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get motivated – tips from a lazy-ish person

7 May

Every time I see an article that says “running motivation tips and tricks” I immediately start reading it.  I’ve read countless articles like this.  I appreciate what they have to say, I really do.  The advice is quality but doesn’t always address my motivational dilemmas.

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Most of the authors seem to be people who can’t sit still.  Me?  More than capable!  Or it seems the days they aren’t motivated are few and far between.  I seem to struggle with the motivation to get up and get out more often.  So, I decided to write a piece myself.  Perhaps it might resonate with you too.  I can’t be the only person out there who needs a slightly different take on the “how to go for a run (work out) when you really don’t want to” … at least I hope not.

Problem #1: The couch is too comfy.  The thing of it is, I can be lazy when it comes time to working out (as you might’ve guess by the title!).  Once I get too cozy, all bets are off and there is a higher chance of me staying where I’m at rather than hitting the streets in my trainers.

 

The Fix: I hate to say it, but I can’t sit down when I get home.  I have to change into my work out clothes immediately and can’t do any of the  “I’m going to sit for a moment” business.  Don’t sit down!  Ride the wave of adrenaline from getting home from work (or wherever), or the alarm clock, do the little things that need to be done, change, and get out the door.  As fast as possible.  Before the couch’s siren calls or the snooze button become too loud and convincing!

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this is essentially where the couch comes into play

Problem #2: Sabotaging my workout time.  There are way too many times where I’ve decided on a time for a run when deep down I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit it into my schedule.  I’ve picked a time during a really busy day when I knew it was going to be massively crunched and it could be sacrificed.  But I felt all noble & accomplished that I was planning for it.  When it doesn’t happen, because my timetable was ridiculous, I get down on myself for not making the workout happen.  At the same time I can blame not going on not having enough time.  Built in excuse that isn’t based on being a lazy buns!

The Fix: There are going to be days when a run simply can’t happen.  I need to be honest with myself regarding these days.  This is the way of training.  BUT some time management needs to happen here.  I can keep the days where my agenda items are stacked miles high to a minimum by planning ahead.  This means doing as much prep for the day as possible and looking for more efficient routes to accomplish tasks <— a constant work in progress.  I know people suggest scheduling a work out time and viewing it as an appt you can’t possibly miss.  My brain is onto this game though, and if we are on the same wave length, so is yours.  This is where getting out the door by sheer force of grit and will come into play until it becomes more habitual.

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I need to work harder on making good habits … bad habits are just so much easier to establish!

Problem #3: Overhyping the start of training.  This is a classic motivation killer because it becomes this MASSIVE event.  I recognize some suggest to announce your training start date to the world to garner support.  However, for procrastinators like myself, it turns the start date into a scary impending opportunity for defeat.  Suddenly there is this monumental task sitting there and it’s much easier to shy away then risk falling flat on my face in front of an audience.

The Fix: Don’t make the sweeping announcement.  Pretty simple, yeah?  I do want to share with the world, but these declarations can too overwhelming.  An element of procrastination is fear of failure, so the build up can be too much.  Begin training and get a more established routine down, & then yell it from the rooftops!  I’ve done it both ways, and when I went ahead and waited until I was a couple of weeks into my training to spread the good news, I still got support and it was of the “keep up the great work” variety.  When I declared my start date, I got lots of “good lucks!” which are just as nice, of course, although the latter works better for me.

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Problem #4: Getting frustrated & losing focus.  This runs parallel to my conundrum of setting my expectations too high.  Train for a marathon in 6 weeks when my running fitness is in the gutter?  Of course I can!  I tend to get frustrated when I don’t make progress as quick as I want or expect of myself.  This is a common theme in every area of my life, so it naturally carries over to my running.  Hope is a wonderful thing, nevertheless, when it comes to expecting our bodies to perform physical miracles they aren’t possibly prepped for, they rebel.  In all kinds of painful ways!  With regards to losing focus, marathon training seems to last FOR-E-VER, so what is one missed run here or there?  Most likely nothing terrible, but for us motivationally challenged folk, the “here or there” can derail a great established routine quickly.

The Fix: Take a good look at the expectations.  Expectations really do get us in trouble – I find we tend to either set them too high or too low without taking all of variables into consideration.  Not to mention, the need to check the good ol’ ego.  Any type of training takes hard work, and focusing on small chunks at a time helps turn goals into realities.  The frustration piece … well, this could just be me.  I don’t mind hard work but I want results entirely too quickly.  I’m a bit ridiculous!  I also need to remind myself, A LOT, of just how easy it is for me to slip back into the cushy bad habits and crush those “it won’t be so bad” thoughts with a stomp from my Brooks.

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I’m hoping I’m not the only person who struggles with motivation and isn’t always helped by the pearls of wisdom that are commonly offered.  Again, I don’t think the advice is bad and I do utilize it, nonetheless, the above tips are what I fall back to when I’m in need of that boost.  I love running, I really do.  I love the feeling of a healthy routine of running when I get home from work.  Not to mention giving myself multiple high-fives when I’m done working out and all cleaned up from a good sweat session.  Getting started though … or fighting exhaustion after a long day … or simply a “I don’t wanna” can jeopardize success and be a challenge to fight.

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Oh, and watch some inspirational running documentaries.  I love the one about the Barkley Marathons – these are always really helpful in the motivational category!

red pill or the blue pill?

3 Jul

These came in the mail today!

yay! new compression sleeves!

yay! new compression sleeves!

I took advantage of their 1/2 off sale and grabbed the two sets of calf sleeves I’ve been ogling for the last year and half.  Now I can sport my Irish roots AND rock some polka dots.  I LOVE me some polka dots.

For some reason, summer encourages me to spend money.  I don’t know why.  I realized this the other day when I not only purchased the above but also super cute red stripped new Sketchers.  I’m kind of obsessed with Sketchers (I think these are really cute too!) at the moment because I can wear them for work and they are comfortable and supportive.  The other day I wore heels for the first time in MONTHS.  While darling, I realized why I haven’t worn them in so long.  Supportive and comfy shoes certainly have their perks, even if they don’t uplift my buns in quite the same fashion!

Alas, now it’s time to put the kabash on the summer spending.  It was fun while it lasted…  This morning I woke up in a panic.  I couldn’t believe I missed a race.  It’s the Firecracker 5 miler (more on this later) and it’s such a fun race.  I was so disappointed in myself.

Then I realized, “hey!  It’s not the 4th of July yet!  That’s tomorrow!  You didn’t miss it!”  I also realized I had to be at work in less than an hour and the dimmer switch was hit on said excitement.  By the way – NO ONE is at work the day before the 4th of July.

Today is some serious prime running weather and I am determined to get my buns out there.  I’ve been so freakin’ lazy lately.  I don’t know why!  My procrastination is in high gear for no reason.  It hit me that yesterday was my last possible “lazy day”.  Otherwise, I am going to be in so much pain.  Remember when I spoke of the aggressive marathon training schedule a.k.a. run camp?  This might be part of why I’m procrastinating – I don’t feel like I can get any better and just want to put this training off so I don’t have to face failure.

Brilliant plan, no?

Ho-hum… I did join Jess’s summer challenge running plan so maybe this will offer a bit of inspiration, too?  This morning, I kept thinking, “I used to be SO motivated.  I used to just get out there or get up and JUST DO IT!  Where did all of that go?!”  I’m still not sure where it went but I’m guessing it’s largely habitual.  Maybe my earlier athletic self was all a facade… I took the blue pill and then somewhere along the line I decided the red pill was more me.

oh morphius, which one is the MOTIVATED pill?

In order not to end this on a really whiny note, here is a picture of my super fat and adorable cat, Simon

GIANT cat

GIANT cat

 

make my big decision

29 May

Here’s the scoop… many moons ago I did my first half marathon.  I was super nervous!  I joined a local run camp that met every Saturday morning during the winter.  I did it with my friend (we alternated driving) and then I met two incredible people/running partners that helped me power through.  I always knew I needed and wanted to meet up with them.

1:2 with my medal

I finished in 2:04, which I was and still am, damn proud of.  It currently stands as my PR and as you can see by the goofy grin on my face I was overflowing with excitement.  Then I kind of fell off the quality training track.  Part of me was a bit burned out and the other part was the lack of structure.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed sleeping in on Saturdays again (we got up and running around 8 am if memory serves) but I also knew it helped me cross the finish line strong.

can I do this?

can I do this?

So, there is another training camp starting on June 21st.  It’s 18 weeks long and can either be 1/2 marathon training or the full 26.2.  Since I have the Detroit marathon on the docket I would use this as my training.  It’s $120 for the entire duration and offers Saturday runs, a weekly run if you want to and track sessions.  Training camp will end the week after my race so it’s perfect timing really.

What’s the problem?  Saturday runs START at 7 am.  Not to mention, I haven’t been very good with sticking with a training plan since that first 1/2.  My discipline is kind of in the toilet and I’m very good at putting off what I could do today until tomorrow (or the next day).  I’m worried I will lay down the cash and then drift by the wayside.

thomas jefferson doesn’t look too impressed

On the other hand, I want to do WELL in Detroit.  I’m eager to hit a time that starts with a 4 rather than a 5.  It may seem silly but I want to cross the finish line feeling like I did when I crossed the finish line of the Dopey – that I gave it my all.

dopey 1/2 bib/medal

By the way, did you know I sometimes wear my Dopey medal around when I’m at home?

I’m probably making a decision based on this post.  I’m just doubting my follow through.  I need encouragement.  I need accountability.  I need some confidence.  I need… something.  Clearly.  The first day of camp will be the weekend of my Charlevoix 1/2 marathon but I’m not too worried about this as I can jump in the next weekend.

One more thing.  I signed up for camp one other time in the past – probably two winters ago?  First time around I was in the 10 min pace group.  I certainly didn’t belong there the next time around and our first run I was huffing and puffing long behind the rest of the group.  So much so that one of the coaches was hanging back simply to make sure I didn’t get lost.  I was deeply embarrassed and felt like a failure.  At least when I train on my own, I’m the only one to witness those unfortunate running days.

a pretty accurate description of my those running days

What do you think after reading all of this?  Share your words of wisdom!  Make my decision!

25k race=15.5 miles of tough running

12 May

The 5/3 Riverbank 25k is the largest road race of its distance in the country.  As I mentioned yesterday, 7,000 people take to the streets of Grand Rapids, MI and there are runners from all over.

25k start line

I spent the night with friends who live about 25 minutes away from downtown GR.  Hanging out with friends the night before a race is a great way to ease any anxieties.  Pre-race fueling of pizza and a beer, playing with an adorable munchkin (who loved saying my name – it was adorable) and hitting the sack around 11:30 pm was the order of the night.  I woke up on time (and multiple times during the night) and despite my game plan to leave at 6:45 am I made it out the door at 7 am.

I ate a bit too much pizza the night before as I was too hungry by the time it arrived.  I mention this because on the drive to the start, I almost had to pull over and throw up.  Jostling around for the next few hours was not appetizing and I didn’t eat my peanut butter sandwich until I arrived.  I did manage to drink some coffee though – priorities.

deep cleansing breaths kept the vomit at bay…

I drank some Vega Sport Pre-Workout Enegizer 20 minutes before the start.  I will post a review of this product in the next few days and it’s quality.  I’ve now tried it with training along with a race and I’m impressed.  The race started right on time, 8:20 am and I made it over the start line at 8:29 and this was the 11 min pace group.  The race is efficient.

I felt good for the first 5 miles.  I was using my quads and kept my ipod in my pocket so I could be in the moment.  I got stuck behind one guy who was complaining up a storm because the shirts didn’t say 25k on them.  It was a universal shirt for the 5k, 10k and 25k.  You could pay extra for a tech shirt with 25k on it ($15) but he “certainly” wasn’t going to do that.  He also said how he was going to send a nasty email to the director later this week.  Now mind you, I paid $35 for this race.  CHEAP!  Suck it up dude…

the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about

the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about

At mile 5 I took a powergel – provided, and turned on my tunes.  The water stops started at about 1.5 miles and they were approximately every mile and half after this, sometimes two miles.  The volunteers were incredible.  There was water, Gatorade followed by oranges and more water and then ICE!  Oh my goodness, I have never been offered cups of ice in a race but it was magical.  It was probably around mile 7 when it started and I would take a cup at each one hereafter.  It was heavenly.

After mile 6 miles my quads started cramping a bit.  Mile 8 was my magic mile as I knew at this point there would be no question to me finishing.  This was also my first lovely embrace with some biofreeze.  I think mile 7 was the start of the hills.  Man oh man, the hills kept coming!  I had forgotten about them, conveniently I might add, but I took them in stride = I walked many of them.

While I was keeping 11 min miles in the beginning, this crept to 12 by the halfway point.  Mile 1o I took another gel.  I also kept focusing on what a cool experience this was and how lucky I was.  The last time I did this race, my mental attitude was already in the toilet at this point.

this is a great depiction of my previous meltdown

The last five and half miles were tough.  More hills, more quad cramping, one more biofreeze stop and lots of water.  It was a beautiful day with a breeze, which was lovely but I was seriously reaching my “I’m done” point.  The last mile and half took forever and horror of horrors you have to run UP a hill to the finish line.

25k finish line

this was at the top of a long hill

My leg muscles were melting at this point.  I kept saying, “c’mon legs” almost yelling at them as I wasn’t sure if I could stay standing.  It was so, so tough!  I had nothing left – heck, even the girl who was puking her guts out that I passed a few feet behind me managed to beat me.  I made it though.

at this point, I could barely stand up straight - I kept almost falling backwards

at this point, I could barely stand up straight – I kept almost falling backwards

Hard/enjoyable race and I ran my buns off.  I have some work to do before my next half (it’s in 3 weeks) and I’m keeping some of my newly employed racing strategies.  Good gel timing, starting my music later and a positive mental attitude – putting these into practice again!

25k… the aftermath

11 May

My race recap will be up in tomorrow but the following has been swirling around my brain:

1.  More/real training would have made those 15.5 miles much easier!

2.  I think my rebellious streak comes into play with regards to running.  Maybe a “let’s see what I can do without training!” attitude.  Is this rebellion?  I don’t know but it’s how I used to shoot myself in the foot with regards to my academics as well.  I will also say it’s part of the procrastinator’s creed – if you don’t give your all to the preparation then you don’t have to risk your best being a “failure”.

deep thoughts on the hour drive up to the race and then back

3.  My legs were absolute gelatin as I crossed the finish line.  I completely left it all out on the course!  I was proud of myself.

4.  I stretched after the race, which I rarely do.  Solid plan Amy.

5.  Today my legs are fairly fatigued and sore.  My quads are especially tender.  I see some serious squats in my immediate future.

6.  I have a lot more determination and heart than I give myself credit for.

but I didn’t quit!

7.   I ran with 7,000 other runners!  This is the largest 25k in the country.  We all love running!

8.  Biofreeze is my bestie.

I’m talking to you biofreeze

9.  I didn’t run with my thumb brace because I knew it would be difficult to grab water and other fuel.  Adrenaline got me through the race buuut it wasn’t a great idea later.

10.  I parked about 8 blocks away.  Wow – it was a long way back!  A woman with her two kids offered me a ride to my car and while I was tempted I’ve watched way to much Investigative Discovery to take her up on it.

More tomorrow… all smiles though.  I seriously thought about not running – I had a prime excuse!  A dislocated thumb?  Prime!  However, I needed to prove something to myself.  I’m a proud runner!

 

running realizations

7 May

Yesterday I had a good run.  I was sitting on the couch after a long day of work.  I didn’t want to go running.  I was grouchy.  My hand hurt.  I was tired (actually not super tired but enough so I used it as an excuse).  And then there was just this, “I don’t want to get off of the couch” feeling.  But I used these excuses the day before so I needed to buck up, buttercup.

So, at 7:20 pm, I got up, changed and went for it.  I have reversed my normal route, which has two really tough hills.  My hand has been hurting when running as I haven’t been wearing my ace bandage when I go.  Finally, I clued in this was a bad idea since all of the jostling wasn’t doing me any favors.  Thankfully, the less amount of hand pain offset the pain in my lungs and legs!

I also wore my new shoes outside for the first time.  At first they felt a little off in the heel area but soon they were comfortable.  I definitely can feel the higher heel drop as my piriformis acted up a bit.  I concentrated on landing mid-foot and this will need to be more of a focus.  Considering I will be wearing these for the 25k on Saturday (I don’t have a choice, the Hokas are causing blisters and my other shoes are shot), it should be interesting.

The funny part is, there were times when I was keeping some good time.  My phone would show my current pace and it would be 10:07.  I swear, lifting my knees and turning my feet over faster has completely changed my running.  HOWEVER, I don’t have the endurance/fitness to keep up with this!  I had to walk a couple of times and/or stop and catch my breath.  My overall pace was about 11:15 including these breaks.  The nice part is knowing I can hit these numbers again.  For a long time I just figured I had lost all speed and couldn’t physically do it anymore.  Realizing I simply wasn’t picking up my feet is a major boost.  Endurance and fitness can be earned the more effort I put into it.

wahoo – run fast!

Yesterday was also a moment of truth.  I did 5.75 miles.  I couldn’t get the last .25 as I got a work call otherwise I would have finished 6.  This run made me realize Saturday is going to be painful.  I’ve been fooling myself into thinking 15 miles was totally doable.  While I still believe I can finish it, I’ve adjusted my goals to comply with my current running fitness.  Here is my plan:

1.  Enjoy the run.  Last time I did this race I put SO MUCH pressure on myself and set some very unrealistic goals.  At the end I was crying because I missed the mark and was incredibly disappointed in myself.  I don’t want to repeat this.  I made sure to enjoy my Dopey experience and plan on repeating this mindset.  I’m also wearing my Minnie polka dot skirt for funsies.

Minnie mouse skirt and zen-y attitude... I'm ready

Minnie mouse skirt and zen-y attitude… I’m ready

2.  Embrace the pain – physically and mentally.  I’m preparing for it.  I have a mantra.  There isn’t anything I can do about it now so accepting it is the first step – in my opinion.  My legs will hurt and I will want to give up – I refuse to.

3.  Not go out too fast!  I’ve noticed on my last few training runs I have shot out of the cannon and then wanted to crawl through the rest of the miles.  I’m a huge fan of negative splits (aren’t we all??) so I need to keep my mind and body focused on slow and steady.

this illustrates what happens to a “T”

4.  The first three miles always suck for me.  It’s one of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of 5k’s.  It takes me this long to warm up and typically it dampens my spirit.  Thoughts like, “is this going to be how the rest of the run will be?!” bombard my brain.  Despite knowing things will get better it’s hard to get my head on track and my spirit sinks a bit.  Again, accepting this and relaxing.

5.  Realistic goals. A) Finish. B) Under 3:30.  C) Under 3:15.  D) Under 3 hrs.  I’ve decided to wear my garmin but not have it show pace.  I will keep it on regular watch mode so I can track my progress but not get caught up in the numbers.

Ha!  This is a bit of a long post.  Clearly there are some things on my mind.  I focused on running today because it’s been an up and down week and I don’t like moaning and groaning too much on here.  Or at least I don’t want to today!  Hope you enjoy your Wednesday!

some wkend oopsies

21 Apr

This weekend I made a few mistakes.  I shall detail them for you in hopes I can help you all avoid them in the future.  Also, I’ve included a couple of things I actually got right so I don’t sound so grumpy.

1.  Running – the oopsie:

A) Way overdressed-I was wearing long sleeves & capris.  It was about 65*.  Not a smart plan.

I bet they were as toasty as I was

B) I didn’t bring any water.  I didn’t exactly hydrate all that well during the day so this kicked me in the bum.  Speaking of lack of water, I also did a crummy job with fueling.  For some reason, I didn’t eat much prior to leaving & I was extremely hungry during the run.  By the way, I repeated the hydration mistake on Sunday too and I didn’t have to use the restroom for 10 hours.  Yeah, ridiculous, I deserve to have a crappy run.

C) You know, it would have helped if I had done some decent running during the week.  I have some excuses (of course) but really, I could’ve pushed through on some of those days and I didn’t.  Lame.

2.  Watching lots of teen angst tv – the oopsie

A)  I found a CW series on Netflix & it seriously had some drama.  But I couldn’t pull myself away.  AND there is only one season so I am going to end up disappointed!  Did that stop me?  Nope.  I haven’t quite finished the first season and I’m committed; however it fed into my feeling all emo.  Excellent – this is what I refer to as not the best life choice.

3.  Spending a holiday weekend alone – the oopsie

A)  Ok, so this isn’t an abnormal thing for me but it did make me feel kind of blue.  Needless to say, number 2 didn’t really help with this.

4.  Going to the store when feeling said blueness – the oopsie

A)  I spent $30 on incidentals.  It started with some coconut oil mousse & it blossomed from there.  Then there was this candle warmer thing that I convinced myself I should purchase since it was Easter & I needed a giftie.

What did I do well?  LAUNDRY!  Yay!  Good gravy, my laundry situation was ridiculous!  It really is such an amazing feeling of accomplishment to get it done.  I seem to forget this…  Please feel free to remind me!

Going to the grocery store!  Yes, this does contradict my previous statement but I had two prescriptions to pick up & I really wanted to put off going-like I had for the last two days.  I’m terrible about just getting it done despite it meaning I’m out of meds.  So again, an “I’m proud” moment.

Running. While Saturday’s run was fairly miserable, I did get up & do it.  There was about a mile in there that was enjoyable & so at least there is that.  Then I ran yesterday as well.  Eh…  I started out wearing my old shoes since my Hokas are giving me blisters (more in another post).  Within the first few steps I knew this was a giant mistake and went back to change.  Different shoes helped despite my blisters getting worse.  I am attempting to give myself props despite the runs being lackluster.  Oh!  I did follow some Runner”s World advice!  I read an article about hills and pace. They advised not trying to keep the same pace rather keep the same effort.  It’s difficult for sure but I could feel the difference.

I guess that’s it.  I allowed the feeling sorry for myself-sometimes I think it’s important to just feel the emotions rather than pushing them away.  I also indulged in an alcoholic beverage which may or may not have helped but whatever.  AND I picked out my outfit for this morning.  Not sure why this is noteworthy but I going with it.

With that, I will spare you any further time commitment to my angst.  I hope you had a lovely holiday wkend (if this is your thing) & the beautiful weather that seemed to descend over everyone. I’m CONVINCED we have seen the last if the snow-enjoy!

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