Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning to Turn My Mind Off

Triathlon has taught me many things about myself -- how negative thoughts creep up when I am tired, how positive thoughts abound when workouts are going well, and how to turn around negative thoughts into positive ones. However, this year I've been learning how to stop my personal mind games altogether and turn all head static off! :) :)

Yesterday's run was a case in point. I met up with a friend (who is leaving for Ironman Brazil shortly, GO MICHELLE!!) for a swim and then a long run. We decided to run up the highway toward Waterton, and then turn around. The wind was absolutely incredible yesterday. It was a powerful crosswind and we looked like two leaning Towers of Pisa trying to stay upright and move forward.

We were blown off the shoulder a number of times, and the big grinning faces from oncoming traffic meant that we really must have been tilting into the wind.

I had a 45 minute warm up, and then I began my 3 x 10 minutes at 1/2 IM pace. Here's the set up: I was exhausted, really exhausted, and had been sneezing like crazy for a few days beforehand. I would rest, workout, and SNEEZE! But the thing I was hanging onto was that this was the last workout of the week before I start to taper for Shawnigan.

The beginning of the run was an uphill slog. However, just having Michelle there made it way more bearable! :) :)

Just after the 50 minute mark, I felt better. Now "better" is a relative term here. My legs were sore, I was struggling in the wind, but there was a distinct albeit subtle shift in perception. It was at this point that I looked down at my legs and said, "Well, do your thing, then!"

Even though my calves were sore, and I felt semi-crappy, my body seemed to know what to do IF I could just shut my mind up and off. So, I happily obliged. For the 2nd set of 10 minutes, I looked down at my legs again and this time I didn't even need to say or think anything. They just did the set on their own! And the time FLEW by.

There is something to be said for shutting the mind right OFF and letting go of all manner of control. Just run! I've labeled my mind switch with a bright pink piece of duct tape so I can easily find it the next time I need to turn my mind off. :) :) :)


Keith said...

What a great post! There's lots of times our brains get in the way of getting stuff done. We're afraid that something might happen, or not happen. We don't think we can do it on tired legs. We fear some prehistoric creature never seen by modern humans will emerge from the murk of the man made lake to eat you like the plump delicacy that you are. Our brain manufactures doubts, worries, what ifs, all sorts of calculations, to say nothing of absurd irrelivancies, all of which just slow your body down.

How nice you found that off switch, and better yet labeled it. Why am I not surprised it's pink duct tape? If anyone would have pink duct tape, it would be you.

hmmmm, pink duct tape. Do you think that would work better on little girl children? I suspect that little girl children get upset about the duct tape because the silver does not go with their eyes or hair. Maybe the pink would make them happier? Hmmmmm.

Jenna said...

i am snagged on the description K put out there of things eating us.... damn him.

Way to go Jules!! I have no brains, so shutting them off is not hard for me!!

Susi said...

i just gave a talk at the camp about mindfulness and staying in the present in training and life. which is essentially about turning your mind off from all the monkey noise that goes on. it takes practice and i'm super happy you experienced the effect of doing that. i personally think be able to stay in the present and focus on what's going on right then and there is essential when doing endurance triathlons. but that's just my 2 cents. tee hee. i hope your sneezing has gone away! i've been popping allergy meds to deal with the poplars and stuff around here.

Cath said...

Love it! I know exactly what you mean - I sometimes count to myself to take my mind off the wind (or the pain! or whatever) and it has the added advantage of getting you into a good rhythm - but then maybe that's the accountant in me! It's not switching your mind off as such, but switching it off from the pain - and it stops the negative thoughts making their way in!

Hope you're feeling good for the weekend - I;ll be thinking of you as I'm racing on this side of the atlantic :) Here's to a great race for both of us


Amber Dawn said...

hmmm...wouldn't it be nice if there were a switch! The mind is always the limiter- our minds are what keep us from finding out what our bodies can truly do!
I need to find that switch...
Great post :)

Amy said...

I soooooo needed to read this post, thank you (yet again for your wisdom). Now if I could just shut my negative mind OFF and locate that switch. I'll try. :)

PS- way to get through that workout!

Beth said...

I am hoping to learn to turn my mind off. I guess that takes practice...

I will be at Shawnigan this weekend too!