Off Course Mini: Attendance is the key to success

I really enjoy writing my Off Course blogs, and I truly hope that my readers are enjoying reading them.  but between thinking up ideas, writing a big long piece, evaluating and editing it, and then making an accompanying video, it’s a lot of work. The consequence is that I can’t churn them out as frequently as I’d like and new ideas for blogs have started a to accumulate in the notes app on my phone. I am still going to be releasing longer Off Course pieces and the videos that accompany them, but in between those projects I am going to be writing and releasing shorter pieces called Off Course Minis every Monday. They’re going to be short pieces about shit that I thought or heard or read and felt like were worth sharing. I’ll also add a quick update about how training has been going and what races I’ve got coming up or just ran. I hope you enjoy, and if you want to reach out, you can leave a comment under any of my posts or slide into my DMs on Instagram or Twitter.

Quick update: Last week, I ran the Payton Jordan 10k at Stanford. I came in 10th in 28:13, which is definitely not what I was hoping to do. I certainly wanted to run quite a bit faster as my PR is 28:00 and I feel like I am in at least that good of shape, I just had a bad day, that happens sometimes. Coming off this race, my attention turns to recovering and preparing for the US 25K championships, which are next Saturday, 5/12, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Additionally, last week was Cinco De Mayo, so the weekend turned around pretty damn fast!

Ok, on to the piece. Enjoy!

My 8th grade science teacher was named Mr. White. Sadly, it was an earth science class and not chemistry class and he did not have cancer (that part isn’t sad, I guess). To my knowledge, this Mr. White was not cooking and dealing meth while I was enrolled in his class (that part isn’t sad either). However, he did have a very full mustache (also not sad. I guess I don’t know what part of this is sad, but it definitely is) and as an 8th grader, I wasn’t particularly well equipped to identify teachers who make the calculated decision to begin cooking selling illicit narcotics. So, you never know.

If we’re being honest, I only remember 2 things from my 8th grade science class. The first is that matter can never be created or destroyed and no matter what you do to a piece of matter, it will always have the same mass. You can melt it, boil it, evaporate it, even blow it up, and if you have closed system, the mass will never change. Except in nuclear reactions, which a super annoying kid named Kevin brought up every time we talked about anything even remotely related to this concept. Kevin wasn’t inherently annoying, but you know when someone has one little piece of information that they interject into any conversation that even kinda relates to their little nugget? Yeah, I hate that. I do it, every time either selenium or Brazil nuts are brought up, I let people know that Brazil Nuts are one of the only sources of food containing selenium, but I hate that I do it. And I hate that Kevin did it too.

The second thing I remember from that class was Mr. White saying, “Attendance is the key to success” even more times than Kevin talking about nuclear reactions. God damn it, Kevin. In 8th grade, I didn’t completely understand the depth and wisdom of this saying, because I was 13, which is not the best age for absorbing and appreciating life lessons. In fact, I think my reaction to his mantra was, “look dude, I don’t have a choice about attending your class. The bus dropped me off here in the morning and I have no form of transportation to leave here until the bus comes back in the afternoon.” 

I hadn’t thought about 8th grade science or the, probably, non-meth cooking Mr. White since at least 9th grade. That part of my memory had been tucked into the very back of my brain behind a box labeled 2007 Denver Nuggets trivia. But, you know how sometimes the universe repeatedly hits you over the head with a lesson, until your forced to acknowledge it? Well, that happened. It was kinda like Draymond Green kicking people in the bean bag. The first time, it was an interesting and funny event, the second time you’re like “Draymond Green might be a penis kicker” and then the third time it hapenned, you’re forced to think, “Draymond Green definitely kicks dudes in the wiener and I should pay attention to that.” The first sign was Des Linden winning the Boston Marathon and championing the mantra, “keep showing up.” Then it was reading Rob Delaney’s book called Mother, Wife, Sister, Human, Warrior, Falcon, Yardstick, Turban, Cabbage and his decision to use Twitter to write and share jokes, even after one of his jokes had been stolen. His mantra was, “Go ahead and take em, motherfucker. Here come five more.” That attitude has earned him 1.5 million Twitter followers, his own show on Amazon, and the before mentioned book. And then, the finale of the universe, or at least my sub conscious, trying to tell me something was Mr. White’s mustache popping back into my head and his disembodied mouth and stache telling me that “attendance is the key to success” as I was waiting at a stop light coming home after my morning run while I was trying to decide if I was gonna do core later.

All these people are right, you guys. There’s a lot of things you can’t control, but you can always make the decision to show up, and you can always do the work. Doing the work is a pre-requisite for success, but attendance is a pre-requisite for doing the work.

Thanks for reading, except for you, Kevin, and please buy HOKA One One shoes, I ran in the Cavu this morning, and GU Energy Labs nutrition food stuffs. I’ve been guzzling the Summit Tea Roctane Drink Mix like my life depended on it.