Sunday, January 29, 2012

No Judgment Week

An account of last week:

I started the week with no judgments, or at least that was the goal. My inner critic - rife with complaints of 'not fast enough!' and 'not strong enough' needed to be muzzled. So committed to the idea of a week without that nagging voice. Each workout I did, be it run or bike or walk, was about the pleasure of ability. That I am able to to these things, was the focus.

The results: I biked farther this week than I have in months. I ran for the pure enjoyment and achieved the runner's high. I walked to and from work without concern of my pace (yes - even that gets me sometimes!)

Fittingly on Friday, my boss and I had a lesson in this 'no judgments' philosophy...


See, I work for a wonderful woman. Not only is she an admired leader in our field, but she's also (outside of work) a runner and sports' enthusiast. We connect because we know the value of working hard, taking on challenges, and appreciating the commaraderie that is attained through competition.

So, my boss, who is ever-on-top-of-things but also quite absent-minded when it comes to 1) Keys 2) Cell Phone 3) Wallet 4) Sunglasses, was headed off to London on Saturday. She's there now. But last Friday afternoon, mere hours before she was to head home to prepare for the trip, she did the unthinkable.

Balancing her blackberry on top of her coffee cup while opening a door ... she managed to drop her phone into the full cup. And kill it. Dead. That's right. Hours before going abroad, she executed her key communication tool.

And as her assistant, I could have cried. I could have berated myself and her. I could have stressed. But instead, I rode the 'no judgments' train of thought I had practiced. With the help of my superstar colleague, I tracked down the IT/Phone people on the studio lot. I got them to replace the phone ASAP. I handled the seemingly stressful moment with aplomb.

And when she returned to the office to face me - the bearer of this stress - she winced in hopes I hadn't blown a glasket. I hadn't. Instead I laughed, and she laughed. We both wrote the mistake off as simply that - human error. And she said, "Just trying to keep it light around here!"


Why do I bring up this ancedote? It just seems fitting. I spent all of last week trying to 'control' myself and 'control' my environment. But once I let go and just enjoyed the ride things got easier and better. And when it came to work, my ability to roll with the punches (or coffee plunges) was ulitized too.

May your runs for the rest of the week be uncontrolled ... and fabulous.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

No Judgments. Just Go.

I got on my bike today for the first time in a week. That’s on unusual these days. In an effort to allow myself some rest/cross-training and mental refreshment, I’ve taken a more multi-sport approach to my workouts. One day of running, another of Insanity, another of biking, sometimes just walking for the day. And rest.

So to be out on my bike this morning felt new and fun. And because I have not cranked out countless workouts on it recently, I started the workout without any expectations. During the first few minutes of the ride, a phrase came to mind: “No Judgments. Just Ride.” And it got me thinking…

Despite my experience and my various athletic trades, there are times when I don’t want to put on my shoes and go out for a run. And it’s not because I’m being lazy. It’s because I’m scared.

Yes. Scared. It is hard to admit, but sometimes I don’t want to go out for a run because … what if I’m bad at it? What if I run slower than normal? What if it’s a ‘bad run’?

There are some of you that will shake your head at these irrationalities and hyper-intense insecurities. But I’m sharing because I know there are others out there who have tiny voices that say, “Yeah, me too.”

Even though it’s just one workout. And even though it is for no one else but myself. And even though, in the larger scheme of life it is only a tiny action … there is, sometimes, this threatening mass of “failure” that can hover just on the edge of my mind. As if making the decision to put on my shoes and go out for a run opens the door for that possibility in all of its seemingly-but-not-really fatal power.

Maybe it’s that we are a little more sensitive than normal. Or that we push ourselves harder than anyone could ever push us. That there is some ill-forged and misunderstood cause/effect relationship between berating ourselves and achieving what we set out to do. In other words, if I beat myself up enough, then of course I will work harder, do better, achieve more and … then what?

If I step back – as an athlete and as a coach – and follow that train of thought, it gets derailed. As it should! Because it is a train of thought full of judgment and lacks compassion. And for me, it is the exact opposite of why I run and bike and swim and walk.

So on my bike today I told myself this – yes, consciously I spoke to myself: “No Judgments. Just Go.” I will, for this week, run without judgment of myself. Bike without expectations. Follow through my Insanity program without worrying about tangible progress. It’s not a matter of taking a more “relaxed” approach. It’s a matter of ceasing my concern of being judged – most importantly, by myself.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Insanity Fit Test #2

Finished Insanity Days 8, 9 and 10 - each a challenge either with cardio, strength or balance ... and Day 10 included all three! I woke the next day feeling sore. Because of my coaching schedule (which included the Goofy Challenge a couple weeks ago), I have not been doing Insanity every single day. However, I did make it to the second Fit Test of the program.

The Fit Test is the benchmark against which we measure improvement. You have 1 minute to complete the given exercise. Scores are recorded every two weeks or so to evaluate progress. Here, again, are the results of my first Fit Test, taken on Day One of the program which for me was Decemeber 24, 2011.


Switch Kicks (russian kicks) - 100
Deep Jacks (squat jumping jacks) - 41
Power Knees - 61
Power Jumps (squat jumps) - 30
Globe Jumps (box jumping) - 6
Suicide Jumps (burpees) - 10
Push Up Jacks - 17
Power Planks - 39

Today I took on the same round of workouts with the following results:


Switch Kicks (russian kicks) - 121
Deep Jacks (squat jumping jacks) - 48
Power Knees - 97
Power Jumps (squat jumps) - 42
Globe Jumps (box jumping) - 10
Suicide Jumps (burpees) - 16
Push Up Jacks - 21
Power Planks - 58

Progress all around! Do I credit Insanity? My renewed dedication to my cardio regieme? Luck? Doesn't matter, really, what the cause is. I'm just grateful for the effect - Mostly, I'm happy to have an avenue in my life, fitness, to which I can point to concrete evidence of growth and accomplishment.

Cheers to this!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goofy Weekend and Insanity Day 8

I'm grateful to have completed Insanity Workout #8 right before I hopped on a plane for the Goofy Challenge - 13.1 miles on Saturday and 26.2 miles on Sunday in Walt Disney World. As the unofficial coach of West Side, LA Team in Training, I completed the half marathon in 1:56:14 and the full marathon in 4:06:57.

A recap of the weekend's workouts to come soon. Until then, I leave you with the sunset over Lake Buena Vista, FL. An image I am blessed to have seen first-hand, the sunset over the Swan and Dolphin hotels.

"You get in before sunrise and you get out after sunset and you go home, eat and collapse. While you're aware of the ratings, you aren't prepared for the response of the fans." - Parker Stevenson