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Overcoming mental barriers

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

My Spark friend Owl 20 posted a blog called "A Body on the Couch Wants to Stay There" and her pride at overcoming lack of motivation reminded of how I felt during my 5k Your Way program.

About half of my runs were reasonably good, predictable. I felt like I was strong enough to manage training for a much longer distance. The other half of my runs sucked. If I didn't have asthma within the first two or three minutes, it was a miracle. I snorted and wheezed and gasped and blew my nose and slogged my way through it like a very old person who had no business outside a hospital. Often for a few minutes I'd think, "What in the heck do I think I'm doing? Am I nuts? Why don't I just pass out Gatorade to people who can really run?"

But having worked as a caregiver for plenty of patients with COPD, emphysema and lung cancer, I had a motivation to keep practicing whatever cardiorespiratory exercise I thought I could learn to love. And I had it in my head that running was going to be it.

Sometimes my body baffled me. I threw up once. Other times I'd be fine and suddenly feel like I had a massive fever. I was sick with some bug or something no one has yet diagnosed (my husband still has it but I'm on the mend). But I kept going. I bought books on running and watched movies about other people who had issues far greater than mine.

Owl 20 wrote in her blog after she returned from a run that she completed, even though she began it completely unmotivated: "I think I treasure these days as 'wins' more than the days I get out and kick butt."

I definitely feel better about myself after I complete a difficult run. Those are the runs that say who I am as a person. The easy ones say my legs are pretty strong for an aging gal, but they say nothing about character.

And besides, I realized that the more "bad" experiences I racked up, the more experiences I racked up. I was going to be better prepared for my first race... and my second and my third. Because who needs to prepare for the days when everything goes perfectly?

So what about you? What barrier in your head will you knock down today?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Every time you complete a run like that you are reinforcing to your mind that you can do ANYTHING you choose to do!! That's a powerful thing to know about yourself!! emoticon
    2119 days ago
    Amazing that no matter what kind of day you just keep pushing through it. Winner mentality. Love it!
    2120 days ago
    Good for you getting out there in spite of the barriers. I also have some asthma triggers so I understand what you're talking about.

    I've found that sucking on a methol cough drop helps.
    2121 days ago
    Yes, the bad runs are important, and finishing them is oh so satisfying.
    Isn't it amazing what we are capable of?
    2122 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    Q: What barrier in your head will you knock down today?

    A: That I can do far more with my body now than I give myself credit for and I need to try the activities I didn't think I could do...!

    Good for thought today. Thanks!

    2122 days ago
    Wow! What a great and inspiring blog! I have always believed you can learn from a good or a bad example/experience, but never quite stopped to recognize that I have probably learned much more from the less than good ones! You have proven completely that this is much more of a mental challenge than a physical one! Look how hard you've worked at just motivating yourself -- never mind the mileage! You should be very proud! And I can vouch for the fact that you're a great character.... errrr, I mean you have great character! lol

    You Go Girl. I'm inspired bigtime! emoticon emoticon You rock!!!
    2122 days ago
    Oh my, what an insightful blog. Thank you for framing the need to embrace "challenging days" as probably more valuable to our overall journey than those days when we want to get up and move.
    2122 days ago
  • MIRAGE727
    I know for a fact that you are discovering that you can achieve great things. You will find out that you are stronger than you have ever imagined. Embrace it!
    After 50 races in the last 2 1/2 years of 5Ks, 10Ks, and Halfs, I did my first Duathlon in March. Now this month, I will do my first Triathlon followed by an already scheduled second in August! I always look for new challenges to keep me training and ready. It really does become fun!
    You're embracing it, owning it, and making it happen! Stay strong!
    2122 days ago
    I work very hard to keep the nasties in my head at bay. Most of the time, I win.
    2122 days ago
  • ZRIE014
    i run everyday for 45 min on the treadmill
    2122 days ago
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