Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Push it real good.

After a full week of being bogged down with work I needed a release so I decided to get out for a run. Today in the northeast the temps were in the high nineties so I wasn't sure what to expect. Oftentimes I like to just go and not set a specific goal or distance. I listen to my body. If I feel good I keep going, if I feel crappy I try and push through or just cut it short. Just recently I read a blog post by a fellow message board member and barefoot runner who follows the same mindset and surprised himself and ran 30 miles! (

Starting out I felt great. The warmth actually made my muscles feel loose and my barefoot form was clicking nicely. The heat didn't start to get to me until around the third mile. I knew right there that I had a perfect excuse to cut it short. I could tell myself, "Oh, it's too hot. I could get heat stroke. I'd better head back." But besides that nagging voice in my head I still felt pretty good. Fast forward to around mile five where the heat started winning, and this is where today's lesson begins...

You see, I knew that if I decided to start walking or take a little break under a shady tree it would be perfectly understandable. I mean, it was crazy of me to even be out running on a day like today, right? But what if I kept going? This is where the mental games began. I would tell myself, "After you get to that street sign you can walk for a block." But then, when I was just about to reach the street sign I would think, "What if I kept going? That would kick ass." And so the inner battle continued with me like that for another half hour. I never did stop and probably ended up running around eight miles or so.

Mentally pushing yourself is something you can train yourself to do in almost all of the menial aspects of your life. I remember when pushing myself physically, even when not working out, first dawned on me. It was many years ago around Christmas time and I was at a tree farm carrying a freshly cut Blue Spruce to mount on the top of my car. It was heavy as hell and my shoulder was humming in pain. I thought, "I should put this down for a minute and give it a rest." Then I thought, "Why not push yourself and carry it all the way to the car? In fact, don't set it down when you get to the car. Toss it through the air and have it land on top of the SUV." And that's what I did.

Today during my run there were two paths to my house I could have taken. One was a soft grassy shortcut and the other was a gravelly hill that added another two minutes to my run. I chose the hill. Even little things like rounding a corner when you are running on the street. You can cut the corner and hop on the curb or you can stay on the street and take the turn wide. At the supermarket you can park in the last spot and carry all the bags you can hold. You can take the stairs at work. You've probably heard all that stuff before but really, it adds up.

So right now as finish up typing this I'm pretty spent physically and I have every right to go lay down on the couch and watch the baseball game. But instead, I'm going to go ask my daughter if she wants to go outside and get some softball practice in. Push yourself and you will enrich your life more than you know.

Thanks for listening.


  1. Very inspiring Mustache Man.

    If you don't mind me asking, what are the ingredients you used for your smoothie at the end of the Tough Mudder Training video?

  2. F.L.
    I agree completely with always trying to make it a little harder on yourself. In my early 20's I read how Bruce Lee said you should take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or you should park your car a few blocks from your destination. Little things like that do make a difference. Only as I near my mid thirties am I starting to slowly implement this into my life.

  3. Definitely inspiring words. I lived so much of my life as a couch potato, and just recently (the last year or so), decided to change my ways. I started walking, first about a half an hour a day, then more gradually. I took up kickboxing with an instructor that is top notch. I don't remember when it happened, but somewhere along the line, I started to develop the same mentality that you described. It started when I decided to measure out a specific distance and run it. I would get to the end, and be spent. I would get twenty yards or so from the end, and decide I'd had enough. But then, that voice inside me would tell me, "you know, if you cut this short now, what would stop you from cutting it even shorter tomorrow. So I'd tough it out and finish the run completely. Because of that attitude, I recently ran my first 5k without stopping, and hope to do it again very soon. It was hardly a record-breaking pace, but finishing was a real achievement for somebody who, this time last year, could barely do a tenth of a mile without being gassed. I've just turned 43, and instead of feeling like I'm over the hill, I'm excited to see where the future is going to take me. I'm in the best shape of my life, and don't feel like stopping now. Your words give me that little extra kick to be better than I am.