One of the great things about training with Jill B. Nimble is the vast amount of support I receive. This support comes not only from my coach, who tells me what to do, and on what day to do it, but also from the TLCs that support her and us on our rides and runs, as well as some great talks by area professionals. One such talk, given at the very onset of training has stuck with me throughout this journey. It was a talk given by Carrie Cheadle, MA, who is a Sport and Exercise Mental Skills Coach.
One of the things Carrie spoke about during her talk was pushing ourselves just beyond where we thought we could go. The idea behind this was that once we pushed and saw we could do it, we would create a positive response neural pathway – automatic positive thoughts. I think of it as the “I can do it” pathway. I knew about this idea…I use it when coaching for Girls on the Run. I am constantly telling my girls that when they feel like stopping to just go a little bit further. So, why did I have such a hard time with it? Well, because I am a cheerleader for others, but not myself. OTHER people can push beyond being tired, but not me.
After Carrie’s talk I thought long and hard about pushing myself to just beyond what I thought I was capable, and it just so happened that the next day I went for a swim. (Let me note that before deciding to do this triathlon I was not much of a swimmer and only got into a pool for the first time, in a long time, in March.) So, there I was, swimming in the pool. Up until this point I was only swimming about 30 minutes at a time and taking lots of breaks. As my time hit 30 minutes and I was tired, I decided to push that little bit more and ended up swimming my first mile in about 50 minutes.
Swimming that first mile was HUGE for me, because I was most worried about the swim during the triathlon. Yes. I am swimming in the Russian River, so I can pretty much stand up if I get tired, but it still seemed daunting. However, after swimming that first mile – pushing myself a little farther than I thought I could go – the fear of swimming went away.
My biggest obstacle in my training and performance is myself. I talk myself out of thinking I can do something, whether the thought is “I am not good enough” or “I am too tired” those thoughts control my movement. From Carrie’s ideas, I shifted that thought to something positive instead of something negative, and showed myself that I CAN accomplish something I didn’t think I could. Now I have the courage to see if I can push just a little bit beyond.