Should The Presence Of Your Competitor Make Any Difference To Your Pace?


Hi folks,

Chris Haute. A man of few words, but words worth listening to. From:

One of the coaches who had the greatest impact on my Ironman and marathon performance is Chris Haute of The Advanced Ironman Training Program (AIMP). Every now and then he would come out with a comment or observation that would markedly change my performance for the better, but one comment had me bemused. I said to myself, is Chris talking about real humans or idealized paragons, like Howard Roark?

I think the subject came up when I mentioned to Chris that I was beaten by a fellow age-grouper, Sid Cardoso Senior of Inside Out Sports, by one minute in the Lake Placid Ironman one year. Sid and I made a bet on who would finish first, and in the last few miles he went by me without my noticing to finish one minute ahead. Come to think of it, I still owe Sid that dinner (must fix that!). I said to Chris that if I’d known my competitor was so close I was sure I could have beaten him. Chris looked confused and then irritated, saying “Why should that make a difference. Don’t you go as fast as you can, and if so what has that got to do with your competitor?” This is logically true, but we are talking about the last mile of a 140-mile race when all you want to do is finish. “Is this reasonable,” I thought to myself? I am coming to the conclusion that Chris was right. You are competing against yourself and no one else, because that is the only thing under your control.

Any thoughts on that, I wonder?

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. From a point of view of pure logic mayhap he is right.
    However is your driving force, your payche, purely logical?
    Are we just a bunch of algothrythms and logic circuits?
    No, for me he is wrong.
    However for you he could well be right.

    • Hi Trevor,

      For me logic dominates my activities, except with respect to women, the real source of trouble (and some joy) in my life. Logic goes out the window – the selfish gene working away in my brain as a hidden controller, like Maxwell’s Demon, I suspect.

      -k @FitOldDog

  2. As for the Roarke speech, that is interesting.
    This is the philosophy behind pure market economics, Adam Smith and laissez faire.
    It also underpins the Austrian School of Economics. Strange I would not have seen you admiring this philosophy!
    Surely all that Obama stands for is the wishes of the second-handers!

    • Hi Trevor,

      Ah! No! I do not admire any philosophy, I just appreciate the state of tension between them, as life exists only in a state of dynamic tension the absence of which is death. Complexity theory attempts to approach this by working at the interface of ‘so-called Chaos’ on order. Life is wet and dynamic. Always wiggling around, trying to eat or not be eaten. This is true of the life of a philosophy.

      I prefer to take the Jeet Kune Do approach, use that which works and discard the rest. The only thing that really seems to work long-term, as far as I can tell, is a state of dynamic tension. I was very left wing until I read Atlas Shrugged, and then I drifted towards the dynamic middle somewhere due to the ‘Surfeit of Lampreys,’ all around. I do like to think about his stuff.

      Thanks for thinking.

      -k @FitOldDog

      • I prefer to use an idea I call an informing philosophy.
        I like things to have a philosophical underpinning. I tend to accept or reject politicians on their informing philosophy (or “where they are coming from”) Too many these days seem to latch onto a variety of issues (those with votes in them) and not care if some issues are mutually exclusive.
        For theories of the trade cycle I found Marx useful; for pure money theory Keynes; for applied monetary theory the Austrian school.
        That is left right and centre. Dynamic tension seems to fit. I will use that term. Ta!

  3. Sid is wrong. If you had seen him it would have given you that extra burst of motivation.

    • Hi Marian,

      Sid was correct to slip by me, as he knew what would happen if I saw him, but Chris (my coach) is correct in theory in that I should have been propelling my self forward faster if I could, anyway, but Trevor has it right when it comes to the logic/emotion conflict here.

      -k @FitOldDog

  4. I meant Chris was wrong, not Sid. Just got the names mixed up.

  5. Couldn’t take more than 9 minutes of The Fountainhead. You said “I do like to think about his stuff.” If you are referring to the author, she was a woman.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.