Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stronger Than You Think You Are

Last night during kettlebells I completely wimped out on this move I refer to as Satan's rows. As I dropped down to my knees and prayed that I would die, I heard the instructor yell at me from the front of the room, "Heather, what the hell are you doing? Get up!" My response? "I can't hold my fat ass up again." Appropriate, I know. She again told me to get up, so I did. Let's face it, this woman is my guru. If she told me to quit my job and just run and train with her all day, I would. (That actually wouldn't take much convincing.) As I finished out the set, she came back to me and tapped me on the shoulder. "You're stronger than you think you are."

So true. I was able to complete Satan's rows about a million times last night. The whole incident left me thinking about all the times I let my mind convince me that I just can't do it any more. In almost every race, I have a moment where my brain takes over and says, "slow down and walk, you are too tired." Sometimes that voice wins.

I want to train myself to have a strong mind. Two ways I can think of: keep doing workouts that I think are nearly impossible (hello, Satan's rows) and replace "slow down and walk, you are too tired" with my new mantra, "you are stronger than you think you are." What do you do to stay mentally strong?

22 comments:

Julie said...

Hi Heather,
Your story is very funny! Satan's row has got nothing on you! It is so true about it being about a mental and mind thing! You are strong and you can do it:) I love training instrutors that make you work and be accountable!

Have an awesome day Heather!

ShutUpandRun said...

It's a good question: how to stay strong and not quit when the only thing in the world you want to do is lay your fat ass down (or mine) and sleep. I always think about the end result and how I will feel after the fact if I don't complete a workout/race, etc. I also just keep repeating a mantra like "you can do it" or "you are strong."

Katie A. said...

I really try to focus on how I am going to feel when I finish the hard workout, or any workout that just don't want to do. That is a huge motivator for me: I love that feeling and wish it could come easier :)
But you are right, we are ALL stronger than we think we are. Great job on finishing!

Marlene said...

Sounds like you have an excellent instructor to kick your butt when you really need it. Way to pull throw those rows!

I think building mental strength is sooo valuable as an athlete. It can truly make or break a race (or any challenge). Mantras work for me sometimes... at least as a distraction for the mind to focus on instead of how sore and tired I am!

Julia said...

One thing that works for me is to break down tasks into smaller more-manageable goals. When I set out to do a 10-miler and am already tired by mile 3, I convince myself that I can do AT LEAST 1 more mile. After that one I think, well I did 1 so I can at least do 1 more... By the time I get to mile 8 I think, well I've already done 8 so I can just do 2 more and reach my goal.

You are definitely stronger than you think you are!

April said...

Sounds like a great instructor!
Good for you! Fitness is 90% mental!
I focus on how far I've come and what my end goal is. My mantra when I feel like quitting is "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13. It reminds me I have the strength inside to do anything!

Running Through Life said...

Way to tough it out and finish that workout. BTW the name makes it sound pretty brutal.

I am sure you are stronger than you think you are! In fact I am going to use that mantra when I feel like quiting.

Sarah said...

I am going to have to remember your words next time I'm running and feel like I should stop and walk, when I KNOW I can go farther. It's amazing the head games we play with ourselves!

Sarah said...

Love it! I usually think "discipline over desire". It is great you have an instructor that you like so much. Sounds like an awesome class!

D10 said...

Love your response! The quote "stronger than you think you are" is so true. I think often times we cave in to our minds. Nice job.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

As a college athlete I have gone through some TOUGH training. Running for hours, lifting, and practice for 4+ hours...all this has helped me to have some perspective..and total mental toughness.

Yes Polly Pessimism tries to get in there, but overall I can push her out because I KNOW that my body can take way more than my mind can.

Keep up the good work and Thank your instructor for the new mantra.

onelittletrigirl said...

Our brain's can be our worst enemies!

Mama said...

LOL. Glad you managed to complete the workout.

When I'm pushing myself and want to slow down, I just keep saying over and over in my head - "you're fine. Just keep going." It's amazing how well that works. I may be uncomfortable or tired, but it's just hard, not painful, so it helps me keep going.

MCM Mama

I Run for Fun said...

I am sure it would be helpful if you could have your kettlebell guru run the next race with you. But the next best thing would be the mantra.

Seriously, there are so many times that my legs keep running even after my mind has given up. So it is true...we are stronger than we think we are!

Heidi said...

Thank you for that! I'm going to remember that phrase during my next race. Your instructor sounds awesome!

Teamarcia said...

Really? Your instructor singles you out and yells at you? I am so there! I totally need that sometimes I swear!
About 3/4 thru almost every race a 'mental contract' comes out in my mind wanting me to agree never to push this hard again. I never 'sign' it but I've come close.
I never quit because I feel like all my training will be wasted.

Jess said...

Excellent story! I like the term "Satan's rows"!

Tricia said...

Great job.Sometimes we just need a good swift kick in the butt :)

Anne said...

I'm still a newbie at all this, but as I was running my very first tempo run a few days ago, I remembered how many times I had read about that negative voice (thank you bloggers)...so when I wanted to stop, I kept repeating to myself, "you can do it, come on you can do this"...and I almost did it...but not quite. Working on it :)

Beth said...

That is a very funny story. Glad you stuck with it. Remember Finding Nemo? In a marathon, around mile 20, I find myself singing, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Sorry, I'm a dork but I can't help it. :)

Jill said...

I just blogged, too, about a stronger mind. Some days it's so tough but you are doing great and just keep with it. Think of those end results and how you'll look so incredible! Have a great weekend!!

X-Country2 said...

Those kettlebells are a bitch. Nice work on getting it done!