Thursday, May 23, 2013

Back to the Roots

I'm rolling out from San Francisco in a couple hours and man it's quite bitter sweet. This was my first time to the West Coast (yes I don't get out much) and it's been an absolutely incredible experience. I haven't taken a vacation in a while that was more about sight seeing than crushing a race. Obviously, I did have the opportunity to run the 102nd Bay to Breakers and did quite well, but this go around it wasn't the complete focus like Ironman or an "A" race event.

To cap off my trip this morning, I went for a 5mile "Rave Run" at the Lafayette Reservoir Park in Lafayette, CA. A rave run for those who don't know is a run where there are no expectations, but to simply get out there and run a scenic trail, road or course because of the breath taking surroundings with the fact being that you may just never have the opportunity again. Getting to the top of the first hill this morning it hit me. The message of why I run and the enjoyment I receive from it was so ever clear... I found myself at the top of steep CA mountains peering out over the beautiful reservoir with the ability to see for miles. It felt like I had straight up freedom and that I was meant to be there this morning. It felt like I was back to my roots...

It's obviously been a big month in my life ... stepping down as Fitness Director to shift gears into solely focusing on my passion of training and coaching has been the best decision of my life. I don't think we always truly understand how we feel at certain points over our time on this planet. Sometimes we're too busy to notice or we might be scared to face the facts. For many of us, life itself can simply push us away from what we truly want to achieve ... There are so many factors on why and how someone lives their life and trying to understand these factors can be quite difficult. The greatest gift of all would have to include having a highly level of emotional intelligence (EI). Understanding why we feel the way we do at every moment would be an absolute privilege.

What I do know as a Coach and an athlete is that understanding your emotions in the realm of training for a race is quite important. Your emotional profile affects the progress and recovery within your training...

Just for Fun - many athletes just want to have fun every time they compete in a race. Probably the best profile to have and the most common. These are the age group athletes that understand they're participating because its fun and they enjoy it. They don't want to be beat up or struggle. For the majority, these are the emotions desired. The ability to successfully run a race, feel good, and smile the whole way. What could be better? Feelings to balance: Happiness, Enjoyment and Excitement.Continuing to do it for those reasons comes naturally to these folks.

Accomplishing the Impossible -  Ever set that training goal you never thought would happen? I've worked with all levels of people and when it comes to seeing someone hit their goal this is the crew that provides the biggest emotional rush on my end as the coach. Whether the goal was to lose 100lbs and be able to play with their kids, running that first 5K or tackling a marathon its quite inspiring we these folks get to their peak. It's also the crew that has to balance their emotions the most because they lack self efficacy (the belief that they can do it). I think it has to do with the image of the challenge being impossible, lack of confidence just for the mere fact that they haven't been there or done it before. Nike has a phrase "Just do it," these folks are successful when they just do it one day at a time. The right people always seem to get there. Feelings to Balance: Self Doubt, Fear and Intimidation. Keeping enough confidence to keep going when the challenges keep popping up.

Have to PRs - As an athlete, I fall into this category. Yes, you need to be this person in order to be competitive, but it takes a lot of balance so that you can still live your life. This person has to be regimented, disciplined and structured in order to be successful, but at what cost? Its important be careful with someone who exhibits these emotions as the line they walk is a fine one. Coaching this athlete is tough, but the best way to do it is to connect with their sense of achievement weekly so that they have palpable progress and make sure that they're not getting tired or burning themselves out. Asking how they feel quite regularly is critical. Above all, this person still needs to have fun. Feelings to Balance: Sense of achievement, discipline and fatigue. Making sure these athletes hang on to the true benefits of competing and achieving.

The Bay to Breakers was a straight up FUN day and it was just what I needed in my training cycle. Given my transition in life it was the right timing and for that I am truly grateful. If you as an athlete aren't having enough fun schedule a "B" race or a Rave Run. I had the opportunity to stay with an incredible former wellness coaching client these past 5days. She's someone that has invested as much in me as I have in her and I am truly grateful for the relationship. She gave me the star treatment these past 5days paying my entry into Bay to Breakers (more a party), wine tasting in Napa, siz row seats at a Giants baseball game, a trip to "The Rock" and to cap it all off a day of exploring on 17mile drive at Pebble Beach.

These are memories I'll always have, but what I'll remember the most is my morning 5mile run thru the Lafayette Reservoir that brought me back. Standing a top the CA mountain crests just straight up soaking in the fresh air and running thru the dirt hills allowing me to be within myself. Thank you Allyson for this very crucial gift at the right time.

As an athlete and a coach sometimes you have to get back to your roots. A lot of the time you have to get more connected with your emotions. Emotions need to be controlled. They need to be understood. Emotional intelligence is not only the marker of a great athlete, but a marker of someone who gets the most out of life. Don't ever discredit the impact that those things make...

Bay to Breakers 2013
Time: 45:36  
Pace: 6:07 - Haynes St Hill ... mad steep!
Place: 109th out of 22,467 

Result: Heck a ton of fun. Ran back 3miles thru the race to be within the party!

 Best costume of the day.
 Yep lots of exposed and naked people at B2B. Confirmed.

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