While in Deauville last week I had a chance to talk with Katchalov a few times, including after his near-miss winning the Main Event as he finished second out of a field of 671. Besides being a talented tourney player, the Ukrainian is also an especially friendly, outgoing guy with lots of interesting ideas -- both about poker and other things -- and a willingness to share them.
On the very first day of the tournament I’d interviewed Katchalov at the first break and we talked about his newfound commitment to fitness and eating well over the last couple of years that had produced many good outcomes for him both physically and mentally. I wrote up a post for the PokerStars blog titled “Before and after Eugene” sharing what he’d said.
During the week I was talking with Vera who was back home following the coverage online. She’d mentioned how the Katchalov post was inspiring, and looking back at it I realized it was.
One point he’d made with regard to sticking to some sort of workout regimen was to have a partner or someone to help keep you going when your inspiration to do so started to waver. For him it was his friend Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier who served that role, with their hired trainer also helping a great deal of course.
“It’s always nice when you have a partner or friend to go through it with you,” explained Katchalov, referring to having Grospellier likewise working on his fitness with him. “So with ElkY if I’m working out it pushes him to work out and vice-versa. Even if you don’t work out together, just having someone to compare your progress with is important.”
I used to run regularly but over the couple of years had fallen out of the habit. Looking back on the blog, I see myself in early 2009 writing about starting to run every day. (I was also playing poker every day then, too.) I actually kept on running right up until I went out to the World Series of Poker that summer, and even while in Vegas I remember hitting the treadmill several times at the hotel where I was staying.
The frequency of the runs finally lessened, though, and like I say it had been several weeks since I’d run at all when I finally hit the pavement again after returning from France. People sometimes ask me about posting on the blog every day, and often I will bring up running as a kind of analogy -- that like a regular runner, I find myself in the habit of wanting to post each day just to keep exercising these writer “muscles.” But the comparison hadn’t really been applicable to me of late as I had found it much easier to skip running than not to write.
I say Katchalov was the main inspiration, but so, too, was PokerStars blogger Rick Dacey who began 2014 with a goal of running 365 miles during the calendar year. He’d only made it to nine miles by early February -- including an early morning seaside run in Deauville near the end of our week there -- and so I proposed to him that I’d join him in that 365-mile quest and we could push each other, a la Eugene and ElkY.
I’m only up to 7.5 miles now -- still about nine miles back of Rick -- but each time out is getting easier. Missing a month-plus of running means picking up the pace to get back that mile-a-day goal. But with Rick up ahead of me and Eugene and ElkY in mind I’m plenty motivated to keep at it.