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sign saying "how to be a bad ass in 2 easy steps"

Step #1-- Do hard shit...hard shit is relative! Before you do a Marathon do a half and before you do a half do a 10K, so on and so forth – the takeaway is at one point a 5k is hard shit...just do hard shit – it is irrelevant if that shit is hard to other people – totally irrelevant...remember it’s your hard shit and if you do hard shit it will become easy shit, then you will need to find new shit...A while ago at XML we started using the term F.U.N.. We use the acronym F.U.N. usually after doing hard workouts! So, if someone asks how the workout was you reply - “F.U.N.”. This begs the question what does it stand for?

F*@k’n Unbelievably Nasty! See we look for “nasty” stuff to test us! Nasty stuff prepares you for the shit life will throw at you!

Step #2 -- Stop complaining about shit! Really just’s that easy. It doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge or talk about stuff; we just do it with a different intent. Using “F.U.N.” is a way we acknowledge the struggle in a fun way!

With that said here are two tools you can add to your “toolbox” that help with changing your relationship with complaining:

A.) If something challenging happens to you and you need to be sad or in a complaining mindset then give yourself a time limit to inhabit that space. If you are new to this maybe start with 48 hours* with the intent that as you exercise this muscle, you will be able to reduce the time you sit in a negative place!

Note: clearly this might need to be adjusted to the actual cause of the “upset” and for this post we are not referring to traumatic life events but more daily life disruptions.

B.) ONLY COMPLAIN TO THE PERSON WHO CAN AFFECT THE COMPLAINT – if you have an issue with your husband and you complain to your friend then you're talking to the wrong person...the quickest way to a resolution is to speak with the person who the is issue is with...this does not mean that you don’t seek advice, just make sure that you aren’t disguising a complaint in the form of seeking advice!

This brings me to something very important...what if you are complaining a lot about something with literally no solutions – IE THE WEATHER??? The solution here is simple – just stop...if you live in Austin and you complain about the heat or live in Minnesota and complain about the cold you are just a complainer...sorry but you aren’t helping anyone! Now, we are all human, progress not perfection - as long as you have an awareness of this when you are doing it then you are building your emotional intelligence which is great!

PRO TIP: Do your workouts when you planned...if you planned to run Friday morning don’t change the run because it’s raining – just run...most of the time races happen at the scheduled time, if you get used to training in different weather you will be ready to race in it. Sometimes the weather is dangerous – I’m not talking about that, sometimes it’s uncomfortable – be uncomfortable and do F.U.N. stuff!

To pull this all together, I have been incredibly proud of the group of athletes I train with and have watched them go out in national competitions and do really, really well...I believe this is the result of a few things: A great group of athletes constantly inspiring and motivating each other (see earlier post “Whose your 5”) and doing hard things regularly. Training in MN all year and running and riding outside builds character.

Do F.U.N. stuff with kick ass people and you’re a bad ass....easy!

  • davidvenancio

I usually reserve this space for things performance related, but I think there is some crossover wisdom here and well I think it is worth a read!

10 things my son taught me

  1. Buy expensive knives.

  2. The coffee bean matters.

  3. Take a used car to a mechanic before you buy it.

  4. The relationship between a boy and his mother really matters.

  5. Research is good, too much research is paralyzing.

  6. Follow the recipe as prescribed the first time the reviews of the recipe.

  7. Conversations don’t need to be long.

  8. Advice doesn't always get followed on day one.

  9. Repetition is a necessary thing.

  10. My mother wasn’t bad at arguing...I was a pain in the ass!

My son is a smart charismatic young man, equal parts inspiration and pain in the ass. I have had the pleasure of spending a lot of alone time with him learning lessons. Kids are amazing and within the right space can teach us as much as we hope to teach them.

The list above is my top ten list of things he has taught me...Interestingly the “thought” about the knives popped into my head one day followed by the top ten list then the other 9 items came to me in less than 5 minutes – I thought this the information was card cataloged in my brain awaiting for a time to be used. With that said below is a little deeper dive into each.

Buying expensive knives could also be stated as buying great knives, knives that will awe and inspire for a lifetime...the knives that he buys are works of art and he will have them for many years. I try to think of this now in terms of all my hobbies, especially Triathlon – buy something correctly the first time and it will serve you for many years to come.

The coffee bean matters...we bought a nice espresso machine that makes great espresso (this is a whole other story) and it truly is a joy to make my morning cappuccino, I get to start my day preparing a treat with this elegant machine...Historically, my M.O. had been to shop for budget beans and one day he looked at me and said “you know Dad the beans you buy make the difference between a good cup and a great cup” - from then on I decided to save $2-$4 in other areas of my life – not in this simple area with such a small cost compared to the joy it brings me!

Take a used car to a mechanic before buying it...Spencer bought his first car with his own money saved from working in restaurants and his research and due diligence was awe inspiring (see point #5) - his car was worth more than he paid for it and he could have flipped it shortly after purchasing and made a profit...pretty good for a 16 year old!

The relationship between a boy and his mother matters...watching the relationship between my wife and son for the last 18+ years has been a treat and a challenge...watching two trains on the same track running straight towards each other seems, at first glance, like an easy thing to stop! As an independent observer eager to help, interjecting sagely wisdom is truly the recipe for success, right? Nope, this relationship is theirs to manage and cultivate, to grow and develop in their spirit, it is their past, for their future – their relationship is important and theirs alone.

Research is good to much research is paralyzing...sometimes you just have to buy the car (see #3)

Follow the recipe as prescribed the first time the reviews of the recipe...The first time you make a dish from a recipe off the internet do two things. First, read the reviews. You will learn a lot from them. Second, make the recipe as prescribed before making any changes, otherwise you won’t know if the recipe is any good – the only exception to this is making changes based on something you read in the comments...since they already made the recipe you can use this advice if it sounds like something that would add to the recipe for you!

Conversations don’t need to be long/Advice doesn't always get followed on day one/Repetition isn’t a bad thing.... while these are listed separately above, I will treat them all together here...One major thing that I have learned from my son is that when stating important things, shorter is better. Repeating it reinforces you thought it is important enough to say again...I also try to empathize that the repetition wasn’t a result of forgetfulness but a result of importance...ALSO an important side note, success might not be able to be claimed until you hear your child say it to their child...with my son I will sometimes here him credit other sources for my nuggets of wisdom...I take solace that it got through and not umbridge with who got the credit.

My mother wasn’t bad at arguing...I was a pain in the ass!...Lastly and potentially the greatest gift that my son has given me is the realization that my Mother wasn’t incapable with holding a critical thinking conversation (IE Argument). I love conversations that require critical thinking, I love a good debate – I thought that for years I was having “debates” with my mother but unfortunately they all ended in “JUST BECAUSE I SAID”. This ending was always wildly unfulfilling to me and to be honest seemed like a copout...Fast forward 30 or so years and I learned through my sons in ability to let things go that there was no acceptable answer to him other than the one he wanted and well to be blunt, sometimes I was just over it, only to reply...well, I’m the Dad and that’s my decision...not so far from “just because I said”

  • davidvenancio

Dear Diary

Tuesday Sept 6th

  • Traveling to Austin today for work, not optimal to travel prior to the Ironman race I am signed up for this weekend but I think the distraction might be good…we will see how it goes? Started packing for Wisconsin, think I have a good start!

Thursday Sept 8th

  • Just arrived home from Austin, great trip, weather in Austin was beautiful, pretty hot in fact…got to finish packing…I have been planning my nutrition for the race and think I have a good plan…water bottles are packed - I will be hydrated this race! No more under hydrating…I am ready! Funny thing just happened, Katherine asked me if I have looked at the weather for Madison on Sunday? That’s weird - maybe I should check…oh crap, I looked, we could have rain…I should look at what I packed and make sure that I have stuff for bad weather - Ok good thing Katherine said that…I didn’t pack anything for rain but now I am set for some rain, always hard to get ready to bike in bad weather this time of year…weather starts cold then you get so hot later on…I will have to deal with it as it comes! Really need to make sure that I do a special thanks for Katherine, she has been soo supportive (the brunches she does after the Sunday long bikes are just above the call of duty!)

Friday Sept 9th

  • Arrived at Brie’s house this morning a few minutes late, hate being late especially when meeting her - she is always on time!! Love driving to the races and race travel in general, always so hopeful and optimistic…feeling really good, fitness is high, even with the twisted ankle earlier in the year and the bike crash last week I feel good…this is gonna be fun…Excited to see my Xtra Mile teammates in the 1/2 Ironman on Saturday and crush it on Sunday…Excited for the XML’ers racing Sunday with me as well…

  • Checked into the hotel…Wow…Awesome…can see the finish line! This is truly a great spot - remember to thank Brie for getting this and all her help to get me this far!

  • I looked at the weather for Sunday…hum? Is it possible that it can rain ALL day…No, it will change by Sunday it always does!!!

  • Going on a ride with Brie, haven’t ever ridden before checking my bike in - really thought it was important, especially after last weeks crash and swapping out the tubes and tires with new ones…The new continental tires and latex tubes seem to ride really nice! Excited to see how much faster my bike will be this year from last…

  • Well glad we did that, my back brake doesn’t seem to be catching as well as I want, wonder if I should bring it to the bike check and have a pro look at it?

  • Had my bike checked…good thing…replaced my back brake pads…really want good brakes on this course! Wonder if I should have asked them to look at the front pads too? I did get them at the same time…no worries, am sure the mechanic thought to do that - that’s what they get paid for, right!

  • Loving the hotel, so close to the race center really adds to the experience!

Saturday Sept 10th

  • So excited for everyone racing today, what a perfect weather day - they are going to crush it! Looked at the weather for tomorrow…its getting worse, can it really rain all day…come on when does it ever rain all day - I’m sure Weather Bug just hasn’t updated yet!!!!

  • Everyone doing the 70.3 crushed it today, bike was so fast for them all…I’m excited to ride fast…so much fun! Bike and Bags checked in…Had to pack my clothes for tomorrow today…really hard to believe that tomorrow is going to be a crap day when today in so freak’n beautiful! I think I have everything I need - wish I had brought few different things from home…I have been trying so hard to make sure that I am prepared for different conditions but it is sooo hard - these conditions are a new level of unpredictable, not really sure how to prepare…

  • Need to get off my feet, spectating these events is strenuous…

  • Bed time - I am scared, looks even worse for tomorrow…all that work for one day and the weather is just shit…not in a good head space…as I look out the hotel window it is getting darker and darker and the wind is picking up…

Sunday Sept 11th

  • Ok, getting up this morning the first thing I did was open the curtains and look out. Diary that was a mistake, think I looked out for 10 minutes…felt like I was watching a TV news cast of a hurricane, wasn’t that bad but I was really focused on the wind - really blowing the tents and banners all around - waiting to see Al Roker out there with a camera crew and mic telling people to stay indoors- Unfortunately, he never came…I come out of my fog to Brie yelling at me to get away from the window! Good Idea…

  • Swim start is always hectic but today its worse for me, usually I am so happy to finish the swim and be on solid ground where I get to eat and drink but today I am afraid to get out of my wetsuit…It’s so warm and cozy - it’s going to be cold without it!!!

  • Well got through the swim, water was warm…Changing area was warm…hoping that I dressed right…Shit it’s cold and wet and I just started…the helix is probably the worse way to start a bike ride today - seems like a sign of things to come…

  • Ok, just started the bike and I lost one of my water bottles going over a bump! FUCK! And when I try to drink from the straw in my aero bottle nothing is coming out…what the hell…Stopped and got off the bike at the first water stop - looks like the straw was clogged with Maurten powder - NOTE TO SELF - Never mix powder in the aero bottle using the straw…always mix outside the bottle and pour in! Stupid mistake, I should know better!

  • Diary I am truly scared, it’s so cold I have been riding the bike for hours, the gloves I bought yesterday aren’t helping they are soaked and making my hands colder, plus I can’t eat my food with them on…my hands look like I have been in a bath tub, white and shriveled up - plus they are struck in the shape of my handle bars and I can move them…Shifting with my left hand is almost impossible!

  • Why do I keep having to pee…really! Its crazy…I can’t even drink enough water to replace how much I am urinating - weird, wonder if something is wrong…

  • Just saw Brie on the bike, looks like we are in similar situations, don’t want her to be in pain but it is in some way comforting to know that what I am feeling is the same for others…what do they say misery loves company?

  • Oh Shit, going down hill is so scary - I am so cold and the downhills make me colder, then I shiver more…holding the bike up is actually challenging…Guess the bike guy didn’t check my front brake, sounds like the plastic of the brake housing is hitting my carbon wheels and making a horrible screeching sound - I don’t think I should use my front brakes for the rest of my ride..Really!

  • Saw Jason, Lauren and Michael on the bike course that was awesome - so nice of them to weather the storm with us!!!! Remember to thank them!

  • Ok almost done, really worried about the urine situation, seems like way to much…

  • Woop-Woop! I am done with the bike and in the Terrace, its warm! Really warm but I can’t get my running shoes on…maybe this is a sign that I shouldn’t run…even though its warm in here It feels like my body temp is going down since I stopped moving??

  • Is it possible that I have to pee again! Yeah, I do…ok, 18 minutes have passed and I am out of T2 - I am shriving sooooo much, in the porta potty I have to hold on to the walls! I can’t do this - I am done…No just run one mile then you can quit, just one mile - I am so cold that actually sounds like the only way to warm up…

  • 1 mile down, not so cold anymore- I wrapped a towel around my neck, Rocky Balboa style…guy complemented my 70’s retro chic look! Ha Ha..

  • At the stadium now and I am actually hot and need to remove the towel…shoot I really like that towel - oh well, C’est la vie!

  • Realizing a lot of stuff now, with a little food in me I’m coming out of my fog! I didn’t eat nearly enough on the bike, it was really hard to eat on the ride due to the conditions but I am making up for it now - I am eating at every aid station, I am legit starving…

  • I have had more Potato Chips today than on any day in my life!!!

  • Saw Jason, Michael and Lauren again - so nice!

  • Diary, it’s still raining - guess it actually can rain all day!

  • Walking up Observatory Hill and two students passes me, really are you kidding me…called them show offs! Not a great sign…

  • The Chick broth is so nice…ran with a young guy (Nate) for a bit told him about the chicken broth, he was grateful - so weird to drink during a race but unless someone tells you it just sounds bad…

  • Getting close to the end, can’t believe this day is actually going to end…I can hear Mike Reilly in the distance “you are an Ironman” - funny today I feel like Aquaman…

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