The last few weeks I have felt older and younger. Not at the same time but rather it has come in waves. What is it about getting older? Is it the years, the number of experiences? Is it how long you’ve been doing something? The trials, tests, the ups and downs, is it these things that make the sense of time seem exponential.
The numbers then…
Age 36, years rowing 20, 2 back surgeries, 2 kids, 1 wife, 3 new crew mates, a goal of 1 gold in 2012, recently 8 hours laying in a MRI/CT scanner, around 15-20 hours per week training, recent max heart rate 184, body weight 87kg, been involved in 3 Olympic games and have been fortunate to achieve success 3 times, love doing 30min wattbike sessions, favorite ergo session 3 x 10min rate 20, can’t get enough data from gps and biomech.. Lots of numbers there, have 1 coach, and 1 dickie back and newly repaired rib. Can’t argue with the numbers.
Some times though, well actually quiet a bit of the time numbers are merely the tip of the ice berg. The preverbal scratch on the surface. The pimple on ones ass and simple a blemish in time. Behind the numbers sits a greater context, more connections and relationships which can’t simply be ignored.
Why I mention all this is that for some 4 weeks leading into coming over to Henley we used, captured, digested and analyzed our fair share of digits. All this to assist with making our boat faster. Good, yes but probably helped as much as overwhelmed things. I mean the numbers are great but need context and the greatest reason for them is to enable us to move better, faster and with great ease.
Now, numbers add feel or sense of movement and you start to get a better combination of success factors. This week has been interesting, good, a nice challenge and one thing that has become clear, we like many need to honor the feeling first and foremost.
Then numbers or the numeric value only come from a feeling. The movement is sensory and the ease or effort a perception. The numeric rises to the surface you could say and only to be as a representation of what sits beneath, within and it is this inner sense that must be our intent. To move fast feels fast and the connection to time is one measure by a hand of a clock. Or at least that is how is was in the old days. Back when I was a kid it did go digital, but like that same kid tearing down the street on my first bike with that sense of freedom, speed and marvelous innocence. Sure it could have been measured but I am tipping the reality was less impressive in terms of speed, but no matter it felt fast so then it was. Hold this sense I say and add to it by building greater speed, capacity and performance, and this then does require the numbers. Not to disappoint but rather benchmark and compare. Using the feeling and numbers then becomes a life of learning and improvement, or at least that has been my experience.
Today then or even yesterday and today I was reminded of the above relationship. The feeling of timing, connection but even more about like a dynamic sting or pulse as the hips slide back and the body unfolds like a whip. It’s the sense of timing, of athleticism and harmony that is like a magic moment and one that can and was measured but not before we ensured the intent and feeling was achieved. This is just one little example and out on the Eton rowing course I projected forward some 12 months I said to myself this is all we need to do. Keep things in perspective, keep the order of things in check and ensure the balance of feelings and numbers on that knife edge.
To go fast is also like a knife edge to take things to the limit and be able to hold that level is critical for long term success. Numbers don’t lie but they don’t tell the full story.