Note: a not so introspective post this one but still very important to me. I like to think I’m multidimensional 😉
On Monday night, I had a plan: go for a run (~10km) from work to home, shower/nom and then meet up with my friend to check out the Fringe festival. Making sure that I have a fully active but also fully social life is something that I constantly strive for, especially during the busy racing/training season aka the ~5 months before the weather goes to the poo. However, my plan didn’t quite go as planned. As soon as I started my run, I didn’t want to be there. Things got a bit better when I found myself running on a trail amongst the trees but I couldn’t mentally focus. When it comes to athletics, I view myself as two separate but connected entities: mind and body. Usually one kind of waffles a bit but the other pushes through. It is amazing when both are like boooooyah! let’s play!! Which actually happens more often than not. But when are both like uh no; screw you, I know that I’m done. So 5km into my run, that’s exactly what happened. Not because my body couldn’t push forward; it didn’t want to and nor did my brain. So I had to ask myself: what do I have to prove? Nothing. Then why do I still feel the need to train my tired, sodden and uninterested mind and body into oblivion? I had always told my mates that as soon as you’re no longer having fun whatever activity it is that you’re doing, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate. Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot of ‘suffering’ when it comes to training, racing or just pushing your limit but there’s still a strong element of having fun. After a tough whatever, I’m usually still all smiles.
Case in point (aka story time): we had our last ultimate frisbee game yesterday but man, we were down people. As in, we didn’t have the minimum number of girls and had 5 boys. Thankfully the other team was awesome and let us play a 5man-2women line but that did mean that we would be playing the entire game. But, I love it. I love playing ultimate even though half the time I feel like I’m not exactly sure what’s going on lol so I just try to make good cuts and anticipate where the disc may be going 🙂 We were so pumped that we were finally syncing and playing well. There’s a defensive strategy called ‘zone’ where there is a ‘cup’ made up of three people that follow the disc and try to prevent/channel passes to a very limited area where your mids are covering. However, being part of the cup means that as soon as the disc is initially hucked, the cup has to book it down the field. So partially because I suck at mid lol but also because I just love to run and have a decent handle on what to do in the cup, I often volunteer to be part of the cup. Despite our shortage of (wo)man power, I was only out of the cup for a couple shifts but man I loved it. I always feel like a puppy when I play ultimate, just so happy to run all out and chase this plastic disc thing. So…I’ve totally digressed but the moral of the story is that though we were soooo tired aka keeled over at the end of each point, we were having such a blast. Mind and body were like boo-friggin’-yeah; well, maybe mind a bit more than body but you know lol.
So I guess for me, this post is about checking in on yourself – both your physical and mental well-being. The mental game is arguably more important than the physical. You will hear endurance athletes often say that they’ve gotten very good at tuning out the body’s moans and groans to push forward. Granted, there’s also a limit to that too…body combustion is bad. But when you know your body is still good to go, it is all up to your mental fortitude to make it. But when you can’t figure out why it is that you want to keep pushing, going forward or if your brain and body is like eff you; we’ve hit the limit (wo)man, it may be time to, I don’t know, rest like a sane person 🙂 …I’m still struggling with it lol. I’m taking an unprecedented two whole days in a row off :O who wuhhhh. Stoked lol. But there’s a little part of me that’s like we could still go climbing indoors today since it’s cloudy/rainy outside. No self! Rest! Rest is not just for the body, but mind and soul. To be successful at anything, including our chosen play time activities, rest is that integral piece that we often seem to overlook because we think more more more! training will lead to our success. We need to know our limits and adhere to them. It’s hard, make no mistake about it. It is difficult to strike that continually moving balance point between pushing our limits but pushing past our limit. It doesn’t matter where yours is compared to the balance point of others even though it can be difficult not to compare ourselves to where others are. Last year, I did two sprint triathlons and pretty much zero climbing for 6 months. That was my max point. This year, it’s very different because I’ve built up a base and went back to climbing during the off (race) season; all the events I had chosen to be part of/compete in all pushed my limits. I’m also really happy that I spaced them out accordingly to allow for maximum training but also necessary taper and recovery time. But now, I’m done. Reached my limit. So even though that Banff triathlon would be a blast, I need to say no…even though it would fit so nicely before my friend’s wedding in the mountains (pretty sure sane people don’t think like this!). After my body somewhat failed to hold up to a half marathon, part of me wants to see if I could do the distance better but no…There’s a part of me that still wants to test my mettle but I’m learning how to be mature (sigh) and in my case, understand where to push and where to not.