So I’m at the beginning of a major reset. It all begins on the other side of failure. Spectacular failure. Well, I guess that’s completely relative. Absolutely. For me, yes, failure. What I didn’t realize was how something so painfully, deeply disappointing could be so hugely useful – such powerful motivation.
The story, in short, is I, not much of an athlete to begin with, trained for a few months for a race (inadequately and half-heartedly I realized, upon reflection), and surpisingly turned out a pitiful performance. I ran this same race last year. It was my first longer-than-5k race ever (20k). I managed to injure myself pretty significantly less than half-way through, but still finished. Healing from the injury took a while and I had to build my running back up in order to run again this year. So no matter how pitiful and inadequate my training, I HAD to be better than my injured self last year, I’m thinking, right? (Well…sure.) But no, this year I didn’t just finish slower. I was WAY slower. Beyond imagination slower. I was in-range of last place. It was so bad it was impressive.
Anyhow, I was feeling pretty securely poised for a deep dive into wallowing, self-pity (and I HATE whiners!). It was happening. But then I didn’t wallow, dive, or anything. Strangely, I hooked a louie at perspective and found rabid motivation. What? Yeah, I never saw that coming. It’s what those impossibly healthy, joyologist types do – lemons to lemonade horse pucky.
But here I am, planning like a fiend, feeling like the world is my big, fat, slimy oyster and it’s about to make me a twenty-ton pearl. What I’ve got is a redemptive opportunity. And I’m not about to waste it. All I can think about is what all I’m gonna do to improve. To fix this. To make sure I never, ever again repeat that performance. Funny, how obsessive and bitter that sounds, but actually I’m excited! Extremely! I feel fantastic about it!
If we’re honest, we can look at how we prepared for something to judge our performance. When I honestly looked at my training, I realized I earned exactly the results I got out of that race. I should note, here, that I totally do just go to races for the fun of it, and the only competition I feel is with myself. Well, my slow, injured, last-year self kicked my my slow, uninjured, this-year self’s butt!
My BIGGEST struggle in training is getting my stinking runs in. I am a master at justifying to myself missing a run and making up for it later. Especially, when I get home from work in the evenings. I seriously want to do nothing. Nothing! Well, we met this lady at the race that made a side mention of something called a “running streak” where she ran everyday, at least one mile, for an entire year. I started thinking about this after we got home from the race. I had been struggling sometimes to run even two days a week. The thought of everyday, to me, was NUTS. But then it’s just one mile. That’s what, ten minutes of my time? Shoot, that’s nothing. Just would require a little discipline (NOT my best event). The desire to not break the streak is all the motivation in the world! Plus, just getting in the running clothes and out there is the biggest hurdle, in my estimation. Once your’e out there, might as well hit 2…3…4….whatever! This idea started sounding not so nuts and more like exactly what I needed. I traipsed around the internet to see what else I could learn about streaking and found that there are people out there that have been doing this for years! Decades! Durn. Also there were folks saying they gave it a shot and found themselves shaving minutes off 5k times, etc. I am slow. Slow and undisciplined. Sounds like my medicine.
Three days after the race, I decided to try doing it for 30 days.
Today is day 14. Already, I realize streaking is going to a huge part of my life for a WHILE. It hasn’t been hard, but rather a pleasure! My weekly mileage has more than doubled. I have run every distance up to and including 5 miles significantly faster than ever before. By minutes! I’m thoroughly surprised with all this. I figured it would take longer. What I had hoped to get from this was the discipline to run more. What I’ve gotten is kind of addicted. I’m not satisfied with doing the bare minimum of 1 mile and have only, by necessity, done it 4 times so far. I wish I knew a way to articulate all that a little less infomercially and a lot more organically. Streaking is stupid effective! At least for hopelessly flawed jokers like me. We’ll see how far this goes!
I’m doing housekeeping on the cross-training and eating side, too. I figure if I’m intent on running better, I should drop some more weight as a kindness to my body. If I tried to run with a 15 lb. backpack on right now, I’d be way slower. If I take off a 15 lb. backpack, I figure I should be faster, right? It worked for my running buddy, sister, therapist, and all-around dear and close friend Lacey (who I will mention a gillion times, I’m sure). I want to anyway. So I’m eating cleaner and documenting my intake on the myfitnesspal app. It’s keeping me painfully honest.
My cross-training for the last few years was CrossFit (more on this later). It can’t be a part of my life right now (at least not in a doing-it-at-the-gym kind of way) since I’m working out of town and it’s not as fun by oneself, at home. So, researching some cross-training ideas the other day, I discovered….PUMP!! Ok, I’m stupid excited about this, so forgive me. This is the at-home version of Les Mills Body Pump. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a group fitness class offered at gyms around the world, that focuses on extremely high rep, low weight lifting. To awesome music. It’s brutal and addictive. And gave me the best arms I’ve ever had. It was taken from me when my gym switched franchises and there has been a void in my life ever since. Now there’s an at-home version! Brilliant! It’s sold through Beach Body, which are the folks that market Insanity and P90X, among others. I think it’s pretty reasonably priced (but then I was an addict), although purchasing from them is a little tedious. They
like love to upsell. Ugh. It comes with the weights and is perfect for folks that want to tone and strengthen. It keeps the heartrate super elevated too, so it’s a BIG calorie burner. Anyway, I am doing that three days a week, running for cardio, AND doing some Jillian yoga. THAT is interesting. And good. I’ll report on it all.
Are you short on motivation? What you gonna do about it? I’ve always got some to hand out, and I love to get it too. Holler if you’re with me!
P.S….My dear friend from way back in college, Johanna (pronounced Yo-hahna) is a Body Pump addict too. She’s always been a fitness as well as life inspiration to me. She’s got PUMP coming in the mail and is just getting interested in dabbling in running. I think I’ve got her talked into guest blogging any time she gets a chance. Okay, I’m STUPID excited about it. So she’ll be able to lend a little different perspective once in a while too. Woo!