Friday, November 26, 2010

6 Inches is all it takes!!!!

Get your mind out of the gutter!!!

Today is Friday rant day. I love Fridays. I do this on Fridays so I can enjoy my weekends.

I was reading an article this week from a running magazine where the author talked about “Extrinsic” and “Intrinsic” motivation as it related to people who run.

Basically, (from Wikipedia):

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money and grades, coercion and threat of punishment. Competition is in general extrinsic because it encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. A crowd cheering on the individual and trophies are also extrinsic incentives.

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure.

I “think”, know the author was trying to point out this: Folks who have Extrinsic motivation may not stick with running as long as the folks who have Intrinsic motivation do....IE: you have to love what your doing to stick with it.

With that being said, I know I started back on my highway because I was motivated to lose weight, look and feel better. I was “driven by interest”, not because I enjoyed torturing, killing, sweating my ass off. As time went on, I started to enjoy the solitude that came with running. I became proud of my accomplishments and strived to do better. Was there some extrinsic motivation? Of course....we do Marathons and all other sorts of competitions because we want to prove something to ourselves and others, human nature. But more now I savor a good run (even a bad run is better than no run) and the internal peace I feel when I am done...mental floss.

Which leads to my rant: I have heard the comment many times, “ It was so easy to put on and so hard to take off”. Let’s clarify took me about 15 years to put on a bunch of weight. I have taken most of that weight off in less than a year. So...with respect to time, was it really easy to put on and hard to take off? It’s your choice as to how you want to look at it.

15 years ago when I finally quit smoking for the umpteenth time (umpteenth = many X many X many), I went through this same process. I had tried for years to quit, using most every incentive in the book. But nothing worked until I actually “MENTALLY” decided to quit. Did it just happen, no! It was hard, a struggle every day for 3 months. Did I use help, yes! The nicotine patch for 3 months to help me over the real hard parts. But the bottom was a “MENTAL” battle.

For me, losing weight was a “MENTAL” issue, not a physical one. I had to play that little game with AE (Alter Ego) every single day. I walked for 2 ½ months before I even thought about running. I hated my treadmill with a passion because it was always there, mocking me! But gradually, as the weight came off, I started to feel better and started taking a few risks...a little jog here, a little run there and everything started to come together. Was it still hard..YES. Was it still a mental battle...YES. Is it still a mental battle....yes, but it’s getting better.

So the whole point of the’s the 6 inches between your ears that will help you sink or swim (exercise or hang about the couch with a bowl of HoHo’s). For most of us, it will be a constant struggle to stay on track. But much like when I quit smoking, my listening and giving into AE happened less and less as I reaped the benefits of staying the course, accepted small gains and looked at the big picture.

AE: Hey, wait a minute...when do I get to speak up

Me: Your done, you had 15 years of yapping

AE: That’s not fair!

Me: Who said anything about fair?

AE : You will listen to me!!!!

Me: I can’t hear you lalalalalalalala

AE: I’m melting, I’m melting,, I’m melting!!!!!!!!

Me: Wonder if I can get in a quick run after work before the 1st Christmas Party of the year?

What’s your mental floss?


Patrick Mahoney said...

Great post Shawn. Very good. For me it started intrinsic for sure. But if and when an interest in what you are actually doing (e.g. biking, running) takes hold beyond being a tool for getting is shape, BAM!! a whole new world opens up. I actually think that's what will keep me going in the the long, long term. Which I suppose could still be intrinsic in the sense that I am internally attracted to the lifestyle. But it definitely has become more of a two way street between me and the community at large now that a complete interest in the sport has taken over. Am I making any sense?

Shawn said...

Absolutely making sense Patrick. When I 1st started instructing, it was all about the material. Once that was mastered, it started to become all about the students and a whole new set of challenges. How's that work for ya? I think you are correct in making that leap. Thanx for the comment

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

RUnning definitely began as an extrinsic activity for me (how vain, right?!) But, I as I reached milestones in my marathon training, it became intrinsic...testing the limits of my body was rewarding. And, the caloric burn after +20 miles of running is nice too! :)

Raegun said...

This is a great post, Shawn...and something I totally needed to read today. Thank you! For me, running is still very extrinsically motivating. It's all about seeing some weight drop quickly. I love the idea of running, but I struggle with it at least once or twice a week. In fact, today I was just blogging about it. I look forward to the day this becomes more intrinsic. I'm getting there slowly but surely. ;)

-Nellie and Jonathan said...

Hi Shawn, thanks for stopping by my blog! I enjoyed reading your post today.

Reminds me of how one of my students used to say his coach said that his mom used to say....hehe! Hope you didn't really read all that! The point is, he used to say, "Practice makes permanent" I think the more we practice connecting with ourselves when we run, the more intrinsic the run becomes and it will become a permanent state of mind.

Dang it! Now my head hurts. Too much thinking going on ;)

p.s. ***Click the "follow" button on my blog*** That's my extrinsic motivation for blogging in the first place! HAHA!

Adam said...

I refuse to get my mind out of the gutter!! It isn't the size of your run, it is how you use it.

I'm totally an intrinsic runner. I'm all internal and I prefer to run alone. (Strange, because i'm a VERY outgoing guy - as you can imagine)

Quinton J said...

Great post Shawn. I flip back and forth between the two. For the most part, I’m out there because I love the opportunity to tune out the crazy distractions of life and focus on my thoughts and my well being if only for a fleeting 10k.

From time-to-time though I get out there on a tough day…maybe I’m tired, or just not feeling it…and on those days I focus on the ‘other’ benefits that running offers: An opportunity to set an example for my kids (from a health perspective sure…but also on a “through hard work and dedication you can achieve whatever you want” perspective. A chance to PB. A chance to burn off those gingerbread cookies I was throwing back last night etc. Whatever the reason though…the benefits are endless.

Congrats on the progress you’ve made both in quitting smoking and in attaining super sexiness. That ‘stuff’ you bring to your journey has proven to work for you…and it’s also inspiring to others.

Hahaha…Adam…that’s just what they tell you so your feelings don’t get hurt. The truth is: it IS the size of the run that matters.