so after last week’s difficult mental half marathon i spent the early part of the week eating and thinking. (and talking about it…) i reached out to two of my most trusted “mental toughness” people in regards to help with visualization and coach k had an assignment for me. her assignment: write down all the negativity, starting with the thoughts during the race and then add the other negative thoughts that creep into the training. oh and write it large and put it on the fridge and look at it daily until you resolve those things, then you can cross those things off. my reaction was ugh, seriously? this seems to be the opposite of what i need to do. why should i constantly be looking at my negative thoughts? shouldn’t i fight them? shouldn’t i push them away? shouldn’t i attempt to stop these thoughts?
and it’s up in my office/studio space. and i’ve added a few as they’ve crept into my mind. most are ridiculous as i look at them but i know they’re not resolved. and although i fought coach k on it i also knew that she was right (of course). i know that i need to be able to sit with my thoughts – good, bad, ugly, hurtful, pride filled, loving and peaceful – and know that they don’t have any power over me. that they are just that, thoughts. and i can see them come in and then watch them leave. i don’t need to fight them or embrace them. and this is the hard work i have to do. my meditation practice is no longer an option but a necessity. it’s as vital as my long rides or swims. training my brain is imperative. and it’s something that is and will continue to help me in my life forever.
so i’ve been growing. and yes it’s just been a week but sometimes it’s the uncomfortable situations that teach us the most.
i’ve been anticipating “april”..as in the hardness and reality of april training. i knew it was going to get tough and hard soon. and then coach k sent the plan on friday. as i looked at it i couldn’t breathe. i just kept feeling like i did last year when i got my patriot plan. i also knew what would calm my brain. putting it into my calendar and figuring out the puzzle. so that’s exactly what i did. i came home and put it into the calendar and the reality is…it’s hard, as it should be. and it’s going to happen. then i went straight to the grocery store to stock up on food and got planning my meals and snacks for the upcoming week.
which brings us to today… today was the new beginning. i had an epic trainer ride to do. 4:42 (yes 42 minutes) on.the.trainer. although i was overwhelmed by the thought of the length i also was completely calm about it. i was ready. i was actually ready to do it alone and then had my bike buddies step up and ride with me. and i did it. i rode. it was hard. it was wonderful. i ate well (almost too well!) and then sunshine made breakfast afterwards. every time my brain started the negativity i took a deep breath and then released. i stopped fighting myself. i tried to smile when it was hard instead of frown or furrow my brow. it’s amazing what a difference that made.
and so looking forward into this week where the training picks up and i finish my week with a full day preparing for another half marathon race next sunday, i look forward with a positive outlook knowing that i can always return to my breath and smile in the face of discomfort and fear.