Andrew and I got out for date night last night!
We decided to try somewhere new to us. If the restaurant brings out hot chips and the most amazing fresh salsa, you already know that you made a good decision (Utah people… this was at Maria Bonita).
The chicken fajitas that I ordered took it to the next level. Many years ago I worked at a Mexican restaurant and I can’t tell you how many times I would get burned from those lame fajita pans… luckily that didn’t happen yesterday.
After we ate we decided to go to an arcade. Usually we go to arcades with the kids which means we don’t have the opportunity to let out our competitive side with each other. He beat me big time on basketball so I think instead of running today I need to make it out to the courts to practice instead.
He also somehow managed to win from one of those claw machine things (where they make it impossible to win).
He couldn’t leave with just one for the kids so he went again and won another?!? We have uncovered a hidden talent of his.
Brooke was thrilled with his hard work and determination to bring this home for her.
We got back to our house and watched a little bit of Trolls and then put Brooke to bed.
PS Andrew and I have both agreed that this is the best smelling lotion ever.
Our perceptions, or the way we view the world, is really an interesting thing. Our past experiences help to shape our perceptions and so do things like our opinions, our environments, how people around us think, our beliefs/values and so much more. I think that is something that makes life fun… we can all look at the same exact thing and see it differently and then try to understand how others see it and explain how we see it. It makes life interesting. As runners we all experience pain, discomfort and the desire to quit many times throughout those hard workouts and races. It’s part of the sport but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what things I can do to change my perception when I am really struggling.
We might be giving the same amount of effort throughout the course of a marathon (or whatever race you do) BUT our perception of the effort we are giving may increase with each few miles along the way. Or sometimes throughout the course of the marathon (when I experience every emotion ever made) my perception of effort is highest at miles 11-12,15-19 and 23-26.2. The highs and lows that come along during the miles of a race are REAL. It’s inevitable that over the course of time/distance along a race/long run/speed workout that the same pace is going to feel more and more difficult but what are some things along the way that help our brains to perceive the effort as LESS?
Here are some things for me during those tough miles that take away the pain for a minute or that give me that needed boost of energy. A few things that help me to realize that my legs are not actually going to fall off (in the below picture I could have really used some of these things because I WAS HURTING).
*Specific songs. My pace isn’t changing and I’m still putting in the work but there are certain songs that come on that have so much meaning to me or provide the perfect beat that all of the sudden my perception of effort is—> ‘this is fun, it isn’t that bad.’ I think the number one song for me that does this is “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows’ by Brand New. It’s a weird song from 2003 but it just means a lot to me and each time it comes on it gives me that boost and I usually include it on my marathon playlists a few times for the fact that I want my perception of effort to feel easier because I’m too busy thinking about the song. I have come to the conclusion that I will never get sick of this song because over the last 14 years I have listened to it thousands of times.
*A smile. I do this during the really painful parts when my brain is trying it’s best to convince me to quit. It’s not a full smile, maybe more of a grin (because let’s be honest… energy conservation is needed) but my brain perceives that as meaning I must feel good and it helps me anywhere from 30 seconds to a mile.
*A quick drink, especially if the drink includes sugar/energy/anything. I am sure you have noticed this during a marathon but a quick drink of gatorade, Vega Clean Energy (what I started using during the marathon now for my sensitive stomach) or whatever works for you offers quite the relief. The sugars/electrolytes/hydration gives you that boost. Fuel along the miles always gives me the boost I need (once I eat it… too bad eating while running isn’t more fun for me:).
*Seeing your people or any spectators that make you happy (especially when it is a cute little kid holding up a funny sign and cheering for you like crazy). Your effort level does not actually change, you are still working crazy hard but you see that and BOOM… it’s like your legs are fresh again for a minute or a mile and your brain tells you that you can in fact keep doing this.
*Pouring water on myself. It cools me down quickly in those hot miles and all of the sudden my brain is perceiving my effort levels like I could keep going like this forever… rather than the constant argument in my head leading up to the water dump only moments before the water hits my head.
*I repeat things to myself. Whether it’s everyone in my family’s name or mantras like, ‘I can do hard things’ ‘I am comfortable’ ‘Pain is temporary.’ Over the last few miles of a really tough race I like to count steps too because then my focus is on something else and my brain doesn’t tell me to quit as often.
Running is going to be hard. It just is and especially during races for me when I am really shooting for a specific time. We can’t change the fact that it is hard BUT we can change the fact that we can include things along the way when the miles are really hard to help us to perceive the pain/discomfort as not so bad.
Whether it is a mantra, a gu, a memory, dedicating each mile to someone else or certain songs… store those up in your brain leading up to a race or hard run so that you can use those things when the going gets really tough.
A portion of this post was brought to you by Brooke sitting behind me making all sorts of funny faces.
What sort of things help you during the tough miles to get that boost you need? Something that helps you to feel like your effort isn’t as hard?
WHAT IS YOUR TUESDAY RUN!? I want the details please!
Have a favorite dish that you usually order at Mexican Restaurants?
I’d love to hear any mantras that work for you in the comments today! We are all always looking for new ones!