Friday, February 24, 2012

How we push through... Mind vs. Body...

The finish line of the 2011 Mission Bay
Triathlon... where I took 1st place in
my division... and I suffered!
I read an awesome article in the January/February 2012 issue of "Inside Triathlon" called, "What Quits First?  The Body or the Mind?" by Matt Fitzgerald.  As the article tag line stated, "Science suggests that one's capacity to suffer is what truly separates elite athletes from amateurs."  

              ... capacity...
                                     ... to suffer...

... That made me think.  I have learned that so much of physical training and racing is mental.  One of my favorite spin coaches at the Palomar YMCA points this out to us all the time.  Stephanie reminds us to "calm our faces" when we are working hard and showing pain in our grimaced looks.  She reminds us to focus on our breathing and she regularly tells the class "calming catch phrases" that I repeat in my head all the time when I'm training or racing.  Stephanie tells us to "turn off our mind" and to keep thinking, "I can do this.  Trust in my training.  I've done this before and I will push through it again.  Relax your upper body and the rest of your body will relax, too."  I often remind everyone here to "change the soundtrack in your head."  Turn off the negative voices and replace them with positive reinforcements such as good music or, as Stephanie suggests, uplifting and supportive catch phrases.

As Mr. Fitzgerald points out as he disects the Success of Ironman phenom, Dave Scott, "[Dave] has the mental perseverance to out-endure anyone in the race.  It's not physical; it's the mental concentration." I TOTALLY agree!

But, I think that we can apply this thinking to much more than elite athletes winning races and setting records.   We all visit this blog for our own reasons... weight loss support... gaining self confidence... being reminded to flirt and play with our spouse... or simply inspiration for any or all of it.  We have to push through our own capacity to suffer to succeed in anything we do. 

Do we suffer in order to lose weight?  YES! 
Do we suffer while we examine our insecurities and push through our comfort zone?  YES!
Do we suffer when we risk being turned down/ignored as we try to reconnect/flirt with our spouse?  YES! 
Are these all the same type of suffering... to the same degree... NO!  But I think I've made my case that we all need to "suffer," "push through," "sacrifice" in order to reach our goals.  Am I ever going to be an Ironman Athlete?  No.  But I am going to BUST DOWN my comfort zone, my weight handicaps, and make sure that I REACH MY GOALS... no matter what I "suffer" because my goals are worth it!

1 comment:

silvia said...

Congrats Tracey~