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The Effort is the Reward
11th of September, 2022
👋 Moinsen, everyone!
Welcome to the new weekly update. We’re moving towards the end of the quarter (September 30th) which also marks the end of these weekly updates. I started them as an experiment for me to see if the regular weekly writing would beat the topical blog post writing which I usually do.
Spoiler alert, it doesn’t 😉.
My decision has formed in the last few weeks and I have landed on a mix of both for the upcoming winter quarter: monthly blog post updates. That way, I can keep them filled with more relevant content for you.
These newsletters will then act as a simple reminder whenever I just published new posts on the blog – as they did before. This seems more natural to me, more aligned with what I’m trying to do here. Also, it feels nicer to have my writing back on my own servers instead of in the hands of a foreign company like Substack in this case. Although they are doing great from what I can see, it’s better to have full control of your own “products”.
This week, my productivity level was on a high. I love these weeks when motivation just happens to hit. Thankfully I had the opportunity to act on it as my team is currently doing an amazing job at taking care of our clients and our new two team members who joined at the beginning of September have brought a breath of fresh air as well. I could focus on the more important things in the company, not having to micromanage as much.
This also gave me some additional time to follow other interests. I played my guitar more (making good progress on learning the main riff of Polyphia’s song “Playing God”), extended the Quantified Self habit tracking, wrote some code for a new side project, found time to try Cryotherapy (not worth it, see below), ran really well and recovered, too, and wrote as well as published another new page: teesche.com/future.
I don’t really remember when I first started writing down the things I would like to do before I die, but it must have been around ten years ago.
Over the years, many items were added, a bunch also got deleted again, but I managed to tick some big ones off, too. In the spirit of making these ideas public in order to create connections, I realized it’s probably a good idea to have a page on my website dedicated to it.
Interesting times. More than eleven years have gone by since starting the company and many ups and downs were survived. During the last one or two years, things have plateaued, and that made me lose some motivation. We talked about this and the many different possible futures of the company a bunch of times with the whole team, but I also got great advice from many trusted friends.
Now, I am happy with the conclusions we arrived at and the plan we’re currently following. It’s exciting to see where we can go. Adding the two new team members and thereby increasing the size from 5 to 7 people total has been a step in the right direction, as far as I can tell.
There are several other changes we’re pursuing at the moment, all of which are interesting and involve adding new people and sharpening the direction where we’re heading. I’m finally working on the business instead of in it, which is what you’re supposed to do when running a company.
Because outcomes of our actions can’t be controlled by us, only our own efforts and reactions to the outcomes of them.
It applies to the path I’m following with my company. If the new ideas should fail, this shouldn’t make me feel bad just because the reward at the end wasn’t as expected.
Same with marathon running, for example. I’m training hard to reach a time of less than three hours for my next marathon race in Cologne in three weeks, but should I not be able to reach that goal, I can still be proud of the effort I put into it – because it got me closer to it and I enjoyed the process.
This past Tuesday, my friends Rasmus and Mathias joined me for my hardest interval session yet. I ran 8x 1,000 meters at a pace of 3:45 minutes per kilometer. The best I have ever been able to do. I certainly released a lot of Dopamine during it and afterwards, too.
On Friday, both joined me again for a fast half marathon training run. Although the plan was to do this at a pace of 4:05 minutes per kilometer, I landed at 4:14 on average over those 21.1 kilometers, while Rasmus quit after 10 kilometers and Mathias had to give up at around 17. It was a tough one, but still a big move in the right direction. The effort is the reward.
I feel a lot more confident I’m on track for Sub-3 after this productive week than I did the week before battling those annoying two illnesses.
On Thursday, I tried the new freezer device at our local gym. I’m not a member, but they let you check it out for just fifteen bucks, so I gave it a go.
The promise is that this thing aids muscle recovery tremendously. That’s how it’s advertised. As a fan of cold showers and the Wim Hof methods, I wanted to see it for myself.
It’s basically two freezers, one is kept at -25 degrees Celsius, the other at -90 degrees. You strip down to your underwear, they hand you socks, sandals, gloves, a standard face mask, and headphones. Apparently, those are the body parts which will not benefit too much from the cold and therefore need to be protected.
I got a smartwatch on my wrist, too. It displayed a timer and my heart rate.
You step in the -25 degree freezer, stand there for 60 seconds, then you open the door to the colder one, step in, and stand there for 180 seconds. Afterwards, back out you go, and that’s that.
Here’s my one word verdict: disappointing.
They tell you that it’s really cold and super tough, that some people came out after just thirty seconds because they couldn’t take it, and that you feel great afterwards.
For me personally, it was a feeling of “meh”. A cold shower feels a lot more intense than minus ninety degree cold air and probably also does more for muscle recovery stimulation because of the intensity. Water transmits the temperature to skin a lot better than air. Not to mention the huge amount of energy wasted with these two freezers. Keeping them at the temperature every day must be hugely costly.
It was cold inside, yes. But it was nowhere near as tough as I thought. I would have liked to stay in longer to get the full benefits, but that wasn’t allowed. Not worth it. Fun to try something new, though!
One of the helpful measures you can take to better withstand the cold is improving your breathing technique. I have been a fan of Wim Hof and do his 11 minute breathing exercise almost daily. It feels great.
My other daily habits which I used to track with the great app Notion, are:
Since I was already tracking a few of these in my own database as part of the Quantified Teesche project, I figured it makes sense to track all of them at that single place. So I wrote the code for it this week and improved the little web app I built for myself. Here it is in its current state.
I also wrote some code to make the import of my Strava activities a lot better and more reliable by using the actual Strava API instead of the Apple Health Workouts work-around I used to use. Now, a cronjob running in the background on my server checks every five minutes for new Strava activities and copies the most useful meta information of those datasets into my own database. That’s great and much more solid.
This API implementation of mine also laid the groundwork for the new side project I’m currently working on which I have called the READ & RUN CLUB. I hope I will have something to show for within the next few weeks.
As there has just been a huge historic and sad event on the island, I figured this one is fitting for the week. I love England, Britain, the UK. And as you can see, there’s also a big item on my bucket list involving traveling to it.
The London Marathon is one of the six world marathon majors and I was lucky to find a way to enter it despite the immense crowds who try to do the same every year. I still remember the goosebumps after that one corner during the run which presented us with a view of London Bridge, which is now down. Crossing that one running is definitely one of my fondest memories. I hope you enjoy the report I wrote back then.
Thank you for reading the newsletter – feel free to recommend it to someone who you think would enjoy it as well.
All the best to you and have a great week!
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