Sunday, November 7, 2010


Motivation "will all have to happen from within".

So what the hell does that mean?

Conceptually, of course, I know what that means.

  • Draw your power from inside.
  • Don't let any thing get in the way of your goal(s).
  • Focus.
  • Blah, blah, blah.

At times, it is very easy for me to self-motivate.

But, frankly, some mornings it takes a lot of self-motivation to get out of bed to get ready for work, when just fluffing the covers, turning over and going back to sleep seems like a much more palatable option.

The real rub for me will be to work on this concept:

"Act As If"

When JonnyJ and I had our Ironman debrief, he hammered home the fact that, even with not being able to eat during the marathon, I was obviously stronger than I thought because when I was asked to pick up the pace, I did. By over 2 minutes per mile.

What I really couldn't do was get my head around finishing. My brain was telling me all sort of "lies":

You shouldn't be here.

Who are you kidding?

Every one else is a real triathlete, you are a hack.

Stop running now. It will feel better.

(Okay, that was only a half-lie. It did feel better to just walk, but it did not feel better to not finish).

Conversations in my head have plagued me since I was a kid. An overweight, pimply-faced kid at that.

Athletics were a struggle for me. The annual President's Physical Fitness assessment equaled two weeks of dread and embarrassment. I was the slowest runner; I couldn't jump very well and I certainly could not hold myself up for the chin-up challenge or pull myself up during the rope climb task.

The summer before I went in to high school, I discovered tennis. I actually liked it and was reasonably good at it. (Fun Fact: I still happen to own and play with a Wilson T-2000) But I wasn't quite good enough to win a lot of matches.

I decided to believe that it was better to participate than to win. Since I wasn't "good enough" to win, I might as well come up with some line I could tell myself so I could actually motivate myself to get to practice.

Some might say: "Well, maybe you are just not competitive".

Good deduction, but lousy assessment.

I used to tell myself that too. (Sometimes still do). But the fact of the matter is I am pretty competitive most of the time. Fact is, I find my self competing over the weirdest, silliest things. It really surprises me...

Anyway: zoom forward. Many years forward. I start running. Although I always wanted to be a runner and lived very close to lakes were runners were running all day long, I never could get myself to do it.


  • I'm not built like a runner (who, obviously, are all tiny, tiny boned, super thin speed freaks)
  • I can't keep up with other runners (who, again, are all speed freaks)
  • Who am I kidding...

Sound familiar?

And yet, runner I became.

Hubby signed me up for that first 5k, where I was slow-as-molasses. Yet, spectators clapped when I shuffled by, they said stuff like "go Runner!" and there was FOOD at the finish-line.

Ding, ding, ding went the bell; Pavlov's theory proved to be correct once again, and I continued to line up at the start line of 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and marathons.

I have generally finished all of those races at the back of the pack. (Now I will say, the larger the field, the less toward the back I am, and in recent years, I've moved up to sort of the back-of-the -back-of-the-middle-of-the-pack). I am "okay" with that.


"I'm happy to participate".

(Nowadays) "I'm glad to, at my (ancient) age, be here doing this. Look at how many other XX year-old women are not here doing this."

"I'm not a real runner" (because I typically do a run/walk thing when I race.

Add triathlon in to the mix:

When I started tris, I really was a terrible swimmer. (No "conversation"; just a fact. To swim 100 yards, I had to do 25 yards each of the crawl, the backstroke, the breast stroke and sidestroke).

I was not a great biker and did not have a cool bike.

But I could "run".

I took lots of swim lessons and got to be a better swimmer. I biked more and got a better bike. And, I did lots and lots and lots of tris: sprints, Oly's and Halfs....

I discovered the Athena category and places much higher in the ranks, which fed my competitive craving.


  • happy to participate
  • Incredibly happy to not drown during the swim
  • But I'm not a "real" triathlete.

Then, I decided to sign up for Ironman.

The distance and the training intrigued me. The time-cut off worried me, but I was pretty sure that I would be able to finish the race in 17 hours. (I didn't initally know about the interium cut-offs, except for the swim cut-off, which, frankly did worry me.)

I trained -- was very committed to the traning tasks (self-motivated....) and pushed my comfort zone by doing some open water swim events without a wetsuit; did some longer ride events.

Yet, there was always the nagging conversation in my head:

You are so much slower on the bike than everyone else.

You are slower in the water, your a slower runner....

who are you kidding?

And so it went....

So Acting As If: JonnyJ says that I have to start having the conversations that say:

I am an athlete.


I am faster than I give myself credit for.

(As proved by my recent running, where I am holding the 9's pretty darn easily.)

When my brain tells me to quit, it is lying to me. I've got much more in the tank

Changing the words will change my attitude.

Changing my attitude will change my beliefs.

Committing to the process will make it much easier to commit to the work.

The work will get me to the finish line.

So, I'm acting as if....