Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Inner dialogue

The draw of endurance training and racing is different for everyone - whether it is the adrenaline rush, the escape from the every day, a path to fitness.  For me, training largely feeds my introversion.  While long rides and runs can certainly be social affairs, my preference is actually to do much of my training alone.  It is my time to reflect, focus and be with myself.

The downside of training alone, however, is that sometimes the inner dialogue gets really challenging.  I never really unplug from my own mind, and as a result, what I tell myself has an incredible way of either lifting me up or tearing me down.  I am well aware that whatever mindset I create is the one that will pervade my consciousness and actions for the time to come.

I have learned to trust the struggle my mind has at times, and accept where it leads me.  Whether it is real or contrived, urgent or trivial.  And, as happened several days last week, I accept that training on those days can sometimes end in tears.

I am reflective today, as I sit halfway around the world from the place where I most wish to be now.  Despite being in a beautiful (but rainy) city on the Mediterranean, my mind is firmly fixed on home.

Moody skies in Barcelona
Though life can overwhelm at times, it is not impossible.  Running, cycling, yoga and even swimming provides an incredible outlet for me - even if just as a reminder to let go and breathe, recalibrate and reaffirm.  It is on the busiest and the most stressful days, when time is crunched, that this outlet is most needed for me - a getaway from the grind, a chance to refocus and invaluable perspective. 

And there are days that certainly feel impossible - painful, difficult and unavoidable choices need to be made to move forward.  You don't always have the choice of the fairy tale ending...but dwelling on hard choices does not prevent the inevitable.  Discouraging at the present?  Yes.  But there is always a way to move through it.  Impossible yields to possible.

Everyone has their outlet, whether they are cognizant of it or not.  But I believe you have the power to choose that outlet, and specifically, whether your outlet drowns your inner dialogue or lets it flourish.  You choose whether that outlet is a destructive one or a positive one, and whether it is sustainable as a life choice.  You also choose whether you are going to let yourself defeat yourself, or find the possibility and strength that most certainly resides in your mind. 

I start each day in the life that I choose, and make choices that will impact the next moment, the next day, the next year and my lifetime ahead.  I have learned put a huge premium on feeling good physically, nurturing myself mentally and facing each moment with the mindset that I chose.  Sometimes, however, the things I choose - whether something as simple as getting up early or more major goals like a race, a work project, or a relationship - cause stress and require a lot of conviction to stick with.  It's not rainbows and unicorns or an easy ride, and anyone that tells you that life IS easy is either lying or simply not challenging their own potential.

So I move forward, not necessarily choosing the path of no resistance, but the one that has the most reward to me based on the priorities that I choose.  I am well cognizant that, sometimes, the things most worthwhile to me in this life are those that are going to inevitably cause pain.  Racing.  Owning an aging dog.  Engaging in a demanding career.  Is it worth it?  You bet.    


No comments:

Post a Comment