Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 42 - Chris Lawrence - LIFE OF SERVICE - Part 3 of 3

Well, so we lost Chris there for a second. He was in the middle of a thought. We had technical difficulties and our call got cut off. But we’re back. So, we don't run too far in time because Chris needs to get his sleep.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 42 - Chris Lawrence - LIFE OF SERVICE - Part 3 of 3

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JESSE: Well, so we lost Chris there for a second. He was in the middle of a thought. We had technical difficulties and our call got cut off. But we’re back. So, we don't run too far in time because Chris needs to get his sleep. As I think you mentioned the beginning you've got basically, overnight shifts that you work. So, I'm sure your sleep schedule is all kinds of messed up. So, we can continue our conversation here, let's jump to Baker to Vegas, which is kind of how I got in touch with you guys. Greg, who is not your boss, kind of is the one that originally got in touch with me and I sent you guys some of our products last year. And then he got in touch with me this year and said, “Hey, I see you're doing the podcast and I have a guy I’d like you to talk to.” So, tell me about Baker to Vegas and what's the experience like I know it's all law enforcement and it's-- I do a relay race but it's only-- it's not even half the distance of Baker to Vegas. So, how long does the race take? What kind of prep is the department doing? Do you have like tryouts where you gotta like, you got to make a certain time for guys from the department to be able to go or how competitive is it? CHRIS: Well, Baker to Vegas is from Baker, California to Las Vegas, or just about a little bit shorter than that. I want to say there are 18 legs, which 18 relays. I think the longest one is about 12 and a half miles. And it's going through up and down, changing elevations, all sorts of hills and whatnot, mostly in the middle of the desert. Through the ?? 01:50>. Our department, it's a pretty small department. I mean, we've got around 245 officers right now. The departments ?? 02:02> are the big departments like LAPD, LA ?? 02:06>. Last year it was won by the Belize National Police. And they actually like, made it that entire distance like six and a half hours, just so freaking nuts. Our department because it's so small, it's not ran entirely by officers. We have the forensic technician, accountants, anybody who works for the department can participate. On good years, this will be my second year doing it. Last year, you had tryouts, you had to run, you had to make sure that you did it in a certain time. This year, they're a lot less participation within the past. And it's-- we're gonna have a team. Last year we made it great. I think we did one of our best runs. We've never had ?? 02:56> department we were number three for our division and we actually made it to the podium and we got like these cool mugs. And our department got to take home the trophy. ?? 03:06> may have been the first time. This year, I hope we can. Greg was so happy with what he did. Last year, he wrote the numbers on the side of his car, and he hasn’t taken them off. So, ?? 03:19> we gotta beat that. So, that would be even better than that. Because every year you run, they rank you based off of what you ran last year. So, that determines where you start in the race and then you lose or gain your ranking depending on how you finish the year. So, next year, hopefully, we're as good ?? 03:39>. JESSE: I think Greg was telling me that there's basically divisions where it's like, if you have, say, even a smaller department than yours, you're not going to like rank them the same kind of division you would like LAPD where it's like they've got tons and tons more officers to choose from. CHRIS: Yeah. There’s a lot of different divisions. I can't even keep-- I'm not sure on how many. I think they're about six, maybe even more than that. Because they have ones where it’s just men only and have ones where there’s just women, and then there are ones where they're just ?? 04:21> and also dependent on the size of the department because LAPD and LASO, the sheriff's office usually do phenomenal because their departments are so big. They have multiple running teams and they've got like the investigative side of the department has a team and then the patrol side has a team, and then you know the jailers have a team, and the district attorney investigators have a team. In just LA, there's like 10 teams out of LA alone. So, they're, of course, they're gonna run ?? 04:57> they're gonna rank pretty our department, we are scraping together and trying to beg, borrow and steal people to make sure that ?? 05:06> trying to make sure that...efficient team so we got Chula Vista being really close to the Navy base...and we have a lot of ?? 05:19> participation, one of our officers of the military so...usually have ?? 05:23> Greg is one of the coordinators for our team along with ?? 05:30>. And they put in so much effort behind the scenes on off days. Our training season more or less started in November, and some teams operate year round, you know, you go to ?? 05:44> and you gotta try out. Greg kind of...excuse me, tries to track how many runs we do to make sure we get this many miles and this much time. I’m one of the ?? 05:59> I was surprised I wasn't the slowest person on the team last year. I was running an elevation and I was averaging I think, somewhere around 10, 10:40 for miles, which is pretty, pretty terrible. I've done better. But there was somebody who ran ?? 06:26>, which was surprising. So, it's, I think...was like three seconds...not making a podium would have been like, three seconds. ?? 06:38> even made it to the podium. So, it's very difficult, very competitive and it's a point of pride for the department because we have a rivalry with another department nearby. ?? 06:48> always like to beat them, make sure you beat them. ?? 06:50> JESSE: Well, for some perspective, that's three seconds over like 120 miles, so the margin of error is basically non-existent? CHRIS: Yeah, if I stopped the timer ?? 07:04> we could have been dropped in fifth place. JESSE: Yeah, yeah. So, this is on the nose but again, it's just curiosity. We didn’t really get into this, your combat injury but you have, one of your legs is prosthetic on the lower half correct? CHRIS: Yeah. So, back in 2007 when I was in the Marine Corps I was on foot patrol going over a bridge and ?? 07:36> the bridge...the bridge up...when I was walking across it so the bomb went off underneath my feet. So, my right leg ?? 07:45> had been amputated below the knee. My left leg...I lost all of my toes...nerve damage causing ?? 07:54>. I would run...cramp, which is a regular thing. It's just I realized it’s gonna happen ?? 08:01> disadvantage and...keep on going without missing a beat. But yeah, it's ?? 08:12>. It's a lot quicker when I was in the academy, I wasn't able to use any of the - running prosthetics. I had to run just as I would on patrol, which was terrible doing five-mile runs...essentially like a brick. It's pretty hard. But I know guys 20-30 years ago where the leg that I used to walk in every day it was the running leg 20 years. So, still not that bad. JESSE: Yeah. So, this is something that I, when I first was just putting together kind of my questions and thoughts to ask you. One of the things I want to know about you is, you seem to have a pretty positive attitude about just life in general. And I want to know if is that an active choice you make or is that just a default mode of being? CHRIS: Well, an acquaintance of mine last year made a comment that I was ?? 09:12>. I grew up in foster care... had a heck of a time tagging along with the law enforcement department. So, for me, it's not worth the energy to waste feeling sorry. If somebody can do it then I can do it just like them. And that's how I've always been. And I'm going to try to ?? 09:46> a lot of positivity, positive attitude, and I can say it's kind of been post-injury because I lost a lot of good friends over ?? 09:56> and I understand and appreciate that they're not ever going to be able to live the life that they...that we talked about. So, I will do my best in the life that I have left to live it to honor them and to honor my family members who died early. So, that's kind of why I try to say positive. In my career choice, whew, ?? 10:23> see the brighter side, be able to smile. But you know, every day is another opportunity to have a good day and I choose to have a good day every day. No matter what every day is good enough. JESSE: You kind of touched on this and I think about this sometimes where it's like, whatever it is, I'm doing even if I'm not able to be the best. Like I had aspirations of being a professional athlete even though I knew that the odds of doing that were pretty low. You know, I wanted to pursue it because I wanted to be the best I can be. Thinking about like living up to your potential, you kind of touched on that where it's like, well, if they can do it, I can do it and like thinking about the frenzy lost in saying, well, I'm still here. So, I'm gonna make the best of what I've got. How do we take that idea, instill that in people where it's like, okay, yeah, you weren't born into a millionaire family and have all the perfect things, but you are here, and you have the opportunity with some gifts that you’ve been given whether you believe in God or not, you have these things; how do we instill that idea that it's like, you know, put what you have to use, become the best thing that you can be whatever that is. Whether it's a professional athlete, or a police officer or teacher. Like how do we communicate that or in your case like, how do you communicate that to your daughter? CHRIS: Well, for my daughter, it's been difficult ?? 12:09>. Sorry, she's been locked up in the room for a while ?? 13:30> JESSE: We’ll wrap up here soon. CHRIS: Well, it's, a lot of it is great. I'm reading a book and I realize, and the book is talking about how your children will very rarely grow up to be like you because the qualities that you had to make you into who you are, you are making sure they don't have. I grew up in a pretty crappy situation. I'm giving my daughter pretty much everything I didn't have and everything I hoped for. Now with doing that, she has a lot smoother life. And her life being smoother has kind of taken away the fact that she needs to have that determination, she needs to have that grip. When I was growing up, I didn't have many people who encouraged me or supported me. And I kind of made the choice. I looked at people ?? 13:36>, I saw either I could be - or I would choose not to be like them. And I realized early on that most of life is a choice. You can choose to be happy, you can choose to be sad, you can choose to be successful, you can choose to be a failure, and you make that determination. I may not be the fastest runner but I'm a runner. Most people out there are faster than me, but they won't run. ?? 14:03> no matter what. So, my daughter, I try to encourage her that it doesn't matter if you're the best. The fact is, is that you're doing it. And even if you don't do it well, the more you do it, the better you will get. The mindset, it's, I don't know, I really can't say, it's hard. And I think it's getting more difficult in today's society with the way things are going. It's easier to be a victim and to be a victim, it's almost like you are looked down upon ?? 14:39> success. I have a nice house, nice cars, and I've got some savings. If I didn't have my injuries, people would probably look at me like I’m a terrible person just because I have the things that other people don't have. ?? 14:56> oh well, it must have been difficult for him to do that. But it's difficult for people to do regardless. Right? There's nothing wrong with being successful. So, it's my understanding of our culture ?? 15:10>. JESSE: I'm sure we can continue on for quite a while. But again, trying to be mindful of your time and knowing you probably need to get to sleep and take care of her here soon. I do like to ask everybody the same question. So, I changed it from last year to this year, this year I'm asking a brand new question. And I want to know, in your opinion, what is the purpose of sport? CHRIS: The purpose of sport? That’s a complicated question. ?? 15:48> I should have watched your podcast… For me, it pushes me to be better, to do better. It's an easy metric for me to measure my growth. For society, the grit that a lot of people aren't exposed to, by their upbringing ?? 16:11>, they face in sports... You have that team that always gave you a hard time, you have to work hard, you have to build up, you had to fight. Figuratively you had to fight them on the court, on the field to get better. You knew that anxiety, you knew that struggle, you knew that you had to push yourself through. So, sport I think is another way for people to grow. That's, it's almost like a fertilizer. I can-- As a police officer, I appreciate my partners that were athletes because I know they know what it's like to have that pain and still push through it. They know what it's like to have that difficult moment and know hey, I'm probably gonna lose but I'm still gonna keep fighting. And by just keep fighting you're not gonna lose. That's why I'd rather be in a fight with ?? 17:06> purpose of sport is to continue growth. JESSE: Solid answer. Chris, thanks for spending time with me. If people want to kind of see what you're up to, where can they find you? CHRIS: I’m on Instagram, kind of, not too terribly active on there. I just opened it up, but that's probably the best place to find me is on Instagram. CLawrence ?? 17:28> 233. JESSE: good deal. Thanks for spending time with me and for dealing with the technical difficulties coming back for a little bit more time. CHRIS: No problem. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk. JESSE: Take care. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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