Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Your legs, lungs or mind?

Years ago I lived in a rural area and regularly included outdoor running in my training mix.  There was a run I would do that was 7.4 miles long.  It was a loop that began at my home, went to the local high school and then back home.  

On the return with about one mile to go, there was one final small hill with a slight grade.  This required that I dig deep into my endurance reserves and attack the hill if I was to keep my pace and finish the run as strong as I began it.

It was very grueling and I would regularly entertain the pleasant thought of quitting and walking the rest of the way home.  I remember asking myself a series of questions while in the thick of things about what was making me want to quit.  Was it my legs, my lungs or my mind?

I’d sequentially evaluate these three quit factors and conclude that yes my legs hurt but they weren’t what was causing me wanting to quit. 

Next I’d evaluate my cardiovascular system.  While my heart was pounding and I was panting pretty hard, honestly I couldn’t attribute my wanting to quit to my aching lungs.

That left only my mind as the culprit of wanting to quit.  This mental process I would put myself through always helped me to hang in there and finish my run.  I don’t recall ever quitting once at this critical “heartbreak hill” portion of my run.

I find myself doing the same these days with my 2016 burpee challenge currently in progress.  There comes a certain point in a 100 burpee effort where you want to quit; actually there are several points because the round from about 50 reps to 100 reps is a long run with lots of mental temptation to pull the plug and call it a day short of the 100 reps.

Such was the vivid case last Friday when I was getting my 100 burpees completed in an episode of beat the clock.  At some point, I began to “hurt” and thoughts of slacking off or possibly quitting entered my mind.  This is normal behavior as any burpee enthusiast will tell you.

So just like long ago with my running, I asked myself the question of what was making me want to quit.  Was it my legs, my lungs or my mind?

This time I concluded the answer was different. 

My lungs were hurting somewhat as my cardiovascular system was working hard, and my mind was getting weak but honestly neither of these were the culprits of me wanting to quit.  This time, it was my legs.

You see, the jump with hands overhead at the end of a burpee really starts to get hard when fatigue kicks in at least for me.  This is something I’ve got to work on so it doesn’t slow me down.  I want to continue coming out a winner in my periodic beat the clock episodes during my 2016 burpee challenge.

Next time you’re doing something athletically-challenging in a game of beat the clock and are starting to hurt and entertaining the comforting thought of calling it quits, ask yourself the same question I did. 

What is it?  Your legs, lungs or mind?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

No comments: