Tag Archives: Motivation

How To Find Motivation During A Fitness Detox


The best way to recover from Adrenal Fatigue is rest so I’ve been on a self-imposed fitness “detox.”

What’s a fitness detox?

Its intentionally cutting back {by a lot} on the amount of time spent on and the intensities of my workouts.

But having a Type A, an “all-or-nothing” personality to make the transition. I went from working out all-the-time to turning back into a borderline couch potato.

There were some weeks where my only workout was my weekly private Pilates training session. And that only happened because it was already paid for. To put things into perspective, I ran a whopping total of 24.56 miles in March. Yes, in 31 days I ran less than 25 miles. Even for someone doing a fitness detox that’s pretty sad.

I struggled to find a happy medium.

So I opened my old training journals to remember what were my motivations to workout in the first place (there’s a reason to keep those!). I found that my top three motivators to get moving were:

1. Lose weight

2. Keep up with the Joneses

3. Train for a race

These days the first two aren’t motivation for me anymore.

I’ve learned that eating foods that work WITH my body did more for my well-being (and kept me at a happy weight) than beast mode workouts. (For the record I hate the word “best mode.”)

When that happened I stopped caring about what others are doing and trying to keep up with them. Let me clarify – I care what others do but in an “I’m happy for them but I don’t need to do that myself” kind of way.

So that left training for a race.

I’ve come to learn that I don’t always have to run half marathons or full marathons. Shorter distanced races are just as fun – and less time consuming – to train for.

So I looked up the DSE Runners race schedule and put a few on my calendar.

{For those of you not familiar with DSE Runners, it’s a San Francisco running club that puts on weekly races around the Bay Area. They are low-key but well-organized races that cost $3 for members and $5 for non-members. Basically the best deal in town.}

This past Sunday I was to run the DSE Golden Gate Park 10K.

Full disclosure: Two weeks before this race was one of those “I-only-did-Pilates-and-didn’t-run-a-single-mile” weeks. But knowing that this race was coming up motivated me to complete all workouts last week. And while I had no illusions of a PR, I did intend to have fun. I mean, there really is nothing like running during a race!

On Sunday, a friend joined me to run the race. But well, things happen; i.e., logistic snafus and we didn’t run the actual race. BUT, we did run the distance in Golden Gate Park and had a blast doing so. And we even stopped to cheer on those who did run the race!

So what’s the point of all this?

1. Its okay – and normal – to take a step back and do a fitness detox on occasion.

2. But that doesn’t mean you should take a complete break.

3. And its okay if its challenging to find a happy medium between doing less vs more.

4. So finding motivators is a good way to keep yourself going – whatever that motivator may be for you.

5. And if its a race, check the start time and register for it advance – don’t procrastinate and wait until race day!

What motivates you to get off the couch and workout?

What I Learned During Private Swim Lessons

Four summers ago I had just finished the my second half marathon, Seattle RnR. I was on a high and looking for my next challenge so I signed up for adult beginners swim lessons. Learning proper swim technique was something that I had always wanted to do and decided that it was time to do it. I completed two 2-week sessions and learned the basics of freestyle.

This summer, inspired by my incredibly inspiring triathlete friends I signed up another 2-week session, but this time for private swim lessons. I had two very specific objectives that I wanted to address and felt that private lessons would be more suitable than a group class.

Objective 1: Learn how to kick again

Since initially learning how to swim I’ve swam casually, mostly as recovery workouts after long runs. Because of this I became very dependent on a pull buoy and essentially forgot how to kick. Whenever I tried not to use the pull buoy I would panic and either sink or not move at all. It became my crutch and I wanted to get rid of it.

Objective 2: Learn how to breath on both sides

Last summer I attended an open water swim clinic hosted by the Mermaids. I found that swimming in the San Francisco bay was pretty gross, but I kinda loved it. I guess the advantage to growing up in Hawai’i is that I’m used to being in the open water and it didn’t scare me. However what did scare me was being told that in order to complete a triathlon I needed to be able to breathe on both sides. It would be a matter of survival. I was registered for their Sprint Tri but after hearing this and being terrified of my road bike I dropped the race. Since then I unsuccessfully tried to teach myself how to breathe on my left side. It was time for more swim lessons.

Swim Lessons 2.0

Joinville Pool

I signed up for private lessons at the county parks and recreation pool. Each session would be 30-minutes long and held from Mondays – Thursdays for two weeks.

My first session started on Mon, 7/29. We started off in the kiddie pool which I was more than fine with – feeling comfortable in the pool was half the battle.

Well Objective #1 was completed in about 10 minutes. My kick came back to me in no time. It just took a couple of pointers from the instructor to make adjustments to my form and technique.

Objective #2 would take a bit longer. I got the gist of it during the first lesson but it would take practice. Eventually I got comfortable enough with it and graduated to the big pool (25 meters or Jr Olympic size). So for the past two weeks I’ve practiced and practiced and ingested enough chlorine to bleach my insides.

To my surprise and delight my instructor also had me learn other things that I never expected to learn like:

* Directional swimming
* Backstroke – which is so much fun except I can’t swim straight for the life of me
* Dolphin kicks – so you know if i ever decide to learn Butterfly
* Breast stroke – still a lot of work to learn this one

And last but not least flip turns! Well sort of.

Let me preface this by saying I have never done a cartwheel in my life. I avoid inversions during yoga classes like the plague. And I have never done a somersault in or out of the water. So when my instructor said we would work on flip turns sheer panic set in. I explained to him that I don’t do flips or tumbles or anything remotely close to it. But he pushed and pushed until I relented and consented to give it a try.

The first attempt was a complete disaster. Water up the nose and no flip to show for it. So he gave me a few other pointers like – tuck your chin and your knees, then paddle your arms in the opposite direction of the flip.

I gave it a try and then just like that I did my first somersault ever! The flip happened naturally, just like he said it would so then he made me practice it a few more times. I can’t say its my favorite thing to do but I felt a real sense of accomplishment by facing a fear and doing it anyway.

I’ve found that swimming with my entire body, not just my upper body, uses so much more muscles than I imagined. Although its a non-impact sport, the amount of effort required from my legs is tremendous. Its a perfect compliment to running in so many ways and truly is a total body workout.

One of my first motivators to start running was from an article that I read in a fitness magazine that said “running will change your body.” Well after swimming for four days a week for two straight weeks I can honestly say that swimming will too. I can feel changes in my body – it feels stronger and leaner in different ways that my regular workouts make me feel.

I’ve always enjoyed swimming and now I’m looking forward to doing it on a more regular basis and practicing what I’ve learned.

I was so sad to learn that the pool isn’t open year round. In fact, it closes in just a few weeks. Swimming outdoors is so much more fun than indoors. I compare it to outdoor running vs. on a treadmill. Luckily I still have the pools at my gyms to swim at, but I am already planning to take private lessons again next summer!

A 17-Mile Lesson On Gratitude

All the travel over the past week left me feeling somewhat off kilter. Having taken 6 am flights in both directions, then adjusting to the two-hour time difference, I was left feeling really tired. I didn’t sleep well the first night back, and was still feeling sleep deficient when I woke up this morning. I’m convinced that this played a factor in today’s 17-mile run.

After last weekends blissful 16-miler, I wanted so badly for today’s run to go just as well. I mapped out the same route down the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco, and added on an additional half mile up to (but not across) the Golden Gate Bridge.

However, today was much warmer than last weekend’s foggy, rainy weather and I overdressed for it. Because of the warmer temps, I drank a lot more water (with Triberry Nuun) and had to make two stops to refill my water bottle. Also related, I had to stop twice for bathroom breaks.

My legs also didn’t cooperate as well they did last week. They felt heavy, like bricks for the first 14 of the 17 miles. During this time I just could not find a flowing running rhythm. I was very physically uncomfortable which led to me mentally beat myself down for the first half of the run.

I was so upset that things weren’t going as well as last week. In fact, I convinced that I couldn’t cover the entire planned distance.

By Mile 7 I was so frustrated that I sat down on a bench in an attempt to clear my head. I had a conversation with myself debating if I should cut the run short and turn around then, or continue on for another mile and half to the planned turnaround spot. It was as if I had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

Just when I thought the devil got the best of me, an older woman ran by. She appeared to have recently gone through cancer treatments, yet there she was — running.

All of a sudden my attitude changed. I felt very grateful for my health and realized how silly it would be for me to quit early. Feeling uncomfortable wasn’t a good enough excuse to quit early. So I continued on. It didn’t feel any easier but I made the climb up to my turnaround point at the base of the GGB.

Things improved on the second half of the run. Although my legs still felt heavy, I felt a weight lifted from my mind.

For as long as I can recently remember I have felt like I have been fighting myself. I’ve felt like I’ve been fighting a fear that I didn’t really understand, or could identify.

On the plane ride home, I finished reading “Running With the Mind of Meditation” by Sakyong Miphan. There are many, many things from this book that stood out to me. In fact, I probably have more highlighted passages than not. For the rest of the run I directed my thoughts to the ideas that he had written about, like…

Running With the Mind of Meditation, page 85.

Running With the Mind of Meditation, page 85.

The first time I read these words, I felt a piercing in my heart. It described what I had been struggling with, but yet had not been able to put into words.

As I focused on recalling thoughts and ideas from this book, the anger and frustration I felt during the first half of the run just melted away.

I noted how just nine years ago I could not do a push-up. I thought about the many ways I have progressed since then and realized that it was not an overnight process. I felt blessed for the ways that I’ve grown and excited for the opportunity to be able to continue to do so.

In my mind I began to list the reasons why I run, and what I enjoy about it. And realized that this run, this experience, was another part of my growth process. When I returned to my starting location I noted how much more enjoyable the run became when I stopped fighting myself and started feeling gratitude for what I am able to do.

{As I reread this post before publishing I realize how very cliche-ish it sounds. But its truly is what I felt today. I hope that by documenting this, the next time I struggle within myself I can recall this experience and be inspired by my potential for further.}