Friday, July 27, 2012

Just Get Real: Learn How to Suffer

Have you ever been hot? I mean really hot? Like nearing the edge of heat stroke? If not (and you have an interest in doing so) you should certainly look into running the Cremator 50mile relay next year. I heard their might be a 100mile option. Yipee!! This was my second year competing and although our team finished in second by 4 1/2 minutes it was double the fun of last year's race. (we won that one!)

Running is a highly individualized sport. A sport where you'll certainly start out chatting with friends, but when that gun fires or siren sounds it's pretty much the end of any conversation that happened to be going on. Interestingly enough, the races I've gotten the most fulfillment and fun from have been Relays. Now I've only complete two "running team" events (Cremator 2011 and Cremator 2012), but man am I grateful we took the plunge both years. To put it simply, the best suffering is always done with someone else by your side.

With the Cremator in mind, my topic for the evening is "Suffering." My question for you is do you know how to do it? Do you know what its like to push yourself to your very last limit? You know leave it all out there? I think this is what separates CrossFit athletes from the regular endurance athlete is that they know how to suffer. The reality is that CrossFitters do it every day. The box creates that environment. Now I am not trying to generalize the entire LSD Endurance community and say they never "suffer" in training. I am just saying CFE athletes and CrossFitters do it more often. It may be that we enjoy it, but the point is that we're pushing ourselves to that level daily. It may only be for 10 minutes, but I say in every personal training session. "All I need is 10minutes."

Learning to suffer humbles your body. It creates an environment where you have to react. No only physically to speed up or slow down, but mentally. You have to mentally convince yourself that it's all worth it. You have to get in your head. I believe that when you teach your body to suffer you have an edge against anyone who toes the line. Attitude predicts a lot. Words to create worlds and if you think you're going to have to stop you will.

This is an interesting topic. Interesting in that I am sure everyone has a different take on what "suffering" means to them. In addition, the question may come up why am I putting myself through the suffering? What am I proving? I ask myself this question rather often. I look back on some week's and I am like wholly molly why am I training so hard? Why did I just run 19miles in the blazing July Heat? For me it comes down to having courage. Coach Craig says it all the time, "What we do in here (the box) Makes everything better out there..." That is why I suffer.

I teach my body this so I can show others that no other situation is ever that bad. To show them that the ability to push is learned. You can turn your intentions into a reality. It takes believe - positivity - and a simple "I can, I can." The more you teach yourself to suffer, the better life gets. Period.

 CFE Take 

How to you begin to learn? Here's a few of my favorite interval sessions that provide athletes with a little taste of how to suffer:

1) Tabada Treadmill 
Set treadmill to 12% - Plug speed to 85% of 5K PR
 20sec ON, 10sec OFF DO NOT REDUCE the speed.
Trust me this is no easy 4minute workout. You'll suffer.

2) Death by 10 Meters 
Place two sets of cones roughly 10m across.

You have 60 Seconds to run 10m, athletes will add 10m each round 
Huge mental workout here gang! If you do it right you should be suffering! 

3) 10 x 100m on 60sec rests 
Goal is to hold your interval 2-3 seconds 
Absolutely intense because as you get to the 7th interval your legs are already screaming. 
Want to improve your deadlift? Suffer thru these athletes.

Awesome article rookies with science on why you do not need to be running those 20mile runs all the time. That is not suffering!!!

 Race Review 

Cremator 50 Mile Ultra Run 
July 21, 2012 6AM START!

Team Less Miles, More CrossFit had 3 Teams REPRESENT!
Team #1 - 2nd Overall, 5:51:03 (Mike, Adam, Sara, Me) CC - Mary
Team #2 - 3rd Overall, 7:22:08 (Chris, Kate, David, Sarah) CC - Vlad
Team #3 - 4th Overall, 8:32:33 (Tara, Lynn, Tara, Ashley) CC - Anne, and Mary!

MVP of the day - This one goes out to Mike C. Why you may ask? Because this dude put in the most miles supporting every team member out on the course. He was relentless in helping Sarah to the finish line when she was nearly puking. He pushed Ashley thru her remaining 2miles in the 2pm 100degree heat! Mike truly showed what team Less Miles is all about. Grateful for ya Mike!

PR Queen - This girl is less than 100lbs, but somehow, someway she's been building on her run technique and fitness. PR'ing like crazy these days! Lynn not only PRd her first 6mile leg during the Cremator, but just this past week she's demolished her 400m and 800m previous Time Trials. Congrats Lynn!

Wake Up DUDE - Adam M. takes the crown on this one. He would have overslept event entirely If I didn't go and wake him up. Great recovery though, this guy was able to cruise us up to the start line right @6am(literally as the runners were taking off). The worst part is his bag was completely packed, race number laid out, and the frying pan was ready for the eggs ... buddy, what happened!!?? Haha Stoked that it all worked out and we made it on time. It certainly gave us an interesting morning. Always good when the Coach doesn't show up to the team's "A" Race on time!

 JUST GUTTING IT OUT - Ashley gets a call out here for absolutely sucking it up through the heat and not stopping. Seeing her wrap up the finally leg for her team was truly awesome. She knew how to deal with the suffering on this day ... AWESOME!

CREW CHIEFS!! - Mary, Vlad, Ann and Ice Bucket/Bath Mike M. made this day possible! You know its a fun day when your Crew Chiefs are even more excited than you. In a word these 4 folks were selfless. They were there for the team. Anything needed they made it happen. No checkpoints missed and all smiles. THANK YOU GUYS!!

All and all this is simply a snapshot of an incredible day. All three Less Miles teams achieved things that they didn't think were possible. Battled the heat with a smile,  everyone worked together. Each athlete pushed to their limit. Every step had purpose.

I think I'll forever look back at this team ultra event as the race when Team Less Miles, More CrossFit JUST GOT REAL...

Your turn to Just Get Real, Learn how to suffer!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Passion's Powerful

Good ideas grow. Life's transitions create change. Passion does both.

I recently got back from vacationing up in Salem, Massachusetts and what a week it was. I had the opportunity to do so much. I shared in my bros bachelor party in Boston, hung out at my parents lake house in New Hampshire, Ran in a 4th of July 5miler, visited with Hometown Friends in Maine, and to top it all off I experienced one of the most important day's in my Bro's life, his wedding.

The week was incredible. To see my brother Steve drop tears before his wife even walked in the door was priceless. Speaking on his behalf and giving the Best Man's toast was an honor. The entire week got me thinking. What's stronger than a good idea? A life transition? I think it's passion.

Using Steve as an example, getting married is a huge life transition and obviously it created a change, but crying before the girl you're about to marry walks into the ballroom? That's passion. I starred at him that day and will never forget the moment Danielle finally made it to the alter. His happiness was overpowering. I always new they were a good match (I mean 5+ yrs together its about time they got married), but seeing his eyes, face, and joy last Friday gave me the chills.

To put a CrossFit Endurance spin on passion. Look at the coaches. Look at Doug Katona or Brian Mackenzie. Do they seem interested? Hell yeah. How about when Max Wunderele gives a lecture? Can you hear it? Every time. These guys know what they're doing, they believe in what they represent, it's a part of them. They are passionate.

This is something to remember within your life, but also in training:
1) There should be a reason for every workout. Improve Stamina? Speed? Nutrition check? Clear the head? Whatever it is be aware of why you're doing that particular workout.
2) Your targets should be realistic. Evidence base your race goals. Make sure your goals are inline with  your Time Trial/Tempo efforts performed.
3) Mental strength beats muscular strength in every competition. Learning to handle suffering better than the guy next to you takes passion.
4) Taking the focus to your technique. If you don't dial in your passion. I mean put it in the right places then you aren't using it to it's full capacity.
5) What you do off the training grounds dictates desire. When you really believe in something. When you are really dialed into a race goal. What you do when your not training changes.

I've noticed my passion continues to run deeper and deeper into my training, coaching and life. Now roughly 5 weeks out from Ironman, I can literally feel it in every workout, class taught and moment. I think what I am most grateful about is that I fully believe other people see it. I don't think it's because I am a person who can't keep his mouth shut, but I think it's because I've got a lot of it and I wear it on my sleeve. So much so that ideas have grown, life transitions have certainly created change ... :)

 Recent Race Reviews: 

Jennifer Tinney Memorial 5K, 21st Annual 
Boxford, MA 
Time: 29:39
Place: 2nd Overall
Pace: 5:56
#1 Race Experience - sharing the day with my Dad and Mom. It's not often enough that I get to spend time with these two amazing people. I am even more thrilled to see my Dad running and soon to be calling himself a triathlete. He's signed up for his first Triathlon in August!! Passion rubbing off? Possibly.

Beach Bum Triathlon #1
Hilton Head Island, SC 
Time: 49:02
Place: 2nd Overall
#1 Best Race Experience - Running the last 3miles with Tala! H3 guests continue to amaze me with their passion for pushing their limits. This girl Tala is incredible. Dealing with quite a severe Illness that causes dizziness, light head, and potential blackouts didn't stop her. She showed up on Saturday excited and became a triathlete!!
#2 Best Race Experience - EVERY, YES EVERY CrossFit Hilton Head Athlete who entered the Beach Bum placed in the top ten under 39 age group or over 40 age group. Incredible?! Fluke? Less Miles??
Learning Experience - pick it up on the run or a guy racing a beach cruiser will catch you an take the course record from you with 1.5miles to go!