Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Thoughts on Competitions

Sage Canaday racing for the WIN at the 2014 Speedgoat 50K
© Steve Seckinger 2014

"Nobody is training to come and be 10th", said by Polina Edmunds before the 2015 World Figure Skating Championships.

I'm not much of a competitor in organized races, but have done a handful of mountain bike and running races.  Even shot a competitive pistol match or two.  That said, I'm not a deeply experienced and seasoned competitive athlete.  I've certainly been around running races for years and have seen how the training and competition cycle works  THAT said, I do have an opinion on entering competitions.  Let's look at running comps as as example.

A running competition is a race.  A race is an event where the fastest person wins, with everybody else ranked in time order.  If you enter a running competition and you are not there to race, what are you there for?  I get the fact many people enter a race to see if they can do it, to mark the end of some fitness or weight-loss quest, but why enter a race to see if you can just finish it?  You should know that long before you enter!  That's neither a competitive or racing attitude; that's just saying you can survive something.  Can't you go out and run 13.1 miles any day of the year to see if you can simply survive a half-marathon?  What I really don't understand is entering a 5K to see if you can finish; most people can run, walk, or crawl that distance during a day of shopping at the mall.  If you are going to enter a race, then race.

Entering a race doesn't mean you have to try to win, and most likely you won't win any race you enter.  But you can target a certain time, age group placings, or beating a time from your training (you train, right?).  THAT is what you should be racing.  You have to have a plan before you enter!

My general ideas for this are:
Shoot for the average the first few races.  That's OK and proves you are training!.  It's also not planning on just entering, trying to finish, and planning to be last.  If you come in middle-of-the pack in a big race, that's great!  The 50% below you didn't do this, so you already have an advantage for the next few races.

Go for age group/gender rankings.  Once you have trained more and raced more, you might be able to start moving up in your age group by gender.  While it's harder to win a race, placing higher in this group is a more reachable goal.  That goal should be the top ten in your group.  When you look at lots of race results, you might see how much work you have to do to get there.  It'll vary by race of course, but this is the goal.

If this strategy works and is paying off, you can look for the 1-2-3 spot in your age group.  This is tough, and may by off the table for all but the most serious and dedicated athletes, but remember you are racing, not just entering.  Placing here is where strategy and experience can pay off.  I gave up the #3 podium spot once in a trail race by stupidly being polite and letting another runner pass me on a narrow trail.  I found out he was in my age group at the finish line where he took 3rd and I took 4th.

Polina Edmunds came in 8th in the Worlds.  Everyone had a good day and the scores were good all around.  But having the mentality to show up to win, not just finish, is what I think competing is all about.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Theater on Ice Skate Camp

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Leading, but from where?

Leaders ALWAYS lead from the front.

I've heard that maxim loud and clear since before I even took business classes in college.  It seems to be the guiding mantra for every hard-headed, and narrow-mind-developing "leader" (read: manager) in almost every school or workplace I've been in.  I, in my usual contrarian "I doubt it" mind, have come to really believe it's not "all that".

Leaders can and should lead from the front first, then the rear, and finally from the side.

Leading from the front is the classic lead-by-example, show-the-way, idea which I totally agree with in most cases.  In an environment with rules or procedures, this is critical to ensure consistent actions among a team and to carry a culture.  It's taking on the hard jobs and doing the same jobs as people several layers down in an organization when necessary.  A leader's role is also to create and share a vision, and this has to be done up front and on stage.

But what happens when leaders below you start to emerge and get their own following?  THIS is good and it's time to step to the rear, and let these new leaders lead the pack, much like a dogsledding team.  The lead dog may be in front and has gained the respect of the other dogs, but the real leader is in the rear, giving helpful guidance to following a path that they may see a bit clearer.  Leading from the rear has you step out of the limelight, let others take credit for things you may have started, and let others develop.

And leading from the side?  The best quote I heard was about "cheering from the sidelines", where you take a more hands off approach to leading but promote the heck out of a team and coach it's newly developed leaders.  Promoting others and their strengths and accomplishments IS a form of leadership, and it's done as a coach cheering from the sidelines.  Coaching is a very special type of leadership, and not all leaders can coach.  It is really about helping others find their own strengths and use them to their advantage.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Current Supplements

I get asked all the time what supplements I take and what foods I'm eating, so I wanted to give a quick run-down on the current lineup.  It isn't much, and hasn't been much for years, but what I add to my diet seems to keep me pretty healthy. 

Daily Supplements

  • Carlson ACES - I believe the high Vitamin C dose in this antioxidant blend has helped me avoid any sickness from school kids.  Our own kids have avoided most illness, and I have too!
  • Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic - I've had enough antibiotics in years past to make taking a probiotic daily seem to make sense
  • Vitamin D, 5000 IU - most of us in Utah have tested low for Vitamin D so it's essential to supplement
  • Kali Muriaticum - homeopathic that helps with seasonal congestion from indoor/outdoor allergies I've had forever (dogs and cats and weeds!), but getting less impactful every year
Food Supplements
  • Mila!  It's NOT a supplement in my book, since it's a whole raw food, but I add it to other foods and drinks as if it were.  With Omega 3's, fiber, protein, it's got a LOT going on that gives it a big place in my diet. (Note there is NO fish oil listed on the supplement list above)
  • Maca - this is a tremendous energy boosting food from a South American plant.  The taste of the powder is challenging (something like artichoke), and I'll probably go back to a pill form of this food.
  • Various protein powders - I've tried whey, bean, etc. for protein powders and have never found one I really like.  That search continues.  Trying to avoid dairy (whey) and soy products limit the choices. 
Check in with me in the comments if you have questions about any of this or ideas!

Monday, February 6, 2012

February Mila Friends Update

(This is a copy of our February customer newsletter)

Hi Mila Friends!
Spring is on the way and we are already seeing many, many sunny days! What's a better reason than a sunny day to bring up a quick discussion about skin health?! Also, today's recipe is perfect before a morning workout or event to serve during Super Bowl parties!

Healthy Skin

Did you know your Mila is helping not just your heart and brain health, but your skin health too? Omega-3's are very important to collagen and elastin growth and replacement and are the two most important proteins in your skin. While there are numerous high-quality Omega-3 skin lotions on the market, we prefer to nourish our skin (our largest organ!) from the inside, not just with a topical protectant. In the dry and super-sunny environment of Utah, we know the importance of good skin care and warding off sunburn, dryness, and potential skin cancer. We know our Mila is helping us achieve younger looking skin every day! What's the easiest way to do this? Mila and water, sipped throughout the day! (For more reading there are several skin-related Mila testimonials here.)

Bloody Mila

After seeing some pictures of friends having Bloody Mary's on the deck of a ski lodge, we thought maybe we could improve on that just a bit! This recipe isn't for everyone, but we've created a great morning Mila zinger! Try serving these during today's Super Bowl!! Celery stick is optional!

8 oz V-8 juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (we like Bragg's Organic)
1 scoop Mila
Splash of Cholula or Tabasco hot sauce
Optional celery stalk

Mix and enjoy!!
(For another great drink based on apple cider vinegar try paleo-diet expert Jenna's "Lean Drink" from Lean Machine NYC.)

Enjoy your Mila and share it where you can!

Steve & Leanne
Independent Distributors of Mila by Lifemax


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Don't Get Tied To Someone

Below is an excerpt of an email we sent to our business partners and team members last week. The email was in response to the news of a top leader in our business leaving to pursue another opportunity, and how we felt it would not impact our business. The below story is the important part of the email, and it's all about not getting emotionally tied to someone in your own business:

A quick story.....

When I was a kid growing up in California, the world's best pitcher Tom Seaver played for the New York Mets, which was my grandmothers favorite team and so became mine. I watched Tom pitch on TV whenever I could, collected his baseball cards, and proudly wore my royal blue Mets cap with the big "NY" embroidered on the front. It was a little tough being in Dodgers and Angels territory, but I was a Tom Seaver and New York Mets fan! But you know what happened one day in 1977? Tom went to the Cincinnati Reds. I felt lost...I couldn't root for Tom and the Mets any more and I couldn't even spell Cincinnati!
It took a while to sort it out, but I realized what I really loved had not changed. Yes, a very important player I liked and followed moved on but my love for baseball had not changed. That's what really mattered -- playing ball myself and just being immersed in the fun game of baseball, surrounded by my friends all thinking the same thing. Mets, Dodgers, Angels, and even the Reds.....they were all good and we were part of all of it! And the best thing of all never changed after Tom moved on...helping my grandmother root for the Mets!


Interestingly, and this wasn't in the email, is that in the company I used to work for EVERY SINGLE LEADER in a straight-up direct line above me, all the way to the CEO, left in the space of two years. My direct manager, his manager, etc., all the way to the top guy. While this was hard to sort out during that time and created all sorts of questions about loyalty, it really highlighted we are all responsible for our own careers and business growth. No matter who you think might have the best "way" and you try to follow them, know that they may be following someone too and will move on. When you see someone who preaches "staying with it", "don't quit", and "loyalty pays" LEAVE, you have to wonder what all the preaching was about. Actions really do speak louder than words. At the end of the day, if you are following the one person that really matters - YOURSELF - it doesn't matter when someone leaves your business.

Beware of false prophets, as their promise of profits may be false.

A drum can be beaten on a mountaintop, but just as easily beaten on another mountaintop, and another, and another...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011