It's not just a game "FACE"!
It’s a game- mind!
It’s the belief that you can go harder, deeper and faster than YOU thought you could. It’s only you that stands in your own way.
I must give credit where credit is due and thank my husband for teaching me what it really means to, as he says, ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable’.
I’d been racing Ironman distance triathlon and marathoning for a few years before we started dating. Back then, I was relatively happy with being a middle-of-the-pack athlete. Sure, I dreamed of Kona, but with a first Ironman finish time of over 15 hours, that goal seemed about as likely as becoming an astronaut and hopping on a rocket ship to the moon!
My husband, Chris, however, was already performing at an elite level. With a marathon PR of 2:48, he clearly knew how to push the envelope. I’d done so many races and had always finished with such average times, I’d nearly begun to accept the idea that I would not likely ever be a fast athlete but since I so enjoyed the training, I kept doing so and racing, nonetheless.
Until he challenged me!
He’d decided to take some time off triathlon in order to conquer new territory – ultra marathoning. I was awe-struck at the idea of him running 100 miles, but he, somehow, wasn’t. I didn’t know it then, but this philosophy was something I, too, would come to accept and believe in whole-heartedly.
As he prepared for his first 100 mile run, which happened to fall one week after my Ironman that year (Wisconsin) and just four months after our first date, I, too, learned all about what the crew needs to do, how to lance blisters, an ultra running shop called Zombie Runners and grew used to the idea of him running for 12 hours on a Saturday, then doing the same thing on Sunday. It was just normal.
It didn’t actually seem that far fetched, since Ironman, by then, to me, seemed like a normal thing to do, a part of my every day life, as well as my friends and my boyfriend’s.
A few weeks before his race, the 2005 Angeles Crest 100, I said, out loud, for no particular reason, that I’d decided I would qualify for Kona. Chris said he thought that sounded like a good idea. I believe his words were, “Right. Now go and do it.”.
So, right, I did. I qualified for Kona for my first time at IM Wisconsin 2005. What was different? I’d decided there was no reason why I should not be able to. And though my time was not particularly fast, I believe it was still over 11 hours, I’d done it. I’d placed 4th and, with the fortune of a roll down slot, won my first (of five, so far) trips to Kona for 2006.
The next week he ran his first 100-mile run. When he was finished, he stated, “That was rather hard.” (He’s a Brit, you see). That was it. Once it settled in that I had qualified for Kona, I began to believe that if I could do that, there was no reason why I couldn’t also get faster. I hired myself a coach and that, along with Chris’ guidance and faith, was really where I got started being FAST.
Over the next few years, I saw my marathon time drop from over five hours to nearly sub three (PR is currently 3:02), my Ironman PR drop to just over 10:30, my ½ IM PR drop to 4:48 and my ½ marathon time drop to 1:26.
Incidentally, I might add, by the way, that this was exactly the same time I began eating PALEO foods ONLY and I’d begun my journey to achieve the lean body I have today. I’d previously always been around 135 pounds at 5’6”, and a ‘healthy’ 16% body fat, but that never felt lean to me. Over the course of two years, I transitioned into the body I have now, which I’ve EASILY maintained via Paleo, of 116 pounds and 7% body fat.
Once I began to challenge beliefs I had about how fast I could (or couldn’t) go, or how much or how far or how hard I could swim, bike or run, it became fun to continually keep raising the bar, and then meet it, yet again.
I’ve developed intense focus. When I’m running, for example, the last thing I’d want is music to distract me. There’s WAY too many other things I’ve got to think about if I’ve got to meet my coach’s goal of, say, ten, one mile repeats at a sub six pace. My cadence, RPE, stride length, heart rate…every second of every minute of every single workout counts. BE PRESENT, right here, right now. I must have hundreds of mantras that go through my head!
While my pace isn’t Olympic caliber (YET), it’s still rather challenging and I live for the high of the adrenaline rush! There’s simply nothing like the feeling of having accomplished a workout you (almost) thought you couldn’t!
So how can you do the same?
Yes, there are sports psych specialists you can see, workbooks you can fill out and moving meditations you can implement.
More important than anything else, however, is that YOU have to challenge your own belief system. What you think can or cannot do is NOT fact, it’s opinion. And choice.
You can choose to think you’re slow, you’ll never be fast and you may as well give up now.
I suggest the latter.
By Nell Stephenson
Paleo Nutritional & Fitness Counselor
Paleo Nutritional & Fitness Counselor
over 1 year ago