The Madness And Fear Of Endurance Sports

“Every endurance challenge scares me just a little.” ~ Dean Karnazes

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon. Everyone has left the house so I escaped to my fav coffee cave to write, reflect and think about the week in front of me. It’s hard not to think about the fact that next week on this day, at the time I’m sitting here writing, I will be in the church watching my oldest son get married.

I’m also aware 2 months from today is my first duathlon. Heck, it’s my first ever race on a bike. It’s also listed as the toughest duathlon in the state AND the championship race.

What… on earth.. am I doing in it ?

I decided a while back that there is a certain amount of madness involved with endurance sports.  Some part of the brain has to change that allows you to accept physically hard and challenging things as normal.

As in, sharing with some ladies in my yoga class last week that I hadn’t ridden far the day before, just 16 miles, to which they started laughing and informed me that 16 miles was a lot.

I really don’t think so anymore. I don’t think my 20 mile rides are long either.  This is where the madness might be setting in 😉

I will be the first to admit, sometimes it’s not just the distance, it’s also what’s IN those miles that carves out something new in me. Obviously, riding flat roads is usually a piece of cake, throwing in hills and inclines that challenge my body is always a game changer.

It’s definitely a love/hate relationship.

There’s a crazy madness in training my body, learning it’s limits, and then pushing past those limits that’s exhilarating… yeah… we’ll just go with that word for now 😉 Exhilarating.

Endurance is built on hours and hours of consistent training, constant change, and a large part of stubbornness.

When someone laughs and tells me I’m “crazy” based on my current athletic goals, I do believe they are right. There has to be some sort of madness that makes an otherwise sane person believe that riding and running miles on end is somehow… normal.

But alongside the madness is another parallel attribute which is fear.

The quote I opened with is so true and so perfect. And it comes from without a doubt, the strongest, most fit, endurance athlete on the planet.

I feel like I’m in good company if Dean Karnazes admits he gets a bit scared with a new endurance challenge. Admittedly, he does far larger, longer, crazier and insane endurance challenges than I will ever face but at the same time, if someone like that admits to a healthy fear of new endurance events, then I’m in good company.

When I use the word fear I don’t mean like, sitting in a corner shaking and helpless. If that were the case, I’d never be doing what I do. This fear, in my opinion, is one of perhaps a healthy respect of what I’m up against. A recognition that this new challenge has the potential to eat my lunch, and me too for good measure.

There is respect for the miles, the terrain, the elevation, climate, everything.

There is a healthy fear for new territory that has never been physically traveled. Each time I’ve set out to do something new athletically, there’s that “fear” of the unknown.

The “what if’s”……

What if I can’t do it? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I’m not as good as someone else? ( does that even matter?) What if I haven’t trained enough? Long enough? Hard enough? What if I didn’t prepare in the right way? Am I going to be able to ride such a tough course and then get off and run those last few miles strong?

All of the “what if’s” are related to fear.

Even now, on my training rides, knowing how tough they will be, I usually have that in the pit of my stomach. That fearful respect of knowing how hard it really will be, and wondering again, if I have all that’s required to take on this new endurance challenge.

Somehow, things always seem to change the minute I’m out on the road.  In my gear, clipped in, the miles settling in under me, my mental gears shift along with the ones under my hands.

I focus on the mile I’m in, the road that’s in front of me. I know and have already mentally apprehended the hills and mountains I’ll be riding and remind myself that I’ve already done them before, the challenge is to keep taking them stronger and faster. The fear begins to give way to what I know I’m capable of.

Fear gives way to strength and power. Fear gives way to me understanding that although it’s not easy, it will begin to feel that way the stronger my body gets doing it over and over again.

And then it happens.

I finish a long hard session and feel victorious, empowered and strong. I also feel dirty, sweaty, and hungry.

But the overarching feeling is one of accomplishment. I did it again. The hard workout that planted a healthy fear of respect in me, reminds me I can do whatever I put myself to and that my body is capable of being pushed, and then pushed again, well out of it’s original comfort zone.

By the time some of you are reading this I’ll be out riding the entire course this morning, or will have finished it, another notch in my belt.  This will be my first full and complete ride on it. Last week I did it but the mileage came up a bit short from what the race was. A quick message to race director and I learned the turn point was farther down than I thought. So knowing the exact layout this morning, I’m taking it on.

I know it won’t be easy. I know there will be that niggling fear of the toughness in front of me. I know what the outcome will feel like, so I will press on and push myself into the realm of discomfort, because that is where change occurs.

Endurance sports. ..an odd mixture of madness and fear.  I seem to have both in spades which will help me well in my upcoming race.

The madness will keep me going, building longer training sessions and adding more miles. The fear won’t stop me. I will train, I will prepare, and I will go out and do the best I’m capable of.

And I when I cross that finish line it will be a sweet victory knowing all I stomped down to get to that moment, and it will be worth it.

Do you have something you want to pursue but feel a bit of fear with it? Do you embrace that or shy away from it?  If you do endurance sports, can you relate to a bit of the madness?

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Getting those miles in……
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The Journey Of Ordinary

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Ordinary ~  noun~  what is common place or standard.

It had been one of those whirlwind days for me when I realized it was already midafternoon. My morning was behind me and I was full speed into the rest of my day. I received a message from my husband that at first seemed, odd.

“I rarely say anything about your blog other than to discuss the content of what you wrote on that day, nor do I ever really disagree with you on something you wrote. But I’m going to disagree with you on this…”

Well obviously, he had my attention. He is pretty much the only one who’s opinion I want or care about and of course I was wondering what he had issue with in regards to my writing that day.

I waited for the rest of his message to come in…..

“You wrote that you’re an “ordinary” athlete.  I disagree. You are far from “ordinary” as an athlete.”

Obviously, I wasn’t expecting that. Obviously, he couldn’t have said anything cooler to me.

Of course, he was picking it out of the entire context of my post that day. I was simply using myself as an example of someone who wasn’t like… you know… an elite athlete or even one who had been an athlete through school or something like that.

I got what he meant. I know that I do a lot more athletically than the majority of people my age, heck, even those a lot younger. I guess I’ve become so accustomed to doing what I do, I forget that normal people think it’s weird 😛

Here’s where I’m going.

I used ordinary for a reason.

I wanted ( and still want) people to relate to a woman who had no athletic back round,  and who had no interest in any kind of serious athletic events. A woman who was literally smack in the land of “middle aged” who had taken care of everyone around her but herself for the longest time. Middle aged, carrying more weight than she needed, out of shape, with a family history of (potential) health problems in the future if she didn’t change up her ways.

It’s a standard thing to tell people I really started off as a “reluctant walker”. I knew I needed to do something so I dutifully logged my 2 mile walk every day. No matter what, I did it. I did it till it got into the pattern of a new habit.

I grumbled. I complained. I whined.

An over weight, middle aged, ordinary wife, mom, sister, daughter, jack of all trades, woman just kept at it each day.

I had no lofty athletic goals dancing anywhere in my mind… at all… in any direction. If anyone told me I could be a strong athlete, I would’ve laughed. The idea seemed preposterous.

Funny thing about making new habits….

They stick.

New habits turn into new desires. New goals. New plans.

What I didn’t know as an ordinary woman, out on the road, building that new habit, not only was it changing my body, it was changing my mind.

I was learning more about myself than I previously understood.

~ my body could go farther!

~ it could walk faster!

~ that walk could be turned into short runs!

~ those short runs could be turned into longer runs!

When I’d come back tired, I’d think about what I had been able to do. I developed a new appreciation for what my body was capable of, that I hadn’t given it credit for. I saw how it over time, began to adapt and change from the activities I put it through.

My weight dropped off.  I got stronger. Muscles showed up that hadn’t been there. I developed a great endurance capacity.  My mind was getting stronger. ( that, is where the real playing field is boys and girls)  you get your mind strong, you can own the world.

Somehow, I managed to sign up for my first race which was a half marathon ( #overachiever) I found out later that most people start with a 5K.

I just kept moving forward. It’s safe to say at this point I was getting hooked. I actually liked what I was doing.  I looked forward to exercise.

Year, after steady year. New goals, new plans, new dreams.

They didn’t come all together, those goals.

Heavens no.

Safe to say I would’ve felt enough fear? uncertainty? to cause me to run the other way if those things all were presented to me at once.

I was just, you know, an ordinary woman, turning into an athlete.  That’s not said with any vain thought…. it’s just an acknowledgment of where I am now.

I am strong. I am capable of doing more physically than I ever would’ve imagined. I am an athlete.

If I look at where I am today, and where I’ve come from, and what I can do now, then yeah, I guess I’d agree with hubby that I’m not “ordinary”.

Becoming a good athlete has been born from hours and hours of work, sacrifice, dedication, tears, tired muscles, frustrations, down right stubbornness, and an unwillingness to give up.

This is your reminder…..

This is what I want you, others, anyone I interact with, to remember. If an “ordinary” woman like myself can accomplish goals and events she never would have imagined, you my dear reader, can do anything you set your mind to.

If you’ve entertained ideas on doing something specific, write down the steps you need to move that direction. If you just think you’re only goal at this point is to get off the sofa, well, go you! Do it. You never know where the path from the sofa may lead to.

Don’t let your thinking be crowded with thoughts that only certain people can do certain things.

Extraordinary things can happen when “ordinary” people get to work.

Tell me something cool you’ve accomplished that seemed impossible or that you never thought you’d see yourself doing. Did you ever feel to “ordinary” in the sense you thought you didn’t have what it would take to do it ?

 

The Athletes Body And Food

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“With all of the exercise you do, I guess you can eat whatever you want?”

This is one of  several questions I  often get asked and the answer is, no, I don’t eat whatever I want.

I’ve tried these past few years to build a different relationship with food. Specifically, food in regards to exercise.  Maybe you need to build a different relationship too or maybe you’ve hit a balance with it.

The question I’m asked of course, is merely inquiring.

If I’m investing so much physical energy I should certainly be able to eat whatever I want. This naturally means freedom to eat all perceived “off limits” foods since I will burn them off.

Of course the game changer for me if you’ve read previous posts, is the fact I’ve set nothing “off limits” so I don’t necessarily feel the need to eat forbidden foods because I’m exercising.

I know it’s there, if I want it.

Since I started on my athletic journey a few years ago, I’ve made it a point to never treat exercise like a free card to eat poorly. I guess the idea of pouring myself out, working hard, and then coming in and wolfing down a donut and chocolate milk ( although chocolate milk can make a good recovery drink 😉 ) seemed rather, pointless and negating to all I had just done. Not only that, if I was training to get strong and healthy why wouldn’t I feed my body good stuff ?

So I learned to train my thinking, essentially reshape, another aspect of my relationship with food.

Our food relationship

I wrote about that in a post recently. Our relationship with food. We all have one. For many of us we will need to continue to define this relationship in regards to our athletic activities. We cannot treat it as a free card to eat extra or eat badly.

About eating extra…..

there’s a bit of a disclaimer to that. When my training has kicked up and I have days that I’m heavily invested on a physical level I know my calories will need to increase to support what I’m doing. This is where learning about my body, listening to it, and feeding it accordingly come into play. This isn’t eating extra just because I feel like it. Learning to support my body depending on my physical output that day is very different.

Same goes for you. If you are involved in physical activities, listen to your body, know your needs and eat to sustain your body for what you do. Eat accordingly on days you invest more physical energy and be more conservative on your non-exercise days or light training days.

Don’t use food as a reward for exercise

Yeah, I’m going there. I honestly cringe when I see posts or hear someone talk about getting to eat because they exercised.

Stop it.

Food and exercise both nurture your body. You don’t have to earn your food. On the flip side, you don’t have to abuse your body ’cause you had a burger and fries for lunch and feel you have to “work it off”.  As if.

Food isn’t a reward and you aren’t a dog being thrown a treat because you worked out.

Food is fuel for your activities

When our relationship with food is in a place of understanding that it not only nurtures us, but fuels our activities we can look at it in a different way. If we want to perform well we can’t expect our bodies to operate on food that isn’t optimal. It can shift from a mentality of  ” eating what you want” to “eating food that rebuilds your body and gives you energy”.

By all means, eat enough

Long endurance training sessions can seemingly kick my appetite in over drive for not only that day, but sometimes the next as well. I’ve learned to eat healthy foods to satisfy my appetite. Again, I listen to my body and feed it as needed. I try and eat enough, but not to much.

Listen to your body. Learn to feed it what it needs after your training. Focus on healthy foods to support recovery.

I will admit after heavy endurance sessions, food is often not on my mind as those workouts tend to kill my appetite for awhile. Intellectually, I know I need to get something in me.  I’ve learned I can at least get some protein and carbs in with milk in a protein drink, I also add a banana as well, this gives me a good blend of carbs and protein for recovery.

Eat what you like that satisfies you and gives your body what it needs for repair and restoration post workout.

Keep in mind that the goal is about caring for yourself, before and after exercise. Food should be used to maintain your health and wellness, but hey, if you need some chocolate in there at some point, go for that too 😉

How have you viewed exercise and food? Do you or have you, used it as a reason to eat more or eat lesser quality food? Do you think exercise is a reason to eat “whatever” you want? Have you changed your thinking on that? How did it help you?

 

The Weird And Wonderful Things About Runners

So I haven’t written any posts on the wonderful act of running lately.  Not that it hasn’t been on my mind OR something I’ve been slowly crawling back into.

I have been back on the road. I’ve been juggling cycling and short runs. In fact, I’ll be doing it very soon this morning.

Last week, I did my first double digit miles in…well… I can’t honestly tell you.

10 miles.  I felt glorious in that tired, exhilarating way that a long run can make me feel. Especially when I’ve not been able to for so long.

I wondered taking off… can I still DO this ?!

Over the past year or so I’ve been walking a fine line with an Achilles issue of doing enough but not doing to much to send me horribly backwards.  I’m not fully fixed yet but I’ve come to a careful balance of “if I don’t feel any worse, it’s a win” .

Actually, I’ve been using a method that is recommended by many running experts which is a run/walk method. It’s great for a newbie to start getting acclimated to running and protecting from over injuries of doing to much to soon.

The same theory works for a wounded runner easing back into it. The idea being not to over do and let your body adjust to the rigors of being on the road again.

If you’ve never done it, it works something like this. You might start off with a strong, brisk walk and do that for awhile, then start adding in maybe, 10-15 second running intervals, then drop to brisk walking again. You just continue to alternate this through your miles. Of course, the plan is a gradual increase in running time.

Mentally, I have to really keep myself in check from not letting myself run to fast or to long. It’s hard when I know what I’ve done and what I’m capable of doing and keep it reined in to my current needs.

All that to say…as a distance runner… it’s hard to not long for that time on the road. It becomes a craving.

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Last week I had gone on a 9 mile jaunt and wondered why I had not just gone the full 10 ( again, baby steps) I know mileage increase needs to occur in small increments to not have set backs or to make injury worse.

Actually I finished with my Garmin saying 9.10… which left me with that thought.. why not have just finished it out to 10?

It’s how runners think.. what’s another mile?

Runners are a weird, wonderful lot.

I never thought that till I became one. It’s funny how you start thinking about things. How you look at things.

Things that start to feel normal to you, but if you speak it out loud to non-runners, they give you that raised eyebrow look or simply tell you that you’re crazy.

Right there is one of those very thoughts…

When you tell a runner they are “crazy” it’s like, one of the coolest compliments you can give us. It means.. you are insane and I’d never even think of doing such a thing but I really admire you for your craziness.

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Mileage. If we are coming down the home stretch to where we will finish our run and realize our Garmin is telling us we have only a quarter mile or less to roll to the next mile, you can bet we are gonna make that next mile roll over.

One does not simply stop running that close to hitting the next mile 😉

We spend more on our running shoes than anything else we put on our feet.

It’s the truth. Not only do we spend more, we will wear those suckers out faster than any other shoes we put on our feet.  And we go right back and repeat the process. If we have a brand and model we love we look forward to and anticipate when they newest model will come out.

Next to shoes, it’s clothes. They can be bright, colorful and sometimes very noticeable. We often wear minimal clothes. Running, that’s hard work and gets your inner heater going. The clothes can be as pricey as the shoes.

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We view injuries as a total inconvenience to our running schedule, training and future plans instead of worrying about how we may have beat ourselves up.

We view hills as something to overcome and rule over.  If we’re worth our salt, they become a part of our training ground.

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I caught myself in this one the other day talking to my husband about my recent 10 miles out…

” My run was only 10 miles”

It’s like… as a runner your thinking shifts and you see some things as perfectly normal and no big deal…

Then it hit me.. 10. Miles.

That is a flipping long way.

True, I’ve gone further. The half, full and ultra marathon were definitely lots longer distances.

10 miles during training for those events was nothing.

But when you casually talk about a cool 10 miles before breakfast…. you realize…you’re weird and that normal people aren’t out doing that.

Your foam roller becomes a new best friend. Or in my case, I now roll out on a pvc pipe. It’s a wonderful “hurts so good” feeling sometime. But oh so necessary to keep muscles loose and pliable.

Some nights my evenings are so exciting watching a favorite tv show and rolling.

Runners willingly pay money to run long distances, in all kinds of weather (cause when you’ve already paid, you run.) We usually get a t shirt, a cool medal to add to our collection and a banana at the end. We push ourselves and if we’re lucky we set a new PR and walk away with the bragging rights for having done it.

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Speaking of weather. Yeah, we run in pretty much whatever.  Yeah, we hear you use the adjective “crazy” on us again.

We can’t explain it to you… really… we can’t.

But there is something about running when the weather is less than perfect and you’re out in the elements working against them that makes you feel like… a beast.

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It’s exhilarating.  Trust us. It is.

And miles… It’s how our brains now work. Every where we go we measure things in distance of miles. We think about it in terms of speed and arriving to our destination. We know miles to and from our house, around the block, or our favorite running place. Actually, we could probably tell you to the tenth of a mile the distance.

It’s sick. I know. I’m pretty sure our brains go through a rewiring process or something.

Math. I’ve never been into math. I think it’s boring. I never got the complex stuff in school.  I love words more. Yet, here I am in sports that have me thinking of times and splits and mentally measuring pace and distance to finish when I want to finish. It’s constant, ongoing, mental math.

Oh the irony.

People. Wonderful, supportive people.   The running community is made up of the friendliest, most supportive people I’ve encountered.

Fast, slow or in between we cheer each other on, celebrating each others successes and personal bests. Encouraging when we get derailed and set back. Offering help and advice on training, recovery etc.

Weird and wonderful.

But hey… don’t just take my word for these things. There’s always room for one more runner. Come join us 🙂

 

Cheers To The Average Athlete

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So yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday here in the good old U.S.A.  to say the results  upset the applecart of many is putting it mildly.  Two big footballs teams battling it out for the top honor of being “the best of the best” in the league. It seemed like the game was in the bag until the Patriots (although not my choice to win 😉 did some pretty incredible athletic things on that field to not only pull from behind, but to take the game into the first overtime ever in Super Bowl history, winning the game and the title.

It’s hard for me to not observe all that goes on in a game from an athletic stand point. I am in awe that these guys can get slammed by 100’s of pounds of bodies on the ground, fly through the air, run at the speed of light, move with the agility of a deer being chased, bounce and land on their feet again. Their moves I often think of as strong male ballet. For such a rough sport I find beauty in the strong athletic movement of it. These are athletes in their prime.

Yes, I know and understand these men train as hard off the field to keep their bodies strong for the sport they play on the field. Nutrition and strength training are vital roles in their success on field.

Ok… so this post isn’t about the fact I may be getting more and more into football…. 😉 it is though, going to be a nod to the average, ordinary, hard working athlete.

To you. To me. To the normal people.

Those  who are disciplined and dedicated in training their bodies for tasks beyond the “usual”. We won’t be under stadium lights in front of a million screaming fans or earning coveted trophies.

No, our rewards will come from the dedication to our own sport ( or if you’re crazy like me…sports…) where we train hard against ourselves, setting new goals, working hard, returning home exhausted with maybe the only one happy to see us being our dog who is happy to wash the sweat from our grimy legs.

We alone know the mornings or evenings we will put ourselves through our sport, sometimes not feeling entirely like doing it. We know the mornings we are up early out getting it done while people still sleep. We understand the aches of a body worked hard and yet somehow, embrace it, preferring that over aches from doing nothing at all.

Our training teaches us more about nutrition and eating smarter to perform better. We learn how to set aside foods we don’t need and focus on foods that are fuel for our bodies to become stronger for our sports. It becomes a learning process that somehow our bodies teach us as we move along. How to eat enough, and eat enough of the right foods.

We set goals, lay out our own “game plan” and train like the world depended on how successful we are at it. We perhaps, have a few events we train for in a year. For some, it could be stepping stones to something bigger.

A 5k that starts off as a lark, leads to training for a 10k, and maybe ultimately a half marathon or more.   A cycling event or  maybe a mix of cycling and running. Perhaps there are loftier goals of full marathons or Ironman competitions or the desire to see just “how far” you can go doing something.

The things we can choose to pursue are limitless… sometimes only hindered by our minds and our thoughts of doubt that could hold us back.

So this post is to all of us, to you, the athletes who are inspiring to every day people who watch you. You may never get a “prize”, or have public accolades, or be famous. But what you do every day, what you work towards, the goals you set, the ambition you embody, the passion you have for your sport, could be inspiring someone else to get out and move. It could inspire them to try something new and different, to get beyond their comfort zone because they see you working it and doing it every day.

And that my friends, is certainly reward enough. To inspire and motivate others is one of the greatest gifts of all.

 

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Conquering Your Mountains

Conquer: to successfully overcome, to climb ( a mountain successfully).

I had just returned recently from one of my long rides out on the bike when I got a message from my daughter in law. Actually, it was a photo of my new granddaughter, wrapped snuggly in a towel after her bath.

Her big eyes wide open and alert, her tiny nose peeking through, she looked quite content and comfy.

After responding with the usual… ” eek I love her, she’s so cute”… I tell her that’s what I need…

A shower.

I’m in desperate need of it as I’m now sweat dried and dirty from the road.  I told her I had finished up 32 miles to which I get this response…

“you crazy woman!” ( this is a high compliment indeed haha)

It was followed by… “I’m so proud of you for conquering the bike while you can’t run!”

I really don’t think she knew how much those words meant to me.

I had certainly been on a bike in the previous year, but it was a cheap little bike I had picked up from the local Wal-mart and certainly not designed for the things I had been doing to it. I thought the  guy at the first bike shop I went to was simply trying to sell me something pricier when I told him what my riding goals were. I was kind of ( ignorant) to some aspects of cycling at that time… now I know…

I should’ve caught on when during a longer ride the handlebars had come loose and I had to physically manhandle them into place to finish the last 5 miles of my ride.

Cheap bikes aren’t meant to have the life ridden out of them 😛

It was June of this year when I got my first, real, professional road bike. A hot little black and red Cannondale. I found another bike shop where the guys there have taken me in and taught me essential things, and also challenged me on another level as well. It’s also kinda cool to have a place to land where you can talk about your athletic goals and they listen, offer encouragement and suggestions.

So, since June, I’ve been out on the road a lot more. I’ve added more miles, and learned to not be intimidated by crazy monster hills that make me think they’re gonna eat my lunch.

I’ve sharpened my mental muscle a lot more…and I thought it was pretty tough from all that marathon training…but like any muscle…. there’s always room for growth.

Cycling is work. Often hard and demanding work.  You learn to enjoy the downhill moments ’cause you know more hard stuff is coming at you.

Not only that, there is learning about your bike, all that shifting stuff (gah) and also learning how to push yourself more. It’s easy to sometimes stay in your comfort zone, it takes work to get out of it.

So I thought about that whole “conquering the bike” thing.

Being an endurance runner, I will admit, the move to cycling was rather seamless for me. I already had a lot of strength and discipline from distance running so physically it fit me well.

 But It’s not just that…it was learning to conquer:

perceived limitations, my assessment of my abilities, getting out of (yet) another comfort zone, mountains, hills, and more mountains to take on, conquering the mechanics of the bike and riding in a different way,  conquering self-doubt when the next step seems to taunt me that (what if) I don’t have what it takes? It’s also new skills and having an open mind to be taught and learn.

Conquering a new sport when running has been my “baby” for the past couple years.  Hey, at this point, why settle for one sport ? 😛

So I reflected on those simple words she spoke to me and soaked them in… they have come during rides to remind me what I’m capable of, what I’ve learned, and more importantly how I’ve grown and learned.

I’m not done yet. I have so much room to grow, learn, get stronger and better and what I’m doing. But I am confident, I will continue to conquer it.

So I’ll leave these words with you, my faithful readers.

What have you conquered? What seems bigger than you and you find yourself digging deeper to overcome and conquer something you previously didn’t think you could do ? It’s in the journey that we learn and grow but if we are strong and persevere we find we have everything we need in us to conquer and overcome, no matter what it is.

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On top of one of the mountains that challenge me 🙂

Intimidation, Life, And Crushing Goals

Intimidation.

 To intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another, to make timid; fill with fear. 

If we think of this word what usually comes to mind is in regard to people…. one person intimidating another.

That in my opinion, is the lowest form of cowardice however, this isn’t where I’m going in this post.

I want to talk about how we can be intimidated with life or things in life.

Keep in mind part of the definition…. ” to make timid, or fill with fear”

Intimidation is just fear and fear can be crippling to living our life out loud. It can rob us of our potential and the potential for our lives and what we can accomplish.

I contemplated that in a fresh way this past week.

I try not to live my life in an intimidated way on any level. If there’s one thing living an athletic lifestyle has taught me… being intimidated has no place in it. In turn that has carried over into the rest of my life.

Every new challenge or goal has required a level of strength and discipline to stomp down any aspect of fear and intimidation.

The fear of the unknown. Feeling intimidated or inadequate.

Being able to face a physical challenge that ( in the moment) seemed daunting and out of my perceived abilities.

For instance….Learning to run. I know, sounds easy enough, right? But running is hard.

I remember being up to running around 6 miles several days a week when a friend tossed out at me I should run a half marathon.

I laughed. Yet, she had planted a seed. I rolled it over in my head and within a couple weeks I had signed up to run a half marathon a few months later.

Yes, it feels intimidating to look at running a race that’s 13.1 miles. I felt the worry of “what if”.

Yet I toed that line and did my first half in 2:15. I walked away with a new level of confidence and a new awareness that stomping down potential fears would only make me stronger in what I pursued.

It was the beginning for me in my athletic journey… a take no prisoners and don’t even think you can’t do it mentality.

More half marathons, full marathons, a 50K all eventually fell under my feet.

No room for intimidation.

Yet, there I was again facing it this week out on my bike. Ha, cycling has also taken me to a whole new level of finding out what I’m made of.

It’s demanding and requires much strength. Toss in some major hills and it’s even more fun.

For instance, this one particular hill. ( It’s really a mountain they cleared and paved over if we’re being honest) Anyway, it’s a blast flying down it, but it requires a huge amount of strength mental and physical to ride up.

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You want a strong mental game when you see this coming and I’m fairly sure I break the speed limit on the way down 😉

 

 

It was a part of my route the other day. I’ve ridden it before but  it was always in the front of my mind on my ride… it was coming.

That’s when I realized I was allowing it to intimidate me.

Why? well truth be known, I’m fully aware of the physical demands it requires.

It’s freaking hard. It requires a brutal amount of my strength.

But I know I can do it.. that I have done it… and the way to keep crushing it and putting it in place is to well.. just keep doing it.

Keep heading out there, staring it down and using the same strength I’ve used to muscle through every other challenge and conquer it.

I know every time I do it I will become stronger, mentally and physically.

I will always, of course, have a healthy respect for it. How can I not?

But I’m making a choice to not be intimidated of it. How? I will keep intentionally seeking it out until it begins to feel totally natural to me.

Pushing down fears, taking them head on and not being intimidated with hard things in life builds and strengthens us in ways we can never imagine.

What mountains are in your life that intimidate you or leave you feeling fearful?  There’s only one way to overcome it and that’s by facing it and pushing until you have put it under your feet.

Don’t let those things keep you from the potential that lies in you.