Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mental Walls

Several months ago a high school friend posted on her Facebook page that she was watching an Ironman happening in our hometown online and cheering the competitors on.  I commented that it was people like her that were going to push me to finish a triathlon one day.

It's true, one day I would like to complete a triathlon. My family thinks I'm insane for wanting to do such a thing, but like completing a marathon, for me it's about pushing myself to the limit of what I think I am capable of doing, and then pushing just a bit more.  This idea of pushing myself is what got me running in the first place.  This idea is what got me changing my diet, and the way I live my life now.  If I never pushed just a bit further, I would never know that I was able to do the things I now know I am capable of.  I have no idea if I will ever be able to complete a triathlon, but I do know that I want to try someday.

That same high school friend sent me a message after she read my post.  She too hopes to complete a triathlon and she invited me to attempt one with her in 2015.  Now I know this seems like a really long time away to plan for, but you can't just wake up one day and decide you're going to compete in an Ironman.  There is a lot of training you need to do before you can even think about it.  I thought for a bit and then responded to her that although I would like to, honestly I'm really not sure physically I'd ever be able to complete one.  We had a lengthy discussion about the fact that I still don't see myself as a runner, and I don't think I will ever see myself as an athlete.  In the course of the conversation she said something that has remained with me.  She said, "A runner is someone who runs no matter what distance or pace... and that's it."  I put a lot thought into titles sometimes, and sometimes titles don't mean squat.

For me there's always a mental hurtle I have to get over before I can do something.  When I ran my first 5K, there was a turn midway and your ran the same distance back the way you had come.  I reached that midway point and seriously considered stopping.  The run was cross country, I was performing less than how I had wanted to, and frankly I was tired.  At the midway point though I saw my mom cheering me on.  Now she had always been my biggest supporter at choir concerts, and violin recitals.  She always had, and still does, support my crazy ideas and the choices I make.  But seeing her face as I pushed myself to jog to the turn around, hearing her cheer me on, pushed me to finish and not give up.  There was no physical reason I couldn't finish that race, I had just mentally hit my wall at the time that was telling me that I couldn't go any further.  My mom reminded me that I was there to break that wall down.

Mentally the thought of an Ironman scares me.  Mentally I will never see myself as a runner, or an athlete.  I know that physically though, nothing is stopping me from trying.  I've spent almost three months thinking about it, and the thought still scares the crap out of me, but sometimes fear is what we need to push ourselves that much further out of our comfort zones...

I want to compete in an Ironman in 2015. :-)

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