Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

When you don't know that you don't know, it's a lot different than when you do know that you don't know.--Bill Parcells

With 15 days left, the checklist begins. Oftentimes when someone has a big event coming up and for the sake of my regular readers that event is a big race, they begin to psych themselves out. Historically, as I get closer to race day, I begin to fee my own nagging injuries again. The tinged Achilles, the achy knee, the sore hammy, and we can't forget, drumroll please, the infamous I... T... B. A month ago we dispatched these injuries but low and behold every tapered training run we think that we tweaked something.

I also tend to worry about things like weather, food, the national debt, and cute little kittens in captivity in some weirdos basement. We don't need to worry actually when you employ a few tried and true mental exercises. Running, particularly long distance running is largely mental. For example, very few programs include a 26 mile run in training for a marathon. No recommendations exist to tell ultrarunners to embark on a 100 miler in training. Whatever your long run is, on race day we tell ourselves that there is no way, "I won't finish". 

Some of the things that I do are as follows. Keep in mind, I'm not necessarily making a recommendation to do what I do but it works for me. I like to obsess over details. I figure if I am super prepared that my comfort level will turn race day into another long run in training albeit with a little extra adrenaline to propel me faster than a typical day. I practically memorize the course map. I get familiar with the turns and elevation. There's nothing worse than to be cruising along and then BAM!!! Massive hill. If you know it's coming, you can plan accordingly and based on your training you can slow down or attack the hill.

I remind myself that I've done the necessary work to be successful. Knowing that I've trained for 18 weeks gives me the confidence to just do what I do. I've mapped out the remaining training days. I've begun to alter my diet. My stretching is calculated as well as my foam rolling.  I've already put the trip in Waze and I know what my breakfast will be. There's virtually nothing that I can do here in the last few weeks outside of eating certain foods that will have a significant impact. So to make a long story endless, I will focus in and let my body carry me through to success.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Now What?

After all is said and done, more is said than done.--Aesop

So I have 23 days left until I embark on a journey of 12 marathons in 12 months. It's been done before. It's been done hundreds of times I'm sure. But this journey belongs to me. I guess this is my midlife crisis. I just feel like I want to do something special. Not necessarily special in the world or in the eyes of others but special enough for me to wake up before, during, and after the races and look in the mirror and say hey, you've done something special. Success and self-worth are completely subjective. I feel that this is a special journey that more than just a bucket list item.

17 weeks ago I personally designed a program to put me in a great position to have 12 good outings. The plan is great. I  had all types of workouts. Tempo, Fatlek, intervals, LSD were all part of the program. As I began to really get into the meat of the program my traveling increased and my work became more demanding. I went from a high of 64 miles in a week to 10 miles. I would go off the schedule, and try to get things back in order but ultimately I had to permanently go off script.

The best part of stopping my program was that I discovered my new work capacity. The month of December I ran 100 miles on 10 runs. I convinced myself that 100 miles per month is the gold standard for a serious runner. Running 10+ miles will clear the mind more than a 3 mile run. So running virtually every run over 10 this month put me in a place psychologically that will create memories for years to come. I randomly ran past a 9/11 monument that after 10 years running the area I finally discovered for the first time.

It actually worked out to have sort of a mental cleansing and less taxing month before I get going. After months on my program and stressing out if I missed a workout, I just ran. The same way I've run for years. Now that January is here and I'm counting days, I feel recharged and prepared for the next 12 months.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I Don't Make Resolutions, I Make Things Happen

Mediocre people don't like high achievers and high achievers don't like mediocre people.--Nick Saban

This is the time of year that I've grown to hate so much. All of the New Year, new you crap that people spew out of their pie holes to convince themselves that the previous 30 years of underperformance is an anomaly compared to the forthcoming "New Year", woo Hoo!!!

I don't make resolutions. I think they're silly. I believe that folks think there is some sort of switch that allows you to change behavior at a moments notice. I don't think that's how it works. The gym and the roads are a ghost town in late December. All of a sudden, every schlep rock from here to Brooklyn will file into the gym like a Manhattan bound 4 train during rush hour (NYC reference). I think that it is all marketing. Every magazine cover talks about what to do in the new year. I mean, Valentine's Day has been marketed to put a price on love. 

Most serious runners won't need to make a resolution. Goals are constantly set. Really, ask a serious runner what their PR is and they know it to the second most likely. Now there are plenty of serious runners that have no idea what their PR is. Those runners will most certainly not make some ridiculous proclamation that they will lose X amount of pounds or run their first 5K. Those folks run simply for enjoyment. 

I believe strongly that there is no tomorrow, you have to live for the day (Jay-Z quote... Sort of). Lots of times people that make resolutions do so void of a concrete plan or course of action in order to reach said goal. I know, I know, it makes people feel good to say that they are going to get better. That said, I'm not really into subsidizing lack of execution for the sake of perpetual kumbaya moments (did I spell that right). 

I probably sound like the New Years version of Ebenezer Scrooge better yet, Scrooge McDuck, perhaps the Grinch that stole New Years but I just want people to stop lying to themselves and their friends that the fat that they've built since graduation will miraculously begin to disintegrate when the ball drops on the prior year. Runners can't sit around and make unrealistic bets on their performance, body fat or other athletic goals because the roads never lie. Every run will tell you the truth and that is the truth that you proclaim.