And Then I Ran… | Falmouth Road Race

I lost 107 lbs. I trained for 140 miles. I raised $2,520 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (so far). I spent one year of my life turning around my health and fitness. I re-learned how to think about nutrition and what I put in my mouth. I got in tune with my body. I gave it my all. And then I ran… 

All I can say is…wow. What an experience! No wonder so many people want to run the Falmouth Road Race! I had heard that it was the second most popular race in New England, the most desirable race in the country, etc…but I had no idea what an incredible
experience it would be! As you can see from the Runkeeper screenshot above (check out my Runkeeper profile and road race activity), I got the time I was shooting for! Runkeeper reported 1:10:13 and my “unofficial” chip time was 1:10:04.

For the non-runners out there – there are two different “times” many timed races will report – “Gun Time” and “Chip Time” (sometimes called “Net Time”). Gun Time is
the time from when the gun goes off and the race starts to when you cross the finish line. Chip Time (or Net Time) is the time from when you actually cross the starting line to when you cross the finish.  You may think these times would be the same, but if you’re in a large race you might actually cross the starting line one, two, five or even ten+ minutes after the gun goes off. Yesterday in the Falmouth Road Race I didn’t cross the starting line until more than 20 minutes after the gun went off. They call it “Chip Time” because it’s the time when your timing chip crosses the start and finish. They call it “Net Time” because it’s the gun time minus the time it takes for you to get to the starting line (in this case, “Net” is a math term).

In terms of performance and results – Yes, I got the time I wanted. I was pretty steady in my pace and stayed under 9:46 per mile the entire race. Once I got up the big hill in Falmouth Heights (the last challenge where lots of runners drop) I turned it on and zipped to the end on a mission. I felt great, due I’m sure in part to a number of things including proper sleep the night before, being hydrated, good pre-race nutrition, my intra-workout drink during the race and a clear head with a positive attitude. Know what helped? It was like I was the only person out there. Nobody else mattered. I was doing my thing and the other 12,799 people were just…there. People zipped ahead of me early on and I smiled to myself thinking “I’ll see you around mile 5” and I passed people walking from mile 3 onward thinking “I was you during the Finish at the 50 10K”. I learned a lot and it paid off!

There are two things I want to put out there for those of you who don’t know: 1. I ran this race as a part of Team Lanzoni – the 99 Restaurants team. Team Lanzoni is a part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute running program. 2. I am a Freemason, and so was my grandfather Peter. What do these two things have in common?
 
Last July my grandfather passed away. During his battle with cancer, he was taken care of in the Dana-Farber center at Faulkner in Boston. They took great care of him, were incredibly compassionate, and were there for my family when we needed them. They took the time to make sure they did everything they could and to make sure we were OK when we ran out of options. I wanted to be able to do something for them – help to give someone else a fighting chance. I ran this race for him, and I carried him with me the whole 7.4 miles (or maybe it was him that carried me).

Speaking of Team Lanzoni…
One of the guys in corral 5 with me was an interesting character. His name is Eric Parent, otherwise known as TheSmoothBear

This guy is a part of Team Lanzoni too. He’s got a vlog (video blog, check it out here) where (among other things) he chronicles his running thing. I checked out some of his videos and he’s pretty entertaining. In one of his videos RFTF: Orange Is The New Black he literally talks about the Netflix show OITNB while running. I mean, I know some runners can just have a conversation like its no big deal while they cruise along, but I guess I was kind of expecting that from those toothpicks in running shoes…TheSmoothBear (no offense buddy) is a big dude, not your typical running toothpick, so I was surprised. I know I sure as hell can’t have a conversation like that while running, so kudos to you on that! As far as content – he just kinda tells it like it is, which I like. It’s always good to see a big guy (read beasty, not fat) rockin’ out in fitness world, so more kudos to you on that! Keep on keepin’ on. Hopefully I see this guy again in next year’s Falmouth Road Race. Be sure to check out his vlog and his Facebook – let him know Darrell sent you from “So THIS Is Fitness…”!

But Perhaps The Best Part Of Yesterday…

We may not have run next to each other, but being out there with my fiancee Megan was great! She’s been right there next to me since day 1 of P90X when this whole thing started, and it was a great feeling to be out there with her for our biggest challenge yet. I’m so proud of her and how far she’s come. Despite knee issues (and no uber-knee brace like I have) and a history of debilitating cramps every time we run she achieved her best pace to date and smashed the time she expected to get, coming in at 1:21:48. Sounds like she plans on being a part of Team Lanzoni with me next year for this race, and in the more immediate future…hopefully she’ll be a part of my next undertaking…more on that soon.

Oh, By The Way:
My Playlist did me a lot of good. I find it ironic that Chelsea Dagger never came on through the whole run, but I did have Lift Me Up on for that last hill climb in Falmouth Heights, and let me tell you it felt pretty badass climbing that hill and flying to the finish rockin’ out to that.

So, Overall?
The Falmouth Road Race was an incredible experience, I performed better than I could’ve expected, felt great and I’m looking forward to next year where hopefully I’ll get a lower number and a better corral.
Just think – if I can do this, anyone can do it. Get out there and get to it.

Conquer – The Truth About Motivation

6:20 AM. Only slept about 5 hours. Do I want to work out right now? No. Is it Leg Day again? Yes.

Sh!t. It’s gonna be one of those days.

I would honestly love nothing more right now than to just go back to bed, pretend it’s a rest day, and just relax. I’m tired. I don’t feel like it. Wah. I just lack motivation right now. As I sit here writing an article for my fitness blog. Ironic.

Or is it? How many people out there in fitness land suffer from this exact same issue at LEAST every once in a while? How about every day? How do people motivate themselves to continually plug away at it. Day in and day out. Throwing themselves at a workout, hurling themselves down the pavement, turning on that motor that never seems to run out of gas?

Maybe it’s the knowledge that if we don’t get moving – if we don’t kick-start ourselves – we’ll regret it later. This is a post both for the fitness freaks and the workout newbies. Why? Because we all fight the Siren‘s Call of our pillow, of the couch, of anything that ISN’T our running shoes, dumbbells, bike…or otherwise sweat-related item.

In my last post (Defeating Demotivators #1 – The Fear Monster) I mentioned that for newbies or pre-newbies suffering from The Fear Monster being surrounded by positivity and encouragement was key to getting them to stick with it. I said it was incredibly important to be gentle. What about for those of us who are already hardcore into fitness? Or who have broken past the fear barrier and do work?

 We reach a point where “gentle” doesn’t WORK anymore.

Sometimes a soft nudge doesn’t do it anymore. Let’s be real – if you’re that guy on the lookout for people who can’t get the courage to work out, if you’re the person helping others…and YOU can’t get yourself to the gym / road / mat / etc…maybe a shove is more like it.

Or maybe it’s not.

What really motivates people?

I am not a psychologist, but there is a real psychological science to motivation. This, above, is called Maslow’s Hierarcy of Needs (created by Abraham Maslow – an American Psychologist). It breaks down the structure of people’s motivation. It’s not designed around fitness, but we can definitely apply it for our purposes. People work out for different reasons, and I would say these reasons all fall into the top four parts of the pyramid. Moving forward, an important principle of this hierarchy is to understand that Maslow said people will be more motivated to fulfill lower-order needs before higher-order ones – we’ll also assume that you’re properly fed, hydrated and rested so we can ignore the bottom tier (I’m REALLY simplifying this).

Safety Needs – This is INTENDED to talk about people taking care of their own personal safety and security – ensuring they are not in immediate danger. Makes sense, right? Tough to paint a picture if someone’s pointing a gun at your head. That’s the idea here. Let’s adapt this tier for fitness.

This is where people who have a dire health issue from lack of fitness/nutrition get their motivation. When your doctor looks you in the face and tells you that you’re so overweight you’re going to get diabetes and potentially lose your sight or your foot…well I think that’s enough motivation to get to the gym, don’t you? These people generally don’t need much more of a kick in the pants than that. I was not quite that large, so this wasn’t enough for me.

Belongingness and Love Needs – This is people’s need for friends, intimate relationships, love, etc. We are social creatures, and once we’ve taken care of the basic “survival” needs of food/water/rest and the safety need of not being in immediate danger we move on to the need for other people.

This is one of the biggest motivators out there. This is why Crossfit is so successful. This is why so many people can’t get off their butts and do work without a workout partner. People need people. So many people can’t/won’t do it for themselves, but if they can become accepted and part of a community…we have found the key to the kingdom. Crossfit (from my outsider perspective) is a community of people helping each other and kicking each other’s butts into gear. People like to be a part of something. That’s why people join clubs in school. If you know the other guy is going to give you a whole world of hassle for not showing up at the gym today, YOU’RE GONNA GO. People who feel they are physically unattractive and want to be able to land a girlfriend/boyfriend would also fall into this category, but I am inclined to think most people who feel they are physically unattractive fall into the next tier.

Esteem Needs – This tier is about people who have met the basic survival needs, who feel like they belong and have their people-needs met (for the most part, at least) and can focus on themselves. They can make themselves feel better. They can focus on their own self-esteem.

These are the people who are not happy with the picture in the mirror. These are the people who want that ripped six-pack and are tired of the gut. The people who want to accomplish something. These people sometimes need the MOST motivation of all, because in general…they’re pretty satisfied. I’m pretty sure I fall into this category. The health issue wasn’t enough for me, I was already in a committed relationship and had friends and family all around me, so I know it wasn’t the other two tiers. So how do I know I’m not the next tier? There are days when I’m just not feeling it. I don’t WANNA. I’ll be bold and say that these are the people who, when they don’t get off their butts, need a swift kick in the tail to get moving. These are the people who can do it, who usually want to do it, and generally are doing it – for themselves. When you’re not doing it for someone else, for acceptance, for belonging…it’s easy to skip a day. When you’re the only one holding you accountable you’re more inclined to cut yourself some slack. It’s OK…you’ve been working hard. You deserve a break. I won’t tell the boss.

GARBAGE.

Get up. GET OUT. And do work.  You’re not going to feel TRULY FULFILLED unless you go do that workout! Run that 5 miler. Whatever it is, it’s for you. Make you happy. Because, really…

Your excuse is invalid.
Self-Actualization – This tier is my favorite. The whole rest of the pyramid has been “extrinsic” motivation – people getting their motivation from outside sources. Something is pushing them to do their workout. People who are in the self-actualization tier are doing it from a completely intrinsic motivation. 

These people love to work out. They are doing it for the sheer joy of it. They’re trying to reach their full potential. They’re trying to make their masterpiece. They don’t need a self-esteem boost – they’re already awesome. They don’t need acceptance. They’re not facing a health risk. These are the “obsessed nutballs” who do an hour workout, run 5 miles in record time then come back and DO ANOTHER WORKOUT. They are climbing Mt. Freaking Everest and loving every minute of it. If you are one of these people, congratulations my friend – 
You have reached the mountaintop.
I HOPE that I get to this point. Yes, I really enjoy the workout program I’m doing right now. Body Beast is freaking AWESOME. It is, however, still work. And work sucks. For the “obsessed nutballs”, workouts are not work at all. They are fun. They are playtime. They are recreation.
Whatever tier you fall into, whatever it is that motivates you…one thing holds true for everyone:
You need to get out there and DO IT. 
Be healthy. Be accepted. Be happy. Be awesome.  
 Take today by the balls and own it.

Defeating Demotivators #1 – The Fear Monster

In the spirit of “Motivational Monday” I want to take a moment to touch on something I was talking about with a fitness friend at work over the last couple of days. It’s actually a loose end I need to tie up from the last couple of articles I wrote. In The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome I talked about people who just won’t get off the couch, can’t/won’t get motivated to work out in the first place, and never take that all-important first step. In Why Workouts Fail #1 – The Napoleon Complex (my favorite article so far) I talk about people who take the leap, try going to the gym or working out and run into a big issue that drives them away.

Ok…what about the people in the middle?

The people who aren’t entirely opposed to working out, but haven’t taken that step yet? Who haven’t braved the gym, the home-gym, the pavement, trail, pool, whatever? Or tried and gave up? If these people aren’t against it…and they might have some motivation to do it…why haven’t they gotten to it yet?

Fear. Fear can stop the most powerful locomotive in its tracks. Fear is, I think, one of the biggest demotivators out there. Fear of what, though? Fear of failing. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of embarassment. Fear of disappointing yourself or others. Fear of doing it wrong. Fear of the unknown.

Fear can be one of the toughest demotivators to beat. Especially if someone doesn’t have friends or family around them who are “into” fitness. Unfortunately, unless those people have a big life-altering event or a breaking point like I had (see My Story) that fear can be so paralyzing and show-stopping that they just never leave the safety of “not trying”. I would go so far as to say that over time, those people can start to suffer from The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome, forgetting the curiosity or motivation they had in the first place and losing it entirely to fear. It’s tough to get past the fear when you’re on your own little island and there’s noone around to help you ease into fitness. If you ARE a fitness type, be on the lookout for these people. How do you tell who these people are, though?

For one, they’re not already a fitness freak. They don’t work out, they probably don’t eat “right” (but might try to or make half-efforts), and for all intents and purposes they closely resemble the people suffering from The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome in all areas except their attitude towards fitness.
Though, I will say, that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t, at some point, attempted to do it on their own. Remember that part where Joey Howyadoin shows up and offers a spot (IDFLI Syndrome)? Where I’d say “Yeah, that was just a warm-up set, let’s DO this!”, someone suffering from this demotivator would probably say “Actually, that was my last set, I’m all wrapped up. Thanks though!” while they’re thinking sweet Lord, get me OUT of here! 

Aaaand that was probably the last time they set foot in anything resembling a gym.

The biggest tell, though, is that they’re curious. They’ll poke their head in while you’re working out. They’ll ask you questions about your workout for the day or the program you’re doing. They’ll make little comments that could be a conversation starter. In some form or fashion, they come to you. This is very important – as mentioned before…you just can’t force someone to get fit…they have to want it…and if they’re curious, any traumatic workout attempt they might have had in the past is far enough out of their memory that now they’re open to it.

So how do I help this person defeat the demotivator?

GENTLY. First off, yes – they’re open to it, and that’s incredibly important, but don’t forget…the demotivator we’re trying to beat is FEAR. I feel silly saying it but please don’t forget that you can…well…scare them away if you’re too aggressive. I know, seems obvious, right? What you might think is easy beans might be momentously challenging for them, so keep that in mind as you try to help them, and think of super-easy ways to ease them in.

Considering that they either have never worked out before or tried something and got scared away you might need to help them figure out what exactly works best for them.  

PRO-TIP: Something is better than nothing.

You might be a little disappointed when they seem like they’re trying something that doesn’t, to you, seem like a “real” workout – but again…what YOU think is easy and a waste of time might be super-challenging for them. ***Go at their pace*** There is no faster way to lose them to the fear than to go beyond their comfort zone. Too fast too soon is a recipe for disaster. I did this exact process with my mom – I started by working out and setting the example. She saw my transformation as it was happening and was there as my story was unfolding, so she was proud of me and wanted to see how I was doing it. I eased her in with Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer. Literally 10 minute workouts. Over time, she started working in Cardio X from P90X (a 40 minute relatively easy cardio routine), and not too long after that she took on P90X in its entirety and was talking about doing Les Mills COMBAT with me and my fiancee. For your fitness-fearing friend or family member it may be running that does it for them – start with walking. It may be biking – start with a couple miles. Whatever it is (and I can’t say it enough) ease them into it.

This may be a slow process. STICK WITH IT!

What’s going to be SUPER IMPORTANT with these people is to keep them surrounded by positive images, encouragement and support. If they’re fighting against fear, its not going to be easy for them, and they’re going to need continued support until they finally break past the wall and get confident. It could very well be the case that not only do they need a cheerleader on the sidelines, but they need a teammate right there next to them on gameday. If they need a workout partner…be that partner or maybe find one for them. My fiancee was side by side with me throughout four workout programs and 103 lbs – it DEFINITELY helps. Everyone has something that will help them break through the fear barrier – whatever it is, help them find it and make sure they understand that there’s nothing in their way.

At the end of the day it will all be worth it. Don’t worry – given time and support, they can and will get there.