Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Running doesn't Have to Suck

Photo Cr: Steven Gallow Photography

As you likely already know
, I ran 18 miles Friday and biked 100 miles Saturday. I then ran 11 miles Sunday, 7 on Monday, 7 yesterday, and 12 this morning. The weird thing is, I enjoyed all of those workouts!

If you're reading this and you're sane, you're thinking, "yes, it's super weird that you would actually enjoy that stupid volume." And then there's a maybe a small portion of you thinking, "well.... That's what you do. Aren't you supposed to enjoy it?"

Sure, sometimes. But not always. I run every single day. I lift, bike and do other stuff too. Some of those days just plain suck. But having five days in a row where it's been fun - especially when I've covered over 150 miles - That's pretty rare.

Of those 6 workouts, I did 4 with friends. I usually prefer to run alone, so that I can pick a pace I'm comfortable with. But I've found that running with friends is a lot more engaging, and I end up running both faster and farther. It made me realize that most of the limitations I perceive are entirely in my own head. Sure, my body would prefer to go short and slow, but it's plenty capable of being pushed hard.

One slow man and three crazy fast women
Ft. Ellie Pell of Eat Run Pavement (center lady)

And the other two were challenging in unique ways. The 18 miler I did at 4am before work. It was still dark. Not even the birds were out yet. The birds were still sleeping off their hangovers. They party like maniacs. And of course it's fun to have bragging rights. The whole 3 hours of that run I was thinking, "man, I can't wait to post this online! Everyone is going to think I'm a lunatic for running this much before a hundred mile bike ride!"

I read an article recently that says nobody walks or runs anymore just for its own sake. Everyone counts steps, logs miles, and posts selfies online. And you know what? I'm 100% down with that. I think technology is awesome. I wouldn't be nearly as motivated to exercise if I couldn't boast about it. But so what? I also wouldn't bother keeping 6-pack abs if nobody ever saw them.

So yes, ego is a big motivator for me. But I use everything I've got available. I use an app to track my calories, and it makes it fun. If I run, I can add a thousand calories, which I can then fill up with ice cream. Awesome! And if I know that I get to post my workout online, I'm going to push myself that much harder to make it look extra epic. Does it really matter why you keep yourself fit and healthy?

I'm a member of L.U.N.A.R (Lace up Now and Run), an online community with more than 2000 members. It's awesome to not only share my own successes, but to see the successes of others. Some of them run farther. Some of them run faster. And that's great! It all inspires me to push myself harder. And I hope that I inspire some of them right back.

And the other run, the 7 miles yesterday, was great because I got brand new shoes! It's pretty rare that I buy running shoes, so I can't really depend on it for regular motivation. Otherwise I would go broke very fast. Also, my house would be full of shoes. But anyway, in order to give the new shoes a proper welcome, I did one of my splits in 5:50! I haven't run a mile that fast in over a year. Sure, my heart almost exploded. But what is life without a little bit of exploding heart?

My once annual shoe purchase

But even without new shoes or watch or some other doodad to use as an excuse, I still like to throw an occasional fast split into my runs. Then during the whole run I'm amping myself up for that one fast split. And those slow miles don't feel slow anymore. They feel like I'm getting the blood flowing and getting my legs warmed up to run fast.

These are all tricks, sure. Tactics to con my suspicious brain and my tired body into exercising every day. But nobody does anything without a good reason. I don't work because I want to. I work so that I can afford cheesecake. I don't do my laundry because I want to. I do it because I'm already super disgusting and I want to hang on to my half dozen remaining friends.
"Oooooh, you tricked me!"

I've mentioned many times before that motivation sucks and that I don't depend on motivation to get me going. I'm going to run every day no matter what. The "tricks" I'm talking about aren't motivational tricks.They're meant to make what I'm going to do anyway more fun and more awesome. On my drive to work, I listen to music. In the office I drink delicious fizzy seltzers... and far too much coffee. I do those things anyway, but that doesn't mean I can't make them more enjoyable.

I don't want to judge anyone though. Some people do need an extra push. Heck, before a year ago, I wasn't exercising every day either. So running with a friend, listening to music, giving yourself exciting goals... These are all things you can do to not only enjoy a workout more, but perhaps to get yourself out the door in the first place.

Plus, they hold you accountable. If I promise a friend I'm going to run with them at 6am the next day, I can't bail on them. I'm as guilty as anyone else of telling a friend that I'll "maybe" come to their party, with the full intention of not going. But when it comes to a run, I commit 100%. I don't give myself any excuse to flake. If I do, I'm a douchebag. And if I set a goal of doing a speed work out, then that's something I have to do as well, unless I want to be the tortoise in the story.

My point is that you don't have to suffer. And don't feel guilty for flaunting your ego via selfies or using any other dirty gimmick to make exercise more engaging for you. I hear you can even collect pokecreatures (® ...maybe?) while running now. You do it for you. I mean, don't piss people off. So maybe one selfie, and not twenty. But otherwise, go nuts. People are often going to hate on you for being successful anyway. Being bashful about it will only delays the sweet sweet taste of epic success. And other folks who push themselves just as hard: They'll appreciate what you do. Surround yourself with those people (and run with them!) and you will push one another to awesome heights!

Obviously I have to finish with a cheesy selfie
You can find Ellie's awesome blog here:

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