Tuesday, April 15, 2008

overcoming mental obstacles

I had a very rough couple of days, to the point that I looked into withdrawing from Ironman. Luckily, I couldn't find my registration information and then a phone call came in and distracted me, for once I am very happy that I didn't cross something off my to do list!

Feeling blue last night, I went to bed and I read an amazing chapter in my beIRONfit book that addressed fear. I was letting fear get the best of me. The fear that was getting me however, was not fear of failure or fear of pain but rather embarrassment. Broken down into raw emotion, there are really only two types of fear; fear of bodily harm (death or injury) and fear of embarrassment. I was significantly struggling with my swimming and rather than getting better it was getting worse! I swam a whole 500 yards yesterday and just got out of the pool, I was done. After a good cry I decided that I was withdrawing because if I couldn't make it through the swim, I wouldn't matter if I could handle the bike and the run.

I wasn't going to go to the gym today and my friend told me she was going to be my workout doula :) and pushed me to go. I hit the pool, struggled through 20 laps keeping my eye on the lifeguard the whole time and then it hit me, I have been so self conscious of how the life guard was watching me that I could never concentrate on what I was doing! I was embarrassed by my abilities and felt like she was always watching me and worrying that she might have to get wet. Fear of embarrassment was getting the best of me, UNACCEPTABLE!!! The one thing I am always reminded about in my career is that it is not about me; so rather than worry about what she might be thinking about me, (because in all reality, she is a college student and is probably thinking about calculus) I quickly switched my mental attitude and powered out 46 more laps and you know what? My stroke was better, I was less tired and I accomplished my goal for the day, WOO HOO!

I knew that training for this race and the race itself was going to be as much mental as physical and I have certainly had my days, but man, yesterday was tough. I am proud of myself for working through my issues and I am REALLY looking forward to the next 10 weeks and the race. I am not in this to win, I am in it to have FUN and accomplish a lifetime goal!

Here is a quote that I really like and sums up the lesson nicely: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear" -Mark Twain

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