Monday, March 14, 2011

Mental toughness

  
My feet were set free today after a long bout of illness.  It was wonderful to get back out there.  Jaymon and I ran four barefoot miles along the Altoona bike trails.  The sun was shining and people were out everywhere enjoying the day.  I was proud of myself in my ability to predict how the run would go and prepare for the aches and pains and sensations I would feel on this run.


  Running is not just about conditioning your body.  It takes time and effort to condition your mind to the stress you endure when working your body.   For me the first mile is my warm up time and I have to relax and manage the kinks and little aches until I am warmed up and better able to asses how I feel that day when those kinks start to fade.  

 Today I knew that my mental "toughness" would be weaker than my feet from my time off so I was prepared at the start of my run.   My mind struggled and felt tired.  I would remind myself that the intensity of the movement, the stimulation of nerve endings, and the work I was doing gets easier.  You get used to the work  and it becomes less intense over time.  I am able to push through and progress.  I know that I am capable of running marathon distance barefoot and that I will work up to that again and probably fairly quickly but need to work up to it and be smart and not too eager that I set myself back in my impatience. 

  Interestingly the soles of my feet felt great and I had not lost my efficient running form or the buildup of collagen.  I did notice the few winter pounds I had gained and my feet, ankles, and knees had not had time to adjust to the added weight.  This too will change as I run more the pounds will come off and I will feel like I am lugging around less mass.

   In any exercise there is a fine line between pushing too hard in the name of being "tough".  It is still imperative to listen honestly and carefully to what your body is telling you.  Assess your twinges and discomfort and decide if they are just stress and discomfort from doing work or injuries coming on.   This is difficult since you might mentally be able to push through the pain when your body is in fact sending you signals to stop.  Thats where the honesty with yourself comes in.   I really have to watch myself with this and Jaymon has had to reign me in many times when I wanted to go farther or faster. 

  Its amazing that at one time a certain amount of exertion will be perceived as pain and discomfort and yet down the road in training the same amount will become pleasure and effort.   I have no doubt that a month from now four miles will seem like a little jaunt and 10 will feel like my four did today.

  My toughness is evident by the huge pulsing vein in my forehead!!

19 comments:

Jen said...

You are so beautiful.
I constantly am assessing whether it's muscles soreness or an impending injury. It's not an easy thing to decide sometimes!
Glad you were able to get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Vanessa said...

I get a forehead vein sometimes too. All pretty girls do :)

BarefootJosh said...

Wait, I get the forehead vain. Does that make me a pretty girl?

Very happy to hear you're feeling better.

Jessie said...

The mental aspect of running draws me into running more then the physical. I think it teaches you about sticking with goals and such. I love running on the treadmill for that reason alone. If you can stare at a wall for 45 min running outside will be a breeze! lol

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful you were able to get out there and run today! When I first started running again, the physical challenges were what I focused on. Now it's the mental. The mental challenges, that is where it's at.

Richelle said...

Glad you're feeling better and were able to get out for a run and enjoy the weather. I know it's hard for me to determine if an injury is coming on or if I'm just struggling with minor aches and pains.

Angie Bee said...

aaww! Thanks Jen :) I started following your blog tonight. How have I missed it til now???

@Vanessa, yes they do and that means you too Josh :) Maybe its a sign of intelligence....

The mental challenge is indeed where its at!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

You look absolutely gorgeous in that pic!! Looks like it is Spring in IA!

Adam said...

I totally think that the vein gives you serious street cred.

I should have prepped myself better for running after illness like you did! I was a bit crushed.

zapmamak said...

Sounds like a lovely run! Getting back out there after a long break is so nice. Its a double-edged sword for me too (the whole assessment of "issues" and getting back into your passion) Sometimes I think I think too much. I'm way too aware of all my running "baggage" that I've dealt with over the years. I can't wait for the day I can run without thinking so much about it!

TiffersRunsTX said...

I'm so pleased that you're feeling better, hon! I love this post, and you're totally right: It takes a lot more than just saying "I'm gonna get out there...". It's dedication each and every time. Way to rock it out. :)

Nikki Kendall said...

Sounds like a great run! Very cool to have your hubby to keep you company!

Anonymous said...

I can not wait till my marathon is over so I can just RUN FREE!!! WEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! You look lovely!

Julie said...

"This is difficult since you might mentally be able to push through the pain when your body is in fact sending you signals to stop."

THIS seems so hard to be able to figure out for so many people, myself included. When are we wussing out, when are we pushing too hard, when do we listen to our body, when do we listen to our heart? I don't think I know myself well enough yet to be making all the right calls...

JessiePants said...

You two look genuinely happy and it's amazing the healing powers that rays of sunshine can have. After reading your blog for a time, I can tell what mental toughness that you possess and by sharing your words you are an inspiration to all of us that read your blog. Thank you!
I also very much agree that mental preparations can sometimes be just as hard if not harder than the physical training that we put our bodies through.

funderson said...

Lovely picture and sunshiney run...your pulsing vein is badass.

amy said...

I spend so much time thinking and blogging about mental toughness. It's definitely my biggest training and racing challenge. Thanks for your perspective on it and being willing to talk about it too!

Penny said...

Great post Angie. Especially when alot of us will be hitting the pavement again. I am guilty of wanting to progress to fast. So I need to read your blog today. Thanks again GIRL. Are doing D2D this year. Got registered today for it. Hope I see you there.

keri said...

Angie Bee.. You are amazing. It's been a while since I visited your blog (shame on me)and I'm so very glad you were kind enough to reach out yesterday. Thank you for the recommendation for blog design. I'm weighing all possibilities against my wallet before deciding what to do.

But never mind me... I just read that you've been ill and when I finish this comment will read further to see if you've hinted in other posts about what your health problem was/is....

But for now, I want to congratulate you on being back to your running, and barefoot no less. Wondering what the benefits of no shoes are (just curious) and if people look at you like you're crazy, lol.. I'm not a runner, but I do walk and the other day saw a guy with these shoes/socks on that were basically gloves for the feet, with each toe incapsulated in it's own little pod. Looked strange, but probably very confy.

Anyway, friend... thank you so much for being there for this perfect stranger when you have so many other things on your plate. I'm gobsmacked that you would even take the time. So much appreciate it.. Be well, keep blogging and jogging. Keri

I provide Bradley Method childbirth education, doula, belly casting, placenta encapsulation, and post partum doula services.
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