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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…

19 Feb 2011 / in Uncategorized

My April 10th race is pretty much all I have thought about since November.  Of course there is the usual work, family, home life, kids, friends, etc. to keep up with… but every time I go to the gym, I have April 10 – 70.3 on the brain.  I have a calendar where I map the week’s workouts.  I’ll pencil in my focus for each day when I map out my week… then replace it with what I actually did.  It’s a good tool.  When you’re busy, days can slip away and then before you know it, it has be 2-3 days since a workout.  That shouldn’t happen.

When you hit the gym after a break like that, one of two things can happen.  You can have a great workout because your body has had the chance to rest and repair… or you can have a complete workout failure because you’ve both physically and mentally fallen behind. 

This week, I experienced the workout failure.

Maybe it was because I hadn’t had a workout in a few days?  (I was working on a project that required me to work overtime at my computer.) Maybe it was “gym overload”?  It’s been so cold, rainy and miserable here in Seattle… all my workout have been indoors (which admittedly can get old and boring). Whatever the reason, I went to the gym and could not manage to spend more than 10 minutes on any piece of equipment.

I did manage to get 2 miles in on the treadmill… but then I tried to row and I only lasted 6 minutes.  Then, I went to the cycle studio and only lasted about 5 minutes.  After that I decided to “phone a friend”.  Literally, texting my husband and saying what an awful time I was having.  The response was a very empathetic “so, sorry..” My husband is my “emotional follow car” as he likes to call it.  I needed his pep talk.  I wanted my workout to be successful. But that night, it just wasn’t happening.  It was ugly.

The very next day, John, a friend of mine who is a mountaineer and personal trainer – posted the attached video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BirIEDYrw0Y&w=640&h=390]

He posted it along with these points – speaking about his own setbacks:

What I do know is that when I am dis-couraged, it’s hard to get en-couraged. And what my small injury has taught me again, is that courage is not the solution to my athletic success.

Patience is the solution.

And more than ever, I have absolute confidence that for someone – or anyone – starting back after an injury or a long layoff; the most important things are:

  • Be patient – Success will come. If you dream it, you can do it.
  • Relax – Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Celebrate what you can. Small successes lead to positive actions – which lead to results.
  • Be kind to yourself – Practice good self care, rest, eat good food, hang out with positive people. Ignore naysayers.

Taking that to heart, I returned to the gym the next day.  I decided to focus on only one thing.  I swam.  And I swam well.  It felt good.  I swam 40 laps (x my 25 yard pool for the equivalent of 2000 yards or 1.136 miles.)  When you’re having a bad day… sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees.  But when you have a good day, you realize those bad days have the ability to fade away.

Ignore the naysayers… even if they happen to be yourself.

Patience is the solution.

And repeating John’s wise words… we all have failures and successes. Neither – are permanent.