Tag Archives: practice

Trying to Get Out of My Own Way

I haven’t written much in weeks. And most of that was just some training log notes. I shouldn’t say “just”, because writing is writing, and even in training logs I try to write well.

I tend to build up an anticipation and pressure around writing. Usually it’s about writing xxx number of words, or so many blog posts, or even staying up-to-date on training log notes. The anticipation and pressure become so great that they become a barrier to even trying.

This phenomenon isn’t solely limited to writing for me, and it dates back over 20 years. The first specific incident I remember was related to writing, though. In 5th grade, I ended up getting myself homeschooled for about the last half of the school year. I had a school district provided tutor/teacher. I kept getting behind on assignments. The knowledge wasn’t an issue, I’d just build so much anticipation and pressure about the assignments. My tutor recognized this and gave me a due date for a history report that he was pretty sure I’d miss. I did, and he explained that he thought I’d miss it. I think he said it was procrastination and overwhelming myself, and he was pretty close.

I’m pretty sure the same phenomenon was why I ended up homeschooled in the first place. I’d worry so much that I’d get sick in the mornings either at home, or on the way to school. I think I did finally finish the report, but I don’t really remember how rest of the school year went.

I had similar problems missing school days all the way through high school, culminating in leaving school halfway through my junior year. I took correspondence courses through the mail (internet courses weren’t around yet) for the second half. I went to community college through the Running Start program for my senior year of high school.

The anticipation and pressure still get to me sometimes. It’s not things that are actually mandatory like taxes or bills. Though I do usually procrastinate on my taxes. Sometimes it creeps into my business, unfortunately. Working for myself, there’s no one else to hold me accountable, so sometimes I find myself doing enough to get by rather than hustling to flourish. It’s a lot more invasive in creative endeavors, things that I want to do, and tell myself that I should do, like music, videos and, of course, writing.

I haven’t come up with a good way to overcome it when it does build up. If I don’t overthink whatever the task is and just get to work on it, I don’t have time to build that obstacle for myself, and there’s little resistance. Sometimes I can just ignore it and get to work, but that’s not yet a consistent strategy. Maybe I’ll find another way, or maybe I need to continue chipping at it and slowly build up the strength to act despite the pressure.

For now, I just know that writing again feels great.

You Are Capable of Amazing Things!

“This is too hard. I quit.” What would happen if we got rid of that little but often persistent negative voice? How much more money would we make with the skills that we gave up learning? How much more fit would we be if we stuck with fitness or nutrition habits? How much better would our relationships be if we found ways to improve them?

We learn to walk and talk without doing years of research, reading books, watching videos, years of school or coaches. A baby wants to get around, sees people around them walking and figures it out. She hears her parents, family and others speaking and wants to communicate, so she starts to mimic them.

What if you gave up when learning to walk because it was too hard? What if you got so frustrated as a baby that your parents couldn’t understand your early speech and you decided to quit?

You’re capable of amazing things. Really think about it. You started with nothing, zero, and learned to walk and talk only by watching and listening to your very limited world around you. And we’re not even perfect at walking or talking as adults after decades of practice. I trip, stub a toe, mispronounce words, my voice cracks or I choose the wrong word fairly regularly. I don’t let it stop me, though.

Now if there’s something that’s giving you a problem, there are probably books, blogs or Youtube videos by people who have gone through the same thing. Maybe it’s too much information, though. Analysis paralysis may let you feel like you’re doing something, but it’s just another form of procrastination or avoidance.

Many people also get too wrapped up in strictly following the information they find, rather than trusting that they can figure it out for themselves when they run into problems. You figured it out as a baby, you can figure it out now. Go back to what worked from the very beginning. Watch, practice, experiment, adjust, and practice some more. And if there’s no one to watch, start experimenting yourself. Your first successful step as a baby was not your first attempt.


Practice Making Habits

Changing habits and creating new habits are both incredibly difficult. It takes a lot of practice, and, at least for me, a lot of failures.
Missteps and setbacks are frustrating, but you just have to keep plugging along until the habit takes hold.

New habits seem to be a little easier for me to form than changing old habits. As an example, making my daily gratitude journal a habit took about a month or so. On the other hand, some of my food habits took years to change. Thankfully, once they started to change, further changes became a little easier.

I’ve found that starting small is much more effective for me. Currently, I’m trying to make writing a daily habit. I’ve been trying off and on for about a year, mostly off. Most of that time, I was setting expectations too high for myself, so looking back it’s not a surprise that I failed.

I made it 6 days in a row last week, then missed Sunday. I was a little disappointed when I went over my daily to do list and didn’t get to check off “write”. But I can either give up or start again, and giving up certainly won’t add to my happiness. I got right back to it on Monday.

As sort of a minimal base, I try to write about my daily runs on the same day. Keeping up with that certainly helps. As much as I would like to dive in and get 1000-2000+ words all toward a couple projects I’m working on, I know that diving into the deep end like that will likely result in another failure and another setback. That said, if I get in the flow and the words start just pouring out, I’m not going to force myself to stop.

Another thing I’m working on, which I have a feeling is going to be a long-term project, is reducing procrastination. This one has been incredibly difficult. I’ve found that I have to start really small. It might be something as simple as telling myself that I will feed my dogs after this Youtube video is over without getting sucked into the next one. I still often struggle with tiny things like that, or telling myself that I’m going to work on packing and shipping things I sold on eBay at a certain time. Then trying not to get wrapped up in something else and rationalizing that it can wait because the post office doesn’t close for a few hours. I’ve become pretty good at rationalizing my procrastination.

Sometimes I find myself thinking that it’s not really that important if I do these little things right away as long as I get to them sometime. (Although, Sigurd certainly won’t let me forget when it’s time to eat.) To overcome the negative self-talk, I have to remind myself that if I hold myself accountable for the little things, it’s going to make it easier to not procrastinate on the bigger, more important things.

It takes practice, sometimes a lot of practice. If you’re having trouble at one level, maybe step back and think about dropping it down a level. It takes some of the pressure off.

As Jim Rohn said, “Make measurable progress in reasonable time.” With my experience in other areas, I know that, as long as I continue stringing together small successes, I’ll get to where I want to be. It may take a week, or it might take a year.

2014: It was a very good year

2014 was a great year.

I accomplished a lot more than I expected. I’m faster than ever, more aerobically fit and had my best year running.

I wanted to break a 20 minute 5k and did so this year. It wasn’t an official race, but I ran about 19:42. I didn’t warm up either. If I had, I think I would have been closer to 19 min. Sub 20 minutes isn’t my ultimate goal, but it was the first on my way. Next is sub 18 min.

Throughout the year, I broke my weekly mileage PR a number of times, including two weeks in a row in my December push, 77.1 mi and 77.3 mi. I expect to go beyond that sometime in the next couple of months.

I also had several monthly mileage PRs. Breaking 200 mi in a month was a big deal for me. And December’s 312.1 mi is huge. I’ll probably beat that in 2015 as well, but I don’t have any specific plans to do so.

I achieved some racing goals as well. In April I set a 41 minute PR at the Mt. Si Ultra 50k, finishing in 4:35:04. I was only couple minutes off from the finish time that I visualized leading up to the race.

In May I narrowly missed my 5 hour goal at the Soaring Eagle 50k by about 5 minutes. Without knowing the course at all beforehand, I did pretty well. And I had my first top 5 finish, though the field was pretty small.

In June I also narrowly missed my finish time goal, 5:30:00, at the Rattlesnake Ridge Run 50k by only 1:15. Finishing 10th was awesome.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to my first 50 miler, rolling my ankle three weeks prior.

But in September I ran the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 7 hour race. I missed my reach goal of 50 mi, but did well to beat my primary goal of 40 mi. Officially, I finished with 42.784 mi, finishing 3rd.

This winter I’ve been running some shorter races primarily to work on improving my speed. Earlier in the year I set a goal to win a race. At the time, I meant an ultra, but I didn’t specify in my actual wording of the goal. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether it makes a difference, but I’ve now added “win an ultra” to the list. Anyway, I won my first two shorter trail races, an 8k and a 5 mi. I finished 3rd in the third race and have two more to go, possibly three if I feel up to a 5k or 10k the weekend after my upcoming 50k.

I set my most recent 2014 goal on Dec 7. I’ve already been running everyday since Aug 13. I wanted to push myself a little more and decided to finish out the year running at least 10 mi each day. I ran over 10 mi for 25 days straight, averaging a little over 11 mi for Dec 7-31. I did doubles once. And triples on my last 10k race day, a short warm up, the race, and a short run with the dogs once I got home. But I got in my mileage everyday.

As for my goals for yearly totals, I didn’t really set any until a few months ago. I’m not sure exactly when, though. I wanted to break 2000 mi for the year and 200,000 ft gain. I broke 200,000 ft gain the end of November, so I increased that to 230,000 ft. With my big December push and my final run of 2014, I ended up with 2003.8 mi and 234,799 ft gain. This was a big build up year for me. I only hit 1000 mi on Aug 21, so I did my second 1000 mi in 4 months and 10 days, and I took November fairly easy. I’m already thrilled with my year running, and that all makes it even better.

I’m currently working on my 2015 goals and will post something in the next month. I’m working on some big plans.

Hope your 2014 was as great as mine and 2015 is even better.

December 22-28 Practice Running

Monday, December 22, 2014, 5:45 pm

10.68 mi, 1390 ft gain, 1:48:25. Kellogg Lake Tree Farm gate #1 loop and hill, with dogs. Altra Superior 1.5 Blue.

Went at a fairly easy pace. Hit the loop first to warm up. Then I headed over the hill. Some ducks took off from one of the seasonal ponds just after the turnoff toward the hill. The dogs dove in after the stragglers, but they all got away.

Average HR 125 bpm.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014, 6:24 pm

10.39 mi, 1541 ft gain, 1:36:48. Kellogg Lake Tree Farm gate #1 to Wallace Lake, with dogs. Altra Superior 1.5 Red.

I decided to wear a rain shell tonight. I think I need a new one. It didn’t keep me very dry, or warm. I started getting wet after only a few minutes and was completely soaked well before the halfway point. I was actually warmer when I stopped than when I was running toward the end. But I sped up to the top end of my aerobic HR zone to get back to the car more quickly.

I started with the loop, then headed out and up to Wallace Lake. It took me almost 4 miles to get into it. Once to the lake, I went around toward the beach side, but the recent and ongoing rains had the North Fork Wallace River running a little high, blocking the way. I could have easily crossed and continued up to Jay Lake, but I started to get rather cold as soon as I got to the flatter part near the lake.

I kept up a pretty good pace on the descent, and Vida kept up quite well. I think giving the dogs some rest over the weekend helped.

Average HR 132 bpm.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014, 3:49 pm

11.37 mi, 843 ft gain, 1:37:53. Through town to RR Grade at Wallace Falls State Park, solo. New Balance MR10v2.

I gave the dogs a rest day. I headed out through town to Wallace Falls State Park and up the RR Grade to the Greg Ball trail junction and turned around. The MR10v2 aren’t that bad in a little bit of mud and rocks. I wouldn’t use them for much more beyond this trail though. There’s very little protection for rocks. With the separate pods of the outsole, though, they do alright in a little mud.

I needed my headlamp for the descent. I made decent time on the return trip. It was raining pretty good for the last 30-40 minutes, and my hands were starting to get pretty cold toward the end.

Average HR 135 bpm.


Thursday, December 25, 2014, 4:41 pm

11.01 mi, 1653 ft gain, 1:58:43. Kellogg Lake Tree Farm gate #1 to Wallace Lake. Altra Superior 1.5 Red.

I started with the loop to warm up, then headed for Wallace Lake. I saw a small Northern Saw-whet owl on a brush pile in a clear cut just before reaching the little bridge where the climb starts. It may have been the same one I saw a few weeks ago. I got another picture, but it didn’t come out very well. I hadn’t noticed that my headlamp had gone to power save mode.

Once up to the lake, I went east toward the falls instead of west toward Jay Lake. I only went to southeast end of the lake where the trail meets up with the Olney Falls DNR rd and the DNR rd to the Woody Trail at the Upper falls.

Vida kept up on most of the descent. I didn’t push the pace though.

Average HR 122 bpm.


Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:01 pm

11.20 mi, 1306 ft gain, 1:52:39. Kellogg Lake Tree Farm gate #1 loop & hill, with dogs. Altra Superior 1.5 Blue.

Around the loop to start again, then over the hill. Nothing remarkable.

My hands were a little cold to start. I thought ahead and brought my pair of wool fingerless gloves as well. I put them on and my hands warmed up.

Earlier in the day, I heard that my aunt was in the hospital and might not make it through the night. For some reason, I had a bad feeling about halfway through. I slowed to a walk briefly, then kept going.
I found out later that she was responding to antibiotics and seemed to be doing a little better.

Average HR 127 bpm.


Saturday, December 27, 2014, 10:15 am

11.07 mi, 820 ft gain, 1:39:31. Through town to RR Grade at Wallace Falls State Park, solo. New Balance MR10v2.

I got up early, for me, because we were having a family get together in the afternoon, and I wanted to get my run in before rather than in the evening. Turns out I got the time wrong, so I was way late, but it worked out anyway.

I headed out for the RR Grade at Wallace Falls State Park again. I was feeling a little sore and slightly run down. It’s probably a little bit of the miles wearing on me, but more so only getting maybe 4 hours of sleep and not quite recovering from Friday’s run.

I overdressed a little, because I was expecting the drizzle at the start to increase. It stopped not long after I started instead.

Average HR 133 bpm.


Sunday, December 28, 2014, 6:12 pm

11.23 mi, 1587 ft gain, 1:58:15. Kellogg Lake Tree Farm gate #1 to Wallace Lake, with dogs. Altra Superior 1.5 Red.

It was quite foggy, but thankfully not rainy. There were a few snowflakes at times too.

I started with the loop. I’ve considered doing the loop on the way back to the car instead, but I think the temptation to skip it and go back to the car the shorter way would be hard to overcome.

Climbing up to the lake wasn’t too difficult. I headed around toward Jay lake, but didn’t quite make it. One of the water crossings was more than I wanted to go through. Vida kept up pretty well on the downhill.

With it so foggy, I used my Fenix E35 flashlight instead of the headlamp a lot of the time. It doesn’t have quite the same.

Average HR 122 bpm.


Weekly totals: 77 mi, 9139 ft gains