One Relentless Life

Relentless Forward Motion

Category: Thoughts & Ramblings (page 1 of 3)

SwimRun Portland Maine (Otillo)

There are four stages of competence.

Unconscious incompetence
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
Conscious incompetence
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, they recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
Conscious competence
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
Unconscious competence
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

With open water swimming I fall into the first level. Unconscious incompetence. I know so little about open water swimming that I thought I knew what I needed to know.
Before the race I had high confidence in my abilities. I had put in a lot of time in the pool and swimming in lakes. I cut my mile swim time in almost half from 42 miles to 25. My running seemed to be going very smoothly.
The first swim of the race had been eliminated by the low tide. Nathan and I found ourselves in the top 25% getting into the water for the first segment. It seemed like it would be an amazing day. We entered the water, got sight of the marker a half mile out and started to head across the water. We quickly were getting passed by a large amount of people. It took us over twenty minutes to swim the first segment. As we exited the water Nathan and I discussed the possible reasons that people were so much quicker than us. They were all elite level swimmers, they were using hand paddles, we some how over estimated our swimming skills. As the second run segment started we quickly and easily passed large groups of people. We made our way around the island fort and got back into the water. In and out. We find ourselves farther back into the pack. In and out of the water. We are getting nearer to the last place position. We have a three mile run. As we cross the island, we are catching people that cannot run up the shortest of inclines. It seems very odd that we are this far back in the pack. Some of the groups even comment on how quickly we are moving. Then we get into no mans land. We are swimming too slowly to be with the lead group and running too quickly to be with the trailing group. This, in our eyes, is the tipping point of the race.

IF we can get the one mile swim done, we will be back to short easy swim and run segments.
Nathan and I get instructions from the gentlemen guiding people into the water. Head to the island, look for land, shoot for the flag pole. We head out into thick seaweed and waves. The people we passed running are now coasting by us once again. We get to the island and head to the only land we can see in the weather. We have to tread water to get unhooked from a buoy. We tread water to untangle ourselves from seaweed. We have been swimming an awful long time. I get a little bit of fear that I might never make the shore. From a few minutes I consider taking my cap off and being rescued. I remind myself to keep calm and keep a steady stroke. This is one giant shit sandwich and I am determined to eat it one bite at a time if needed. The coast guard boat comes and ask us if we are ok. I respond yes and ask them if we are off course. They tell us that we are but we are doing well. He points to the closest beach and tells us to head there. 15 minutes later, we are on the beach with a lady playing with her dog. She say that we missed the mark back a few coves. So we get back into the water and head deeper into the cove. It has been over an hour for us to make the mile. I am shivering and my hands are numb. As we crawl out of the water my wife Alex is there and says we are almost in last place. How could this be possible? What in the world is going on? Nathan and I get our first food on course. It was listed in the aid station that they would have gels and bars. We are now 4 hours in and this is the first time that they have had anything other than electrolyte tablets. Those have been useless and we have been ingesting plenty of salt water. We make the short run to the next swim. We pass a few people walking. When we get to the water Nathan asks for a moment to prepare mentally to get back in the cold water. I am very glad he did. At that point I am ready to say very terrible things to everyone I see. I resist. They haven’t done anything. They are wonderful volunteers. They cheer us on and we keep moving. It is a short swim followed by a 50 yard walk, and then an 800 meter swim. We are freezing our asses off. The waves are rocking us sided to side and we make our way across the “Shark Cove”. It seems like we are not even moving. We are fighting the current for any forward progress. Another beating of a swim and we get out of the water. The lady at the aid station asks how we are doing. I tell her that I am considering dropping from the race. She says “That doesn’t matter, you missed the cut off anyway” At that time we are two swims and a run from where we are supposed to be time wise. Alex finds us and we tell her that we are out. We shiver and walk our way back to the finish line, which happens to be a mile and a half across the island. It is a long walk of shitty thoughts about what we have just done and how we could have been so damn awful.

We head to the Boston area for a wonderful evening with a wonderful old friend of mine from the Army.

In the morning Nathan messages me. He has downloaded his data form his Garmin complete with the maps. Want to know what went wrong? Of course you do. We shit the bed on the swim portions. Swim speed, good. However, we had doubled (or more) all of the swim distances. That swim that took us over an hour was supposed to be a mile… it ended up being 2.5 miles.First swim where we started getting passed like we were standing still was a half mile, but we swam a mile. By mile eleven in the race, Nathan and I had covered almost 17 miles, and of that over five and a half were swimming. The total swim distance for the race was supposed to be around 4.5.
Even before knowing this I was happy with the results of the race. What I wanted from the race was to be pushed mentally. There are not very many things that test my spirit. I was tested. I don’t remember the last time I was truly nervous about whether or not I would be able to keep moving. In that regard it was a great success. As far as being competent in the abilities need for the race, I was unconsciously incompetent. I didn’t even know enough about swimming in the ocean currents to know that I was drastically unprepared.
So there it is. I worked my ass off to develop my swimming for this race. I am gald to have had the experience. I now know that if you drop me in the water, I will more than likely survive. Most importantly, I know understand that I know diddly dick about the ocean and how to navigate it.
Now back to the regularly schedule program and relentless forward motion. I want to be better tomorrow than today. Same goal the next day. And the next. What is the next thing coming up for me? I have a couple things in mind. It will be a struggle no matter what goal I choose. Struggle is good and what makes you grow.
Thank you for reading and thanks for all of the support.
Love always- Mike (Skinney) Kinney

90% grind 10% adventure- Be humble

While people are still thinking about the American Trail Race I wanted to make a little post to make sure everyone knows the truth. My life isn’t one grand adventure. I raced for 37 days or 10% of the year. Though that is more time than most people will spend outdoors or adventuring in their adult life, it still really isn’t that much time considering the work that went into getting to the starting line. I had 18 months of training, saving, and getting everything sorted out. Seriously. I wish that I could say I buy what ever I want when I need it, I am pumped up to train everyday, and I know what I am doing. The truth is every month I have to look at my bank account to make sure that I have the money to pay the bills before I buy a set of tires. There are weekends I get up at 02:30 in the morning to get all of my training in before I work my second job all afternoon. There are times that I am exhausted and hate that shit. I just know that I have goals and the way you get to your goals is being relentless and grinding. Doing what you have to do to get to where you want to be. If it were simple and easy, everyone would be doing it and I would be doing something else. I don’t know the answer to everything. Most things as a matter of fact. I have just became good at making it work. Moving until I figure out a better answer, refining it as I go. Since I have been home, most of my time has been yard work, cleaning the house, responding to messages and emails, paying bills and general domestic duties. I show people the highlight reel of my adventures. You don’t see me in the middle of the woods screaming “FUCK” at the top of my lungs because I am exhausted and have been standing up pedaling for the last few hours because the trail is too rough to sit and if I sit I feel like I am going to break my ass right off my my legs. What I am trying to get at is, the race was good damn amazing. It was torment. It was a lifetime of good, bad, and in between. I worked my body and spirit into the ground and went to bed feeling broken down almost every night only to get up again 5 hours later to do it again. I like to remind people that they are just one giant average of all of there actions. If you looked at me as an average I would be a broke guy from the MidWest of the United States that trains hard, rides his bike, loves helping people. Nothing special. In the words of Kendrick Lamar “Bitch be humble, sit down.”

Note- I know this is full of spelling errors, grammar, and punctuation. Don’t care.

Lube Is Better than Spit; Get Some Tri-Flow!

Super quick review. Tri-Flow TF21010 Superior Lubricant– this shit works waaayyyy better than spit. I am a simple guy and try not to get to crazy with having a million different options for every individual situation. I happened to have Tri-Flow recommended to my by one of the world’s dopest bike mechanics right before I raced the Tour Divide a few years back. Without a doubt in my mind, it is the best all around bike lubricant. I used any time I needed lube during the Tour Divide, and I’ve used it in all four seasons in the Midwest as well. Hot and dry to cold and salty, it holds up. I will admit that during the Tour Divide I had to put it inside my jacket to warm it up in the early mornings up north. Other than that, I have had absolutely no problems with it.

tri-flow tf21010 superior lubricant

Seriously, get yourself some Tri-Flow!

Now for my normal sage wisdom. I am paraphrasing what I have heard from a few “friends”, You can’t just spit on that shit, spit isn’t lube. So if you need a good all around bike lube when spit just won’t cut it, get some Tri-Flow.

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My Old Friend, Self-Doubt

It will all end at some point. Whether that be on a nice sunny day with a tail wind and everything going right, or on a stormy depressed day with a head wind beating you physically and mentally. It will all end. So when shit is going good, I like to remember to soak in the love and share it. When things are going bad, I try to remember that it can’t last forever. No storm has ever raged forever. No mountain I have climbed on foot or bike has went forever upward. Eventually, it heads back down again.

During the climbs or tough times, I go into my suffering hole and relax with my good old friend Self-Doubt. I’ve come to terms with this old companion of mine. He lies to me. He makes me feel bad. He makes it so I never want to go on living or leaving my couch. The thing is, I now know deep down inside of myself, that he’s lying. Suffering will go away and I will bounce back. So that lying son of a bitch, Self-Doubt, can hang out as long as he wants. Hell, I’ll pour him a drink and make him comfortable too. I know that I will outlast him. I am fucking relentless. I will never surrender. Sure, there are moments where I find myself shocked by Self-Doubt’s presence, but then I shake it off, relax and wait for the next sweet ass deal that life has in store for me.

I’ve been in some really dark places in my life, but do you want to know something neat? None of them lasted. One of these spots even lasted years, but you know what? It’s over. I’m not worried about being sad again. Bring that shit on. I will never set a goal of being happy all of the time. I will instead work on trying to keep the valleys as shallow as possible and get through them as quick as possible. At some point in your life, you are going to feel like a piece of shit. You’ll feel like everything you’ve done has been the wrong choice. Just remember that if you relax and keep moving without dwelling, it will pass. Unless you are a shitty person to everyone and in everything you do. If that’s the case, then get down to sorting that out first. That’s what I had to do.  Am I perfect? No.

But I am relentless,  even when I’m hanging with Self-Doubt

Be Uncomfortable

If I continually did things that I was certain to finish, I would be unfulfilled because I wouldn’t be growing. I like the nervousness I feel when trying something new or facing an unfamiliar challenge.

I like having a big race hanging over my head. There are a few things that might happen; either I’ll push myself to new heights to be better prepared for the race, or when the race starts I will have to fight to sort it out as I go. Maybe both.

Either way I’m pushing to become a better person. If I fail, which happens a lot more than people like to believe, then I will learn from it. Where did things break down? Was it mental, physical, or was I short sited in something? Did I go into the race unprepared? Regardless, I will learn and grow.

I like that. I want to grow. I never want to settle for good enough. If I am successful, I like to take a moment to celebrate my accomplishment and then get right back at it, humbled. I have had people call me arrogant but I will be the first person to tell you that I’m not unique in my abilities or my drive. I am not special. My life has no more value than anyone else’s, I just want to get as much out of my life as possible, which might be the only difference. I want to look back on my life and tell the stories with the adventures sounding like the far-fetched dreams of a rambling mad man. If someone says that I am nuts for everything I am trying to achieve, then I’m getting where I need to be. I would much rather be outside the circle of normal and have people point me out as a person who has tried too many things and failed at all of them, than be one of the people that sit in the comfort being average and do the laughing.

I have DARE MIGHTY THINGS tattooed on my arm for a reason. It is a constant reminder to me that I would much rather be the laughing stock who tried to become everything possible with my life, than the person that gets to the end of my life and thinks “Fuck, I wish I had one more day.” Whenever the end of my life may come, I am ready for it. I am going balls to the wall right now chasing my dreams. The number of successes and failures I have is irrelevant. What matters to me is that I am going for it.

Dare mighty things.

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A Little Bit, a Lot of Times

Everyone gets carried away with giant dreams and goals. You want to be debt free, travel the whole world, have six pack abs, remodel your house, and have all new gear. You write out the goals and then schedule out a balls to the wall plan. You calculate everything down to the hour and the penny. You are going to be Zen in months. Maybe weeks. Better yet, hours!

On Monday morning you wake up hard charging for the goals. You tell your friends and family. You have this shit all figured out. When you lay down for bed that night, you are full of pride and accomplishment. People shouldn’t get paid to help you do any of these things. You just set your plan and get after it. Easy.

Then Friday rolls around. You have given yourself an allowance of $3 per week, you have been eating nothing but veggies and “clean” foods. You decide to treat yourself to a pint on the way home. You deserve it. Goal crushing five days in a row now. After your pint, someone offers to buy you another round if you stay. There is a pizza coming out for the table, too. So you have another pint. It won’t hurt anything. Eat some pizza. You are enjoying yourself, so you decide,- screw it, what is $3 and a few calories more? When you go to bed, you’re pissed that you went over your budget on money and calories.

You wake up Saturday and remember that you missed your goals yesterday. SHIT! You eat junk all day and go out Saturday night. You already blew the budgets so why not. You can start again Monday.

On Monday morning you’re a little less motivated. The same scenario plays out with a little less drive this time around. Three weeks later and you’re back to your same old routine. No lasting changes.

This has happened to everyone. EVERYONE! The question is why? The answer is simple; you’re trying to cut a tree down with a single chop. It doesn’t work that way. Nothing does. We tend to overestimate what we can get done in six months to a year and underestimate what we can get done in five years. You can either give one big ole swing with the ax and declare your victory or defeat, or you could take a small swing at the tree every time you walk by. If you go with the small swing approach, you will expend little to no perceived effort and the tree will fall before you know it. Now let’s apply that to life.

If you want to lose 10 pounds, that is 35,000 calories. You can starve yourself for a week and lose the weight, just to gain it back, or you can slowly change your habits. If you were to eat a breakfast that is 100 calories lower, and keep all other food intake constant, you would lose that 10 pounds in a year. That’s it. One meal that is healthier. It’s easy and you will hardly feel the change. You would probably get used to it very quickly and not even notice it after a few weeks. You are not your best efforts, you are what you consistently do; you are the average of your actions.

Make small changes. Make those changes habit. Make more small changes. Your life will change before you know it. You won’t even see it until you look back at how far you’ve come.

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I am mentally lazy

I am a lazy piece of shit sometimes. If I look back at my failures I can assign one cause to almost all of them, and that’s my mental laziness.

I let the “I don’t want to” overcome my drive for success. I don’t want to be cold, I don’t want to wake up, I don’t want to take the pain anymore, I don’t want to look bad, I don’t want to what ever the fuck my excuse is. There have been a few times in my life when that voice has screamed in my head with everything it has got and I have overcome it. But not today my friend.

I know that it can be done. What I want is to make that repeatable at my will. Suffering and the voice urging me to quit are old friends of mine. I know that they’re lying to me to get me to take the comfortable route. I never want to be comfortable with where I am at, and I never want to be comfortable being average. I want my own personal greatness.

Just a few weeks ago, I had a 150 mile training ride to do. It was pouring rain and cold when I started. It continued on for six hours. More than a couple times, I started to talk myself out of staying the course and following my route. No one would know. I’ve been training hard and could use a recovery day… Blah blah bullshit, blah. I will also admit there were a couple times I stoppped. I stopped to be comfortable. Then I would remember, it can’t rain all of the time, all of this will end at some point, and if I want to be something great, I have to endure what brings me discomfort. If I want to be able to be proud of who and what I am, I have to embrace what makes me uncomfortable.

I have the American Trail Race coming up very soon. I’ve been training to make a race plan and have been making deals with myself. That is bullshit. I am going out there to learn about myself and see what I can do mentally and physically. I will sleep when I have to, not when I plan to. It will hurt. I will be sore and uncomfortable. That is fine. I just need to keep my damn head in the game. I want to dig a deep dark hole and be okay sitting in it until that storm passes.

As of right now, I can tell you that I am not where I want to be. I am not even close. If I ever get to where I want to be, it’s because I’m being lazy and settling for good enough. There is always more I can do, and I can always do better. I don’t want greatness, I want my own greatness. Mental laziness will only get in the way of that.

You want to know the good part of all this? Like I said, I can always do better. So can you.


Stop Reading My Articles

If you don’t feel like you’re gaining anything from reading my website, please stop reading it. I urge you to do something else with your time. Chase your happiness and passion.

We tend to look at the large chunks of time and money that we spend and are consciously aware of it. We have to go to work,  that’s eight hours, we have to pick up and drop off the kids from school and activities, that’s two more hours. That time is gone from your day to day life and you are very conscientious about it. We have to pay our mortgage, car payment, and medical bills. Those costs in time and money stare us in the face every day.

What we tend to overlook are the transition times and transition spending. If a dam were to break, the results would be catastrophic; these are our large unforeseen expenses. The bill comes in and you cringe. But we never take the time to realize that we spend just as much money on what I like to call transitional happiness. You really want to take a vacation to some far off destination, or put in a new patio for entertaining your friends, but you never seem to have the money.

However, if we went back and audited our spending, we would be surprise to see that we spend the cost of that vacation in micro transactions. Death by a thousand cuts. We have Amazon Prime accounts, Hulu accounts, NetFlix accounts, we buy a new pair of shoes every couple weeks, we go out to dinner with friends 2-3 times a week. Nothing is a large one time expense like the $1500 trip you want to take but, every month or two we are spending the cost of the trip on items that temporarily appease us. We slowly satiate ourselves into the tomorrow mentality;

“I will just buy this one thing today and tomorrow I will start saving.”

“It is winter now and the patio cannot be put in, so I will buy this TV for the Superbowl and in the spring time, I will save for the patio.”

These are just examples. In your case, the patio and vacation can be what ever your dream is.

The same concept goes to time. You know where the big chunks are going and they weigh on you like a tons of bricks. You dream of the time you can retire and how glorious it will be. You will have all the time in the world to purse your health, happiness, and you might even take up a few new hobbies. What you don’t notice is, YOU HAVE THE TIME RIGHT NOW! You are just burning it up in transitions and with the excuse, “If I find the time”.

First, let’s address having the time. You will never find the time. You have to schedule the things that are important to you and set the standard that you will not miss that appointment. If it is a priority, you will get it done. I like to ask people “How many times have you left your house without your pants on in the last year?” They look at me like I am crazy. You put pants on because it is a standard that you have set on which you will not budge. If you are going to be two minutes late for something, you could easily save those two minutes by not getting dressed after you get out of the shower. Just get dressed later when you find the time. But that will never happen. Because wearing pants is a priority.

Next, I would like to bring transition time wasters to your attention. I want you to write down every minute that you spend awake and how you spend them. If you are anything like me, I am productive somewhere around 11-12 hours a day. I sleep about 7-8 hours a day. That is twenty hours. Where is the other four hours a day going? I am glad you asked. If you are average, you watch five hours of television per day. The average person looks at social media websites an average of an hour and forty minutes a day. Next, the average person sends around sixty texts per day. Teenagers send more, people over 55 send less. You have to check your email account right? Checking and rechecking. Send out a message, receive a response, send another out, it turns into more text messages, just in a different account…

I try to be very observant of how I spend my time and I waste a ton out of habit. I get done with a task, and I pull out my smartphone. I check and respond to 5-8 text messages. They take a minute each. If I get a response right then, I respond again. I check my Instagram and respond to some notifications that I need to and then browse though the people I’m following. Then repeat on Facebook. Then email. Maybe a few more texts came in. I did this exact thing this morning, even though I’m well aware of the time drain. I just had a conversation over coffee about it a few hours before that. I was working on this article in my head. I knew it was coming and I fell right into the trap! Twenty two minutes had passed before I was ready to start my training for the day. When I was done training, I had to fight every urge in my body to do the same thing again. How many times a day are we trickling out 15-20 minutes? Do it once and you’ve spent enough time to read a chapter in a book. Twice? That’s enough time to run a 5k at a comfortable pace. When I audited my own time, I was doing this ten times a day or more. Even if it’s only five minutes at a time, I have spent a whole hour of my life just passing time in a single day.

So now, this is where I urge you to stop reading my website and following me on social media. If you’re getting a positive effect out of my content, I would love it if you continue to read, follow, email me to invite me to have a cup of coffee and so on. On the other hand, if you can honestly look at what I am providing and you get mad or you’re only consuming it to occupy your time, occupy it doing something else. GO ON GIT!

You and only you can end the slow trickle of your dreams escaping you and the tomorrow mentality. Chase your dreams.

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Rage Rocket of Love

I really don’t know what has been going on lately. I haven’t been super pumped up to train. I haven’t missed a training session, my lifts are going well, my rides are going well…

I just haven’t been digging on it.

I’ve been daydreaming of getting other things done. I’ll be lifting weights and in between sets I start thinking about the books I’m reading. I’ll be out riding and thinking about people who I would like to have coffee with.

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You Are an Average of Your Action: Thought of the Day

You are the average of everything you have done thus far in your life. All of your actions, meals, learning, friends, everything; blended into one.

Improve your average.

Improve your average.

It surprises me when people think that one single thing, good or bad, is going to change them forever. One cookie is not going to make you unhealthy, just like one salad is not going to make you healthy. You are an average of the food you consume. One workout is not going to get you in better shape, just like missing one is not going to knock you out of shape.

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