Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Mental Game of Fitness.....

A quick background check.... a year ago my first description of myself would have included the words "runner". I committed myself hardcore to running in early spring of 2008, hey who's kidding it was the beginning of the year afterall race season starts in the Spring. From 2008 to the fall of 2010 I have completed in 4 half marathons, more 5/8/10K's then I could even count, and the creme a la creme a full marathon in the fall of 2009. Lets suffice it to say I went close to 3 years always having a goal race permanently looming.  I
loved every minute of it. Nothing like training for a half marathon running 20 KM's in minus 20 something temps. Running in blizzards, the heat of summer looking for sprinklers. I was one of those people you drove by and thought is that girl crazy and I would have proudly responded "hell yeah"!

Jumping back to the current and now.... I have lost my fitness edge?! I find it interesting how its there and the engine is burning hard and you can't contain it and then one day you turn around and realize some how you lost your fitness mojo. Although my training has lacked the enthusiasm and spirit I have consistently kept a training calendar and have continued to workout without the spark. You still have those moments where you feel yeah its coming back then the next round of burpies remind you that your not so hot!

My current training program consists of Jillian Michael's Making the Cut training program where I get to have my ass and every other body part handed to me on a daily basis. I don't remember what it feels like to walk up a flight of stairs without the words "owh!" "owh!". Which brings me to today- As I was holding boat pose and attempting to distract myself from the torture using my yogi drishti powers I found myself staring intently at all my race medals. There I am holding boat pose and just taking in all that I have accomplished. This person who is struggling to complete 20 burpies is up there in with those medals. I have spent the last few months fully aware of my level of fitness and how it has been slowly sliding away from me.... I had a really bad flu back in November and it has been my crutch to explain away my lack of fitness ability. Now that I am in my meditative state and yes still holding boat pose the questions start: "is my issue really recovering from that flu?" ' Is there a reason I got that flu?" I believe there was warning signs that I  missed along the way.The whole actually being excited about not having a goal race-  that wasn't a hint! The fact my heart didn't quicken when I read an inspiring quote involving running- that wasn't a hint. I was no longer envious of the peeps on the side of the road running along while I was off doing errands- that wasn't a hint.  As my flu has remained my fall guy for me in my struggles to regain my fitness levels I have had to reconsider and yes I am still in boat pose. Thankfully once inspiration hits I am pretty quick thinker.

 My last year of running was all about getting the elusive sub 2 hour half marathon. I wanted it and it was
going to happen!  2010 was a big year for me. I created my first "Will do List" at the beginning of the year and just kept checking off the list as the year went.... unfortunately the sub 2 was the only thing on my list that that didn't get checked off.  Here is where we head full circle back to the Power of the Mind- let me take you to the Big Run in Calgary last May. I would say it was near the top of my running game if not at my personal best. I was completely set up to succeed and accomplish my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon. Training was done and I was extremely fortune to have a friend stay with me during the race to be my own personal pace bunny... Jeff I will never ever forget what you did for me that day!! At the beginning of the race all is good actually all was really good! How could it not be, armed with an I Pod of good tunes a personal pace bunny who was also my personal photographer for the event. Great weather and eager to go...for the beginning few K's we were are ahead of pace and life was grand. Jeff had me on track and this was really going to happening and yep you guessed it the big BUT... who the hell forgot to mention frickin hills and I mean hills. Not one or two but several and all after the 16k mark I think. I have selective amnesia on portions of this race. Then look another hill and then surprise Jeff tells me all is okay only one more hill left and then the words "heartbreaker hill" or "vomit hill" or something to do with blood....comes out of his mouth. Are you kidding me..... anyways life goes on and so shall I end result I kicked ass and had a fabulous run but missed my sub 2 yep missed her by a whole whopping 2 mins (2:02:34). Sadly this was also a personal best that I did not take the time to celebrate. Too much time spent thinking about the goal vs the accomplishment. Now we head to Edmonton for the ING- fabulous race. I mean fabulous, tag name to this race "Super fast and flat" for someone with a time to beat it is like music to your ears. Here we are raring to go and excited this one is my opportunity! I can't go wrong on this one, it's going to happen.... and then as it happens in all races they start to get harder, the body starts to fight the process but no this is my chance. Chanting to myself "super fast and flat, Yvonne". End result another 2:02 finish  (2:02:01) I have a race with hills to no tomorrow 2:02 then I hit the super fast and flat and 2:02. Now please tell me that your  mind is not a factor. Talk about a fear of reaching your goal. It is the only answer I can see. Wow what if I made my goal...seriously brain get out of the way of my success. Here I stand today finally, fully realizing although I am an athlete and some consider me crazy for the things that I do in a physical aspect. I am fully capable of pushing myself to physical limitations, a drive to train yet come race day my mind doesn't allow me to succeed. I know my body is fully capable of a sub 2 hour yet mentally I can not get out of my own way to make it happen; yet?! As true with running we learn a lot about ourselves while out there pounding the pavement and here is my a ha moment.... where else does the power of mind hold me back? Although I am feeling much more enlightened about my challenges ahead  I am still unsure of what the steps are from here.... admitting you have a problem is the first step right?!