Monday, May 16, 2016

Finding the Smile when the Times are Tough...

Last week I had a pretty big week at work - busy days filled with meetings and then a few fun evenings socializing.  I'm always striving for balance and admittedly even more so in the past couple years.  The athlete in me will never die.... there are just many other things in life in which my passions are growing.  Thursday night I left work late around 7pm after intentionally taking the previous 3 days of off the bike.  Mentally, I was exhausted and I had some serious agony intervals on tap....  I wanted nothing more than the couch.  Instead, I dusted off the lights (which I then forgot) and asked myself what was the worst that could happen?  If anything I'd at least be moving my body, right? 

Well I freaking nailed those intervals in a way that I haven't nailed intervals in a really long time. It  was surprising and beyond rad.  These moments are pivotal.  They remind us that that the miles are not everything, that rest is real, and that we are always capable of so much more than we think we are.
I've always wanted to do this!
photo credit: Star Tribune
It got me thinking about this whole concept of mind over matter. The reality is, we can only be tough, when we are tested. Of all the things I've discovered as an endurance athlete, the most profound is that fitness is only a small factor in what determines our success on race day. There will be injuries, dead legs,  mechanicals, and horrible weather. There will be runny noses and crashes, hard family times, and work stress.  We cannot possibly control all of this. But we can decide each and every day to control our mind, to be strong and to be positive.  To chose mind over matter.

Truthfully, I'm not usually confident in my training or in my fitness, but I'm always confident in my ability to suffer, to dig deep, and to find the smile when the times are hard.  I'm confident in my ability to be tough when I am tested.

This spring I've had some really strong days on the bike, such as the Dickie Scramble and the Fulton Gran Fondo - I'm pretty excited about those efforts. I'm also pretty stoked about my noticeable increase in core strength --> thanks [solidcore]! 

However, to some degree I feel it's nearly impossible to feel "ready" for a race such as the Dirty Kanza 200.  The miles never feel like enough and there is no getting around the fact that somewhere after 120 miles - it's gonna hurt like hell.  This is why I'm also prepping my mind - to embrace the pain.  It's less than 20 days away and I can't wait to race my bike...ALL DAY LONG.

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