Monday, May 11, 2009

Finding your motivation

Some days it is very hard to get motivated. Some days your workout says hammer and your legs/body object. Some days you mind is just not in it and you want it to be easy, not hurt, not be a struggle. Training with a smart schedule and being in tune with your body can help you mitigate which days are which. Some days it is smart to listen to your body and ease off. And some days it is smart to tell your mind to F off and quite your whining.

Today was one such day. I have started back CrossFitting down here in the Bay Area at CrossFit Marin. Trainers Roger and Andres are incredibly smart, fit and genuine people who are more than happy to kick my butt up and down and support my running goals as my primary purpose. I headed in for my first session last Thursday and got obliterated by Roger doing the Angie workout (100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats for time). Today I headed back for a repeat punishment. Well, it is not punishment, I adore the beatings, but it is definitely not easy. While today is an easy running day, CrossFit is the perfect way to get a Monday morning going. This morning we did a pretty tough warmup 4x (bear walks, hanging pikes on the bars, 20 kettle bell swings and 8 jumping pullups) to get the blood flowing. Then we setup for Kelley which is 5x (400 meter run, 30 box jumps and 30 wall balls- with a 12lb ball, for me). It really seemed like everyone had a case of the Mondays and motivation in the pack of CrossFitters was not pro-asskicking. I am definitely tired after last week which was a big week and rightfully so as I start to peak for WC100k in mid-June (more on last week later), but also I am surprisingly not as tired or worked as I might have expected. My mind was definitely leading the charge of tiredness, so I felt a bit more whiny than I usually allow myself to be. I did have fun doing some spotted upside down pikes on the parallel bars. It is so satisfying when you can hang upside down and balance you entire body perfect straight above you. After a few turns, I actually managed to hold it! Nice. But after that, I just wanted to curl up in the sun and take a cat nap on the mats. We finally got going on the workout and I tore away from the group on the 400 meter run (even though I was not hoofing it at all) and got back for my first set of box jumps and wall balls. Andres coaching and encouraging us on, everyone was lamenting at having to do 5 sets. I knew it would be a grind, but was trying to keep perspective. I was having a hard time though, a voice in my head was scrolling through the Rolodex of pithy motivational cues and nothing took. Andres came over during my first set of wall balls giving me a few pointers and corrections and I let out a phewwwww, wondering for myself how I would make 5 sets when 1 was rough. He looked at me, smiled and said, "it's easier than running 100k". Ding, we have a winner. That was the motivation I needed to kick the whiner out of my brain. Not only would I survive this workout, I would utilize it as a powerful tool to carry me through in my goal races. This workout was not a frivolous thing, why treat it like one. I focused and took off for my 2nd round with renewed energy. I became like the bionic woman. I powered through the workout. One of the other CrossFitters commented, "you are amazing. Watching you is like watching a whole other breed of people". I finished in 26:09 or something close to that and felt so satisfied at my effort. I had told my mind to F-off and successfully pushed past a mental barrier. Physically I obviously had that effort in my body, so I was glad I was able to recognize that it was a mental exercise.

Last week, after the Seattle crew left and Miwok (and its crap weather) became a distant memory, I locked into a good training week. Howard has me on an awesome, balanced schedule and I am currently doing my specific workouts in the morning, followed by an afternoon recovery run per his instructions. I really like the higher mileage, so it is fun to get out twice a day and often it gives me an opportunity to do my sister's runs with her as she trains for Rock and Roll San Diego.
Looking down on Rodeo Beach, heading up to Wolf Ridge.

On Thursday, I got up early, ok super early to run with my sister (4am). We headed out on the flats towards Mill Valley running through the fog and darkness. We did a nice 10 miler and I was feeling quite good. A few hours later, the sun was shining, the sky was clear and I was ready to do my 90 minute run with last 30 good. I decided to do it as a trail run and bring my camera. I also decided to do in reverse the end of Miwok, so I could show my Seattle people what they had missed out on. I got a little carried away on the run and was feeling so good, I just kept on going and wandering around in the Headlands. It was pure, pure bliss. I then headed off to CrossFit to further the hammer-dropping on myself. It was a good day. By the time I got to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for the original recipes I was creating that night (check out the deliciousness here) , my arms were shaking and my legs were nicely toasted (not to mention, I really was toasted as I had decided to do my second run in a sports bra and got super sunburned, oops).
Heading uphill towards Mt. Rose. Photo by Gary Gellin

On Saturday morning I got out to Ohlone with Caitlin Smith, Gary Gellin, and Will Gotthardt. They are all running the Ohlone 50k in two weeks and we headed out to do Sunol to Mt. Rose which is a 20 mile run, with about 4,000 feet of climbing all on the way out. My legs were definitely feeling tired and the uphills made me feel like I was moving backwards but I just reminded myself that you do what you can and stay listening to your body. As much as I would have just loved to have willed myself up the hills at blazing speeds, I settled for feeling just ok and we worked our way to the top. I had Vespa'd up, so despite the heat (there is no shade) and the distance, all I needed was my Nuun and I felt great. Actually, after we arrived at the top I felt alot better and the second 10 miles were phenomenally better for me. Of course those 10 miles are more flat and downhill, but I fully recognize that those are my strengths and furthermore even downhill and flats are not everyone's favorite. I was very pleased to feel good that deep in the week. It was really fun running with that crew and I am excited to run with them alot more while I am here. Caitlin is amazingly inspiring and was moving up those hills like she was on an escalator despite the fact that she rocked Miwok 100k last weekend, coming in third there at her first attempt at the distance. Rockstar! I certainly think so!

Sunday, I headed out after noon with my sister for her 18 mile long run and we opted for an "urban adventure" as we call it. We headed across the Golden Gate bridge, bobbing and weaving among the tourists and headed out towards Ocean Beach. After a few rough first miles for both of us, we both started to feel alot better and clipped along nicely, talking, philosophizing, etc. There is no one in this world that I admire more than my sister. She is simply an amazing, beautiful person and I for one am made a better person by having her in my life, not just as my sister but as my best friend. It is runs like yesterdays, when I can't help but feel blessed. A fun run with my favorite person on a beautiful day, followed by post-long run burritos while sitting on the curb outside whole foods= bliss!

It was a great week and I am very excited to see how this week unfolds as I head to DC/VA to pace at MMT100 for Glen Redpath. He has 6-1 odds to win and frankly, I am going to do everything in my power to help him win. He has been working hard and training smart, so I think he has a great shot. I am excited to see how it all unfolds.

6 comments:

  1. Devon,

    I am a big fan of your blog. Thanks for being so open about your training, racing, and the ups and downs of both. I quoted you on my blog---hope you don't mind. :-)

    www.shiningsultra.blogspot.com

    Anyhoo, I just read that you are coming our way for MMT to pace Glen. I am also pacing my buddy Marlin Yoder (about a 25 hour finisher) from Woodstock (mile 83) as 17 miles of those MMT rocks are all I can take, to be honest. You have no doubt read up on the rocks of MMT...they are real and they suck. Lube your feet.

    OK, with that out of the way, I know you'll have a blast meeting the great folks from the VHTRC (my people) including Gary Knipling. Watch for him---he's the guy running with the mango panties.

    Have fun and I hope we get a chance to meet at the finish. Thanks again for your great blog!

    Sophie Speidel

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  2. Thanks for your great comment Sophie! I appreciate it and look forward to meeting you at MMT. I am probably going to be doing the last 25 miles or so. Should be fun! I love that you quoted me on your blog! Thanks! See you this weekend!

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  3. I too wrote today about my first crossfit experience (I know it wasnt your first) but it was so f'ing awesome. And I totally hear what your saying about it making you a tougher ultramarathoner, because, I never feel as bad as I do running than I do at the intensity crossfit is. Awesome blog!

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  4. Awesome stuff Devon... looking forward to running more with you and hope the sunburn is healing up :)!

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  5. I'm so glad you love Crossfit! I love Crossfit. It's a great compliment to running. And sometimes it's just fun to work on something totally unrelated to running. For me, I'm working on my pullup. I feel more rounded having more than one goal :p

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  6. Danni-
    It is pretty cool to have other goals outside of running. I like watching my own progress from having to do sissy pushups/pullups to real ones (ok not there yet but I am working on it). Next outside goal is to do more yoga and maybe even convince Caitlin to teach me some pilates :)

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