A buzzword I’ve been hearing lately is a pivot. That is what training and life have been like lately – I’m pivoting.
While the coronavirus and lifestyle changes don’t really affect me in the sense that I don’t go out a lot or congregate in groups all that much, now I just don’t have that option. I’m not complaining, not at all, because I have everything I need. It’s what everyone has to do now – pivot – make changes and adjust thinking and activities. I still have a job; that’s always good.
Take a deep breath.
What I like about the concept of pivoting is that it doesn’t mean desperation; it can be additional growth. It’s changing what you do right now to maintain your vision; your vision of what the future will be.
While races are canceled and training is in flux, I still am running, walking a lot and reading.
The world is changing – every year brings something we didn’t expect; globally and locally. As a GenXer this is our world, something we always have lived with and for me it makes me not trust anyone or anything. America’s neglected ‘middle child’. Could it be true that “being in the middle is a power place to be.” Doubt it.
Ha. But I’m getting away from my point.
Maybe pivoting is what I’ve been doing all my life, always re-imagining what I could do and be. Maybe it’s time to reassess and make some changes. Pivot.
Amid the crisis and hunkering down, I decided that I will start writing my second book. I’ve been procrastinating writing it. I’ve started a million times, with twenty different titles and topics. Fiction or Nonfiction. I have had so many starts and stops. I have so many half completed essays and chapters.
For over 20 years I’ve been journaling and I write almost every day. I’ve been starting to notice a pattern in what I write about in my journal and morning pages. There are two recurring themes: fixing mistakes and second chances.
These themes are the working title, too.
Chapters include: Dogs, Work, Men, Plans, Endurance Training, Friends, Travel and most importantly and most likely the most cathartic to write: Family.
One thing that will be woven through all these chapters is the idea that we are all so scared. We (and I mean me) are scared to accept new responsibilities, to get our hearts broken (again), that we will lose our job, that a plan falls through that you had your heart set on, that you aren’t good enough or strong enough to finish a big race. And when it comes to family, people you know so well, well, they are more scared than you are. I thought my family had it all together. They are all just as scared as everyone else.
I have so much material to make people laugh, cry, shake their heads in agreement – and mostly just to remember the good things in life we sometimes forget about.
See – the thing is – I screw up. A lot. I’m impulsive. I’m impatient. I worry. I’m worst-case-scenario girl. But despite all the screws ups, I also try to fix them. I’m not afraid to say sorry. Sometimes I get second chances. Second chances are the BEST! These are the stories I want to tell.
The 4 pillars or values of the YMCA: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Caring.
I’ve been staring at these values while swimming laps at YMCAs across the country since 1988. I started swimming in 1988 after graduating from high school and wanting to get in shape during the week to hike NH’s mountains on the weekends. I swam early mornings at the Portsmouth, NH YMCA pool for years. I remember the lifeguard and the “regulars” like it was yesterday; I’m so old!
Many years later, when I moved to Granby, Colorado I remember swimming and seeing the pillars, Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Caring in front of me at the beginning of each lap while swimming at Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA. I look to my right, framed perfectly in the windows, the Rocky Mountains. It was great training swimming laps at 8,000 feet at Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA. I smile at the thought of those mountains.
When I lived in Tucson the YMCA pool was outside, and I don’t recall seeing the pillars posted anywhere. However, I do remember how wonderful the sun felt year-round on my body as I swam laps at their magnificent pool preparing for Ironman Texas and Wisconsin during the three years I lived there.
Now, I live in Concord, NH and as I kicked with fins I stared at the 4 pillars in front of me and it reminds me of all these places I’ve trained and all the truly wonderful places I’ve lived in. I’m blessed.
I haven’t swam in a few weeks and needed to get back into the pool since I need to 1) cross train for the ultras I’m running this year and 2) prepare for Ironman Mont Tremblant in 25 weeks.
Swimming just feels good. I’m starting out with 1,200 yards in 30 minutes doing all the strokes and using the kick board. I will gradually work in speed and endurance.
Training for ultra races and Ironman just make everything right in my world. Even with all the crap going on in the world, life is better when I can figure out 30 minutes in water.
Happy Monday. Make it great today. It’s all a crap shoot. It’s all just a crap shoot.
My friend Shelly, from Houston, finished her first 100 mile race at Brazos Bend in December, and her name appears in this month’s Ultra Running Magazine. She is amazing.
While I was in Houston in January for the Houston Marathon, I had a few minutes to talk to her about her race and get some tips for finishing my first 100. I wanted to know every training secret and figure out what I could do to get to the finish line at Umstead.
Here are a few tips she gave me:
Find running partners
Join long run groups
Run after work and into the night (with someone)
Get up and run at 3 a.m. for a few hours
Listen to podcasts and books while running
As soon as I got home I joined Facebook groups and vowed to find people to run with. I have tried to run after work but I’m too tired and it’s too cold. I haven’t woken up at 3 a.m. to run either. And, I pretty much always run alone.
However, today as I was running for hours on the treadmill I decided to look at some podcasts and take Shelly’s advice since my music wasn’t motivating me and all the TV channels were talking incessantly about coronavirus.
I started listening to Motivation vs. Discipline from Trail Runner Nation because I’ve been having some problems with motivation and discipline lately.
I’ve also been having recurring pain in my legs as my mileage increases; I’m thinking from my prior injury.
I’m a mess.
I decided to start listening to this podcast to force me to stay on the treadmill and finish the workout. I don’t listen to podcasts because they become cringeworthy to me, and it’s feels like I’m listening to a reality show that I want to turn off when everyone starts talking over each other. Today, I decided to give podcasts another shot and listened to this entire podcast.
The biggest take away from Motivation vs. Discipline was the discussion about the ultra running community and how at races people ask “what was your experience” not, what was your time. These runners care about having a great experience. And this is what needs to motivate my running. Another discussion topic is about how motivation is needed at the beginning of learning a new distance versus discipline; however motivation and discipline fuel each other. My favorite discussion point in the podcast: listen to your body.
“If you only go out and exercise when you feel great you are not going to reach your goal.” It seems like my legs are always tired. When I do my long runs they are so tired during most of it. I acknowledged that it is good training to run on tired legs, but why are they ALWAYS tired? This podcast really motivated me to keep going.
Then, I looked for another podcast to help me fight longer on the treadmill.
However, as I walked for a bit on the treadmill I decided to find the Libby App for the library and find a good book to listen to.
But my mind moved back to a point from the podcast, Motivation vs. Discipline, that I should use Training Peaks to plan my week because seeing a red workout (meaning not completed) would help motivate me. So I tried to Log In to Training Peaks.
It all helped pass the time and I kind of, sort of, finished my workout.
I need to do more of Shelly’s recommendations since it’s now just about 6 weeks to race day. Training is not going as well as I’d like, but I’m doing it.
Reading The Passion Paradox is helpful too. The idea of mastery and a goal of getting better, has helped me realize that I’m in this for the long-haul. I really want to finish a 100, get better at figuring out what my body needs to go long [successfully], and try other distances and endurance sports. The only way to do this is to learn more about what will cure all my aches and pains, get better at nutrition and recovery, and to figure out what truly motivates me. After 17 years of training and racing endurance sports you would think I’d have figured it out.
Maybe this is what keeps me motivated: there is always so much to learn.