Get to know F4 Athlete John Greff
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Get to know F4 Athlete John Greff
During normal business hours, Boulder F4 athlete John Greff is busy at Sequel Venture Partners working on funding deals for early stage technology businesses. But as soon as he can shed the office clothes, he is lacing up his running shoes, putting on shorts and a T-shirt, and heading to an F4 run workout—something he has been doing regularly since 2005 when FastForward Sports started.
John first met F4 Head Coach Scott Fliegelman through the early-day Bolder Boulder training group. When Scott launched FastForward, John followed as an athlete. Since that day, John has participated in every seasonal F4 running program.
“I really like the concept of F4 in terms of running with groups,” says John. “It’s a very accommodating group of runners and coaches, and Scott runs the program extraordinarily well.”
One of the many things John likes about F4 is the range and levels of people participating. “It’s a very open group and accepting of people of all abilities. FastForward really makes even the novice feel at home,” says John. He shares that even while you run with people of your own ability at a workout, you actually get to know everybody because everyone starts and finishes together. “That’s just a great dynamic,” says John. He also adds that when F4 athletes travel to destination races together, “You get to know everybody in the FastForward family.”
Speaking of family, John encouraged one of his daughters to join FastForward to train for a half marathon. This past March, the two of them ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon together. “It was her first half marathon, so I ran the race with her,” says John, adding that he enjoyed running in the “less serious” portion of the race so he could keep pace with Kali. “They have a lot more fun ‘back there’ in races!” he laughs.
This past year in particular, though, John spent his time in other races at the front of the pack—to include a 7th place finish in his age group at the Bolder Boulder. “I aged up to a person who’s closer to 60 than 50 and I finished in the top three in my age group in all of my longer races this past year. I credit all of this to Scott and the years of training and experiences I’ve gained from FastForward,” says John.
What’s up next for John? “I’m running the Rock ‘n’ Roll half in a few weeks, then I’ll do the winter season with FastForward and then probably do the Moab half in the spring,” says John, who finished the Rock ‘n’ Roll half second in his age group last year. “This year, I’m going to run it and just have a good time,” he laughs.
Get to Know F4 Coach Michael Kelly
Get to know F4 Coach Michael Kelly
Coach Profile: Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly confesses that he’s an adult onset athlete. It wasn’t until his senior year of college that the world of endurance sports peaked his interest. And this coming from a guy who grew up in Boulder!
“During my senior year of college, I came home to Boulder for a visit. I was walking along Pearl Street and saw a guy in his 40s that was your typical athlete-Boulder- runner guy, and I said to myself ‘That’s what I want to be.’ So I started running.”
Michael started off gradually. While an exchange student in Northern Germany during his final year of college, he committed to run 30 minutes every day the weather was nice. He figured he would get off easy since the region was notoriously rainy and cold. Much to his chagrin—or maybe not—the winter was unseasonably warm, so he ended up running a lot. He loved every minute of it.
When he got back to the States, he was inspired to sign up for a triathlon by his mom, who had been doing duathlons and triathlons. “I borrowed a bike and I did my best to learn how to swim,” says Michael. “When I finished, I thought I could do that so much better.” That was 1997.
Today, Michael is a financial website designer by day and an Ironman coach for F4 from January through September.
“I am a big believer in training smart,” says Michael. “I can only train 10-15 hours a week because I have a full-time job, so I focus on getting as much value out of those hours as possible and fitting in the highest quality workouts. And I share this philosophy with my athletes, most of who also have jobs and life commitments.”
Particularly when it comes to training for an extreme endurance event like an Ironman, Michael teaches his athletes to train smart, race hard and have fun.
“A lot of our athletes look up to others who are fast, so one of my coaching missions is to get people to understand that fast isn’t necessarily good. Most of us—myself included—could train every day of our life and never make it to the Olympics, so we need to focus on training and racing as close to our athletic potential as possible,” he explains.
But that doesn’t mean Michael doesn’t encourage his athletes to dig deep in a race. “It’s all about racing intelligently and making the most of your race time,” he says. “This is how I’ve found my personal success in triathlon. I don’t worry about being on the podium. I focus on my own personal performance, never giving in and getting myself to the finish line.”
As cliché as it may sound, Michael agrees that everybody is a winner when they cross a finish line. And this it what he strives to instill in his athletes.
Answer “The Question” from F4 Coach Scott Gurst
Can you answer "The Question" from F4 Coach Scott Gurst?
The Question: Coach Scott Gurst Shares What You Should Be Asking Yourself Before, During and After a Race
Standing at the starting line of a race, our minds are flooded with questions:
“Have I trained enough?”
“Will I be able to stick to my race plan?”
“Can I really do this?”
“How fast can I go?”
“How far can I push myself?”
“Why am I here?”
The questions don’t stop once we cross the starting line. As the race progresses, we continue to question:
“Did I go out too fast?”
“Why I am behind that guy?”
“Am I going the right pace?”
“Can I keep this up?”
“Will I make it?”
“What if I fail?”
Asking these questions is a natural part of the process. Regardless of how much we have trained and prepared for a race, if the race is a true challenge for us, there will always be an element of doubt… and doubt raises questions. Unfortunately, we routinely neglect to ask one of the most important questions we should be asking of ourselves at the start line and throughout our races.
“What kind of person do I want to be right now?”
I believe that the reason we take on big challenges and sign up for events that we know will push us out of our comfort zones is not just to test ourselves physically, but to also find out what kind of people we are. I believe that the real question we are trying to answer is not just “Can I do this stressful thing?” but “Can I do this stressful thing and still stay true to the kind of person I want to be?” It’s a lot easier said than done, especially when the challenge pushes you to a level of discomfort that you have not previously experienced.
In my athletic career, there are times that I have met the physical challenge but have been disappointed with the kind of person that I was when put under the stress of the event. Conversely, there are times when I have not met my physical performance goals but still felt great about how I responded as a person. And I have discovered that the real disappointment for me does not come from falling short of a time or distance goal. It comes more from falling short of being the kind of person I want to be.
Before your next race, do the following:
1. Get a picture in your head of the best version of yourself, the kind of person you want to be.
2. Write down a list of words that describe this version of yourself (e.g., tough, strong, confident, tenacious, resilient, relentless, impermeable, courageous, relaxed, calm, smooth, grateful, positive, joyous, disciplined, focused, warrior, competitor, etc.).
3. Read these to yourself on a regular basis leading up to your race. As you do, picture yourself being that kind of person on race day.
On race day, when you start hearing questions raised by doubt, remind yourself of the real question you are trying to answer. Ask yourself “What kind of person do I want to be right now?” Remind yourself of one or more of the words that you use to describe the best version of yourself. Get the picture of that person in your head, and respond to the challenge as that person would.
Note that at various points during your race, the words that work for you may change. At the start, I may decide to be “relaxed, confident, positive and grateful.” When things start to get tough late in a race, I may decide to be “courageous, focused and relentless.”
The nice thing about changing the question is that you are changing to a question that you can actually answer. Stress on race day comes from spending time worrying about things that are not under your control at that moment, things that have already happened or haven’t happened yet. One thing that is always under your control is how you respond to the current situation. Regardless of whatever else is going on, at any moment you can choose to exhibit the kind of characteristics that represent the best version of yourself.
Choosing to respond as the best version of yourself, even under the most stressful situations, is extremely empowering. Whether or not we fall short of our performance goals, we always have the power to answer the question that really matters and find a kind of satisfaction that can’t be measured by a stopwatch.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
TEAM ROB - shirt designs are in....
In a show of F4 team support for our good friend and teammate Rob Acker, Colleen and Mel crafted a shirt ideal for training runs aimed to prepare all of us for Rob's A race we all pick A races, Ironman, Marathon, Half Marathon, Triathlon, BolderBoulder etc. etc. but Robs A race this season is still on the calendar: December 9th 2012 Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K in Wash Park.now thats a Man that knows how to pick A races!
This is not a fund raiser, your $20 will go directly to the cost of the shirt, if we have anything left (because we end up getting a volume discount) we will buy a shirt for Rob (or maybe buy him a machine that will do planks for him).
Come on, who couldn't use another tech running shirt?
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