Vision without execution is just hallucination

I’ve been trying to find out to whom to attribute this amazing quote. Henry Ford, perhaps? I heard it was Thomas Edison but apparently words like vision and hallucination meant different things in his day.

But it’s apropos hey? Mona was telling me last night that when you think about lifting and your neurons fire, if you think about it too much you can get overtrained in exactly the same way as if you were actually lifting. I believe this is true because I also was reading a study where they measure the activity in athletes’ brains while doing an activity and while thinking about doing the activity, and the same parts of the brain light up. Hadn’t occurred to me that you could get overtrained doing that though, but it makes sense: the body is such a complex organism.

So while visualisation is incredibly powerful, and obviously does work, it can be a bit dangerous. You can think about failure and then bring failure. It’s hard not to think about failure, though, we are kind of wired that way. But where there’s a will there’s a way: if you want something bad enough you can make it happen. There is something you really must respect about someone who understand what they want and doesn’t let anything get in the way. Those are the people for whom doors open if they think big enough.

But you must also be able to walk the walk. That really is what separates the proverbial men from the boys.

I could also title this post “screw you, rest week.” Both because my body doesn’t seem to feel like it wants to heal and because I am not taking care of it. But, as I said, I’m forgiving of myself in that too. A hectic five weeks of training starts Monday, though, and strict strict diet (except for my Knysna trip and Jaco’s birthday). But in the meantime I plan to enjoy myself.

So on Monday I was soooooo hung over it wasn’t even funny. I actually don’t even remember most of what happened at Caprice. It was that bad. But literally I was so hung over that I couldn’t even speak properly, let alone think properly. You know how it is when you have flu or such and can feel that your brain isn’t at 100%? Massively frustrating. I don’t think I accomplished much during the day; some market research meetings with Love to Africa, and sitting through a tools review with the people in our acceleration program. I feel like it was quite boring for everyone involved but I was in way too bad of a shape to do much about it.

Was a bit cheered up after by listening to stories of Greenpop’s Platbos weekend, and then seeing Jeremy’s night photography. Looks like his Lord of the Rings description was accurate, first, and second, wow night photography is cool! I remember when I used to be an artist. Was speaking to Mandy that evening about getting back into it, and I really should.

Monday also happened to be Mandy’s birthday. Now Mandy is such a lovely, lovely person. She’s beautiful, and smart, and good with people. I have seen her handle delicate situations in such a strong, graceful, amazing manner that I am in awe. In all honesty (and trust me I can trash talk although not on the internet ….. ;-)) the worst thing that I can say about Mandy is that I think her self-confidence should be higher. Heck, if I were as awesome as Mandy I would be way more confident about it but then again maybe that is part of her charm, how incredibly humble and unassuming she is. I should probably learn a lesson from that one.

You know how it is when someone that you really like likes you back, or someone you think is way cooler than you do likes you? Well, that’s how I feel about Mands (and a couple other people who, actually, have in common big insecurities at their core; another thing I should probably take a lesson from….). I was so honoured that I was the only guest she wanted on her birthday dinner and while proceeding to get the Shrimptons quite drunk we had what I thought was a super fun evening: watching YouTube videos about dwarf stars coming to kill us, followed by that now infamous CrossFit video. A lot got put out on the table that night including one moment where I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I’m still giggling about it now. Alcohol does that to a person though; the truth really comes out.

On the subject of things that crack me up I asked my friend Charlotte a few weeks back how long she thought it would be if I didn’t show up to the gym and didn’t tell anyone I wasn’t going to before I got a call to ask me what was going on. She said I would get a call by Tuesday. On Monday night, I had posted on facebook that my new goal was to drink every night for a week (in actual fact I didn’t make it past Monday night). So Tuesday I get this call from Jobst: “Hi Ellie, how are you doing? Is everything ok?” I had neglected to tell him I was on rest week you see, because he was busy running the competition! So I laughed and told him I was fine, why? “I see you have a new goal. What’s up with that?”

Deviant behaviour is curtailed by means of pressure from the cult leader. The fact that it worked is possibly even scarier than the call from coach to begin with.

Tuesday was another relatively ineffective day at work. This is exhibit b in why I really shouldn’t drink. No matter how well I may feel physically, the brain doesn’t work properly. That night I went to Cavendish to have dinner with Mona, which was quite cool because we hadn’t really caught up since the Sunday night train smash. OK, yes, it was a whole two days since I’d seen her. Well, we’ve been described as Siamese twins joined at the head, and not without good reason.

Wednesday featured another full-day jumpstart workshop, this time with the duo from Love to Africa. These are getting better and better all the time; this one actually reminded me just how much a business means to an entrepreneur. For these guys it’s their whole life, and their passion. How can you NOT want to be your best when you’re trying to help people who want to be the best that they can be?

I somehow found time on break to throw together a cake for Chris, which I delivered to the gym before running home to frantically clean the apartment before Joh and Henry came over for dinner (and some good merlot!). That was quite fun: I realized that I actually did somewhat miss the interaction with other people from my specific background. There are other Americans here, yes, but not really any with a hardcore tech background, and the South African techies as lovely as they are just have had such different formation experiences. So I got to tell some of my best Ask Jeeves stories: Ted Briscoe’s baseball bat, Jim Spencer wanting the internet turned “up…” and I didn’t even get to the Dick Tushman stuff… boy, those were some interesting days! But it’s also refreshing to go from discussing CrossFit and weightlifting one evening to debt-equity structures and cracking jokes about the best hacks of the Jeeves site over the years (for the record, Elvis and Ask Iris). Sometimes you need that.

Thursday was a public holiday and due to it being a blasted rest week I went to Canal Walk to meet Mona for lunch (then later to meet Hermann and Grant and watch them eat lunch). Now Canal Walk is this massive shopping mall that I hate because it reminds me of America, for all the wrong reasons. Plus I always get lost in there. Hectic. But we were there to pick up our free Reebok shoes we won. I really don’t get how they can make such cool clothing (although padded sports bras? Really guys? Might help with burpees I suppose ….) but then such ugly shoes! Can’t wait for the CrossFit line though; if they come up with something that rivals Inov-8s then people will be all over it. A little competition can be just the thing.

Cooked for Mona and baked another cake. Enjoying off week to the fullest! I am also loving how I can cook full-on paleo two nights in a row without even bothering with recipes or planning or anything, just looking at what I have in the kitchen and going from there and it’s always awesome. It may be a cheat week but I love paleo so much the worst I had was two lattes and an ice cream yesterday. Oh, and a Dorito Monday night that didn’t taste nearly as good as I remembered.

Lesson learned.

• “It’s so nice to have you here.” – Mandy
• “At least my influence counts for something.” – Jaco
• “How are you doing? Is everything ok?” – Jobst
• “I’m not stupid. Well, I can be stupid.” – Ellie
• “See, that’s the norm. And we’re not the norm.” – Mona
• “Be careful ;)” – Lauren
• “Americans fundamentally are dumb. They’re on a winning team. The team is cheating and lying and stealing but they’re on a winning team.” – Peter (true)
• “Nobody doubts that we’re going to get there.” – Peter
• “No grains?!? That’s impossible!” – Joh
• “They’re living in a bubble!” – Joh
• “One thing we need to get right straight off the bat. I need to hurt.” – Grant
• “It’ll hurt my stomach.” “It’s ok, I’ll buy it for you.” – Ellie, Grant (he did, and it did!)
• “It’s like a kick in the face, stomach, and nuts all at the same time.” – Grant
• “That’s a lot of nail polish. OK, where’s the athletic tape?” – Ellie (I was a bit tired hence the stream-of-consciousness)
• “Guys who don’t work out are afraid to date me because I train with all these hot guys.” – Anonymous (the better to protect the potentially not so innocent)
• “Ellie is wonderful and amazingly effective ‘superwomen’” – Justin (amusing more for the accidental pluralisation)
• “Oh, they’re pink? Now I understand why you’re laughing.” – Peter
• “The man is correct.” – Jaco
• “The road of life is actually smooth. It’s only you that puts up obstacles in the way.” – Peter
• “Ja so I’ll see you around then at that warehouse where you live. I mean work.” – Deon
• “And like him, you also don’t phone back.” – Jacques
• “A designer sandwich is still a sandwich.” – Ellie (this is only funny I suppose if you’re in the cult)
• “Your snatch ain’t broke. I’ve seen it.” – Laa-laa (hahaha)
• “You’re looking very mischievous today.” – Shaun
• “There is no gift that would excite me more than athletic clothes!” – Ellie


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