Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm the Boss of Me

If all goes as planned, on June 23 I will step out onto the trail at the Western States 100 at mile 62 and chase my friend Wayne for 20 miles in the dark.

The story of how this all came to be is a good one but I have to save it for another day.  And while Wayne's story is his to tell (and perhaps I'll get him to do that...) I must quickly tell you that in addition to raising a beautiful family with his lovely wife Angie, Wayne has clocked 70 marathons and over 160 ultra-marathons over his lifetime.  (Ultras are distances over 26.2 miles - most frequently 50 and 100 mile races.)  He has also spent the last several years kicking the ass out of terminal cancer.
When my alarm goes off at 4:17 a.m. and I want to get into a husband-dog sandwich and sleep for another two hours... I think of Wayne and drag my ass out of bed. 

Today I'd like to share a little nugget of wisdom that Wayne dropped on me when we had the good fortune to spend the day together this past December.  Over the past six weeks it's changed my outlook and training considerably.  Perhaps it can help you too...

When I asked Wayne how in the world one completes a 100 mile run, he said...

"It all comes down to managing yourself."

I learned a lot about managing myself once my long runs started creeping over the 13 mile mark.  The body is depleted of glycogen at between 60-75 minutes of exercise so you have to put something in the tank to continue.  Once this "surface energy" is gone, the management of yourself begins.  Management in distance running entails food, drink, clothing, safety, your beloved electronics and your mental state.  

Almost all new runners want to gag at the thought of eating while running and I totally get it.  I had to teach myself over many weeks to do it.  I still have visions of Rachel and I rifling through the back of our "follow" car and popping back onto the road loaded with granola bars, bananas, dates, etc.  It started to look like a leisurely brunch by mile 17!   Chat, munch, trade snacks, slug back some Nuun, never breaking a stride...I never thought that was possible.  I've since learned that everything is possible.  I ate like clockwork every 30 minutes during the marathon and I'm sure it saved me from the dreaded bonk.  It also gave me something to do - long distances can be tedious!

This concept of self management carries into all aspects of your health and life - if  you let it.  When "Q" first started cleaning up her diet I hit her with a pop quiz:  "What are you eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner tomorrow?"  She immediately fired off three meals without a moment of thought.  I knew she would be successful.  She's managing herself.

On most days I teach multiple classes in addition to my own training AND have to pop into an office environment.  This requires costume changes.  I now do my laundry only on Sundays and find it saves time and mental effort if I simply stack my workout clothes according to the needs of the upcoming week. Yup. Five little stacks of workout clothes.  On Tuesdays I grab the second stack:  running outfit, a boxing outfit and a yoga top.  Done.  I no longer make myself crazy by rifling through drawers and the dryer, looking for my yoga pants at 4:30 a.m.  If I have to buy three more tops or extra running socks to make sure I don't have to do my laundry until Sunday - so be it.  I am in full Management Mode.    

Flip all of this into vegetarian land and you've got some serious "management" on your hands!  I'm currently soaking beans for two days from now.   Tonight I'll whip up the veggie burger mix that will last for the next three days of lunches.  The farmer's market is only open on Saturday so I have to at least think about how to parse out what's in my fridge. Two water bottles with Nuun tabs have made it into the freezer for Thursday & Saturday runs.  Management Abounds! 
Sometimes managing ourselves feels selfish.  It isn't.  The body you want and the health you need don't happen by magic or luck.  They happen via management and effort.  Promote yourself to The Boss of YOU!

Wayne & his running buddies heading down into the Grand Canyon for Rim2Rim2Rim.  AWESOME!

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