(Breather) I talk about my favorite subject of Speedgolf and reflect on the battle between positive and negative thoughts when pushing your body to its limits, as well as the delicate balance between unleashing your competitive intensity to kick butt in life and being sensible with your goals and pursuits such that you protect your health, and that your endeavors are appropriate and fit into your current life responsibilities, fitness level, and age.
Instead of buying into the fanaticism and romanticizing of extreme goals, perhaps you can choose things you really love without regard to how they stack up tonpeer and cultural judgements.
But what about when you take on a tough physical challenge and you’re confronted by the difficulty of being torn between positive and negative thoughts regarding your performance? I flash back to a hike Mia Moore and I went on one sunny day in Lake Tahoe. It was challenging, and it was pretty hot out, which prompted me to ask her, “are you doing ok?” so many times that she said, “don’t ask me that anymore – because I don’t want to distract my mind.” Sometimes, the constant checking in can open up a whole can of worms and lead you down what feels like a never ending spiral of negative thoughts: maybe I am feeling tired…maybe I am feeling dehydrated…maybe I can’t do this after all….
It was in this spirit that I chose to soldier on through the oppressive heat, a tough course I had never played before, as well as my own body’s symptoms as I committed to sticking it out to the very end with my Speedgolf game that day. However, as I learned the hard way, you never want to ignore how you’re feeling, and I experienced first hand exactly why it’s so dangerous to push yourself past your limits. Even though the balls were going long and straight, I myself could barely see straight. My arms were tingling and starting to feel numb; yes, it was that bad. While the entire ordeal was tough, so tough it had me feeling like I was hovering over the edge of death, it was also an extremely rewarding lesson to learn.
One thing’s for sure though, I would have felt a lot better had I just used an RTX Cooling Glove. Sure, I felt proud of myself for finishing such a difficult course in such challenging conditions, but I also just really felt like crap for the next 14 hours. So please, do yourself a favor, and be careful about exercising in hot weather – it is the single most profound performance limiter. When striving for peak performance, make sure you do so in conditions that are both sensible and optimal for your body.
Brad uses the example of a recent speed golf tournament to talk about passion and competitive intensity. [04:29]
It’s a battle between positive and negative thoughts. [07:06]
The “Barbarian” workout is pure torture. [09:16]
What your mindset is, can determine your strength under such circumstances. [10:11]
Athletes need to be careful performing in heat. [11:59]
Brad talks about thinking sensibly about what you do with your time and energy. [16:34]
The concept of one and done has some good points. [18:07]
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Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author, an athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 04:29 Let’s use my favorite communication vehicle and anecdotal metaphorical example of speed golf to talk about my favorite subject of late, which is to maintain passion and competitive intensity throughout life. And I’ve talked about my pursuit of the single hole speed golf world record and my passion for speed golf. Even if you don’t like speed golf, I force you to sit and listen to the glowing accounts of this wonderful, fantastic sport. So we will keep to tradition and I’ll report back from my recent trip to Houston, Texas for the USA professional speed golf championships where I took an eighth place and played some of the best golf I’ve ever played and tournament competition.
Brad: 05:15 But the thing that was most on my mind was the oppressive heat, uh, for the tournament. So this is late September. It’s getting cold. The leaves are changing in new England across the country, but deep down in Texas, it’s still pretty dang hot. And we had 93 degree afternoon temperatures and the inexplicable decision to tee off the players in the early afternoon in the heat of the day. So my tee time at 3:08 PM 93 degrees Fahrenheit, efficiently heat index, 99 degrees. And I realize afterward that I had never ever played speed golf in oppressive heat conditions because as you might know, a, the speed golfers have to play when there’s no other golfers around. So we’re either first thing in the morning very, very early, just after sunrise or right before dark is my usual practice time where I head out there. And even in the summertime when it’s a a hundred degree day, I go out there at 8:00 PM.
Brad: 06:13 It’s not terrible. Uh, but this was an absolute torture-fest. Uh, especially after the first nine holes when I really started to feel it and was compelled to slow to a walk on the back nine. So there was a first time for everything cause usually in speed golf you’re running through that course as fast as you can, your strokes count as well as your minutes on the course. So you add your strokes and your minutes together to get a speed golf score. But I just succumbed to the heat and, boy, that first experience of slowing from a jog to a walk, submitting to the mighty orb in the sky that’s cooking your body. That was something else. And I think I uh, channeled back to, what was it 27 years ago was the last time I was racing on the circuit and doing some of these ultra hot weather races.
Brad: 07:06 Like we’d have occasionally on a Caribbean Island or of course out in Hawaii at the iron man. And it’s such a torture on the body and it’s such a challenge. And I just transported me back so long ago. And the last time I really put my body through anything similar. And it’s interesting cause when you’re out there, uh, in battle, something that brutal, uh, you realize quickly that your thoughts, it’s, it’s a battle between positive and negative thoughts and they have so much significance on your physical performance and your disposition and it’s so important to take control of your mind, of your thoughts, keep those positive thoughts going, try to eliminate the complaining and that voice inside your head. That’s asking, what the hell are you doing out here or is it possible to quit right now? And I remember that battle with a competitors on the race course where we’re running at a high rate of speed on the 10 K, uh, the final event of the triathlon, an Olympic distance triathlon. And you just wonder, is it worth it to try and stay with this guy or should I just let him go because the pain is too bad? And if you can talk yourself into it and somehow try to focus on taking one step at a time.
Brad: 08:19 Or in my case in the speed golf tournament, one hole at a time, one shot at a time. That was really the only way that I was able to make it to the 18th hole standing up because I’m telling you on the 11th hole, the 12th hole, I thought I was gonna just fry and melt into the ground. It was, my body was totally rebelling. I’d stopped sweating, I was feeling dizzy, lightheaded. Uh, the upper body was getting numb and tingling. All these signs of, uh, heat exhaustion, heat stroke. And yes, I had to retreat back to my hotel room for about 14 straight hours of drinking water. And, uh, before I was able to get my body up and perform the next morning in much more pleasant temperatures, but still really, really difficult and a lot of walking involved. So it’s nice to have these goals that really challenge and push yourself and it’s nice to win the battle between positive and negative thoughts.
Brad: 09:16 And I was taking inspiration from all kinds of areas. Uh, my sponsor, my man, Brian Johnson of ancestral supplements, you’ve probably heard the commercial or heard about the new product we’re developing called MOFO. Check it out, Brad kearns.com/mofo. That’s the male optimization formula with organs coming soon. Exciting. Anyway, he does this incredible workout called the barbarian where he has to, uh, walk about a mile carrying a backpack with 70 pounds, uh, carrying a 70 pound dumbbells with ankle weights and also pulling a sled that weighs 70 pounds. It’s a massive load where he’s just trudging, uh, down the driveway, turn around and back to, uh, accomplish about a mile and it takes him, I think a record time of 50 minutes or something like that. Some people have done it in two hours, uh, but just pure torture.
Brad: 10:11 And I thought about my girl, my favorite podcast guest, Mia Moore, we are on a tough hike out in Lake Tahoe on a warm sunny day. And I was, you know, try and do a look after her, make sure she was not overdoing it. And I asked a couple times too many, how you doing? You okay? And she said, don’t ask me anymore because I don’t want to distract my mind from just getting through the hike. Because if you open that door, this is me talking now, you know, if you opened that door and say, Hey, are you okay? Are you tired? You need some more water? Then you can putS put those thoughts into the person’s mind. You can plant those seeds and they can go off the rails and start to get negative and say, yes, I’m exhausted as a matter of fact. So what a great attitude and disposition. We’ve talked about it a lot since the hike where I was like, you know, I was quiet after that, but I was really impressed with that answer. I’m not the slightest bit offended and just makes so much sense.
Brad: 11:05 And so I was trying to talk myself into not complaining and just hitting some good shots. And another amazing insight from this day was that I played quite well over the two days for me. Uh, I shot 84 and 83, uh, in the speed golf format with only six clubs and a tough course that had never played before. So I was hitting some really great shots even though I was near death and about to collapse and just shows you, uh, the, the, the weather was so hot that I didn’t have any, uh, tension or stress or the energy to ruminate about my bad shots or about my swing mechanics or whatever usually gets in the golfer’s way from just being purely intuitive and using your athletic ability out there to assess the shot that you have to hit and let the intuition take over, which is the best way to play golf.
Brad: 11:59 But we so often get in our own way with our ruminating mind. So that was just amazing that these balls, we’re going long and straight a while I could barely see straight. So anyway, the experience overall, uh, was rewarding in some ways. But I will put in a plug for, uh, the human and the, especially the human athlete to be careful performing in hot weather. It’s just not meant to be. And it’s the single most profound performance limiter I think of anything. And I’ve talked a little bit about the R T X cooling glove and the amazing studies at Stanford University where they invented this contraption like a toaster with a, a a gloved insert. So you’re sticking your hand in a toaster and your, your hand, uh, is surrounded by, uh, cool water. So what this device does is quickly lower your body temperature.
Brad: 12:55 And by doing so, it allows you to continue to perform physical work at an impressive level of output rather than be hindered by the elevation and body temperature, which sends a strong message to the brain to shut down peripheral function to save your life. Your body does not like to, uh, have those legs striding along at high speed when you’re getting overheated because it has to protect the internal organs. So you’re gonna start losing function tremendously due to the heat. And I realized with my, a intense effort to maintain positive thoughts that it really is no battle against the heat. And so I think there’s a time and a place to push yourself, but you can certainly push yourself too hard toward these athletic goals. And we’ve read these stories about rhabdo. Have you heard of that? Rhabdomyolysis? I think it’s called a, which is a sort of a, a disturbingly common condition in the CrossFit community.
Brad: 13:53 This is where the, uh, damaged cellular material, material leaks out of the muscle cells and goes into the bloodstream and causes, maybe kidney failure or something really serious where all of a sudden you’re doing a workout, you’re pushing hard, you’re getting to the point of puking and then oops, got to send him to the hospital. So the potential to overdo it in the name of being a tough guy or tough gal is out there in so many sports. It’s part of the cultural fabric of, uh, the honor and the pride of pushing yourself so hard. And so I want to push back a little bit against these notions and present the idea that, uh, you should strive for peak performance, uh, under sensible and perhaps optimal conditions. So you shouldn’t really, uh, tow a starting line of any kind if you are experiencing symptoms of subpar health or energy or, uh, injury risk or function, uh, because it’s just silly.
Brad: 14:51 The, the races will be there, uh, when, when you’re ready. And I see so many athletes just continuing to, whether it’s race or just showing up to the gym to do a workout so they don’t miss a Wednesday night, even though they’re exhausted, their knee hurts and they have a sore throat. So really the, the honor and the glory in peak performance is doing it the right way and part of that right way is to be sensible and not put yourself into health risk. So really when I stopped sweating and started to have the tingling biceps and forearms and goofy stuff like that, uh, it might’ve been a noble decision to pull out on the 14th hole and say sorry. But again, I’m saying, look, I flew halfway across the bloody country. Uh, I’m a tough guy. I’ve been through this before. I’ve raced in the Caribbean, I can get through it and I got through it.
Brad: 15:44 Uh, but I’m not so sure I would do that. I would sign up for that ever again in my life. And so what I’m saying is if I see a speed golf tournament slated for an afternoon tee time with the predicted high of 93 degrees, I’m going to think twice and I’m going to save my precious assets of energy and resolve and competitive intensity and that discipline and focus to get through a tough event. I’m going to save that for when the weather’s 74 and I can stride down the 18th hole asking a lot for my body to maintain the same pace that I started with a but not at the potential expense of my health because after I finished, yeah, I had a small sense of pride that I, uh, played a great round, but I didn’t feel so good for 14 hours. So it kinda takes the fun out of it.
Brad: 16:34 And yeah, I’m in the professional division, but so far, uh, my career winnings on the speed golf pro circuit, uh, total $100, that’s a paycheck for taking third place in the California Championships. So proud to say that I won money as a professional athlete, 23 years after my, uh, last check on the professional triathlon circuit. So that was a fun one. But my expenses, uh, far outweigh my prize winning. So I’m not out there doing it for money or for sponsor obligation. I’m doing it for fun and for personal growth. So I guess the end message here is to strike that balance between, uh, going for it, challenging yourself, maintaining passion and competitive intensity throughout life. Like I always talk about, but also being sensible and realizing, Hey, uh, if you’re raising a family right now and your kids have soccer practice and soccer games and precious once in a lifetime opportunities, your kid’s only going to be playing youth soccer for two years in history and then they’re done with 10 forever and then it’s you 12 and then it’s you 14 and time flies and in a flash, it’s all over. So if you’re busy, uh, blowing off excess energy, doing some obsessive compulsive fitness outlet or other thing that’s taking you away from the precious moments of, of the fleeting years of raising your children from infant to adulthood, think twice, maybe get more present and you know, appreciate the, the richness of the different seasons of life where there’s a time and a place for everything.
Brad: 18:07 And I’m particularly talking about some of these, uh, extreme endurance goals that are so time consuming. So energy depleting and possibly not a great fit for many people who have busy, active lives and are showing up for others in different ways. Um, take the Ironman, for example, I just got an email from an old friend and she said, yeah, I’m going for the Arizona race and this is going to be my one and done race. And I laughed and I’m like, that’s a pretty cool goal, you know, I mean, that’ll keep you motivated out there to put in the miles and the training when you realize this is my one and only Ironman. Once I finish that thing, grab that metal, I heard a rumor that they have tattoo artists on site to give you an iron man tattoo, which is pretty fricking scary to get a corporate logo branded onto your body after finishing a race and actually pay for that privilege rather than get paid. I mean, I’d consider getting an Ironman logo tattooed on my body after I finished with a, a tremendous amount of compensation involved, uh, in my direction. But I don’t know about the other way around, but Hey man, whatever turns you on. But the one and done concept is really cool, uh, for a lot of things. Hey, raising your kids, for example, even your career, you’re going to go through your career once, you’re going to go through your forties once, you’re going to go through your fifties one, so you might as well make it count and make the best decisions, uh, appropriate to your lifestyle circumstances at the time. All right. How’s that for a little update? Give you some food for thought. I hope. Thanks for listening.
Brad: 19:43 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews, and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars. And it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves cause they need to. Thanks for doing it.