World Champion – Week #4.3

Yeah I know.

You would like me to start this post with: “I started training again this week! I swam 13k, rode 200k and ran 60k”. Me too, I can’t wait to write this. Still a bit more patience. The MRI for my leg is scheduled for next week. I got to keep on believing more and more. The Lesson will soon be over. As my 110 year old self would say: “In 5 minutes, it’ll be over, Greg” 🙂

Monday

I don’t know if it’s the stars or the Moon but usually, I receive great messages of encouragements from you on Wednesdays. This is why I usually write about you on Thursdays 🙂 But even if today’s only Monday, I have no choice but to only write about you. Yes, my dream is incredible and I’m happy I caught the train towards it. But you can’t (or please try to) imagine how proud I am to see the people I’ve known for years (even those I rarely get in touch with) cheer on me, again and again. Your messages are unbelievable. I am so grateful I know you. I mean it. I am writing this at 10pm. I am drinking green tea, listening to “Lullaby” from Musiq Soulchild and just a few days after my 24 hour Venice depression, I feel incredibly serene, calm and happy, certainly filled up with your love. Thank you. Recently, I thanked one of you and he replied: “Really? I never thought it would make you feel this way. Well, you’re welcome then”.

In 2012, I worked for 6 months in a Mac Donald’s in Canmore, AB, Canada. I used to work at the register and when Asian customers came, I would stop everything and have conversation with them 🙂 The day I told my manager I was going to leave she said: “Too bad, you were the best”. I laughed but she repeated: “No, for real”. In my head, I thought: “Damn, why didn’t you tell me everyday I was the best?”.

This is why ever since, I try to do my best no to lose any opportunity to be kind with someone. Maybe, I try too hard because my sister makes fun of me. When someone tells her something nice, for no reason, she kind of laughs and tells us afterwards: “Damn, I met a “Greg”…a guy who gives love just like that, for no reason, that’s shady!” 😉

I should write you a little note instead of just mentioning your name here. You know, that’s what the highest version of Gregory Berge would do. Thanks to all of you.

Ok, did I make you cry? Can we move on with serious stuff now? 😉

Today an article about the Rio 2016 Olympics’ triathlon official qualification system was published. It says that the qualification period will stretch from May 15th 2014 until May 15th 2016. 730 days to be one of the 140 best triathletes in the world, to be one of the 3 best French triathletes and qualify for the Olympics.

When I read that, I thought: “OK, this is it. This is for real now. The dream is here”.

I remember a coach who once said that it takes 2 years to build an olympic athlete. Despite my injury, I feel like I am right on time. When I visualize myself in Rio, with the palm trees and the warm breeze, my intuition tells me I am good to go. When I think about the gold medal, I admit, I can feel some muscle tension in my neck, translation of my nervosity. However, the roundtrip ticket to Rio and the red, blue and white tri-suit with “BERGE – FRA” on it…yeah, I can do that.

Tuesday

I just booked my next “holidays”. I told you what’s the deal, 6 weeks of crazy work and 1 week off. I mean, when I say “off”, it only regards intellectual activities (computer stuff, japanese…). When I train, all I can take is one single day off.

This is the first time I book my holidays in advance. I’ve always had the bad tendency to work all out and take my vacation from one week to the next, or not to take holidays at all. I remember a quote who said: “The best time to take a vacation is when you think you don’t have time to take some”.

Since I got back from Venice, I have so much energy and I am super creative. Maybe these 5 days in Italy are also responsible way for the way I feel right now. This is why I didn’t hesitate long to book these next holidays. Even though, a part of me is still whispering: “But maybe you could do more work? Or what if a crazy project shows up at that time?”. We’ll see, we’ll see.

In 6 weeks, direction Porto, in Portugal. This will be my first time there. And no, I don’t speak portuguese at all. However this is a great opportunity for me to do something I’ve always dreamt of doing: studying in advance the language of a country I am about to go. In 2012, I started Thai but their alphabet discouraged me and all I could remember was 3 words. In 2013, I tried Indonesian. I found it a bit easier and now I still remember a few greetings. So tonight will be my first portuguese lesson. I am aiming at 20 minutes per day. I should be able to do that. If you speak portuguese and have tips for me, go straight to the contact page!

Wednesday

There are 3 ways to set yourself goals:

  • Tactic #1 – You know exactly what you want and exactly when you want it:
    • For example, I want to pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 3 in December 2014. In that case, I research how much knowledge I need to master in order to succeed. I count the number of weeks left. I make a few divisions and plan the rest of the year accordingly. Now I know I must study 3 characters per day, not 2, not 4. If I keep up with this pace, I will achieve my goal.
  • Tactic #2 – You roughly know what you want but you know exactly when you want it:
    • For example, I want to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. In that case, I am doing everything I can, everyday, in order to achieve it. To qualifier is an abstract goal because I don’t know if it takes 3, 6 or 9 hours of daily training. So I am doing my best everyday. If I keep up with this pace, I don’t know if I will achieve my goal because I don’t know the training amount necessary in the next 2 years.
  • Tactic #3 – You roughly know what you want and never mind when you have it:
    • For example, I want to be in a great health. It’ll be tomorrow, next week, in a year, whenever it’s possible. In that case, I do little efforts, implement good habits, little by little, which take me in the right direction. At this pace, I will achieve my goal for sure but I don’t know when.

At first, tactic #1 (exactly + exactly) and #3 (roughly + no matter) seem to be the most efficient. It is kind of a shame therefore that I am using tactic #2 (roughly + exactly) with the goal I am the most wishing to achieve. So I have to re-formulate my Olympic dream:

  • Exactly + Exactly:
    • I want to race an Olympic Distance triathlon in less than 2hrs in 2014, in less than than 1h52 in 2015 and 1h45ish in 2016.
  • Roughly + Never mind:
    • I want to qualify for the Olympics or the Word Championship, one day.

Thursday

Tonight, I went back to Toastmasters, in Aix en Provence, my public speaking group. My arrival felt like the return of the home-town hero 🙂 In fact, I started public speaking last year, and after 5 months, I got the opportunity to win an international contest in Milan, Italy. The speech’s title is “Two mysterious languages”. Enjoy.

The morning of the speech, I got up at 6am. I went out for a light jog and climbed up a hill where, like Rocky Balboa wearing running tights, like Eminem warming-up in 8 mile, I rehearsed – Screaming my speech to Milan.

The afternoon, we were a dozen of entrants: Italians, French, Belgians, Germans, Swiss. The rules mention that the winner of this contest, the European champion will be qualified for the next round, i.e. the 2013 World Championship of public speaking who will take place in Cincinnati, USA. After 6 minutes and 50 seconds, my contest was over. A lot of people came to congratulate me or to give me feedback. Among them, one lady with many years of experience in this kind of contest took me by the shoulders and said: “You have what it takes to be World Champion”.

I didn’t go to the World’s because last year, the Italian conference who had set up this contest was not yet fully registered. However, this year, everything is ready. The next contest will be on March 13th. It will be the local contest, here in Aix-en-Provence. The winner will move on to the division round, then the national round, then the European round and lastly the 2014 World Championship who will take place in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia. My speech must be ready to rock by March 13th.

Friday-Saturday

During the last 4 nights, I slept an average of 5h51. Do you think it is normal or rather short?

bowvalley_canmore

I remember one day from the 2011 summer, where I had worked 23 straight hours. I was in Canmore, Canada, a village with 12000 inhabitants, at about 1100m of altitude, surrounded by beautiful mountains. Definitevely one of the most beautiful places on Earth, I have ever seen.

On that day, I woke up at 5am because my morning shift at Mac Donalds started at 6. At 12pm, I took my bike, went through Main Street and up the mountains on the other side of town, where my clinic was and where I would treat a few patients. At 6pm, I got back up on my mountain-bike, went downhill through the woods, through Main Street again and then climbed a 3km hill with a 7% incline to reach a restaurant where I worked as a kitchen-helper. At midnight, I went back home, close to downtown, and studied my english teaching certification program until 4am. Then I slept one hour before waking up at 5 again to go to Mac Donalds at 6 again.

As you can imagine, when I woke up that 2nd day, I was dead-tired…no, not dead-tired…I was empty. To me there is quite a noticeable difference between both. When you say you are dead-tired, you are very tired. But that’s it. Whereas when you are empty, the only way you can walk is by leaning forward and hope gravity will do the rest. When you feel empty, you don’t even have enough energy to flex the muscles of your lips or your eye-lids. HOWEVER, the great thing about feeling empty is that you also don’t have enough energy to think about all the bullshit in your life, the useless and stupid stuff, jerks you know…

When you are empty, silence reigns in your brain. Peace does in your body. This is why I associate this feeling of exhaustion with a positive feeling, which explains why I wanted to reproduce it, this week.

But today Friday, I stopped this. I couldn’t function anymore. So I napped for 5 hours. Twice in the morning. Once in the afternoon. I couldn’t handle it.

You will tell me it’s normal and that’s what I thought too but…

…but this Saturday, I learnt something fascinating, coming from Brendan Brazier’s book ” Thrive “, that I am still reading. He explains there are two types of nutrition:

  • stimulating foods.
  • nourishing foods.

BB explains that processed foods are very stimulating but not nourishing, whereas whole foods are not very stimulating but are very nourishing. Obviously, if you chew on a Snickers, it’s gonna give you a kick but it won’t keep you high for 5 hours. On the other end, if you eat a plate of lentils, it’s not gonna excite you very much but chances are you’ll be good in a few hours.

BB explains – and that’s where it becomes fascinating – that after a stress (never mind the kind), our body always react the same way. Never mind if the stress is pscychological, imaginary, real, physical, emotional or…nutritional. Yes, he describes eating something bad for your health as a nutritional stress.

After feeling stressed, our body reacts in two ways, always the same :

  • first, an adrenaline shot = STIMULATION
  • second, a cortisol shot = FATIGUE.

STRESS, STIMULATION, FATIGUE, STRESS, STIMULATION, FATIGUE. Always the same story!

BB explains that when most people feel tired, they take a stimulant such as coffee, cake, sugared stuff, soda. The problem with stimulants is that they represent a nutritional stress for your body and this will therefore, perpetuate the bad health cycle. If, next time you’re tired, you drink a coffee or eat a Mars, you’re gonna feel pumped up for 20 minutes maybe, then fatigue will come back…to a deeper level.

And that’s the big problem. If you could take a stimulant, stress your organism and just feel “average” for ever, that could work. Some of us are satisfied with feeling “just okay”. But BB explains that after each stress, each stimulant and each cycle, you go down one level.

Level -1, you feel more hungry. Level -2, you have cravings.

Level -3, you have difficulty sleeping. Level -4, you’re becoming irritable.

Level -5, you feel some kind of mental fog. Level -6, your motivation drops.

Level -7, you take on fat easily. Level -8, You lose lean muscle.

Level -9, you look older than your age (Now you understand why stressed out people look old)

I think I am in between level -4 and -5.

I told you I slept an average of 5h51 since the beginning of the week and that therefore, I had 3 naps on Friday.

What I didn’t tell you is that Thursday, I went for lunch at my Dad’s and I probably ate half of a processed plum pie, loaded with sugar.

So, question. Did I really feel like sleeping yesterday because I slept 20 hours in the 4 previous nights? Or did I feel like sleeping yesterday because I chunked down all this sugar which stimulated me (adrenaline) and then knocked me down (cortisol)? Uh? What say you?

Experimentation goes on! 🙂

Sunday

Because of my injury, I cannot do triathlon now. However, you can count on me to put 3 layers of paint on a wall in one day! 😉

I am in the process of transforming my bedroom into a TV studio. The result should be good!

Talk to you next week for hopefully, the MRI’s results.

If you liked this article, you can share it or subscribe to the “The Best athlete I can be”. If you want access to my comments about Sochi and other sports events, it’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Peace.

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