Monday, April 21, 2014

Motivational Monday: Start Living or Just Die

One of my favorite sources of inspiration and motivation over the years comes from Bruce Lee, martial arts master and a man with a very sharp mind. As I have grown as a human being an athlete, I have come to realize that the mind is the biggest element in training and racing.

To tap into that mental focus or that emotional well has some spectacular results. Being able to practice this over and over makes it habit. I believe that the body also really hears what the mind says and we must be careful what we tell ourselves...and limit that negative self talk.

I recall when I first started working with a Coach and I had my first race under her tutelage. It was a local 5k and I had a specific time in mind. I did not reach that time by just a handful of seconds and I was so pissed off at myself. I PR'd by quite a bit but because I did not hit some arbitrary number, my focus was on that and not the fact that my body had just performed as fast as it ever had at that distance. I did get quite the scolding from Coach that day about my attitude about it. Obviously, that lesson stuck with me to this day.

Lately my training has been very different than it has the past few years...I am so busy I struggle to find balance between working 50+ hours a week, family and training. This type of work schedule is new to me since I have been home with Lola the last 4 years so figuring it out results in less training. I am not working with Coach yet this year since my own athletic goals for the season have not been defined so it's the "No Training Training Plan" and some days my only workout(s) is the class I teach or the run I squeeze in between classes. There is less focus on pace and HR this year and just going by feel. I actually kind of like this...even though I do use my gadgets still. It's important to focus on the mind/body connection and not necessarily the data. 

This is a story reported by a friend of Bruce Lee. Fitting...

Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-tow minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a-half minutes per mile].
So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.”
I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”
He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.”
I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.”
So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out.
I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” — and we’re still running — “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles.
Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

Do you impose limitations on yourself?
What could you achieve if you could lift those limits? 

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