Manache!


So it’s been about 5 weeks since I finished my 500 Miles for SMA effort in California, and I have to admit: I am still not 100%.

I trained for about 18 months in order to be as prepared as I could to crank out the daily mileage I needed in order to get myself from the Presidio in San Francisco to the front gates of Disneyland.  Each morning, I would wake up, as John Gutfriend (former head of Solomon Brothers) “…ready to bite the ass off a bear”.  (I have no idea where the heck he got that saying from – but once I heard that saying, I have always wanted to use that quote in a blog post…and now I have.)  I would swim, bike, run, and lift weights with a singularity of purpose: I built up my body to break it down over the course of 18 days in August.  After working so hard to prepare for a multi-day endurance run, it felt good to have the work I put in result in accomplishing my goal.  However, I was so focused on this singular goal that I really did not think about how I would keep my momentum going once I arrived home in New York City after Labor Day weekend.

One week went by without running a single mile.  Without a visit to the gym, and my bike gathering dust in the basement of my apartment building.  That Sunday afternoon, I realized that I hadn’t broken a decent sweat in a week -and what’s more, I did not feel the urge to do anything about this situation.  Upon realizing that my focus was non-existent, all I kept saying to myself was “Manache!”(which is Italian for either “oh hell!”or “damn!”).

Week two comes along.  OK, I need to start getting back into a routine.  I have marathons coming up in October and November.  As much as I tried to motivate myself, the pilot light was still out.  Manache!

So here comes week three.  OK, NOW I need to start developing my routine again.  Once or twice, I actually got up early, got changed into workout clothes….and then proceeded to throw on Netflix.  Manache!!!

Finally, as week four began, I was able to shake off the cobwebs and run a few miles.  Each time I went out there, I would find myself shutting down in the middle of my workout.  For example: on Wednesday, the plan was to to warm up with a mile, then do 4 hill repeats up Cat Hill in Central Park.  Then recover with a slow waddle around the lower loop and call it a morning.  I got 2 repeats into my workout without any focus whatsoever on what I was going, when I stood at the top of the hill and exclaimed aloud “…MANACHE!!!”….and then I packed it in and headed home to my Netflix.  I was disappointed at my lack of focus and the way I simply quit mid way though a workout – but at least I actually got off the couch and into my Brooks.

I refer to Mondays as “The Great Reset Day”.  Why?  Because whenever my planned weekly routine went south mid week, I always tell myself “OK – starting NEXT WEEK, you’re going to adhere to the plan and cut out all distractions.  Buckle down.” I told myself this numerous times coming into this week.  Last weekend, I prepared a schedule and nutrition plan, created a calendar that included all scheduled workouts for the next four weeks, and swore to myself that this week would be different.  This would be the week that I lit the pilot light and got some momentum going.  So far, I am five for five: I’ve gotten up early five days in the row and I’ve gotten a serious workout in each morning.  The result has been a change in my mindset from the post-event hangover to a much more positive, energetic athlete.

I”m tired of starting over.  It’s time for me to stop giving up on my workouts and get back to grinding each day.  If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, and how you choose to use them is critical.  You can sit on the couch and watch Netflix – but if that’s your choice, you cannot expect optimal performance on race day.  Your other option is simple: make a plan.  Make it thorough.  Promise yourself that you are going to stick to it, come hell or high water.  Then…keep your promise.

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