Thursday, July 23, 2015

Surprise yourself

I recently had a conversation with Amanda. I hope she doesn't mind being called out here. (Don't bother clicking the link. She's too busy to update her blog).

It was one of those conversations that wasn't particularly deep. It was mostly just me whining about the sh*t I whine about.

She said something. Honestly, I can't remember exactly what she said. Yeah, it was THAT good.

The conversation left me thinking for a few days.

There are a lot of triathletes that I respect for many different reasons. I started following Amanda's training a year and a half ago.

One of the reasons I respect her is because she demonstrates what mental toughness is. You can read a ton of books or articles or cute little meme's about WHAT mental toughness is, but SHE lives it.

You know what I've learned from watching her?

Mental toughness is not the absence of fear. It's not the absence of doubt. It's managing to be your best in presence of those things.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know that I'm a completely different person than I was 2 years ago. I know that I've made strides. BIG HUGE strides.

But over that time, my goals keep growing, getting bigger and scarier.

When I hit a little goal but miss the big goal, instead of being happy.....I was disappointed that I didn't hit the big goal. The BIG goal. You know the HUGE goal that is meant for a few years down the road and quite possibly might NEVER happen.

On top of this, Liz posted an article about infinity. You know. You want to get to Point B from Point A, , but you are only allowed to go half the distance at a time. When you arrive at the first halfway point, you must stop and recalculate the new half point … and on and on and on. You will never arrive at B, because as you move closer to your target, you see how many halfway points there are between you and your target: an infinite number. (The section is bold is taken directly from the article The Pursuit by Christen Press).

I saw myself in the article, but I had twisted it all around.

How did I get into this mindset? Each one of those halfway points are successes. They are the opportunity we have to surprise ourselves.

They have to be celebrated because we may or may not reach the "real" end point.

Amanda said, "You've had a great year."

And she was right, but I had become so focused on those really big goals that I was ignoring all the little ones that it takes to reach the big ones.

I had put so much pressure on myself to get to those big goals that it was affecting me physically and emotionally.

When I used to race, I used to surprise myself constantly. Now, I was just disappointed in myself.

I wanted to start surprising myself again, but how do I do that?

I sat down an outlined a race schedule for next year.

I started thinking about my nationals races. I know that my oly race time is nowhere NEAR Team USA times.

So, I'm going to a race where I have no shot at a podium, no shot at a slot.

But, what I can do is go out there and make the best run I can at an Oly PR. I'd be racing for me....just me doing my best.

With that in mind, I went into my workouts with a different attitude this week.

I started swimming stronger.

Instead of thinking, "I can't do this. I'll never be as fast as those other women when I'm running." I went out there, and I never looked at my garmin. I started counting my steps and focusing on my running. I ran a 7:40 interval off the bike. That's FAST for me. That's really really fast. I turned around and did it 5 more times.

The next day, I had more intervals. On tired, sore legs, in the heat of the day, I nailed every single one. 

I'm going to Nationals not because I think I can get a spot. I'm going because I've never gone before. I'm going for me. I'm going to see if I can get a PR at the Oly distance.

It will not be easy. I know I'll doubt myself. I know I'll be afraid, but I'm going to go full speed ahead anyway.

I'm out to surprise myself.