The power of the mind is a tremendous thing. We know this and yet how often do we have to be reminded that while it is of course vital to physically train, we also need to work on our minds. This applies in all areas of life but I was really reminded of it at #TheGiantsCup a few weeks ago. I’ve written all about the fabulous event but reflecting on my personal race again, the main thing that keeps coming up for me is how important it is to train our minds.
Having pulled out after 15k’s on the first day (thanks to painful shin splints) I was really low. However, being brutally honest and on reflection, I appreciate that my head wasn’t in it enough. Quite strange given how excited I was but I think the fear of the unknown combined with my sore leg meant I was more negative about my abilities rather than positive. As soon as my leg hurt (basically from the start) I panicked mentally. The negative side of my mind accepted that I could not do it and while stopping was also because I didn’t want to do long-term damage, it was more because my mind told me I wouldn’t maintain.
Somehow going back to the hotel on my own (feeling so disappointed and sad) and having everyone console me, got to me and the good part of my mind (that I need to focus on more often) started saying “try again tomorrow”. I woke up in a different space. Everyone thought I had pulled out (as I had!) but I was back. Still sore (if not more after the day before) but with a completely different attitude. The competitive side in me came out and that was it – it was a completely different experience and I finished day 2 with a happy heart (and yes, a still-sore leg). The point I’m trying to make is that over 2 days my body didn’t change physically (if anything my pain worsened), my mental attitude did which resulted in 2 completely contrasting days right after each other.
One of the best motivations I’ve seen is still when the Gazelle and I were running once and someone came past with a t-shirt saying: I can and I will. I thought of that while taking on the Drakensberg. And I could and I did.