The Bobby Rock Newsletter #8 (3-24-2021) - Run Your Race
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #8 (3-24-2021) - Run Your Race
Hey Everyone -
Quick Update: Since brevity remains a challenge for me, we will be trying a twice-monthly approach with this Newsletter starting in April, so as not to burn everyone out. I'll still hit you guys with something every week, but the in-between emails (starting next week) will be something super quick. Cool? Let's try it. Onward for now...
In This Issue:
Run Your Race
I was recently on the phone with a friend who was about to do his first half-marathon.
“Any words of advice for me?” he asked.
“Run your race,” I told him.
“How so?” he asked.
I conveyed the following:
For my last half-marathon in March of 2019, I had a number in mind—a personal best time I was looking to achieve—and I trained like a mad-man to hit it. In the 11-week training period leading up to the race, I don’t believe I missed a single workout: some days running, some days lifting weights, and some days both. Warm-ups, cool-downs, stretching, daily grinding on a foam roller, martial arts sessions that I tailored for this training, and some visualization practice, all with special priority given to sleep and recovery. It was all there, consistently. I even trained with a local running group twice a week for the extra camaraderie, accountability, and coaching. Plus, the daily nutrition and hydration strategies were spot-on.
Additionally, I had worked out a solid gameplan with my coach for how I would approach the race: I would take the first couple miles on the slower side, just to ease into a groove, step up to my primary target pace range for most of the race, and then kick things up and drain the tank over the last few miles to come in somewhere under my goal time. Everything was on-point.
On the morning of, I got up super early and played out my race-day ritual to a tee: a little medi time, superfood smoothie, hydration, warm-up, everything… dialed-in. Then I got to the race-site early and ran a slow-and-easy one-mile route, just to break a sweat and get even warmer. I was well-prepared and feeling great.
I wound up toward the front of the pack at the starting line, and when the opening shot fired, I stepped into a comfortable stride, immediately monitoring my Garmin watch for pace. I knew right around where I should be for every mile of this thing. All was unfolding according to plan.
However, over the course of the first mile or so, I noticed something odd: everyone—and I mean everyone—was passing my ass. Granted, the field was a combo of 10K runners (who would run the course once) and half-marathoners (who would run it twice), but still. Younger people, older people, bigger people, smaller people… just blazing right past me. “What the hell?” I thought, as I kept glancing down at my watch to check pace. "No, this is right. This is what Coach Stephanie and I agreed would be the sensible opening pace," I assured myself. But why was I the fucking tortoise in a field of hares all of a sudden? It was mystifying... almost panic-inducing for a second. "Good Lord,” I thought, as three 15-year-old girls passed me with their bouncing ponytails. "I’m gonna come in 182nd place in this bitch!”
Of course, having done a number of other races, I knew of the tendency for folks to get excited and come out of the gate way too fast. And yet, it’s still a bit disconcerting to sense that hardly anyone else is behind you. But I kept checking my pace and knew that I had to stay on track and run my race to hopefully finish with my time. And if that meant 182nd place, what do I care? My objective wasn’t to finish in a certain place, but rather, to finish with a certain average pace. So I stuck with the plan and kept cruising.
Pre-race with Coach Stephanie
Sure enough, by the time I hit mile three, I was steadily passing folks. By mile four, the bouncing ponytails were in my rearview, along with a big chunk of the field. By five, I was easing by many of the quickest starters who were now laboring at a much slower pace. And by the half-way point at six-plus, things were notably lighter all around me. But here again, I was just sticking with my gameplan.
The second half of the race was more of the same, but with far fewer runners in view. I gradually increased the pace, as my strategy allowed for, and noticed I was slowly and steadily surging ahead of anyone I saw in front of me. This is what’s known as “picking people off.” You see someone up ahead 50 yards and focus on passing them… so long as you’re not breaking pace too much. (It’s kind of like a slow-motion video game!) It’s not really a competitive thing because, remember, at these kinds of races, you’re really only in competition with yourself and your own time. But it keeps the mind entertained as you go from passing one person, then on to the next.
Over the last three miles,11 through 13, I dug down deep, found another gear, and gradually passed the remainder of the field (that hadn’t already finished, that is)... including a guy who I managed to barely edge out at the finish line after we had sprinted the last 200 yards together. But our impromptu “race to the line” was all done in the spirit of healthy competition and fun, and it’s undoubtedly what made that agonizing last mile my fastest of the whole race.
I wound up being the seventh to cross the finish line, which was surprising to me, given how things were looking roughly 1:50 minutes prior. But again, how I did relative to the rest of the field was irrelevant. I had come in nearly three minutes under my goal time because I stuck to the plan…. because I didn’t get distracted by everyone else’s strategy (or lack thereof)... and because I didn’t get caught up in "comparison-itis.”
Truth is, I’m on my own special path as a runner. Years of hitting the iron and gaining all of that extra body-weight has ensured that I will never be breathing down the necks of those skinny front-runners at these races, any more than they will be breathing down mine at the heavy end of the dumbbell rack in the gym. But again, what do I care? My fitness journey is as unique to my experience as theirs is to them. So why would I alter my protocols in favor of someone else’s?
My friend thanked me for the input, but then said, “Hey, wait a minute… is this “run your race” thing one of your Bobby Rock Zen metaphors?”
The question caught me off guard. But then I thought about it:
He probably had a point, but to avoid an association with any self-help cheesiness, I kept my answer a little open-ended:
“Everything in life is a Zen metaphor, Holmes.”
And we left it at that.
Found! More Rare Artifacts (of the VVI variety)
In the spirit of “you saw it here in the Newsletter first,” I thought I would share a recent excavation from the depths of my LA storage facility. These artifacts have been discovered from a box that I thought had vanished ages ago. I was stunned when I cracked this thing open and saw what was inside. I’ll get into more pics and details later, of course, but just know that it was a treasure chest of first-run concert T-shirts (from VVI, Nelson, and some of my early solo tours), plus some more rare, cool goodies from the VVI archives.
Example: here are the drum sticks I used in the “That Time of Year” video.
Notice that they’re not actual drum sticks, but rather, the large wooden cylinders that drum sticks are cut from! They are basically like small billy clubs. But I had seen these things at the Pro-Mark factory during a recent tour of the place in early ’88 and thought the visual aspect of swinging these clubs around for a video shoot might be cool. A few months later, the VVI vid popped up and I had my chance.
And, oh yeah… to the left…. yes…. those are the original "granite man" pants I wore for the first VVI record photoshoot! (Notice the side-lacing that was added after the fact when I took them on the road?) Found the boots and wristbands, as well. Crazy discovery! Thought that shit was history. Also of note: The cowbell I used on “Dirty Rhythm” from All Systems Go. Cracked like a motherfucker, but part of our recording history, I suppose.
Thinking about maybe bundling some of these items up for my next record or book launch, kind of like I did for The Boy Is Gonna Rock. Might as well. Otherwise, this shit might be sitting in storage for another 30+ years!
I recently launched my very own custom-blend superfood powder called Dragon Dirt. In this section, we offer tips and insights for our kick-ass new DD community.
Who are you and what do you do?
Hello, my name is Malcolm Gil. I’m a Los Angeles native, live sound touring engineer, and athlete. I mix Front of House and monitors for a variety of bands, and enjoy pushing my body to the limit. I enjoy long-distance running, cycling, and my new obsession...TENNIS!!
What is your go-to Dragon Dirt recipe?
After much trial and error, I've found my favorite recipe: 12 ounces of oat milk, frozen banana, frozen berries, cacao nibs, almond butter, and, of course, 2 heaping scoops of the DIRT blended in my Ninja blender.
When and how often do you drink the Dirt?
I save the Dirt for my toughest workout days. That ends up being around 2-3 days per week. I use it as a meal replacement for breakfast, or in between long tennis workouts.
What health benefits have you noticed?
I’ve noticed a variety of benefits from my regular use of the Dirt. My endurance during workouts has increased. My recovery times have reduced. Overall my health and mood have been elevated.
What might you tell someone who is trying Dragon Dirt for the very first time?
Play around with the recipe. Considering all the great adaptogens, you will feel the benefits of the Dirt after a few uses. You will spend a ton more buying most of these ingredients ON THEIR OWN! Dragon Dirt is an amazing blend of some of the best performance and health supplements around. Cheers, Bobby, for creating an all-in-one that I've been in search of for years!
(For more info, or to try your very own bag of Dirt, scope it HERE.)
Thanks, Malcolm! You are a beast! So happy to hear the Dirt is working for you...
Thank you, everyone! Catch you guys with a short check-in email next week...