One of the key components in surviving our little sport is learning telling your body to SHUT THE HELL UP when it starts to hurt.
Shut the hell up, body!
Controlling your body with your mind is an amazing and ridiculously difficult process. But once you’ve been there, you are able to go visit more and more often—and go farther and farther and faster and harder. For me, I just am able to go farther… I don’t necessarily get there any faster. 🙂
One of the first psychotic make-your-body-listen-to-your-mind events I noticed was at Ironman 70.3 Augusta back in 2012.
On the last part of the run, I started this crazy talking my head, running to the beat of my crazy talk… “The pain will stop when you stop, but you can stop yet.”
Every 12 steps, I would repeat it in my head. The pain will stop when you stop, but you can’t stop yet. The pain will stop when you stop, but you can’t stop yet. The pain will stop when you stop, but you can’t stop yet.
It was insanity at its finest, and I had my best 70.3 finish ever, at 6 hours and 36 minutes. I was a tough cookie on that day. Interestingly, I had been battling a knee and hip issue, was taped up with K-Tape, and in all sorts of pain. But my family was there–was the first time my Mom had seen me race–and I was determined to put it out there. And I did. My mind carried me too a fast-for-me finish. (Really, I was trying to beat the Expert’s time… I did not. Dude has stronger mind than I. 🙂 )
A second feat of mental crazy was at last year’s Ironman Coeur d’Alene.
At the finish chute of the 140.6 miles, I couldn’t see my family. But I could see hands and hear screaming. Music. It was blinding. I was crying. And it’s what I had been waiting for… for 16 hours and 44 minutes….after the medal was hung around my neck and I found pizza, I realized that I was an Ironman. (!)
BUT I was also very very very nauseous. I would stand, and almost pass out. And I kept trying to pass out every few minutes. This continued all the way back to the house, up the stairs (OW!)…until the Expert threw me into the shower himself, lathered me up with soap, dressed me and put me into the bed. I was d-o-n-e. I couldn’t even drink the beer I dreamed about for 140.6 miles. My body was d-o-n-e after 13.1 miles… and my mind had carried my body the last 13.1 miles of the marathon.
My belief was far great than the pain.
And when my mind said, “okay you can stop now,” my body gave up.
There are still days, like today, where I think, “I have no idea how I finished an Ironman.” Which is a weird thing to say since I’m tackling the same distance in a mere three weeks. But I did it, and I had an unbreakable mind that day.
In contrast to the mental giant-ness of my Ironman… was my sheepish Augusta 70.3 race in 2013… which followed 12 weeks after Ironman.
I had a terrible mental state. I had a bad attitude. And I had a “bad” race. My mind was bitching the entire race. I did not race with a happy heart. I was not grateful. I was a crab, and the finish line could not come fast enough–and it came with little joy, and more relief that the sh*t was over.
Today, as I sit waiting to head out on my four hour power ride plus a one-hour run… with three weeks left to my next 140.6, I am working on a strong mental state. The weather is chilly today, and the house is warm. I’ve snuggled with the kids and made coffee. I am slow to move to get the workout done (I am blogging for the love, too.)
But I also am waiting until my mind is ready to tackle the workout.
I know the importance of focusing and being in the right state before heading out for a long workout. It’s vital. If you start out with crabby, you’ll end up with crappy.
Yesterday’s 10 mile run in the torrential rain with cramped calves was an exercise in mental crazy too.
I planned to go out for 15 miles… but the rain and the blisters that started decided against it. I didn’t quit–I just stopped. There really is a difference. I knew I had a long workout today, and I didn’t need my feet ripped up. And it was seriously raining. Like crazy. And I had already been out for 2 hours. I also tripped and fell twice, which sucked. I knew I had put in a good effort considering.
But I was proud of the 10 miles, because I wanted to quit at the first 100 yards.
Being mentally tough does not always translate to a perfect race or workout… but it does translate to the best you can do, on that given day. And in the end, that’s the good stuff.
Now, I’m going… I’m going.
Have a great weekend, friends.