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  • Writer's pictureCoach G's blog

2021: Be a Volcano

A few weeks ago, on 12/20/2020, Mount Kilauea volcano became more active. This coincided with the time of year that most endurance athletes, myself included, were least concerned about training or racing and more concerned about the outlook of the coming new year.

Cut to: a few days ago I got a comment on one of my posts from a former coach. The gist was, "Greg, you're a lot, in a good way!"

These two unrelated events got me thinking.

  • How much is a lot?

  • Small vents on the western edge of the Kilauea caldera continue to emit lava while the eastern side of the lava lake remains relatively stable and inactive.

  • Scientists are gathering data from instruments placed around the lava lake..

  • Volcano time is a lot different than human time.

  • How much is a lot? What does that even mean?

  • Kilauea has been active for centuries. We've only been paying attention recently.

  • Kilauea may not seem like it's doing a lot--no dramatic explosions, no throwing lava miles in to the air, no venting tons of ash out across the sea--but a lot of cool stuff is still happening.

  • What is 'a lot' of coaching posts? What is 'a lot' of lava? What's 'a lot' of training?


Volcanos are fascinating. They're powerful and organic and there's heat and pressure and they burn down old fixtures while generating entirely new landscapes. They operate on their own time, with their own agenda. They only occasionally tip off what is really going on within, or let us know what's about to happen. I started brainstorming cool stuff about volcanos that fit with triathlon training:

Seemingly small changes over time add up to big, impressive results. Like Hawaii.

Scientific data is useful and important, but ultimately just clues about what is really happening.

Clues that may seem unrelated, really aren't.

Data is just data. It only measures relative to other data.

Volcanos only seem like "a lot" because most people only occasionally pay attention. Usually when something dramatic happens, the people who'd been paying attention all along are not surprised.

Very few people know what's really going on. Trust the people who do.

It's literally unnecessary to make any earth shattering changes. Just be active. The big changes will happen in time.

Volcanos just do precisely what volcanos do: make themselves more and more impressive. Like becoming Hawaii.

Volcanos operate in the very long term. Much much much longer term than most people can grasp. Longer than that, even.

Volcanos are pure process. Volcanos are not about outcome. They're never done.

Never being done is a state of being. It just is.

We can learn a lot from volcanos and still not know much about when the next big eruption will occur. This doesn't stop volcanos from doing volcano stuff.

Sometimes the lava is obvious. Sometimes the lava is hidden. It's still there.


Best argument for the previous statement: from the day I started drafting this post to the day I posted it, TWO OTHER VOLCANOS HAVE BECOME ACTIVE. Seems like a lot.

Be a volcano.


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