Richard Nelson

Does training for an Ironman relieve the tedium of office life?

In Uncategorized on 2017 March 26 Sunday at 19:09:11

In compliance with Betteridge’s Law, my answer is No—but I rather think that Olga Khazan’s may be Yes. The brief blog post I linked to is based on this study in the Journal of Consumer Research; I particularly like its abstract’s last sentence:

In a context of decreased physicality, market operators play a major role in selling pain to the saturated selves of knowledge workers, who use pain as a way to simultaneously escape reflexivity and craft their life narrative.


As a cognitarian (a word I learned through this article), am I seeking some kind of opium-of-the-masses escape through training, first for half-marathons, then marathons, and now Ironman? I.e., am I seeking pain to validate myself, give myself a “life narrative” better than just being an itinerant project manager for a Toronto consulting firm no one’s heard of?

I’ll admit to just a creeping feeling that maybe I am. But no.

I always say it’s about the training; the event is just the lens through which you focus your training. I, personally, love the solitude of long-distance training. I don’t like my events to hurt. The one Ironman I finished was the hardest physical thing I ever did; but I wouldn’t say I was ever in “pain”—and that’s fine with me!

I love my work. I love working with a computer as my tool. I love meetings (well, most meetings).

I just also love training. It’s a different part of me.

I love reading, too, but that’s not a “relief” from my workaday world; it’s just different.

So not this cognitarian.


Do you think this’ll work?

In Uncategorized on 2016 October 19 Wednesday at 11:54:11


Carrie Cheadle writes:

Sometimes the thing that keeps you from being in the present moment is your running list of other things you could be doing while you’re training or at practice. Before your next practice, try writing down all of the things on your mind in that moment that are keeping you from being 100% mentally present. Write down anything and everything on your mind on a 3×5 card, a little notebook, etc. As you’re writing, imagine as if the weight of those concerns and tasks is actually being transferred to that piece of paper; as if that notebook or 3×5 card is literally holding onto it for you so you don’t have to carry it with you into practice. Know that it’s being held safe and then give yourself permission to just go be absorbed in practice.

I have huge problems getting out there. So many things I could be doing instead. So: I shall try this, and report back.

Advice on meditation from, um, Upworthy

In Uncategorized on 2016 September 8 Thursday at 13:21:33


What’s the opposite of clickbait? Someone shared this article with me on Facebook, and I actually agree with it. The Upworthyish writing style doesn’t seem appropriate, but the points are good.

I sort of discovered these “mindful pauses” for myself: standing on the train; sitting at my desk wondering what to do next; lying in bed at 2 a.m.

But, as Krop says, “[t]he hardest part isn’t actually completing the mindful pause itself; it’s remembering to do it in the first place.” He’s the expert, but I wonder if linking these pauses to specific moments in the day is actually a good idea.