Archive for 26/08/2010

Excellence and Essence

The ancient Greeks had a philosophy that guided them in much of what they did – they called it Aretê. It’s a philosophy that I had started to employ in my own life and in my career as an ultrakilometrator before I discovered that they were talking about it several thousand years ago. No doubt that their philosophy and mine are not exactly the same, but there are many similarities. I have not studied Aretê; I prefer to work out my own life’s philosophies myself from my own experiences.

When people talk of excellence they think: win, win, win. I’m not talking only of always winning, when I talk of excellence, I’m referring to demanding the best that you have to give. I try to demand excellence of myself in everything I do. If you give the best you can, but you don’t achieve what you wanted, it’s much better that if you achieved something without having given your all.

Today we celebrate things, titles and possessions, not essence. Each day I see depressed people, dissatisfied with their lives, with the people around them and worse still, with themselves. I believe that one reason for this is that they focus too much on things or titles and not on the essence of their lives. One who sees the intrinsic value of their life and gives the best they have to give each day will be content.

If you go out to run a race, to beat your own record, and you run as fast as you possibly can, but do not achieve your goal, you wont be disappointed if you know that you haven’t had a good day. You may not celebrate, but you will know that it turned out as it had to. You will not have to invent excuses for yourself or for others; it will be unnecessary. Excellence and essence is important in all aspects of our lives. In our work it is what should guide us, not anything else, and in our private lives even more so.

Finally, I believe that if we want to live lives rich in what really matters, positive lives, we must demand excellence from ourselves. If, when we look at ourselves in the mirror we know we have given all that we have to give, there is no doubt that the face looking back at us will be smiling.

I don’t know what will happen between the 1st and the 12th of September, but I do know one thing – I’m ready to give the best I have to give in whichever situation I find myself. I know that everything will not go as I want it to, life isn’t like this, but starting out positive and giving the best of me, I know that I will be smiling at the end!


Crossing off the list

Here, one week away from the Ultra Pyrene, I’m slowly crossing off the list of preparations and jobs. We’re almost ready, almost, but there’s always something that escapes us, or things that are not up to us (these being the things that cause the most stress). Yesterday Siscu, La Pequeña and I went to do all the food shopping, and today I went to Sabadell for a few more things.

The best part about going to Sabadell is always that I get to Kilometrate with JMA. After a lovely chat at home with him and Rosa Maria, we went down to the athletics track. We left RM and collected Paco, a friend of JMA’s. I was extremely well accompanied while kilometrating along the Ripoll River. I was entertained from both sides; the smile didn’t leave my face. We decided to kilometrate for 12kms, seeing as there is 1 week until the Ultra Pyrene and this challenge is 12 stages from the 1st till the 12th of September – as both JMA and I like numbers to fit – we agreed that 12 seemed the perfect number of kms!

With each day that passes, I’m getting more psyched up to set off up into the mountains. There will be plenty of surprises – but I know that I’m extremely well prepared physically, mentally, logistically and in terms of my team. With each job I cross off my list, my smile grows, my spirit grows and my joy grows also. What’s going to happen on Friday afternoon, when the motor home is here outside, packed, dressed in all the stickers and ready to set off fro San Sebastian on Monday? I’ll explode with happiness!

I know that one of the most important things in this challenge will be the human aspect – our experience as a team, the support that will come in for ASEM, our friends who will visit us along the way, and the people we will meet along the way from the Town Halls, and all the runners who will come to kilometrate with me. I don’t know what will happen, what surprises or obstacles are awaiting me, but I do know that I will face them all in the best way that I can, smiling and positive, and I know that the human gems will be what will bring me light in the darkest moments.


Girona! Looking forward to return…

Today, we presented the Ultra Pyrene in Girona, Siscu, Oz and I together with the Sports Delegate Josep Maria Jofre. I was delighted to be there, seated at the table – it was months ago during the winter when I first went to meet Josep Maria to propose that the arrival of the final stage of the Ultra Pyrene be held in his city. From the first moment he was delighted with the idea and helped me in every way possible – something which one doesn’t find every day. I value people, who are not only good people, but also professional in their interaction with others.

Apart from the local press, Amadeus Recasens and his wife had come. Amadeus is the director of McRent who, together with Esplai Caravaning Manresa are giving us our mobile home for the challenge.  It was wonderful to see them, having last seen them during the first hours of my 24 hrs in La Maquinista! Amadeu and the team from Esplai not only have an excellent fleet of mobile homes, but also, like Josep Maria, are people whom from the first moment have been professional, correct, and a pleasure to work with.

Felix Ribas, Sports Delegate of Cerdanyola, came with his wife to the presentation, which was an added gift today. Felix is opening the Catalunya Tennis Resort together with the nearby Hotel Mas Sola, and he will be joining me to share some kms during the Ultra Pyrene.

During the last kms before arriving at the Pavelló Municipal d’Esports Girona-Fontajau befote the presentation, I paid great attention to the road, recording it in my mind and visualising the last kms of the Ultra Pyrene.  Although I’m well aware that I have more than a few kms to cover kilometrating before arriving in Girona at 6pm on the 12th of September, it was wonderful imagining them today.  Looking forward to returning to Girona…


Alex Living Excellence
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