The names Vegard Ulvang and Luke Bodensteiner may not mean much to those who are not familiar with endurance sports. Each has notoriety and fame in the sport of XC Skiing, especially in the 1990’s, the time when I was a teenager in pursuit of my own XC skiing endeavors. During that time most of my friends had posters on their walls of Michael Jordan, Jose Canseco, and Bo Jackson; other than my ensemble of Motley Crue and Poison posters, I mainly kept the rare and inconspicuous photos of XC skiers, Vegard and Luke included, along with all of my race bibs, over every inch of wall in my bedroom.
Growing up as a Junior XC skier I became enamored with the appeal of being a professional athlete. During that time I didn’t know anyone who was at that level so I didn’t really understand what it meant to be one. When I think back to those days as an awkward, pre-pubescent, gangly teenager, I remember a dream that stuck with me to one day pursue endurance sports as a passion, a lifestyle, and a way of living. What really tipped the scales was when I picked up and read Luke’s book The Endless Winter. He described a lifestyle of training, racing, and adventure, that I wanted to pursue. Ultimately these dreams were sidetracked due to various life circumstances. But today, 20 + years later, it is clear to me that now is the time to put everything I have into pursuing my childhood dream: To pursue a lifestyle being an all-in, 100% dedicated, full-time athlete.
In this pursuit I have a tremendous amount support starting with my accountability team that includes my coach, my therapist, my sponsor, elite athletes, and family/friends. I need these people in my life because they can help keep me accountable, in-check, and under some sort of watch for potential red flags. I understand that this undertaking, on paper, doesn’t make sense to many people. I’m finding that’s just the opinion of people on the outside looking in who think I am wasting time where I should be concerned with creating financial stability, etc. Shouldn’t your 30’s be dedicated to creating wealth? For some people, absolutely! But for me, as of today, I am happy to say that is no longer a main concern of mine.
My friend, and business partner in Novo Veritas LLC, Betsy, who was the first person to suggest that I pursue my dream at the Western States Training Camp this past May, has been instrumental in helping me design what this new lifestyle will look like. She is behind this pursuit, 110%. I am very grateful to have someone like her in my life that believes in my passion, dedication, and discipline, to give this pursuit a try.
So what am I hoping to accomplish with this pursuit? At this point, I cannot say for sure. All I want is to experience what it is like to adopt a lifestyle that incorporates everything that I am working on in my life including training, racing, sobriety, meditation, and being of service for others. That being said I do have several races and personal events on the schedule for the next year including TransRockiesRun, Pine to Palm 100 Miler, Cal International Marathon, 24 hour run in the Mac/Dunn (3 year sober date), and The Oregon Epic (Sept 2017). Yes, I have goals for each event, but achieving those goals would just be the icing on the cake. The real thrill is going to be the act of throwing myself, each and every day, to pursue something that I had never thought possible. The process will continue to be paramount.
In the past I have been obsessed with results. Now that focus has changed to more of a process-oriented approach where the result is much less important than living and breathing the process and lifestyle, one day at a time, a concept that I have learned in my program of recovery. I also have zero expectation of getting to the point where I will be a “professional athlete,” so to speak. Maybe that’s in the cards? Maybe not. I’m excited to find out either way.
So what does a typical day look like now-a-days? I’ll take today as a perfect example.
4:00 AM – Coffee/Meditation
4:30AM – Breakfast/Tour De France
5:45 – 6:45AM— Yoga for Runners/Athletes/Meditation
7:00 – 10AM – Work, emails, Tour De France, touching base with clients
10:00 – 12:30PM – Run Workout
12:30 – 4PM – Turn Phone on Airplane mode, Stretch, Eat, Foam Roll, Nap, Podcasts, Read
4:00 – 6:00 PM – Cycling Workout
6:00 – 6:30 PM – Strength Session
6:30 – 7:30 PM – Ice Bath/Dinner
7:30 – 8:30 PM – Foam Roll
8:30 – 9:00 PM – Meditation, Journaling, Reading
9:00 PM – Bed
Since I’ve made the shift to this lifestyle, starting in early June, I have found that every evening before bed I thank my lucky stars that I’m able to pursue this adventure.
What does this mean for Novo Veritas? Nothing changes. Betsy and I are still very much engaged in building our community and movement to promote the idea that significant lifestyle change is indeed possible.
In this pursuit I am mentally prepared to manage any speed bumps that come up, for instance, injury. Speed bumps like this are inevitable and come with the territory. I am well aware of the potential challenges. That being said I don’t believe that I’ve ever been in the appropriate mindset, for in the past, the main factor in my motivation was fear of failure. Today my motivation lies in the pursuit of the unknown and embracing the process.
Honestly it does feel a bit weird to write this down and talk about in a public forum. I feel like a giddy teenager in many respects. There is no real blueprint for someone at my age, with my background, to follow. That’s why I am excited to create my own way of living, my own atmosphere, and ultimately my own reality.
With that, time is running short to prepare for today’s interval session on the hills of my beloved McDonald/Dunn Forest. I’ll try and keep the updates coming as to how this process is unfolding. Wish me luck!