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Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

My New Mantra

Climbing this hill on my last bike ride was exciting

The sprint triathlon that I’m doing this Saturday is my first multisport race since my half-Ironman almost exactly a year ago.  So I definitely am a little out of racing practice, and even more so out of short distance racing practice.  I always say that Olympic tris or 10Ks and longer are a better value, because the cost is almost the same so you get much more distance for your dollar.  Really though, I know that short races are even harder in their own way for me.  In a sprint, you can push yourself closer to your true physical limit.  I have gotten back in shape enough that I’m no longer worried that I won’t be able to finish the distances.  But I still find the prospect of going hard for an hour and a half or more to be very daunting.

All of this has me thinking about one of the two important things I learned from one of my Mt. Adams hiking companions.  The first thing I learned is that if you are going hiking with a 2:50 marathoner, DO NOT let them set the pace.  Lesson number two came as we were sitting at Lunch Counter, looking up at the steepest part of the climb up the false summit which as you may recall looked like this:

View of false summit from Lunch Counter

All I could think of was locked-up quads, burning lungs and slipping and tumbling down the snow.   But as he faced the mountain,  he said, without a trace of sarcasm,

“I’m excited! This is going to be hard!”

My initial mental response to this was “friend, you and I are very different people.”  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he had the right attitude.  Doing hard things is exciting!  It may not always be comfortable or even especially pleasant, but it’s thrilling to push yourself beyond what you are sure you can do, and emerge with an expanded knowledge of what you are capable of.  Devoting mental energy to dreading the intense effort it would take to reach the top wasn’t making things any easier.  It was just channeling that nervous excitement into negative channels.

So I’m trying to take that attitude more and relish the challenges ahead of me, rather than worrying about just how much I’m going to suffer when faced with a hill to climb or a tough workout or my first triathlon in a year when I haven’t been super consistent with my training.  Instead I just smile, and think to myself, “this is going to be hard!”

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