Thursday, May 15, 2014

72 to San Francisco and Finding My Motivation

If you’ve been reading my posts or talking to me in real life (if that’s a thing), you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been having a tough time with my workouts.  I am fighting them every step of the way.  Here’s how it works:

J: I am going to the gym (knees, lower back immediately flare up).

J: Great, I’m at the gym but that dude is using the squat rack for curls (Just skip squats, you don’t want to wait for this clown).

J: I’m doing squats but they are heavy (you should probably cut this set short because you don’t want to hurt yourself and not be able to work out tomorrow).

J: Now I’m on the treadmill and am short of breath and my legs hurt (you’ve done weights already and some cardio, you can cut back.  You should probably stop now and not overexert yourself).

Sometimes it just goes like this:
J: I am going to the gym (knees, lower back immediately flare up). 
J: Eh, I could take another day to rest, there is a race Saturday.  I mean, I’m unprepared for it already, what difference is one workout going to make?

So for those of you who read this blog for inspiration, that beginning part might not be what you were looking for.  If anything, the take away is that even people who have finished a marathon struggle to get their daily workouts in.

For me, this issue with working out has become increasingly frustrating.  Why is it that I find it hard to motivate myself and even stranger, hard to keep motivating myself while working out.  I used to have issues getting to the gym sometimes but once I walked in I was fine.  I would think that being as I’m here anyway, might as well get my sweat on.

I found an article online where the author talks about how at the end of marathons, she would let up on herself and made the 3:30 marathon mark elusive.  I identified with her, the idea of “You have done a lot already.  You can take it easy here” really sounded familiar.  There was a bunch of sports-psychology wrapped up in the article that I didn’t understand.  I took the article to my wife who is a psychologist for clarification regarding what process goals are and what performance goals are.

We started speaking about the article and then quickly diverted.  I could tell that Maryclare was torn between being a wife and being a psychologist.  She recommended that maybe we could set up a behavior chart for me.  She also recommended that I start some sort of signal to myself when I start having negative thoughts and that might help me head them off before they result in me going home.  I recognize the negative thoughts as they are happening.  I just can’t stop them.

We continued talking and then my wife asked me an important question: Why are you running the marathon?  I asked if she expected an answer or if it was rhetorical.  She said, “You don’t have to answer me necessarily but it’s not rhetorical.  You have to know what your motivation is.”

Cue Wonder Boys:
Vernon: If you didn’t know what it was about, why were you writing it?
Grady: I couldn’t stop.

I thought about why I was registered for San Francisco and came up with four reasons:
1)      I really wanted to go to San Francisco
2)      I had run a marathon before
3)      I enjoy the look on people’s faces when I tell them I am running
4)      I signed up when it first opened because there was an “Early Bird” Special.

When I finally came up with this list, I knew that if someone told me that was their motivation to run, I’d tell them to run.  In the opposite direction.  Far and fast.

My biggest motivation for running the New York City Marathon was to prove to myself that I could set a long term goal and reach it.  I wanted to know if I could push myself.  I wanted to know that I could rise to the challenge.  Was there anything left in the tank or did I use all my gas in High School and College?  Those are good reasons for running a marathon.

So once I accepted the fact that I didn’t want to run the San Francisco Marathon, I wondered what I should do.  I still wanted to go out there and I still wanted to go out that night wearing the medal, so I still planned on running it.  This doesn’t really make a lot of sense I know.

I thought about the New York City Marathon and I know that finishing a marathon requires toughness.  Do I still have any toughness left?  I wasn’t even getting through half hour work outs or even working out consistently during the week.  I decided that I was tough in the way that I could endure the pain and punishment of running the marathon and that I would show that by enduring San Francisco.

Then I decided that I didn’t want to endure it.  I wanted to enjoy it.

I had planned on hurting after the marathon.  I still will.  I had planned on it so much that I had booked an extra day stay in town in case my Monday was shot.  But I don’t want to waste a day lying in a hotel bed wishing I had trained harder.  So rather than get all the pain on Marathon Sunday, I figured I’d spread it out over time taking a little each day rather than facing its full strength all at once.

This is not a technique you will read in any books or magazines about running.  No one ever says, “Go as a tourist; work out beforehand so the marathon does not interfere with your sightseeing. ”

So while I still may not be in the perfect headspace right now, I’m definitely in a better place.  I earned a night off tonight but got “Wins” on Tuesday and Wednesday after a blowout loss on Monday. 

Last night I was running hills in White Plains.  After finishing enough trips up the hill to constitute a “Win” for the workout, I was standing at the top of the hill looking down the street.  I told myself that I could go home with my win or I could run another hill.  I turned off my head and let my body decide.  Next thing I knew, I was walking back down to do another rep.

My thought is that right now any reason to run is a good one.  The desire to run the Marathon will come to me but I have to earn it first.

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you!! Keep up the great work!!