know, I’ve always wondered…”  I want to scream “In your hand you hold a device which can access ever bit of knowable knowledge.  LOOK IT UP!”

When I was younger, looking back through time I would often laugh at the things which weren’t known by people. Ha ha, how could you not know the world was round?  Tee hee – they really thought that a sub-4 mile would kill you!  Oh my!  They think that women’s running would make their uterus fall out! Those simpletons!  As time passed and I got past the arrogance of living in the now,  I realized while some of those “facts” might have been what some people thought, it was clear that it was not prevailing amongst most. For example, I learned doing research for a book that virtually no one of any actual intelligence thought running a sub-4 mile would kill anyone.  Or that women were in danger of losing anything if they ran. Instead, it was easier to just assume this and look back at people in the past and think “Silly cretins. We are sooooo much smarter now!”

With the advances that the country has made in the past few decades with regards to equality of genders and acceptance/understanding of race, sexuality, and so much more, we still saw pushback.  We saw those relying on religion as a reason why stem cell research could not progress. People with zero knowledge of how things work could start an army of misinformation as long as they called themselves the “Food Babe” or something else catchy. The willfully ignorant, or the purposefully corrupt, and their duped followers held back progress in science, society, and everything in between.  But we now had a record showing that while the fringe still denied climate change, or linked vaccines to autism, or thought one race was superior to others, the majority was in control and would tamp down the insanity. We had the right system and the correct amount of intelligence to stave off any major ludicrousness.

Then Trump got 62 million people to vote for him. 

Suddenly, I felt like we were before the discovery of electricity. We were in the Salem witchcraft trials. We were in Spain before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Undoubtedly, in all of those times, there were people who knew electricity existed but couldn’t harness it.  Or that there were no witches. Or that the Earth wasn’t flat. But they were drowned out by shouting hordes.

What’s my point? I am not sure. I guess I am just hoping that in 50 years, when the history books look back, they will see this entire Trump thing as a blip of minor craziness. When you don’t have to live through it day to day, it is almost unnoticeable.  Even a few years of something bad, in the grand scheme of history, is easy to overlook or not see as something which shook those who lived in it to their very core. You see, those in that time don’t know when the crazy will end.  As such, each day seems like an eternity. For example, the Civil Rights movement, so recent that many of the people who participated in it are still active in government, sometimes can feel like ancient history. We like to think we made it through the darkest of times and are moving forward, albeit not as fast as we would like. Gay rights have moved at a rapid pace in the past two decades. Transgendered issues can actually be spoken about in mixed company. Gender roles, race relations, and so much more is on the table. So much good had happened so fast that it felt like those who fought against it would be pushed aside into the dustbin of history, to be laughed at as fools who couldn’t see how wrong they were.

But we didn’t elect our first female president. We elected an absolute and utter charlatan of a buffoon who has duped millions into thinking he is for them. For the first time in my life, it no longer felt like the country was moving forward. In fact, t doesn’t even feel like a stutter step to the side.  Instead, it feels like massive, Nestea-plunge backward into a muck-filled cesspool of ignorance and hate.  I am embarrassed to be alive during this time. It sickens me that after so much progress, I live in a country where, inevitably, a few decades from now, people will be sniggering at our stupidity in putting a sociopathic, womanizing, petty, small, insipid, crapweasel into the most powerful position in the world.
This utter piece of crap is going to be our President. 

What. In. The. F*ck?!

He won’t stay there. He can’t. I will be shocked if it makes it through a year. He will either resign or be impeached. He is too maniacally narcissistic to think he has to change any single thing about himself. As such, he will mess up “bigly” and it will cost him. Yes, Mike Pence is nearly as deplorable and Paul Ryan isn’t far behind.  Don’t get me started on Ted Cruz.  But all of these vile humans at least try to stick to decorum and rules. They can be shamed. They are fearful of losing their jobs and will not just piss all over Russian hookers the Constitution without fear of reprisal.

Instead of being an embarrassment, I hope this is seen as the time that those on the right side of history rose up, became ever vigilant, and used this unbelievable circus as the cannon fodder which propelled us forward in huge leaps and bounds. Campaign finance reform, wage inequality, equal rights in marriage, oversight into our government, healthcare, and so much more will hopefully be eons ahead of where they would have been if we had not lost our freaking minds and given a reality show festering boil the nuclear codes.

Benjamin Franklin said "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are." While right wing morons call those of us abhorred by Trump and his tactics "snowflakes" I continually come back to this phrase. Compassion and caring for those who are not you shows you can look outside the shell of just your own existence. When I became outraged by what was happening in the election, I pointed out that *I* was fine. I am a straight, white male.  The only thing I am missing from being perfectly safe from everything is to be rich. I am not appalled by what may happen in the future because I fear for me. I fear for all those who are not me. Those with more melanin in their skin. Those with a uterus. Those who are not in power.
So if this is what makes me a snowflake, so be it. But just like those of us who thought the weak minded, or racist, or homophobic, or sexist could not be united into one front to put an orange huckster into office and were wrong, snowflakes can assemble as well. In fact, many snowflakes eventually can create an avalanche. 

I guess it is time to race down that mountain.

As an addendum: I wrote this a few days before the Inauguration and then the subsequent Women's marches across the globe.  I think it is safe to say that people in the future will understand where the rationale, caring, and  non-hate mongering people stood.  And by future, I mean within the next year when Trump resigns or gets impeached.

Addendum Part Deux: When Trump created his Muslim Ban, the reaction of people across the nation refusing to accept it only emboldened my feelings. I have a feeling I will be addenduming this weekly.

Addendum Three (02.17.17): Barely a day passes before a new horrible aspect of Trump emerges and shows he is not fit to run a mile, let alone a country. Flynn's resignation, obvious connections to Russia which will all come out in time, and rambling, incohesive statements showing he has barely a fourth-grade understanding of civics, our three-tiered government, or virtually anything else means this man will resign or be impeached before the end of the summer.

Addendum Four (05.04.17): And now the AHCA. Millenial girls, I get it: I just can't even.

Addendum Five (05.17.07): The end is nigh with the Comey firing, Yates testifying and so much happening each day.  Trump will not make it three more months.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Accept Your Talent

Saw a very fast runner recently state something akin to "I have worked very hard. I was not blessed with talent or good genes." Who the runner was is not important. I have seen this same statement time and time again by very talented runners (and other athletes) over the years. Steve Prefontaine famously said "Hell, there are a dozen other guys on the team with more talent in their little finger than I've got."  

Steve Prefontaine.  The guy with one of the highest recorded Vo2 maxes in history.

Look, I get why they say it. (In fact, I go into this in some detail in my book 138, 336 Feet to Pure Bliss.) Mainly, they don't want to let predetermined DNA say they don't work hard. To a great extent, they are correct. You can have all the talent in the world but if you never utilize it, it is useless. As such, they want nothing taken away from how hard they work.  And if you are at the top level of your sport, or game, or business, you got there because you worked hard. Why? Because all the other people at the top are talented, too. To differentiate yourself, you must give something else. You rose through the ranks, even quite possibly doing so with not a great deal of effort, because you were genetically superior to many of your foes. There isn't a single thing wrong with that. But then when things get tougher, it is those with a better work ethic who rise to the top.

When I speak about Ignoring The Impossible, one of my prime topics, I go against the grain of many who like to try to motivate and inspire. I tell you that you can NOT do everything you put your mind to. There are just some things you will never achieve. I know this go against wonderful memes about those who work hardest are the winners. And taken the wrong way some may use it as an excuse to never try at all.  If they can't do it because their genes forbid it, then why even attempt? Because you never know what you can do unless you try. Then try again. And keep trying. I failed miserably in my first marathon. I then went and made a career based on what I achieved in the running world.

It is completely illogical to not accept that some people are better at some things simply because they are. That is exactly how the world works. To deny you had some help from the DNA fairy (or God, or whatever you want to believe) is the epitome of arrogance. It is also a slight to those who do not achieve greatness. "Well, maybe you need to work harder." It is what is so wrong about the ridiculousness of The Secret, that self-help book from a decade ago. If things go right, it is because you worked hard or thought the right way.  If they don't, it is because you need to work harder or put it out into the universe in a different way. 


Sometimes you just aren't going to be able to dunk a basketball. So, learn how to shoot better.  If you can't shoot better, play another sport. Being bad at something is not a problem. Pretending that everyone can be good at something is the problem.

So, simply accept it.  Yes, you rise early in the morning. Sure, you have four kids or came from the ghetto. Absolutely, your drive and determination are to be envied. But when the cards were dealt, you got a nice hand to start.  

But it is how you play it that matters most.