The 75% Rule of “The Suck”

the-suckI have been playing around with endurance athletic events for a couple of years now.  I’ve run several half-marathons (Disney Princess 2014, Lighthouse Loop 2014, Reindeer Racer 2014, Melbourne Music 2015, Tomoka Half 2015), a full marathon (Space Coast 2014), a half iron-distance triathlon (Gulf Coast Triathlon 70.3 2015), and I’m about to tackle my 2nd 70.3 at Beach2Battleship in 2 weeks and then embark upon training for Ironman Florida (or other 140.6) in 2016.  To prepare for these events, I’ve logged thousands of training/racing miles (to be precise:  Swimming: 120.63 miles; Biking:  3,699.48 miles; Running:  1,079.74 miles) and I have come to the conclusion that there is a phenomenon in play that I have dubbed “The 75% Rule of ‘The Suck.'”

The 75% Rule states that any workout/race will feel awesome up to the 75% of total time and/or distance prescribed, at which point it will SUCK!

I have looked back over my own training logs and blog entries and this rule seems to bear out over and over again – whether it is a 2 mile training run, a 5K race, a marathon or a 70.3.

Of course, I am a completely unscientific sample size of ONE, but the rule tends to hold.

At Space Coast Marathon last year, I felt AWESOME until about the 19.5 mile mark… 75%

At GCT in May, I was golden until about mile 43 of the bike when my feet started going numb… 75% (the run sucked the entire way because of cramping – another story)

Last Wednesday, I had a 12 mile training run and everything was awesome until 9 miles – then I was pretty sure death was imminent… 75%

On Saturday, Megan and I went over to Clermont and rode 112 miles.  I felt FANTASTIC through the entire first loop (56 miles) and even into the 2nd loop.  The wheels started coming off at about 85 miles, when I really just wanted to throw my bike in a ditch and walk back to the car… 75%

Heck, even yesterday I had a simple 3 mile run and I swore I was going to die at the 2-1/4 mile mark… 75%

womens-running-t-shirt-embrace-the-suck_designObviously there is a major mindset thing at work here.  I need to come up with a way to honestly fool myself into thinking I have to go further than I really have to go.  If I could persuade my mind to believe that I have to run 10 miles when I really only have to run 7 or that I have to ride 75 miles when I really only have to go 56…

I’m usually pretty good with the mind games, but I would love to hear how you “trick” your mind during long (or short) workouts.  Leave your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.

Of course, at the end of the day, I know that the point at which the workout begins to “suck” is the point at which I start improving.  So, while I look for this magic mindset that will conquer the 75% Rule, I will take solace in the fact that every day, with every workout, I get just a little bit better.

embrace-the-suck

The Ultimate Discipline

ultimate discipline

I was reading “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman and this quote really jumped out and grabbed me “A warrior is happy without reason.  That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline… Happiness is not just something you feel – it is who you are.”

And I started thinking about and pondering it over and over in my mind.  Is happiness like any other habit that can be cultivated?  Is it like eating right and exercising and flossing your teeth?  Is happiness a skill that can be learned and internalized to the point that you don’t have to think about “being” happy because you just “are” happy?

millmanI posted this picture up on our Cheslow Achievement Group Facebook page yesterday with the caption:  “My challenge for you today: Just be happy today! For no other reason than that it feels good. Shock the people around you with your happiness, with your positivity. Be stubbornly unwilling see anything other than opportunity, blessing, and awesomeness in whatever you encounter today! Imagine what would happen if everyone did this today.”

I took my own challenge and was surprised at how difficult it was.  There are SO MANY distractions in our daily lives – so many bits and pieces of information that can derail us from what we plan to do.

vintage-social-mediaI’m 50 years old, and I very vividly remember a time when the most distracting things that happened at work were phone calls, the office chatter around the coffee machine, or the scramble to get something done for a manager in an emergency.  Holy cow, there was no internet (at least not in the way we know it today), no cellphones (I believe our GM had one and it was the size of a carry on suitcase), no email… I THINK we had a fax machine – you know, one of the ones with the rolls of thermal imaging paper – LOL).  There was so little to distract us from what needed to be done.

And yet, as I sit here today, I wonder how on earth businesses ever operated back in the stone age of pre-1995.

Now, I find myself absolutely paralyzed multiple times a day as my brain is bombarded with more stimuli than I had to deal with in a week back in those days – Facebook, Twitter, email, instant messages, text messages, calendar reminders… Hell, my freaking WATCH even yells at me to “MOVE!” if I sit idle for more than 45 minutes.

32082831_sThen, in the midst of my paralysis, I had to breathe and start shutting down programs before my head exploded!

Work… Freak Out… Breathe … Shut Down … Reboot … Smile … Be Happy … Repeat…

That is how my day went yesterday as I took my own challenge to be persistently “happy.”

And I consider myself to be a HAPPY person!

I am very positive and optimistic!  If this was so difficult for me, imagine how hard it would be for someone who doesn’t have my normally sunny disposition?  LOL!

So, I’m curious…

What is your most persistent obstacle to happiness?

As much as I hate to say it, I think I am going to have to unplug from social media except for certain windows of time during the day.  Ya’ll help hold me accountable, okay.  I am going to persist in this pursuit of the ultimate discipline.  Who wants to join me?

Sunday Run-day!!!

RRR_2014Yesterday we hosted the final race of our 2015 Remarkable River Racing Series – a 5K and a 15K along the river at sunrise in Port Orange, FL.  It is hard to believe that this was our 4th race – or I should say ONLY our 4th race!  Back in Spring, 2014 one of Deb’s clients had the bright idea that we fund the efforts of our Domestic Violence not-for-profit corporation, Building Remarkable Communities, by hosting running races.  I remember Deb’s reaction like it was yesterday:  “We are a peak performance coaching and training company, we don’t organize races!”

But after chewing on the idea for a couple of weeks, it came back up again and our team decided that it would be a cool idea – even though we had NEVER done anything like this before.  On September 20,2014 we hosted our first 5K race and drew approximately 220 runners, which we were told was terrific for a 1st time 5K.  In 2015 we had over 900 runners run with us!  We upped the ante with a 5K race in March, a 10K race in June, and a 15K race in September.  It has been tremendous and I know that 2016 will be our best year yet!

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2015 5K Race – 3/14/15

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2015 10K Race – 6/14/15

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2015 15K Race – 9/13/15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But you know what the coolest part of the whole things has been?  It’s been watching my son, Josh, progress with the series as a runner.  I watched my newly 13 year old son cross the finish line of his longest race ever at our 15K event and then I got the privilege of being able to award him his 1st place Age Group medal for his efforts.  He learned to suffer and persevere out on that course yesterday.  There was another kid in his age group who was nipping at his heels the entire race and he knew he had to keep going if he wanted to win.

josh-finish    josh

Let’s face it, he’s MY son – he doesn’t like to lose!  And I can’t tell you how proud of him I am!

So even though his training runs may have been a bit lackluster at times, he brought his game face to race morning and he kept going – even on the bridges – and he achieved his goal!

Running always has been and always will be an incredible metaphor for life   in general!

rcookSo, come run with us in 2016!  Our 2016 Remarkable River Racing Series dates are:

  • 5K on 2/28/16
  • 5K/10K on 6/12/16
  • 5K/15K on 9/25/16

We offer live and “virtual” options for all our races, so distance is no barrier to joining in the fun.  Heck, we had a guy running our 15K yesterday in Sofia, Bulgaria!!!  You can register here!

JulieDayAnd I would be completely remiss if I didn’t give a HUGE shout out to Dr. Real Estate, Julie Day, in Port Orange.  Julie was looking for a place where she could make a difference right here in our local communities in central Florida.  And through a series of seemingly coincidental circumstances (I prefer to think of it as divinely inspired meetings), she was guided to us.  After meeting with our Vice President, Freddie Smith, Julie decided that Building Remarkable Communities was the organization she wanted to work with.  Yesterday, Julie presented BRC with a check for $1,000 which represents a percentage of her real estate commissions.  THIS is what this is all about – bringing people and resources together to make a thunderous impact on domestic violence here in OUR communities.  One day in the not too distant future we will be a national force – thanks to people like Julie Day!

Have a tremendous week everyone!

The Day I Quit Triathlon

I Quit Note Isolated on whiteLast week I quit triathlon.  Yes, you heard me right.

I QUIT!!!

For like 20 whole minutes!

You see, I’ve been training my butt off for my upcoming half-iron distance race at Beach 2 Battleship in October and I really thought I was making progress.

Faster swim… check

Stronger bike…check

But my run… LAWD, my run!

You see, I have bad feet.  I don’t if they just genetically suck, or it it’s the fact that they are so damned big that something was bound to go wrong with them, but running makes them hurt.

And not just achy-suck-it-up-buttercup-it’s-distance-running-and-it’s-supposed-to-hurt kind of hurting, but knives-stabbing-into-the-balls-of-my-foot kind of hurting on any run over about 6 miles.  So, I’ve been running on the elliptical machine for almost all of my runs since June.

Fast-forward to last Wednesday…

Megan and I decided to run our virtual Remarkable River Racing Series 15Ks (9.3 miles) early that morning.  I can’t run the events live because I am so bogged down with race management duties on race day and Megan wanted to volunteer on the course, hence the virtual runs.

We met up at 6:30am and started running and all was well until about the 5 mile point when the wheels started to come off the bus.  Oh, did I mention that I fueled this 15K on a banana?

ONE stupid banana for 9.3 miles – What in the actual F*#K was I thinking?

At 6 miles my right foot felt like I was pushing off a bed of nails with each stride.  I had to pee really bad too.  😦

At the top of the bridge

At the top of the bridge

Thankfully, we encountered a port-o-potty on the route or things could have gotten gross.  I’m just sayin…

Then, there was the bridge.  I was already dying and we had to run the bridge – well, walk/run the bridge… Well, walk UP the bridge and run down the other side… (heavy sigh).

We weaved through a neighborhood and then headed BACK over the bridge…  WHO designed this stupid course anyhow? Oh wait, I did!  Crap!!

My calves were sending up these electrical pulses that made my legs want to collapse out from under me, but we somehow finished.

God bless Megan for not dropping my sorry butt – because, she surely could have.  I was pitiful!

Somehow we finished the 9.3 miles.  My time was wretched…  My legs were aching and my feet were wrecked.

And I have a half-ironman in 5 weeks?  This was NOT good.

I went home and in the shower I made my decision – I QUIT!

That run had shaken my confidence.  I should not struggle with 9 miles at this stage of the game.  Obviously the elliptical is not building my run strength the way my coach and I had hoped.

And then I went into my office and looked at my training schedule…  Sooo much work has been done and so much work is left to be done.

And I don’t like to quit… EVER!

So, RRRS5KI re-decided that I would really give these next 4 build weeks my all – and that I would run outside as much as possible to build my run back.  Heck, I ran a marathon not so long ago, and muscle has memory, right?  I can do this! And besides, I LOVE TRIATHLON!!

On Saturday, I was still aching from my 15K adventure and I had a 2.5 hour bike ride and a 50 minute run brick on my schedule.  I was dreading it so much.  I promised to run with my almost 13-year old son who IS running the 15K this Sunday.  We stuck to our neighborhood.  I took it slow – run the straight stretches and walk the cul-de-sacs.  I did 4.47 miles in 50 minutes.

Yesterday, I swam and then ran 3.  Today I biked and ran 5 (in under 50 minutes), so progress!

Tomorrow is the test… 14 miles for my long run…  We shall see.

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

 

Bubble Wrap and My Love of The Bike Trainer

bubble-wrapIt seems that my friends on the Swim Bike Mom Ambassador Team are slowly trying to kill themselves!  In the past couple of weeks there have been multiple bike crashes with potentially race cancelling results, a busted toe, cuts, scrapes, contusions…  It’s enough to make me want to wrap myself in bubble wrap until October 17th!

THIS, my people, is one of the many reasons why I choose to do 80% of my cycling training on the trainer.  There are plenty of people, including a lot of my friends, who think I am doing myself a disservice by spending so much time on the trainer.  And they may be right, but the trainer works for ME!  Could I be a better technical cyclist if I rode outdoors more?  Probably.  Will I ever win a triathlon with or without more on the road time?  Uhm, NO!

pottsdellcary

Gratuitous pic of Andy coming up out of the swim…. Soooo pretty!

Pro triathlete, Andy Potts, trains almost exclusively on trainer. He’s won a bunch of 70.3 and 140.6 distance races over the past years.  He says, “The only time I ride outside is when I race; otherwise I am always on my CompuTrainer.”  Why?  He’s a professional triathlete, he can train where he likes, why does he choose a trainer.  Because, if you do a trainer session right (and note I said IF), it can be a more effective cycling workout than out on the road.2012_03_Power_Up_Andy_Potts_16

 

Think about it, you control your cycling workout – 100%!  There are no stop lights… no intersections… no cars or trucks buzzing by you with only inches to spare… no rough pavement…  no animals running out in front of your path… you don’t have to worry about the weather or getting stuck miles from home with a flat or a mechanical issue… you can test out new hydration and fueling strategies without worrying about “issues” popping up… you are always working since there is not coasting… and so on.  It’s very controllable.

Now, you can’t put your bike up on the trainer, hop on and spin with zero intention and little or no resistance and expect to get better.  I have specific workouts that I do on the trainer and I am a sopping wet MESS at the end.

AND, I can hear my tri-friends saying that you HAVE to ride outdoors to prepare for race day conditions – what if it’s windy… what if it’s raining… yada, yada, yada.

I DO ride outdoors sometimes… I just ride on the trainer MOST of the time.

IMAG0053Plus, I think riding on the trainer builds mental toughness like nothing else.  I know people who would rather gouge their eyes out with a spoon than ride their bike on the trainer.  I get it – It’s BORING as F–K!!!  But ride 112 miles on your trainer and tell me you don’t feel like a major badass when it’s over!  Like there’s NOTHING you can’t do!

Another big plus FOR ME about riding on the trainer is that I can get up early and get a long ride in before my family wakes up.  THIS IS HUGE FOR ME!!!  My family is awesome and they are so supportive of this crazy triathlon thing I’m doing.  I train between 10-15 hours per week preparing for a half-iron distance race and I don’t feel right about stealing that time away from my partner and my son when I already work 50-60 hours per week in my business.

I will NOT ride in the dark – it scares the hell out of me.  God love you people who do it, but I can’t make myself go there.

And at the end of the day, I am a safe cyclist on race day – I follow the race rules, I keep my distance from other riders, I pass appropriately, I am mindful of traffic, I am respectful of what CAN happen on a bike course.

And I train 80% of the time in my living room.

Hey, if it’s good enough for Andy, it’s certainly good enough for me!

Okay, just one more

Okay, just one more