Before talking about me, myself and I, I wanna give a shout out to my friend Thomas G, who ran yesterday the Nice’s 10k in 40’40 🙂 This week, it’ still “rest” for my leg and I: 5h of strengthening, 5h of pilates/yoga and 15h of patience 🙂
Hormones are the queen of the world! I told you last Friday that sometimes after a work-out, I feel as high as when I am in love. Well currently, when I am done meditating I…Aaaaaaaah…feel so good, it’s crazy. It’s been 7 straights days of meditation now and honestly, it’s becoming one of my favourite moment of the day. I feel so relaxed. It’s like my brain is all jello and all the bullshit I have inside my brain is melting too! 😉
Training wise, this week will be quite calm. I decided to even stop swimming as today’s 20 laps with a pull-buoy between my legs were enough to pull on my calf. So I went to the gym for what’s becoming a traditional combo: lifting weights, pilates and yoga. No, the massage chair was taken and the sauna didn’t work. What a shame!
There is a yoga movement where you must lean forward, while slightly bending your legs and keeping your back straight. A week ago, I would focus and really try to do this well but when I looked in the mirror, my back was all round! But today, same movement, I lean to the front, look at the mirror and what do I see? A back straight as can be! From the side, my back now looks like a Lamborghini Diablo, cut like a diamond. Yes!
Every day, during my morning routine, I read for 20 minutes. For 15′, I read my book of the moment but for the other 5′, I read a chapter or a poem that deals with a theme particularly important to me. A theme that is valuable to me. But the thing is that I read this chapter or this poem every morning as if I wanted to rewire my brain to replace the negative and sometimes self-sabotaging thoughts I might have with positive thoughts, which represents the values I really believe in. For instance, last week, I read 7 times something about “greeting today with love”. This week, it’s about persevering. Then I also read a poem I already told you about: Rudyard Kipling’s “If”.
I love it. This poem is about “to be a man”; a life long challenge for someone male. Looking at the title of this poem, I thought that the recipe to become a worthy man might be inside.Therefore, I read it everyday.
This poem controls me. After only a few lines, I cry and my chest sinks just like during my hardest times. Each line is a lesson. There are 32 lines. I tell myself that the day I am able to read it entirely, without shaking, with my head high and without being moved, is the day I am a man; the one I want to become.
In life, it is important to know what you want, how you want it but most and foremost why you want it. If you run because you want to lose weight, your “why” is “to lose weight”. If you run because you think running gear looks so nice (Man, I’m with you on that one!), your “why” is “to wear stylish clothes”. If you run because you want to raise money to “fight against cancer”, then your “why” is “to fight against cancer”. We all do the same things but for different reasons.
Me? I run and train with all I can because it makes me feel like a super-hero. No, no, a real one. I remember back in 2001 (one of my best training period ever), I used to wake up at 4:30, run through all of Marseille, from the train station to the famous Gineste’ pass, back and forth, then get ready to go to class at 8:30. At that time, my “why” wasn’t: “To run the olympics”. My “why” was: “Because if my little sister calls me for help because she’s in trouble and she needs me. I may not have a vehicle and the world may be collapsing but still, I can run to her and save her”. Yes, a real one.
In 2007, her and I were in the Colorado river, kayaking. The guide warned us about a near wave. We started kayaking. The wave came. My sister fell of the kayak, down in the water. It wasn’t a life-threatening situation, I mean…maybe it was for her. There, I screamed: “I’m gonna save youuuuuuu!” and I pulled her back up with one arm 😉 Good brother, right?
What about you? Do you know your why?
There are two types of “why”. Either your “why” is about you. Or your “why” is larger than you and has an impact on the people around you.
It is important to know “why” you want something because the day you’re tired or the day life hits you in the mouth, it is the strength of your “why” that will help you rise. When I say I wake up at 5, people’s first reaction is usually: “No way. I couldn’t do it”. Let me tell you that if someone or the world depended on you, you would even get up at 4:55! I often say there’s a huge difference between getting up at 7 to go to work or waking up at 5 to do what is calling you. I did both so I can say it.
This dream to go to the Olympics is strictly mine. I don’t do it to prove anything to anyone. The thought sets a fire inside of me. It’s my life and that’s it. If your reasoning sounds similar, that’s okay, you can think about yourself 🙂 But what will happen the day you and I are tired, sad or when we receive a bad news? Sometimes, when life isn’t so sweet, I am a few inches away from thinking: “F*ck all that! I won’t die if I don’t try to make the Olympics”. This is the potential risk when your “why” is all about you.
Whereas if your “why” is about others too, the day you are tired, the day you will receive a hard blow (or the day the alarm goes off at 5), you will think: “No…they need me, I gotta go”. We are human beings, not savages.
Kobe Bryant’s “why” is to be the best. Michael Phelps’s “why” is to make swimming so popular that it’ll be on TV. Ray Lewis’s “why” is to work-out so hard that never ever again a man will hit his mother. Chris Mac Cormack’s “why” is to keep the promise he made to his mother after she died from breast cancer. Isn’t that fascinating to know someone’s “why”?
I train, think and am this way because I want to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Rio is a part of the process but honestly, it’s the icing on the cake. The goal is Tokyo. Why do I want to qualify for Tokyo? Why am I diving, heart and soul, at 35, in this crazy adventure? Why am I even writing this blog?
I have 4 “why”: 3 that are about me. 1 about the world. This is the core of my motivation.
- Because when I train using my full potential, my hormones go crazy and I feel like a super-hero. It’s good for my physical and mental health.
- Because I have a revenge on Tokyo. I lived there in 2011. On February 28th of that year, I ran the city’s marathon. I finished in tears, in 5h49, instead of the 3h30 it usually takes me. From this moment, I tell myself: “Damn it, you Tokyo, one day, I am gonna kick your ass”.
- Because I want to replace a bad memory with a beautiful one. I lived in Tokyo in 2011. On March 11th of that year, yes, 12 days after the marathon, I was at home, under a table, when a 7 minute long 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred. This event helped me in a way because it destroyed a life where I was the shadow of myself but still; it wasn’t an enjoyable moment, to say the least. I want to race in Tokyo to replace the sadness of that day with the emotion of a victory. When I run there in 2020, I’ll picture the tsunami behind me and I’ll run faster. I’ll remember Japan’s pain and my pain and I’ll ignore that in my legs. You understand now how important it is to know “why” you do things. Now, you probably understand why it’s easy for me to wake up at 5. This is my “why” that gives me all this confidence. I may be 35 and I may not have the youngest blood anymore but no one has the same inner-fire as me.
- Because I want to help you dream. This is the purpose of this blog, these posts and these videos. When I achieve my dream, I dream of you saying: “Damn it! He did that! Maybe I can achieve my dream too!”. I dream to be in front of you and help you, saying: “You dream of something impossible? Here is what to do…“. One day, I went to see a therapist (she was rather mystical) who told me: “If you follow your intuition and build a project, you’ll be happy…but if you inspire and help people, you’ll be the happiest”. This week, two persons told me: “You make me dream”.
Ever since last December, I contacted 47 companies. Offering them to be their ambassador and asking them to sponsor me. As of now, 2 decided to encourage me: Blue Seventy and Normatec. Blue Seventy is known as one of the best wetsuit and tri-suit manufacturer in the world. The best triathletes in the world swim in Blue Seventy suits, so I am really proud to partner with them. Normatec makes inflatable compression boots to improve recovery. And since yesterday, I can add a 3rd name to the list! 🙂 When everything is set, I’ll tell you who. It was super exciting for me because it was my first time filling up an official “athlete sponsorship” form. They are going to send me the brand’s official outfit, so you see…this is for real! 🙂
As I explained before, I believe that my calf injury happened because I need to learn a lesson. I need to use this recovery phase with intelligence and learn, read, try everything I can! Today, I learnt 3 great lessons I am happy to share with you.
I am currently reading Rich Roll’s “Finding Ultra”. RR is a 47 year old-American, addicted to ultra-endurance sports (5 ironman in 5 consecutive days for example) and expert in veganism. I am at page 120 and so far, he doesn’t talk about nutrition, just his adolescence. I don’t know a lot about RR but at first, he looks like a model to me, on several aspects. In his book, he describes his teenage years where he was teased a lot and where other guys would hit him. When I meditate, my brain goes in all directions. I try to keep positive lessons of all my past experiences. I also try to forgive people who hurt me. Often, I think back to a night of 1991 where 2 “friends” hit me after a football practice. I try but it’s still hard for me to think this was “nothing”. But as I read this book, I realized that actually, we all have a story. We’ve all been through stuff. Actually, these stories are what makes us unique. Often, I speak about the Japan’s earthquake like it’s my magic trick. “Hey look! I’ve been through that. No one’s been through that”. In reality, there are earthquakes and tsunami every year. It’s not rare anymore. But it is my story. It doesn’t define who I am and it doesn’t make me fragile. It only makes me someone unique and special, a survivor. Just like you.
Today, I discovered Tim Van Orden, an American runner, probably around 44 today, who, just like me, experiments things to see what are the limits of the human body. His goal was to become vegan and make the American Olympic team for the 2012 London Olympics. He didn’t make the Olympic team but he still preaches that the “vegan” lifestyle is “the future of athletics”. I saw a video of his on YouTube and now I am hooked.
He says: “If you’re craving pizza, that’s okay…but eat a fruit first. If you eat a banana and realize you don’t want a pizza anymore after, perfect! However, if after your apple or whatever fruit you eat, you still crave for that pizza..go ahead and have it. But be aware that if you want that pizza, it’s not because you absolutely need protein. It’s because you need affection in your life. So go ahead, take that pizza and don’t beat yourself over this”. In 2010, I fell in love with an amazing woman. During the first 4 days of our relationship, I had only one meal and felt amazingly well. Happy outside, happy inside, right?
Along the same line of thought, the other book I am reading is “Listen to your body, your best friend on Earth” by Lise Bourbeau. She writes about nutrition and says there are 3 reasons why we eat:
- Because we are hungry
- Because it’s a habit (“lunch time”)
- Because we need to fill an emotional void
Obviously, she advices to only eat when we are hungry. If it’s lunch break but you are not hungry, don’t eat. If you’re hanging around in the kitchen, when you’re bored or depressed, no, don’t eat. She says you need to eat consciously. So that’s what I did yesterday.
7am is breakfast time. But I wasn’t hungry. So I didn’t eat and went straight to the gym. At 1pm, yes I was hungry! So I cooked a large plate of pasta, meat and veggies. 5pm, I woke up from a nap. Didn’t feel really good. Went to the kitchen. Why? I don’t know. I wasn’t hungry but still ate some ginger bread with a yogurt. 9pm, I was a little hungry so I ate…a little, i.e a veggie wrap. I think this way of eating is quite interesting and most of all smart.
A year ago, I read something about self-love. There, I learnt that self-love is not only having a massage, shopping, going to the beach or other. To love yourself is to put good things in your body. I used to reward myself by going to Mac Donalds. There I realized: “Sh*t! If I put this in my body, how can I possibly love myself??!!”. Ever since that day, I tell myself that my body is a Lamborghini Diablo. My legs are butterfly doors. My lungs are a V12 engine that allows me to go from 0 to 25 km/h in 3.3 seconds. With my average human body, I acted a fool and put whatever and anything inside, I didn’t care. Ever since my body is a Lamborghini Diablo, I treat it like a jewel. And you, what car do you find beautiful? 😉
I have been eating consciously for 24 hours now. Just like every morning, I get on the scale. Result? Down 900 grams compared to yesterday! Nice try-out.
Today, I had one more quality weight and pilates session. Soon, I’ll try to post a graph of my improvements and a video the exercises I do.
But this Saturday was special because for the first time, I made myself a “raw” meal and for dinner, I had a “green shake”. Recipe: banana, almonds, kale, broccoli, avocado, oranges, flax seeds, 300ml of water and BAM, in the blender! Result? Taste could be improved but it’s far from being gross. After drinking this, it felt like the inside of my stomach was covered with one layer of plaster.
These diets make me curious. I must admit I am a bit hesitant with the idea of giving up meat or fish, not because of any beliefs but because I do believe you need good proteins to have strong muscles and train at a high-level. But I love the idea of eating more veggies, fruits and other “super foods” like flaxseeds or Goji seeds. I will keep on reading, studying and we’ll see how my position on meat and fish evolves. One thing’s for sure though. When I see Rich Roll and Tim Van Orden run, I’m like: “Whatever they do, I’mma do it too”.
Today is the 13100th day of my Life! 🙂 So here is the evolution of my sleeping habits over the years:
- as a teenager, going to school: 0h00 – 7am
- as a teenager, on holidays: 1/2/3/4/5/6am – 10/11am 😉
- as a working adult: 11pm/0h – 6/7am
- as an adult, on holidays: 11pm/0h – 8/9am
You can see, I have always been used to go to bed between 11pm and 1am, no matter my age and the situation.
Eric Thomas and Robin Sharma taught me that successful people all have one thing in common. They wake up early. 5am is a minimum. What about 6? No, 6 is normal. This is why I wake up at 5. I have woken up at 5 for so many times now that it has slowly become easy. The number “5am” doesn’t scare me anymore. In my brain, “5am” is linked with something positive. Whereas for my friends who say that waking up that early is impossible, “5am” is probably linked with the army, being cold, being super tired…For me, “5am” is linked with “making your dreams come true”.
However, I still need to sleep, yo! But the problem is that, even if I got up at 5, I won’t necessarily be tired by 8 or 9pm because all my life, I have been used to go to bed later. Therefore, for a week now, I’ve put two evening alarms. One that goes off at 9:30pm, which means “end of the day-cool down now”. The other goes off at 10pm and means “lights out!”. The goal is to have 7 hours of sleep, set, and be able to be productive and full of energy the next day from 5:01am ’til 9:59pm.
So far, this 10pm-5am thing is only theoretical. I don’t know if 7 hours of sleep are really enough for me (or too much). By Wednesday this week, I noticed I was still a bit tired at 5. So I adjusted the 2nd evening alarm, the “lights out” alarm to 9:55pm instead of 10. This morning, still a bit tired, so again I adjusted it to 9:50. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to say: “I need 7 hours and 36 minutes of sleep. 7:37 is too much. 7:35 is too little!” 😉
In all case, I now fall asleep as soon as I turn the lights off. I am set. The dream goes on.