This campaign season as pols postured for position during their power-tries we had a chance to see them forced to adapt to the circumstances of real life despite their target-fixation on self-empowerment.
When hurricane Sandy hammered NY, the red hats of political infighting came off and the blue hats of First- Responding went on.
What made them credible at the scene? Here they were locked in a power-seeking campaign, self-aggrandizing, framing facts to fit them, and suddenly they must confront real life and real people by flying into a disaster area. Every move they made was under scrutiny. How could anyone believe they were genuine?
Eastern Seaboard folks were largely into a collective vibe dealing with the storm confronting them. Flooding them. In come the pols. “Yeeeah, Right,” the person on the street may have thought, trudging through water and hearing news of the pols coming to town.
There is a contrast in perceived importance of dealing with real life versus dealing with personal ambition about real life. For the people hit by the storm, the pols were reduced in importance, unless they rolled up sleeves or used their power to help.
Similarly, for our children, our elders, our friends, coworkers, vexed supervisors or anyone we undertook to serve, were we to take an hour to train during their hour of need, they would probably take a dim view of it. No one cares how well trained we are until they know how much we care.
On the flip side, for the pols sold on the importance of their respective campaigns, when they heard of the disastrous super storm, they probably each said internally, “What? You have got to be kidding me. At the last minute, a Super Storm?” Yet there it was. Reality hit and they had to adapt.
They had to drop campaigning and help in some way. And they had to be sincere. People can sense the opposite.
That is how it is for us in our training lives. We have plans, have ambitions, and the desire to do more and be more in the big picture of our training lives. Then life happens. And we must ask ourselves, what were we preparing for with all of that training? Will it help others in their hours of need?
The sooner we drop our plans and embrace our service to others, the more meaningful our missed training time becomes. Yet we are not swooping in for a sound byte to face the needs of those we serve in our daily lives, we are going in with conviction, commitment, and the other qualities that training has kindled in us.
Engaging the life that happens to interrupt our training with decisiveness and commitment will improve what training we can work in by exponents, and will brace our mental attitude for future progress beyond measure. It will also clear our consciences to plumb quality out of short intervals.
Until we tell ourselves the truth about the priorities of our duties, what we train for, the degree of training we will allow ourselves and accept, we have not adapted fully to our circumstances. Until we adapt, we harbor an incompleteness inside about both our training and what we were training for, ultimately.
Politicians probably feel something similar in their temptation to not fully adapt, to fake it, and fake a response to a crisis in the middle of a campaign. But they can’t afford it. When they get to the impact zone and see the laboring faces, suddenly, they have to get honest very quickly with the people they meet.
Adaptive fitness recognizes our convergence of needs and honestly says, this isn’t ideal but I own it. I’m going to admit it, accept it, and see how I may make a shorter training evolution work well in the circumstances. It is good because it is responsible. It is good because it makes us better at handling the onslaught.
When we think and train adaptively while serving others it can be focused and high quality because there is no internal guilt associated with it. We’ve accepted an underdog training situation. Expectations are off. We are free to surprise ourselves. We can hit our stepping stones out of the onslaught.
By so doing we can improve our mental and bodily constitution to see through the onslaught, and when our training life gets back to normal, we will be happy that we considered even the small training opportunities as genuine. We weren’t training snobs. We were citizen-family people-volunteer-worker-athletes.
There will come the windfalls later, the fair weather, and spacious times.
More specifics on how-to, and the benefits of doing this will be available in the M7 Adaptive Fitness Guidebook around mid-December.
Thank you for spending a few minutes reading the adaptive essay. (O:
The self-conscious caveat must be stated: when you run in Boulder, Colorado ye shall come upon runners whose exhaust ye shall breathe. Whether ye are happy about it dependeth upon thee and thy circumstances. Today I was happy to breathe that exhaust and dodge that dust. The vapor trail of this runner even cooled my brow a bit.
Deadline for the M7 Adaptive Fitness Guidebook approaches. Adapting to such a goal while continuing to train is itself a subject of the Guidebook underway. Using my sense of feel as to when my run should end in light of my priorities, I ended my run shy of where I’d normally end it, then headed off to place of writing.
It is humbling and humorous to write a book about sustainable adaptive training and to experience the hybrid passages of multidimensional training. Like sharing trails with faster, more efficient runners. This morning it happened at the end of my run.
On a sandy flatland trail this morning in the last half-mile of my run a young woman passed by who ran more efficiently by far than I. In the spirit of my own pace, I kept my cadence, yet it formed in my ears these words: “as you were.” Not even footfalls can escape the verbal energy of book season.
“As you were.” Exactly. It was as if a ranking officer in the sport of running entered my running space, passed me by, and all I could do was hope to draft this human antelope and let my image in her wake inspire her to finish yet faster. However, this was a run-out and back trail, so this VIP would return, so the humility was not complete.
She apparently reached that milepost promptly and had turned around. I was grateful that I was further along than I thought I’d be when we again crossed paths. All I could do was give a snappy thumbs up with a salutary smile. I said, “Way to go.” I was very happy with the response. Rather than her smile betraying raucous internal laughter, she smiled a joyful smile suggesting happiness with her accomplishment and gratitude that someone had witnessed it. It’s a privilege to share the trail with those who enjoy their sport in which you are a visitor.
My multidimensional training life is one of forays into others’ sports. I enjoy learning from the excellence found there, as this morning observing the efficiency of a runner. Yet there is something in the comradeship of the running community that accepts everyone whatever the pace. You’re in it with the runners if you’re running. Even in competition, its a community.
Which leads me to a sustainability topic: comradeship. With humility and respect, nearly every sport community admits you as beginner, novice, rising star or champ with a sense of community. Aberrations from good sportsmanship are rare. Being serious about participation in the sport while participating is enough to belong. This is great cause for enthusiasm in getting involved sooner than later. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can start today. Starting today merely means we will arrive at ego pacification earlier, and sooner get beyond ego and into the sport, art or work we entered.
It doesn’t have to be your major or even your obsession although it may become that. Anything worth doing is worth doing the best we can while remaining faithful to our sense of feel and rightness at our respective levels. That sense will prevent injury and have us training into the sustainable fitness we aim for.
Strange as it may seem, humility enables excellence. It also sets the tone for the day when our vapor trail cools the ambitious brow of one of our competitors or fellow athletes. Winning and forging bonds that last puts winning on a whole new plane, a higher, sustainable, joyful plane. May you run there often.