i’m trying something new on my blog today and interviewing one of the most inspiring people i know, my dad! not only has my dad been successful running his own financial consulting business, but he juggles being a world champion competitive cyclist, a dad/grandpa, along with a social life and being married to my mom. although balance is something we all have to always work on, i think he juggles everything pretty darn well & we could learn a thing or two from this old guy (he just turned 60 last week)!
let’s hop right in to it!
thea nolan: thanks dad for taking the time to chat with me today- i’m excited to do a q&a with someone who’s taught me so much and i look up to in so many aspects of life. one thing i think many people would agree on who know you is that you have a crazy drive & work ethic. are there habits you’ve consciously worked on forming early on that you think have helped you carve out time for “doing it all” (being a dad, an athlete, a husband & maintain a business/job)?
larry nolan: i think one of my strengths, and something I notice in you, is to understand my strengths and weaknesses. on the topic of time-management i think my strength is in knowing my priorities, whereas my biggest weakness is saying “no”. when I have that choice, i can better manage my time and keep my priorities manageable. probably the easiest example is how many breakfast or lunch meetings I have said “no” to because I prefer to work out. yes, it would be great to be more social with co-workers, but I am a much better person when I get my workout in.
a consequence of saying “no” is excepting that I am “weird”. just yesterday I rode my bike and took BART to my dentist appointment. after the appointment I rode home. weird part was that I was in my cycling clothes whilst I had my teeth cleaned! to me, instead of sitting in a car for two hours round trip I was on BART for 30 minutes and got in 90 minutes of riding. as a cycling and triathlon coach, I have time-management conversations like this with my athletes frequently. 90 minutes of exercise or two hours sitting in a car? that was an easy decision!
TN- you’re so right- i for sure got that same gene from you. saying no is so hard, but i agree with you 100% that prioritizing your needs is just that, a necessity. do you feel like you came across times where you lacked motivation, were derailed or dealt with any major setbacks? what did you do and how did you move forward?
LN: my life goal is to be balanced: family, work, play, and spiritual. i’ve had times in my life where more than one piece has been missing, like injury. going through those periods helps give one perspective, or a check-up, if I am leading the balanced life I desire. add in the fact that i’m married to your mom, who is a physical education teacher, and the “play” part is simply a way of life. even if I don’t compete in bike races I will find a way to work out!
given my goal to lead a balanced life, in the 50 years that I’ve been an athlete, i have never lost motivation. reflecting on that fact (thanks for your question), i believe it’s because i don’t exercise as much as I would like, and my cycling goals are attainable. for instance, when i was a triathlete i never considered an “IronMan” because I worked full-time and we were raising the three of you. i did shorter triathlons on about six to ten hours training a week. fast forward all these years (I was hit by a truck while riding around Lake Tahoe when you were two years old) and I still train six to ten hours a week. I believe a huge majority of people can squeeze exercise into their lives. yes, I push the extremes during my training, but I want to give your followers hope that they can reach their fitness goals if they are consistent year after year.
TN: I agree that everyone can fit in a little bit of exercise in each week, you just have to get creative and find workouts that work for you. You trained super hard this year and didn’t drink beer for a few months. How exciting for you to win another world championship and break another world record. What does that feel like?
LN: on the one hand, competing at masters track Worlds is a great feeling. i respect my competition so much so that I target the old world record as a measurement of my preparation. i knew i was going to be close, and it was doubly exciting for me to have my old teammate and friend (Vic Copeland), who held the old record from his 2004 effort, there to watch me break his record and move into the finals later that night. on the other hand, track racing is a niche sport with just 20 velodromes in America and just 22 competitors in the 60-64 age group at world championships so it’s not like my achievement is huge. i am addicted to the process of trying to win, more-so than the victory itself. to that end, trying to repeat or defend a world championship is also part of the process that I love.