The chronicles of the long distance runner: pt2


Breaking through the wall 

Today is day 10 of my reset, of a rest, of a few reset’s long past. I have made it this far and am well motivated to go farther. If you remember how I broke it down in stages, it takes roughly 12 weeks to develop a fitness base line, normally, which will prepare your body to add to your work load and frequency on a next level type of program.  The work load and frequency builds on that base line and it eventually becomes habit-forming.

The microcosm of that idea through a 30 day program is to work from the most basic point for 12 days ( i had in error said 11). At day 12 you should develop frequency and a pattern of consistency. You should be in an automatic frame of exercise mindset. Doing this for 30 days however, is not just a pattern of frequency anymore. It has become habit-forming. The farther past day 30 you go, it becomes more than a habit, it is now ingrained in your psyche and hot wired to your DNA.

This morning I was not as sleepless as other mornings. I woke up latest at 3:30. But only because I went to ground, around 9:30 pm, woke up at 11 before going back for a brief sleep at 1:00. So you see, my sleep cycle is still screwed up. What I found interesting though was the fact that my body WANTED to sleep, but my mind was determined to get out and get to work. My mind woke up on its own because it realized I need to do work.

I have aways said the mind can make the body do things it doesn’t want to do. If you have a strong and focused mind. As oi warmed up, I knew something was off, during my set of squats when I failed to do 100 straight and ended up doing 70 then 30.  I had thought of just stopping at 70 but didn’t want to develop THAT kind of habit of stopping short every time I hit an emotional down spot.

Life is certainly like that for many of us. We hit an emotional  down spot at work, in our relationships, with in our social circle and very importantly economically. May of us when faced with these challenges, often stop dead in our tracks or complain that things are not gong our way. The complaining  or over dwelling on that point where things just slow down, is an emotional barrier we need to deal with. When I hit the sidewalk this morning, I immediately realized my surgical knee was still mad at me from yesterday and so became petulant.  Every step was a limping step. I soon realize I had a choice to make.  Go back home or fight through it. Or become like water and adapt. So I decided to adapt by power walking for the full 1.3k. Stairs included.

My ego was such that it immediately started questioning my manhood,  at one point, about walking instead of running. I promptly shut that noise down and focused on the positives in the work I was doing. The positives where that I was getting in work still, while giving my knees another reason to recuperate.  This is a win/win! Many of us in life, when faced with doubts do a lot of self talk, that contributes nothing of value to our activity.

Have you ever been in a situation where your normal activities for that day was interrupted by unforseen stuff that blind-side and knocked you off your square? Stop and think about the choices you made in that moment.  Did you try to power though the challenge, only to make the situation rougher, because powering through may have been the most bull-headed but least intelligent thing to do?  Did you decide to, or out right quit that activity, because of negative self talk? Or did you find another way to complete the task you set out to do in the first place?

Just as the mind can make the body do anything it doesn’t want to do, overstand that your mind can be a whinny bitch. The mind can and will sabotage your progress. The mind, like the body hates pain and will always move away from pain. As long as you keep your doubts, fears and ego in check, you can push through. Everything you do moving forward is progress. If you swing at the ball and strike out, its progress because you are not siting in the dugout, making excuses for your lack of involvement.

As long as you have breath, you have movement. As long as you have movement, you have life. There is always progress in life. Stagnation is death. There are far too many of us who have died, long before our bodies are aware. We die in our minds. We die in our spirit. We make excuses instead of creating solutions. And we slowly kill our dreams,  goals and aspirations.

Solo training is a metaphor for life. You have to find a way to complete the work. Every progress checks out as success. Every little success adds up to makin you an “overnight success” to those who were not there when you were grinding. Grinding by its very name is not easy. It’s not pleasant. And it’s tedious. But you’re grinding is your eliminating of dullness. Your grind is sharpening your sword, your mind, your body, you; as you prepare for the battlefield called life.

At each stage of your progress you will hit a wall. How you arrive at it is just as important as how you deal with it. And how you get by it to the next level. My job had contributed to my interrupted sleep cycle. Twelve hour night shifts. It usually takes me a day and a half to recover before I am back at it. It was stress full with the lack of thorough sleep. I had chosen to workout at the end of my shift and at one point and was progressing in my training. I was growing muscles,  but eventually i soon began regressing emotionally and physically . Because i was putting more stress on my already sleep deprived body. It was a gradual thing that came to a point where i had to stop working out all together. Before the Christmas holiday’s I took a look at my expanding gut and vowed to get back on that horse.

I worked out on my off days. My work had its own gym, but i was going to a place I didn’t even enjoy going to, to get paid. Still I FORCED myself to try to catch up to where was before the Christmas holidays. I went zero to stupid in fifteen days straight. I lifted everyday. You think that’s bad enough? I did squats, dead lift, power cleans, standing press and bench press. Everyday. Just to build absence where I can begin to specialize. I wanted to get back there in a hurry. And wore my self down even further than before. And as you guessed…I had to stop one more time. Only my period of inactivity was longer.

How many of you choose to push through difficult moments in life by showing more gumption than common sense. To your detriment ? This is why athletes don’t train hard consistently.  They allow the body to recuperate by resting. Resting doesn’t mean stopping all together. Resting also includes a reduced work load. The body is still getting work in and progressing.  But it’s not over doing it.

Which is how I saw my power walking as an alternate to forcing my surgical knee to respond unfavorably to running. We all need down time. Much too many of us destroy our lives giving our sweat equity to a bunch of dictators in a sweat factory. That’s what your work is. A sweat factory. They demand that you go, go, go. And the minute you stop that dictator that control’s your paycheck will eliminate you.  Or threaten to eliminate you. Which puts stress on you. Make you only force yourself to push harder when your mind and body are not present. That’s not you grinding.  That’s you being grounded. Statistics indicates that most heart attacks occur at nine o clock on a Monday.

They happen because many of us don’t want to be doing the same shit everyday, every week, every year. We are not happy in that place to begin with. We soon become bored or resentful. But instead of being like water and adapting.  Or quitting out of fear of economic blow back. We push through. Stressing our bodies and even more dangerously. Our minds. A heart attack is our body and mind seeking a place of comfort, away from discomfort.

To know one thing is to know 10,000 things. Your job, your relationships, your solo training, should not be a battlefield. All battlefield, bar none, have attrition. It’s littered with the bodies of those who failed to or did not know how to break through the wall. Sometimes dialing back, taking a couple of steps back is a progressive preparation for a forward progress. Take time off. Go on a vacation that you can AFFORD ( don’t get silly. It makes no sense you go overboard and now have to come back and grind harder to catch up)

These are things to meditate on.

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