Think Daily Messages

December 14, 2017

Mind strong, body strong.

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

“If each of us could have the tally of his future years set before him, as we have the tally of our past years, how alarmed would be those who only saw a few years ahead, and how carefully would they use them.” – Seneca

Tanner joined a CrossFit gym this year. Based on the stories he told me about the workouts, most of me didn’t want anything to do with it. On July 1st, I had a strong moment and some time and I went to check it out. I had the race at the end of the year and I was hoping this would help me.

At first, it was awkward. I didn’t feel like I belonged at a gym with all those people who did. I was out of my comfort zone. There were certain movements that my body type didn’t like at all. But that’s how it is when we try something new, isn’t it? I pushed myself to go until it became a habit. While it hurt each time, I grew to like it much faster than I thought I would. I really liked what it was doing to me. Stronger; more confident.

                                      +++++++++++

 I was on the homestretch of another Spartan race in August. Spartan races are running/obstacle course races. Around here they are usually at ski areas or mountains so they can take you up and down steep terrain and include rocks, mud, and the woods. Spartan races are in four distances. A “Sprint” is 3-5 miles and the logo on the finisher shirts is red. A “Super” is 9-10 miles and the logo is blue. A “Beast” is 13-14 miles and has a green logo. For the best of the best, an “Ultra Beast” is two laps of a beast course – 28-30 miles! Tanner has completed a number of “Ultra Beast” races. 

This was a “Super” race – about 10 miles. I felt good. Three years ago I didn’t know what a Spartan race was, and hadn’t run more than a block since I was in my twenties. I didn’t think I could run much anymore. Kinda scary. What’s a guy to do – never run again because he’s too old and thinks he can’t do it? That would be giving up part of your human capacity voluntarily. You start doing that and what’s next? It’s probably not a good idea to get started saying you can’t do things because you won’t.

Then we ran a 5K as a family. I didn’t even have running shoes. Then a few years ago my friend Mike Lane asked if Tanner and I wanted to run a five-mile road race. Five miles? That’s a lot more than 5K (which is 3.2 miles)! But I figured if Mike was doing it, I could too. 

It’s like back in 2008 when Mike asked me to race motocross. I figured if he was doing it, I could too. Or when my brother Rick got me to jump a metal freestyle ramp with my motorcycle. It’s good to have friends introduce you to new things and pull you out of your comfort zone. Of course, it has to be the right things that are positive and stretch you.

Now I crossed the finish line at the Spartan Super obstacle course race in the top 6% of all 5000 runners that day. I felt good. Real good. All the work, running, pain – on some days it seemed to pay off well. If I gave an accurate account, I’d say on all days I felt stronger and my energy lasted until the end of the day than it would have otherwise. I could bound up stairs easier, stood up straighter, and felt better. When the body is strong, the mind is more confident.

But in the forefront of my mind was the biggest challenge of all – the Baja 1000. I had to be in peak physical condition on November 15th at midnight. That’s when the race starts this year – midnight.

With a 48-hour time limit, we’d line up in staging at 10:30 pm, and get the green flag at 1:00 am. We’d race through the night to dawn. We’d race all day to dark. We’d race all night again. We’d race all day again. Then we’d race through the third night until we finish before the 1:00 a.m. deadline.

I wondered if it was possible to fall asleep while riding a motorcycle…

We have to be careful how we use our minds. That’s what I teach and that’s what I kept telling myself. We construct walls and demons and manufactured fears. I tried not to do that. I tried to be positive. But I had to be real too. Sometimes I’d be going about my day and remember what was coming, and a shot of adrenaline would fill my blood. 

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Calm down. That’s not useful. What is right now? Keep working…

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December 13, 2017

Big goals seem scary…

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

I hobbled around on my foot for a few months, but it slowly got better as September became October, and the race neared. After last year’s race, my friend Bobby Miles wanted to buy the bike I raced. I almost said yes. After racing the Baja 1000 Ironman class, you never want to see Baja again. But I told him he could keep the bike at his place in Loveland, Ohio and if I ever needed it again, I’d let him know. Well, now I needed it.

We had it shipped back to California where we went through the 714x (my race number) and the 775x (Tanner’s number) to rebuild and freshen the bikes up for this year’s race. In the Baja 1000, a bike number beginning with a 7 means Ironman class, and ending with an x means motorcycle. Besides motorcycles, there are over a dozen classes of four-wheeled vehicles in the race.

This year’s course would be different than the last two years which started and ended in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.  Those races were 822 and 855 miles respectively. This year it would start in Ensenada (two hours south of San Diego) and end in La Paz, Baja California Sur – a different state and different time zone. La Paz is two hours north of Cabo San Lucas. A one way trip of 1134.4 miles – 279 miles longer than last year. 

The distance haunted me. 1134.4 miles. I live in Connecticut. It’s like from my house to Miami Beach, Florida…on a dirt bike…in rocks and sand and mountains…

When we set any big goal, it seems so far away. So impossible. So scary. Being afraid means it’s a big stretch. The outcome is unknown. But if the outcome of your endeavor is known, then it’s not an adventure, it’s just going through the motions.  

When we read history books, if we really put ourselves in the shoes of the heroic figures we are reading about, we can understand how they must have felt. Big goal – outcome unknown. Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King.

How about the guy who puts it all on the line to start a business with his new idea? The single mom who moves her kids to a new place in search of a better life? The immigrant who can’t speak English yet and has to work? The person who has the guts to quit a lousy job with an abusive boss when they don’t have another job yet?

Outcome unknown. Adventure begins.

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December 12, 2017

"You can do better"

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

I had trained all year. I thought about it day and night – every day and every night. Sometimes I was optimistic, but most of the time it scared the hell out of me. I’d lie in bed sweating, my heart racing thinking about it.

I was going into the mouth of hell on November 15. Even “success,” finishing, meant paying a heavy price. Last year I made an uncharacteristic mistake and got hurt at mile 200. Whiplash forward. I rode 20 more hours. At mile 600, I simply could not go on. I couldn’t hold my head up anymore. I had 255 miles to go on the 855-mile course. I just couldn’t, so after 27 ½ hours, I tapped out. I couldn’t go one more mile. 

The Baja 1000 is the longest non-stop race on the planet. Four years ago I had never even heard of it. Now I’d be entering it for the third time. The first year it was an 822-mile course that my son Tanner and I entered as a two-man team in a class called “Sportsman” – a mixed age class. We were at a big disadvantage to the 4-6 man teams, but we wanted to be a father and son only team. We took six turns on the bike each over the 25 ½ hours it took us to finish.

We made a movie about the race and put it up on YouTube. Today, “Into the Dust” is the most popular movie about racing motorcycles in the Baja 1000 ever made. It quickly became an inspiration to hundreds of thousands who have an interest in desert racing. Of course, there isn’t a desert within 1000 miles of where we live.

The second year we both decided to enter the Ironman class. This is where you do the entire course yourself. You and your motorcycle and 1000 miles, plus or minus, on some of the most hostile terrain you can ride on. Last year Tanner finished in 28 ½ hours, becoming only the 13th person to ever even finish this class. Most racers that enter do not finish.

I never was a quitter. I needed to go back. I can’t die this way. I could make an excuse. Afterall, who else could blame a 52-year-old from Connecticut for only going a mere 600 miles in the longest desert race in the world? Had I finished, I’d have been the oldest finisher in the Baja 1000 Ironman class ever. 

Something in me was not going to accept that story. We can tell the world about what happened and explain the limits – but we can’t fool ourselves. I knew I could do better, even if it would take significant sacrifice. Great achievement always does. 

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December 11, 2017

One step back…

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

I screamed from my gut. I thought my leg and foot were both broken. Anyone listening who heard all the cracking would think so too. I had never broken a major bone before. Just a hand (neighborhood football, age 13) and a collarbone, age 47. That’s the most common motocross bone to break because when you fall you often land on your shoulder, and sometimes when your helmet hits the ground the bottom edge rotates into your collarbone.  

It was only 3 months until the biggest race of my life – the biggest race on the planet. That’s the first thing I thought of. My race is over. 

Before I could figure that out, I had to get this tree off my foot. It was Wednesday night – riding night. My trusty 5 friends came over to ride, but today I wouldn’t ride. I’d save my neck and figure out something else to do while they rode. I had cut maybe 500 trees down in my life. The property around the track is nothing but trees. If I cut this big giant hickory down, we could straighten out this awkward turn and make the track flow a bit better.

Nowhere to drop it. Nothing but trees around. I planned on dropping it onto the smallest, sickliest other tree around that would be sacrificed under the weight of this 75-foot tall mature hickory. Here we go…timberrrrr…Ut oh… The head of the tree catches on another, the tree rolls around and winds up falling 90 degrees from the ideal location selected. I’d never do this around a house or power lines – but we were in the middle of the woods. 

The giant slaps down on and settles into three smaller oaks that bend like rainbows under its weight. I knew there were stresses there. A dangerous situation. But I had dealt with this before. Take off a 3-foot section of the trunk.  Make the tree shorter and lighter. And again, and again. I consider myself an expert with a chainsaw. 

Then I cut the next section of the trunk off and the tree did not fall to the ground. It was suspended in the three smaller oaks. I studied the complex situation for clues on where I could safely cut next.  The big hickory leaders were on the left side of this oak, and the right side of that one, with one in the middle…the oaks were bent over and saying “get off of me.” I had cut the trunk of the hickory up to the first big split, which was now suspended 6 feet off the ground. 

Oh crap. I reach my Husqvarna up and start to cut a bit to feel where the stresses might lie, looking and feeling for clues with every inch the blade advanced. Suddenly the big hickory split like a wishbone and released from the oaks, with a lot of their help. The 20” round freshly sawn trunk came at me to avenge its killer. I stepped back…and back again. Thinking I’d outsmart the tree chasing me to terra firma, I sidestepped, to let it go right by me. As if it had eyes, it followed.

The tree plowed horizontally into my shin until gravity took over and it dropped onto my foot and plunged it into the earth.  That’s when I screamed. I was pinned, like a mouse with his leg in a trap. I could not move my foot or pull it out. There was maybe a thousand pounds of tree on the bottom edge of that log, and my foot was under it. Lucky I was wearing safety toe boots, which I seldom do. The other guys came running. I yelled for them to get the tractor, but in the few minutes it took them to get there with it, I realized if we touched the tree it would slide farther towards me and break my leg.

My foot and toes were so squished inside my boot, that my foot was going numb. Mike Lane and the other guys dug a hole alongside my foot to take some pressure off, and then cut the back of my boot vertically with a knife, and then along the sole to make a flap. I was barely able to pull my foot out. Slow wiggle. Slow painful wiggle. No broken bones. A miracle. But there was plenty of damage.

I thought, “my race”…

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December 8, 2017

Two steps forward…

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

The body and the mind are connected. You know this. The mind can make the body do things, and the body can make the mind feel like doing things. The body is a chemistry lab and the mind responds. 

When we keep the body healthy with what we eat and how we move and sleep, we’ll have more energy for an active life. Some of us run. Some hit the gym. Some have fallen in love with a sport. Sometimes when you are active to make things better, you get hurt and make things worse for a little while. Of course, a sedentary lifestyle has not-so-temporary negative effects.

I ride motocross. It’s been important to me for 22 years. Twice a week usually and most often on the same technical track. 23 jumps per lap, 40’, 55’, 85’, 35’, etc.

Every time I rode my bike this year, I’d pay the price. My neck would hurt for days or a week afterward. Not a sharp pain, but a discomfort; like I had a ball in my throat. The whiplash from last year’s Baja 1000 race at mile 200 had my neck out to the left according to an x-ray taken ten days later. I had battled this injury all year. I had been to the chiropractor so many times and he did a great job. But still, it persisted. 

One day when I had not been riding for a month, and my neck seemed to be getting a bit better, I jumped on a used bulldozer I bought to see how it pushed. It was 15 minutes. That’s all. But that’s all it took. My neck…ughhh. That’s when it hit me. The turning! All the brush hogging; all the track grooming on the dozer…and the tractor with the box blade on the back – I was turning my neck like an owl to the right to look behind the machine. On days I wanted to go easy with the riding, I’d spend much more time grooming the track for the other guys. It was the grooming that was killing my neck much more than the riding.

Figuring this out was important. The race was coming around again. The biggest race of them all…

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December 7, 2017

Go. And do it.

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

The death rate is hovering around 100%. I have decided I’m not going out sitting down, without a fight. This is one thing I have to do…

                                  ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 The following multi-part story is true…

They didn’t want to tell me, but now that I knew, they were all looking at me. I felt like I was their hope to finish this thing. I had to finish it for him, for me, for us. I was Dad again. I was over halfway there. I felt good. Energized.There was nothing more to say. Go. Go and do it.

I turned into the cold night. Paved road. San Ignacio. The 20 miles before this little town was hell. I was glad to put it behind me. Two blurry blocks to a right turn. Things are lit up. Fans three deep at the curbs. Bright colors contrasting the night. Cheering. I am full of resolve and a dimension has just been added to my purpose. I fist pump the crowd to the left. I fist pump them to the right. One block and a left turn in front of the 230-year-old mission church. More cheering fans. 

I fist pump them back – they respond. Inside my helmet I think “I will do this. I can do this.” Suddenly the last masonry and stucco structure disappears. Any lights give way to the black desert. My eyes go from colored vision to black and white. The course pulls me out into oblivion again.

I didn’t know it, but I have just made a simple but critical mistake, the consequences of which I will begin to feel soon enough…

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December 6, 2017

Authenticity

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

When we find out someone is one person in public but another in private, we are taken back by their insincerity.  We wonder what they are really saying or doing when we are not around, and we lose trust in them.

Don’t you appreciate people who really are who they show up as?

Are you the same in public and private?

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December 5, 2017

We all like ladies and gentlemen

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

In his book “The Eight Pillars of Prosperity,” James Allen talks about sympathy for others and being kind. 

Working with, through and for others is what we have to do to succeed; and they don’t like to deal with harsh, impatient, intolerant people.

Ladies and gentlemen get ahead faster.

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December 4, 2017

Stress + Rest = Growth

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

Physical or mental stress is good because it’s the stimulus for growth. Stretch, but not so much that we snap or injure ourselves. 

Then rest and recover, and that’s when we grow.

Stress, rest, repeat. Grow strong.

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December 1, 2017

Live like life depends on it.

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

Because it does. What you do today will affect how things are tomorrow for you.  

The time to make your life better for today, was yesterday. The time to make your tomorrow better is right now.

What do you need to do today?

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