Thursday, 16 August 2018

When I get back on my feet I'll blow this open wide

One can learn a lot from Mark Manson and Nick Falk.

Manson wrote the book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck", and Nick Falk does not give a f*ck about writing a book. Manson is an award-winning novelist, and Falk winning an award would be novel (just kidding - brilliant dude). The two, however, share a similarity: they choose their problems wisely.

Manson's book is crude, messy, awesome, clever, insightful, and an international best seller. The book's message: learn where to give your f*cks. Translation for the (growing) PC crowd (and yeah, it's growing - the fact that this book is a bestseller in 2018 really speaks to its awesome content): choose your struggles wisely; choose what you are willing to fight for in life. Spend your time and energy on improving values and qualities that will be worth your while and bring you happiness, and let other uncontrollable and frivolous concepts go. It is essentially a self-help book exploring the question of how to find happiness, presented in a cool and funny way.

Nick Falk is a training partner of mine, co-author of Four Sheets (look it up) and one of the cardinal reasons for the breakout season I enjoyed in the spring (along with coach Gary, physiotherapist Mary, our AT's at the university, the whole UWAC crew, and Vector cereal, among other things). Falky was a body to chase in workouts, a positive presence at every weight and core session, and an excellent Pad Thai date. On top of that, Nick Falk is a living and breathing reminder of what I am running towards and what I have to do to get there.

One day, I was complaining to him about my aches and pains following an easy run. I could not remember the last time I had completed an easy ten-miler without any ache or niggle. Our exchange went something like this:

**Paraphrasing, of course. It's not like I report everything my friends say and write about it (who would do that?)

Cyr: I wish I was Mike Tate.
Falk: Why?
Cyr: He can run a whole lot, and rarely gets hurt. I can run a decent amount, but am always dealing with stuff.
Falk: Well, you could always just run less.
Cyr: But, then I will feel like I will not reach my potential.
Falk: Well then you have to pick what you care about more. Running fast, or never getting injured.
Cyr: Well... running fast.
Falk: Then I guess you just have to accept that there will be injuries to fight through. It's part of the reality you chose.
Josh Zilles and Josh Martin: Hey look, a turtle! (story for another time)

What Falk meant was this: either you live further away from your potential, or you live being close to injury more often. Pick your problem.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, in Manson's unique style, communicates Falk's point of view (while making WAY more money from it than Falk makes): everybody wants to be happy. Everybody wants to get rid of all their problems so that they can be at peace. But, what we do not realize is that happiness does not come from the absence of problems - it is impossible to be free of problems - it comes from having problems that are less shitty to deal with. Manson eloquently says it this way:

No matter where you go, there's a five-hundred-pound load of shit waiting for you. And that's perfectly fine. The point isn't to get away from the shit. The point is to find the shit you enjoy dealing with. 

Personal example: I could (hypothetically) get rid of my injury bug by cutting my mileage in half and doing less workouts. Injuries would no longer be my problem, but I would be slower. THAT would be my problem. To me, that is a shittier problem. By running more and pushing closer to my limit, I can solve the problem of being slower, but then I create a new problem: my body hurts and my running career becomes more erratic. When it's up to me to choose which problem I want, right now, I choose the latter one. The problem still sucks, but it's better than not testing my limits (in my young, 23-year-old 1500m times and Jakob Ingebrigtsen-obsessed opinion).

That means I must take responsibility for my current problem: I have not run a meaningful step in six weeks and counting. It is a problem I made myself vulnerable to by giving enough f*cks to push my body to the results I wanted, despite putting much work to avoid injury. Essentially, this is the problem I chose. This is the problem I get to fight through, and it is the problem I must now solve.


My book Runners of the Nish: A Season in the Sun, Rain, Hail and Hell, is available on my website


  1. i hope you get better soon <3 let me know if you need help.

  2. You're a beast Cyr, Hope everything goes well!!


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