“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
This is one of my favorite quotes. It speaks to something that has been very important in my journey thus far – focus and mindset. For both my weight loss and my training I have had to focus on the goal that I have set. Is it always easy? No. Have I been discouraged? Yes. Do I keep going? Absolutely. I must maintain an internal focus to continue to concentrate on my weight loss and on training; however, I also need support and I have a wonderful community of people who do support me.
Although I need to focus on the end goal, that is not the only important thing. It is still too far away so I need to remember that the small steps that I take each day or each week are equally important and will get me to that goal. This has been very helpful recently when I have wondered why I am doing this? Why have I changed the way I eat? Why do I wake up between 4:30-5:00 a.m. to go to swim or run or spin? Why do I compete? The answer isn’t easy and I am not sure I can explain it in a blog post. Part of the reason is because I feel so much better. I am healthier now than I was a year ago. I really don’t miss Cadbury eggs or other things with sugar in them. Spring break has made me think about letting myself have some kind of treat because it is spring break and I am on vacation. When I look at what I once considered a treat though, I don’t really want it and I have not bought or eaten a scone or a lemon square or some other similar thing.
Explaining why I get up so early and why I compete is more difficult. Both have become habit. I now need to work out on a regular basis or else I don’t feel good. Starting my day in the pool or in the gym makes the rest of my day better. I don’t always want to get up though. I won’t lie. Competing is also part of testing myself and helps me improve. I don’t expect to win but I feel like I do win when I compete, no matter where I place. I’m not trying to make an excuse to try to make myself feel better for being slow. Right now the fact that I can run, and that I am willing to run even if I come in last, is important to helping me improve. (And for the record, I don’t like being last any more than anyone else likes to be last. I just remember that my mom did tell me someone has to be last.)
I have been reading quite a bit about focus, mindset and mental toughness. David Glover’s blog has been very helpful. His post on Focus: nothing else matters reminded me about creating a vision statement, which I did. I chose two “A” races out of those on my list for the rest of the year. One is the Luray Sprint Triathlon not because David is the race director, but because I think that will be the most challenging of those I have scheduled and will be the longest distance at that point. The other one is the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I simply want to be able to finish a marathon.
I also just read a really good article in Inside Triathlon titled “The Mental Game” written by Torbjorn Sindballe. The author discusses the necessity of mental toughness and the “persistent focus on doing the work and mastering the task at hand rather than the dream of winning.” He talks about not being able to control results – only what you do and being able to say you did the best you could do on any given day. Sindballe cites four elements identified by a team of researchers at The University of Wales: motivational climate, key people, challenging experiences, and hunger to succeed. These elements are developed from a combination of external factors and internal resolve. I am fortunate that I have a trainer and coach who helps me in this area. Sam and I have talked about my recent questions and he helps me remain focused on mastering tasks instead of just on winning or on competing.
I will revisit this topic in the future and will add more. For tonight I will end with a quote from John Wooden: “Success is knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”