Thursday, January 7, 2010

I had a moment...

I’m reading a book called, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall (thanks SO much, Will!!). I’m half-way through and it’s giving me an overall “feel” for what a human body is capable of. This book talks a lot about ultrarunners that go for hundreds of miles on foot, running, and really focuses on a tribe called the Tarahumara that live deep in the Copper Canyons of Mexico and are able to cover distances running that we can’t even imagine. There have been a lot of quotes in that book that have stuck in my mind and actually are coming into play while I prepare for the Frozen Otter.

Last night in spinning class I had a moment, and I think I have to give “Born to Run” the credit for it. I was pushing myself as hard as I could, pedalling away on one really tough series of hill sprints. I remember tilting my head up towards the ceiling with my eyes closed, panting, with sweat dripping off my chin in an almost constant stream. Laura, our spinning instructor, told us to “up” our resistance. It was the 10th turn on the reistance knob, and we still had two more to go. I felt like the pedals were just going to stop, yet I was determined to keep my rpms at about 75. That’s when I silently said to myself, “GOD this is HARD!!!” I tensed up my body, scrunched my face as if I were in the worst pain of my life and kept pushing… and struggling. I didn’t know if I could keep going.

That’s when I opened my eyes, looked down and suddenly remembered a part from that book. It talks about how ultrarunners hit a point of pure fatigue, and one racer said she embraces that moment with all she has. She taught herself to love it. There’s no beating it, so you may as well embrace and love it. If you can’t love that moment, then why the hell would you be racing like that? I instantly connected with that. I knew that feeling!

I focused on my breathing and imagined my heart beating big and strong and my blood pumping through my veins smooth and clean and then said to myself, “This body is truly amazing. This is what it was made to do. Look at what it’s doing! Look how efficient it’s running! It’s incredible!” I got a huge surge of energy, smiled, looked straight ahead and pumped my legs harder. I got a great sense of energy for those last two resistance turns. It felt easier!!

On previous Frozen Otter races, I got to a point where my body felt like it was done. I remember actually talking to my legs as I hiked up a steep hill, “Come on, legs, we can do this!!” It was like my body was shutting down and my mind was taking over. I was addicted after that. I loved having to make that switch from “mind and body” to “mind over body.” The body itself can take you so far, but if you don’t have the mindset to get past that, you’ll be done and won’t be able to go any more. Once you get your mind to push past it, your body will follow.

I think this "moment" pushed me a lot closer, mentally, to feeling ready for that race. I’m looking forward to that fatigue and pain -- after all, what other option is there? So I can’t wait to be there… I can’t wait for my mind to make that switch. I think that's the biggest part of why I want to keep doing this... that or I'm just plain crazy.

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