Monthly Archives: August 2009

Mind Over Matter

I went to bed looking forward to my workout this morning.  After a tough long run over the weekend I thought an intense spin session and weights would boost my confidence and help me start the week off right.  The nicerunning woman thing about Monday’s late morning spinning class is that I don’t have to wake up early and even if I do, I can hang around the house for a while working on chores or writing before the children wake.

The morning started just as it should have.  I woke up with no headache or other side effects from the dehydration I had suffered on my long run.  My legs felt good and I was in just the right frame of mind.  I did wake up early, which isn’t a surprise as it has become my routine to start these hot, summer days earlier. So, I took my time.  I cleaned the kitchen, wrote a little and even posted a special birthday post for a surprise running partner I met along the trails on Sunday.  All in all, it was a productive morning.

Finally I threw on my heart rate monitor, kissed the children goodbye and headed out the door.  And that is where my plans went awry.  Sometime on Sunday my husband or children had gone into my car in search of who knows what and had turned on all of the interior lights so of course, my battery was dead.

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, fitness is ninety percent mental, the other sixty percent is all physical.  A dead battery was all it took this morning.  It was as though someone had put a tack on the driver’s seat and popped my balloon.  I had to wait for AAA to come out and jump the car (actually in end I needed a whole new battery) but other than that I was free to ride my bike in the basement or run in the neighborhood.  I have Pilates and Yoga discs galore.  I could have jumped rope in the road in front of the house while waiting for the tow-truck driver.  I had choices but I couldn’t see them at the time.  At the time, my workout was ruined.

In my mind it was done.  I had had my moment to get going and missed the window.  There is an old saying about mind over matter and I believe it.  It doesn’t matter what the reality is, if we believe that something is so then it just is.  This has been on my mind a lot recently as I have had several workouts completely ruined by my mind.  The one that sticks out most clearly was almost a month ago now.  I was going out for an easy three hour run on an out and back course.  For an hour and forty five minutes I felt unstoppable.  My body was responding to the miles like a well oiled machine when suddenly I looked around and realized I had not been this far down this particular trail in almost a year.  This is when I realized I had run out fifteen minutes longer than I had meant to.  Meaning my total run would be three and a half hours instead of three.

From that moment my mind took over my run.  Instead of getting tired at two hours and forty five minutes, which would have been expected at this part of my training, I immediately felt fatigued, my legs began to hurt and I slowed down.  My run was in tatters and it was all mental.

Looking back, analyzing today as well as that ruined long run, it is easy to see the mistake.  It is easy to get angry with myself now and wonder why I let it happen.  But will it be so easy to correct next time?  Can I change the mind tricks once they start?  I have to believe I can.  I have to believe that knowing the problem is half the battle.  The next time this happens I will have a battle plan.  Because that is what it is – a battle of mind over matter.

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Resistance Trainer

I have a resistance trainer that I love with all of my heart.  The best bit is we grow together.  The trainer gets bigger and I get stronger.  And though I didn’t buy my trainer at a store, he is absolutely priceless.  He is now three years old and weighs close to thirty pounds but that is not how the story begins.  It begins six weeks after his birth.

I was given the go ahead to exercise after the requisite six weeks rest that comes after delivery.  The first thing I did after arriving home was to strap my little resistance trainer into our new jog stroller and head out for my first three mile run since I found out I was pregnant.  The first run, as they say, was the hardest.  Three miles took thirty six minutes and it took everything I had to make it through even at that pace.

Over the years, I have gotten faster and stronger as Zane has grown taller and heavier.  In the first year I wore 006headphones and even as I built my time on the road to almost two hours, he slept through almost every run.  I have since trained for three marathons using the jog stroller and my growing resistance trainer.  During that time, Zane stopped sleeping and started pointing out trees, dogs, and cars along the way, learning new words as I pushed my way past my earlier limits.

It has been my hope with all of my children that they would see me as more than just the person who feeds and bathes them – that they would also see me as an athlete.  My older children have had the benefit of seeing me train and finish marathons.  They have seen the work that goes into my quest to be an athlete and they have grown to think of me in those terms.

I knew that one day Zane would see this too, but I was surprised by how fast that happened.  During a recent run I was pushing my way up a hill as Zane sat in his stroller chattering away about the world going by.  Suddenly he stopped for just the shortest second and said to me, “Mommy, I am getting bigger and bigger.”  The funny thing was this came at a particularly hard part of my run.  I had been giving it my all to push his thirty pounds up a steep incline and though I thought I had no breath left to give I answered, “Yes, sweetie, you are.  And you are getting heavier and heavier.”

He did his quiet thing for a couple of more seconds and came back with a reply I will cherish for the rest of my life.  In his serious little voice he said, “But you are a very strong mommy, Mommy.”  You can bet your bottom dollar that I made it up that hill without walking, and the rest of the run went by faster than I thought possible.  Suddenly, my little resistance trainer had become my little motivator.  And as I said before, I love my resistance trainer with all my heart.

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