Mentally Stronger

I realized that I am growing stronger every day.  Not just physically but mentally.

This week I missed one workout day due to time (a swim/run on Tuesday), but got in my 3 hour ride on Saturday, my 2 hour bike ride after a long Easter day up north on Sunday, my swim on Monday, my bike ride on Wednesday, and my long run last night.  Tonight is a race rehearsal swim at the pool with Yvette, and then Saturday is my RR bike and run with Yvette and Vickie.

The mental part is that I have been able to get in the workouts even when I have felt tired.  I knew that my body would be OK I just needed to start.  This is the key lesson:


This was my mantra last season as I hurriedly trained for MiamiMan Half Iron.  I realized that the first bit always sucks.  Starting every workout is tough, not just physically, and in doing so you have the opportunity to shine only if you give yourself the chance.  Pushing through the suck means that you BELIEVE in yourself.

I was able to practice this mantra last night on a group run at work.  I am a slower runner - my best effort 5k time is about a 9:40 pace which means that my long run pace last night was 11 minute miles.  This in itself is funny because 4 years ago I would have killed for a sub-10 pace run at any distance, and to run 11 minute miles for 8 miles straight would have been like a dream!  I started to compare myself to the others that I was running with - they all run an easy pace of 8:20 - even 6:30 minute miles, so I felt like a total slow poke out here.  All that it would have taken would be to change the group of runners that I was running with and I could be leading the run - so it shows that it is all relative! Comparing ourselves to others does NO GOOD.  We are only in control of ourselves and should not worry about our performance as compared to theirs.  Faster, stronger, more endurance does not mean BETTER.  It means stronger, faster, more endurance.  We attach emotion to output which creates a cycle - either it motivates us to work harder to grow stronger, faster, more endurance or it demotivates us and we leave feeling worse about ourselves.  Alternately - the third outcome is that we have no attachment and find a pure happiness in just being able to participate.

I want to live in the 3rd outcome.

My theoretical Marathon pace is 11:01.  That is crazy to me given that my marathon paces in the past have been 15+ minutes, with my best effort being just shy of 13 minute miles. An 11 minute paced marathon is a 4:48!  That is almost an entire hour faster than my current best (from 2011) however that train of thought is the worst thing possible.  I am PREDETERMINING my fate based purely on FEAR.  I know that I am not the only one.

Why not think of it that I have the opportunity to train well and beat my prior best time by 50 or so minutes?  I have goals for this year's races and think... how can I do that?  What I need to do is think this is how I will achieve it: ....  

I am working on turning my fears into opportunities this year.  That is where the great stuff happens!  When we realize that we had it in us all along, we just had to open our eyes to it.  Where we see that we can achieve whatever we put our minds to and our hearts into.  Where we see that we are pretty awesome for even trying something scary to us.  Even if I do not run an 11:01 paced marathon, and even if I do not hit my goals in any of  my races - so what?  At least I set them and worked for something.  I have realized that no one really cares about my times on the courses I race.  The only thing real friends and supporters care about is that I am happy and content in what I am doing.

This week join me in taking the time to celebrate the successes - even the smallest of successes matter.  Some days it pays to celebrate lacing up your shoes even if you don't make it out for the run.

~ The IronSeashell


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