Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Want to Kick That Guy in the Teeth

Now that my feet are safely planted on the ground…

My head is still in the clouds.

You cannot imagine the high I am on after Sunday.

But, back to basics.

Biggest Loser:
Is it just me, or are things getting a bit extreme on the Biggest Loser? I can’t recall ever having seen the type of torturous or grueling workout that was on the show last night. Okay, okay the contestants always puke in week one and I know that. Having a vomit phobia (emetophobia), this episode is particularly stressful for me. They just spring the puking on you. One minute treadmill. Next minute puking in trash can. No warning. Us phobes need warning.

Ken: Oh, are you asleep?

Me: No, I close my eyes when they’re in the gym on week one. Puking episode.

I get the puking, crying, grunting, screaming thing. But last night seemed different. More trainers versus rather than with contestants. It was as if the trainers were looking down on the players like “we’re going to kick your ass and make shit come out of your eyeballs.” I get that this tough love mentality is what has worked for this show, but it seemed more mean spirited than ever before. Just sayin’. And losing 41 pounds in two weeks. Really?

Marathon Meanderings:
17 days and counting until the Denver Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Let’s talk strategy. Let’s not. Do you always have to have a race strategy? For my second marathon in May, I had lots of parameters and structure because I was on a BQ quest and I got it. Not to be a pussy, but I’m not sure I can beat my time of 3:42. The BQ course provided a downhill advantage for the first 11 miles. The weather was perfect. Most of all, I was driven like no one’s business. Even after I spent the night with Lucky in the pet ER and only got 3 hours of sleep, I busted out that race.

This training cycle, I’ve put in my time and I think I’m at least as strong as I was back in May. Where I may be lacking is FIRE. Have you ever gotten closer and closer to a race and wondered if you have the spunk and fire to run your best race? I’m going to be honest. This go round I’m afraid of feeling pain and fatigue. After two marathons I know how you encounter spots of wanting to stop, to cry. Usually after about mile 18 for me.  What I am trying to remember is, so what? So what if you’re tired? So what if you hurt? So what if you want to stop? So what if you just squirted in your shorts?

Like we’ve all heard a million times, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

At this point in marathon training when the taper is looming, I’ve already done the physical work and put in the miles. What comes into play now is concentrating on mental preparedness. What will I do when the going gets tough? When no song on my iPod is giving me a boost? When I want to kick the band’s lead singer in the teeth at mile 21? When if one more kid steps out to high five me I’m going to backhand them right off the course? And I even like kids.

I say, I am strong. I’ve been this tired before. I can keep going.

I dissociate and focus away from my body. I literally imagine being separate from my legs as they continue to turn over.

I stop at every aid station and give myself permission to walk through. This gives me a mental boost.

I associate and check in with my body. Is my form breaking down? How is my stride? Am I breathing steadily?

I put it into time and distance into manageable chunks. Only 36 more minutes of running. I can do anything for 36 minutes. Only 2 more 5-Ks. That’s only twice around the lake.

But, here’s what I want to remember the most {source}:

Run from your heart! Do not get so caught up in trying to beat a certain time that you lose out on the truly amazing experience of running a marathon.”

We forget how blessed and privileged we are to be able to run at all. That our bodies cooperate and take us the distance.

What do you do to cope in a race when the going gets tough (besides quit)?


  1. In most of my races I don't have a strategy until Mile 5, sometimes even later. By Mile 5 I pretty much know how I screwed myself listening to the weather forecast and how my body is feeling. Then I just roll from there!

  2. Nice Mooshy.

    I think of all the people who will be reading my RR and then I try to choke back pukes and go for it.

    And BTW - last night BL - It WAS different. Way Hellish-ER than past episodes.

    I mean seriously, the poor guy had a bugger dangling from his nose for like 2 minutes ---- and you KNOW we could NOT stop looking at it.

  3. I think my most successful trick is to get my mind & body separated a little bit. Sometimes I'll just stare at the shirt of the person in front of me and mentally let it feel like they are pulling me along. That usually gets me through the worst funks.

  4. "“Run from your heart! Do not get so caught up in trying to beat a certain time that you lose out on the truly amazing experience of running a marathon.” -- this is my dilemma for my first marathon this december (Vegas Rock n Roll), some months ago they put a cut off time of 5:30. it will be my first and just really wanted to enjoy the course. =(

  5. i try to say mantras like I can, I will, I am. I say I am strong. i also try to drop my shoulders and stick my chest out, hips forward, i think if my body looks strong it will help. it does seem to work..

    yes biggest loser seemed a bit much. i think thye have to do it to keep an edge but it is annoying. how about the snot from brendan, i am sure he was pleased watching himself with a snot hanging out of his mouth.

  6. Great post! And a great quote!

    And so far....I just make excuses and quit :( Which is why I've never managed to complete training to run a 1/2 marathon!! Mental focus is something I REALLY need to work on! Next year the half will be mine!!

  7. love the quote! when the going gets tough in a long race i try to tell myself that i'll get to the next mile then reassess. in short races i tell myself that it'll all be over soon and the faster i run the faster i'll be done!

  8. Ugh! BL was rough last night!

    I can totally relate to not having the FIRE right now. I'm in the same boat with my marathon on 10/17. I want to BQ again but I'm not sure if I'm ready emotionally. I just ran a full in crazy hard conditions on Sunday and squeeked by with a 4:15 (a course PR for me) but I was thinking the whole time, "do I want to do this again in two weeks? No!)

    I think I will know come race day. And if it isn't there, I'm going to just enjoy the race, enjoy the ability to get out there and run a respectable 26.2 time. It doesn't always have to have a reason or a goal. I'm hoping my FIRE will present itself in the next couple of weeks.
    Good luck!

    P.S. LOVED the sky diving posts - you are a rockstar!

  9. First off- great quote! I just keep telling myself, "you can do this, it's not going to beat you!" Good luck on your marathon!

  10. I just try to tell myself to man up and that it will be over before i know it. that said, this next marathon may kill me :)

  11. Well, when I ran my first and only 1/2 marathon, all I could think about was my little girl cheering at the finish line in her mouse ears( It was at Disney). And you know what? The song I listened to as I crossed the finish line was her favorite, "Party in the USA" Remember... right now, our children think we are goddesses and are so proud of what we do!

  12. There's not one part of me that runs from the heart in the last six miles of a marathon. The only thing that keeps me motivated is stopping for water (like you), eating more Gu (like it's going to suddenly make me feel better) and counting down to the end in small increments. Oh, and another thing I do is try (as coherently as I can) to find my favorite iPod songs and sing out loud. Fortunately, I run in large marathons where no one has to actually hear me.

  13. I'm with you on Biggest Loser. It felt so mean spirited last night. Why would the trainers NOT want them walking in the gym and cheering? What on earth could it hurt to have a positive 'tude walking in there with Jillian's only goal to make you cry and then tell her your problems so she can pretend she's a psychologist ... end mini rant.

    When I start getting down during a race I try to focus on how far I've come, focus on how hard I've worked and how this is the pay off, and how truly amazing our bodies are that we can do this! That or I cry a little bit, get embarrassed about what people will think of me, and then just try to finish ...

  14. Totally agree on the Biggest Loser stuff. I am a huge fan and have watched all but 1 season. They definitely seemed meaner than usual. Like at the beginning when the contestants came running up to the gym excited, both Bob and Jillian looked really pissed off about that. Weird. And the puking was shown a ton more and that one guy on the black team with the snot hanging from his nose for an entire seen...GROSS...seriously getting sick right now thinking about it!

  15. BL...I watched part of it last night, then turned the channel and watched Raising Hope. There IS something different about it, and I don't really know if I like it. I'm kind of over BL, but I still find myself watching parts of it every week! Ugh!

    About the marathon...I can't believe we only have 18 days left! Where did the time go? I really liked your post because unlike you, this is my first marathon and I need to read things like this to prepare me for what's ahead. I break down the long runs into smaller chunks too, but I know there will be times when I think..oh god, I still have # miles left!

  16. I don't watch TV so can't comment on this. TV in general makes me puke (without warning).

    Just had my first race experience of cracking up after about 6 minutes of running and getting totally down - the way I acted was to swear at myself but kept running. I know that's not much advice but that's all I got girl.

    Thanks for the mojo! You got lots - you'll rock their world!

  17. The little crybaby with the huge snotty booger hanging out of his nose was just a bit much...the vomit I can handle, but the snot was over the top. I agree about the meanness...really?

  18. It's crazy all of the things I think before and during the race. BEFORE my first marathon, or a difficult long run, I would tell myself, yes, this will hurt. Yes, I will be tired. Yes, I will want to give up several times. Acknowledging that these things would happen helped me mentally prepare for them, because I could calmly tell myself, "It will suck. But I'll just keep running. I will continue to put one foot in front of the other until I get to that finish line."

    When I'm actually running, I just try and let my mind go wherever, let it be entertained by anything and everything, even if just for a second. :P

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  20. I don't watch the Biggest Loser anymore (I have too many problems with it), but really, *nobody* loses that much weight in two weeks (barring, you know, liposuction or intestinal worms or something). If I were on that kind of show, I'd drink massive amounts of water before the pre-show weigh-in - I checked, and drinking a cup of tea can make nearly a pound of difference on the scale. A few BL "alumnae" have spoken up, too, and said that the trainers did their absolute best to *massively* dehydrate the contestants before weigh-ins. I suspect that that's one of the reasons that Week 2 losses have traditionally been low.

    Anyway. I'll get off my soapbox. Bottom line: it's not all real loss!

  21. I am so excited for RNR Denver! It is the 2nd in my first back-to-back marathon weekends. (10/10 in my hometown, and 10/17 in Denver.) I'm running it with girlfriends, and it should be an awesome experience!

    I don't run particularly fast, so I tend to run blissfully happy. I just take each step and enjoy the experience. We really are so lucky to do such an awesome thing.

    Also, for some reason I adore mile 17. I call it the "magic mile". Less than 10 miles left, single digit countdown, etc. I also love the last 10k - I hate that distance as a standalone race, but for some reason at the end of a marathon, I know the end is near, and there is new bling to be had. This is also the point where I tend to make enemies, as I'm so happy, and everyone else is pissy.

  22. I didn't watch the BL last night, I totally forgot about it. I have run some marathons for "fire" and some for "fun" and I have a totally different mental approach to each. There's no reason to kill yourself....I say just go and have fun and I bet you will surprise yourself :). I need to email you to see if you want to meet up with Adam on Saturday.

  23. Your post is perfect timing for me. My first marathon is just 10 days away and I'm going to borrow some of your tips and techniques to help get me through it. Thanks for sharing.

  24. That last thing you said is exactly what I needed to read right now. I am all about focusing on the positive. I don't feel ready for Saturday's marathon physically, but I am determined to be ready mentally!!

  25. Yeah we just watched Biggest Loser and it was a snot fest. Uck.
    I think the reason I've never done a marathon is the time factor. I'd love to just go out and run one for fun but I know someone would always ask, "what was your time" and then I'd want to punch THEM in the teeth.

    That is part of the reason I sign up for things super last minute. I'm doing a 24 hour race on Friday. No one in thier right mind thinks I'm actually going to run the whole thing, so the pressure is off to just go out and have a good time while I see what I'm capable of!

  26. um... I've never actually had a strategy... given I've only run 6 5ks and 1 half marathon (im still new at this)... are you supposed to have a strategy? hmmm... maybe for my next race i'll come up with one ;)

    also, i laughed so hard imagining you backhanding a child ... poor kid! lol...

  27. Thanks so much for looking up the word for vomit phobia - I learn something new from SUAR every day! :-)
    I'm still working on that whole "race strategy" thing, but for my next marathon (on 10/17), I plan on running comfortably hard and not obsessively checking my Garmin (which makes me overthink everything I'm doing). We'll see what that gets me.

  28. I try and curb my negative talk...that is if I can recognize it. I try and run taller, which makes it easier to run because my form has improved.

  29. This may sound strange, but visualizing the race from waking up in the AM to a positive finish. If you know the course, go through as much detail as you can, sights, sounds, smells (I can only imagine where you can go w. that!), etc.

    I have my athletes and myself do this at least once a day while not watching puking on TV. Think about how you will respond to stress and fatigue and getting through it.

    To be sciency-this trains our brains to already process the experience.

    Adrienne L.
    Sports Psych Consultant-TX

  30. I think about my girlfriend at the finish line, waiting to rip my clothes off and go at it right there. Ok so that doesn't really happen, but it's fun to think about LOL

  31. Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who starts to get to that mentality around mile 18 :) Given what you accomplished with Dean (yup, name-dropping), clearly you've got that mental toughness in there and aren't afraid to whip it out!

    This being my second marathon of the year, too (and overall), I've tried to work on mental toughness just as much as endurance. You don't know "tough" until those last few miles of a marathon (or ultra, as I can only imagine), and then once you've experienced it, you wonder why you're doing it to yourself again. I always repeat "this will make you stronger" in my head - seems to do the trick, and distract me.

  32. i was thinking the same thing as i watched the biggest loser. it was making me angry (partly b/c i want to kick jillian) b/c that's no way to train someone. and i, like you, need warning for the puke.

  33. I've only done halves at this point, but I give myself permission to walk at each aid station as well. It gives me short-term goals. Just get to the next cup of water! I don't even walk long enough for it to be a "break" but for some reason it still feels like one.

  34. Convincing myself that I *have* been this tired before and was able to continue on is key. (And yet each time it seems to feel worse/harder than anything I have ever experienced... hmmm....)

    We are racing on the same time so I guess I should start working on my mental preparations too. I had fire for my half on the weekend and I know I can find it again. Woohoo!

  35. Run with your heart. It is the only thing that works for me. When it starts getting rough, I repeat to myself "this is my dream, I am making it a reality". Good luck girl, you will do great.

    I have never seen BL so can't comment on it, however I can say that losing that much weight in one week cannot be safe for the just can't.

  36. I love watching BL, but yeah, they are going a bit over the top with "let's just make them as miserable as possible"

    I was going to do the Denver half, but it sold out :(

    Best of luck to you!!

  37. Oh, the guy lost 41 pounds in 2 weeks? I thought it was only 1! I was trying to figure out how that could be possible.

    In races, it always helps me to keep going to remember all the work I'd be wasting if I quit and to think of all the people who are going to finish that most definitely aren't in as good of shape as I am. It's the training runs where I have trouble not quitting.

  38. NO strategy!? Say it ain't so.

    I try to focus on form, fast turnover when I get tired. That, and I count down how many miles I have left and think about what I can do during that time. 30 min left? That is just a TV show!

  39. 'You think you can't, BUT YOU CAN!" is my mantra.

    It's sounds silly, but really the negative thought that hits me when I'm tired is "I can't." But then I think of all the runs and races and workouts I've done when I thought there was NO WAY I could run that far/fast, but I did.